Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Emotional Spin Cycle

The df* Darling [and Dear] Loker Family

This past week was an amazing outpouring of love and family fellowship. A year ago I was bawling my eyes out, not knowing when, if ever, my whole family would be together again after my son’s wedding. Who would have imagined that this summer another wedding would be the happy excuse for another reunion?

As my firstborn and his expectant wife drove away from the hotel on Sunday, I pointed out rather proudly that I was not crying. The simple fact is that I can handle good-byes when I know when I am going to see that person again. Just after I explained this (rather boastfully), my other son said, “Yeah, but when are you going to see Mike and Amy again?” True, the bride and groom were leaving for their honeymoon in Mexico before moving to California, with plans to go to the Middle East in the future.

On that note, it was as though the faucet was turned on. I cried for real with that one. To quote a df, I feel like I am on the emotional spin cycle this week.

One thing that really struck me was how relaxed things were at the beginning of the week, and how progressively complicated they became as more family members arrived on the scene. I had to consciously allow myself the freedom to live and talk and risk offending people.

It was crazy how I struggled to not hurt anyone’s feelings. By praising one person’s wedding, maybe the others would feel I didn’t like their ceremonies. By hanging out with my kids, maybe my dmil or dmom or dsis felt neglected. By caring for my dmil, dmom, and dsis, I ran the risk of ignoring my own children who would only be together a few short days. By doing one thing, I was forever making a conscious or subconscious choice to NOT do something else.

In the midst of all of it, I was still fatigued with the lingering effects of dengue fever, and rather wishing I could withdraw from the whole crowd and just relax for a few minutes. With prayer warriors lifting this particular need for my daily strength and energy, I just kept pushing ahead, trying to stay medicated enough with Tylenol so that I could continue to function.

When it was all said and done, I have to say that I have a deeper appreciation for the way God cares for the entire universe all at the same time. By my over-concern for each person’s feelings, you’d have thought the Creator had suddenly stepped down from the throne and delegated to me personally the responsibility of assuring the happiness of each and every loved one. Let me just say that it was a useless and exhausting experiment to try to keep everyone content when there was plenty of joy and fun to go around without my help. It was a wonderful, fabulous, beautiful, joy-filled, magical week. I am so thankful for every minute spent with my family, and getting to know our new extended family.

IRL* Once I gave up trying to make sure everyone was happy, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole event. I even danced at the reception.


  1. Great blog, JJ! Glad it was a great wedding. Think so many of us probably struggle with being able to turn of the 'making sure everyone's happy' thing. It took me about 24 hours into my WOTH conference to consciously remember that and sit back and let others be the hostess!

  2. As we try to balance family and friends during our last few days in the USA before returning to Haiti this hits close to home. Looking forward to getting out of the 'spin cycle' and back to the slower travel and pace of the island. Hope you find time to rest up soon and enjoy your memories. Fauche

  3. Thank you for letting us in on your life. I am behind you a couple years and look to what my future may hold through your eyes as my dc are entering college, in college, leaving college . . . I am looking forward to the weddings, grandchildren to come while fighting to enjoy each day recognizing that my dc will most likely be in different countries too.

  4. Heather, many of us experience that same thing at the WOTH retreats. It took me a full day to stop looking around for what needed to be done, too. Maybe that's why they work so hard to make sure there is nothing left undone.

    Kris, may your last days be sweet, even if hectic. It's always like that, isn't it?

    I'm home now, unpacked, and still smiling at odd moments as I relive last week in every detail. It's good to get more sleep again. There's just no place like home!

  5. Great post, J.J. I also feel that tension at times...wanting to be sure I "balance out" every comment so as not to leave someone feeling left out, not appreciated, neglected, etc. etc. I guess the key is, as you said, to simply forget about trying to make everyone happy.

    And, as I think about it, when we are thinking about everyone else's happiness and the possible lack thereof, we're really not in the moment, are we? We're really not focused on the one person we're there to listen to.

    I'm just thinking out loud here. :) Good food for thought!

    Btw, I just looked at your son's wedding pictures. Wow! Every picture was amazing!! Congrats!

  6. You mean my job is not trying to make everybody happy???

    How come this never occurs to me? Thanks for the great reminder, Jamie Jo!

  7. Exactly right, Shelley (Merritt Fam). It is impossible to be "in the moment" if we are worried about how others are enjoying or not enjoying the moment. I can't please everyone, so I will please (fill in the blank) is not a sin unless we always fill our own name in the blank.

    Olive, um, NO!

    It's a silly thing when we see it in print, but oh, how we struggle sometimes, especially when we are in the middle of generations. Dmil repeatedly complained about the loud music at the reception (which in fact was not helping my headache), but I smiled and said, "It's not our party." It was loads of fun just the way the bride and groom planned it.

    God does such a good job being God, doesn't He?

  8. As one of those (are we all this way?!) who struggles with a "savior-syndrome" and attempting to make everyone happy. As one of those who is a recovering people-pleasing addict... I loved your words here.

    Loved it... "By my over-concern for each person’s feelings, you’d have thought the Creator had suddenly stepped down from the throne and delegated to me personally the responsibility of assuring the happiness of each and every loved one. Let me just say that it was a useless and exhausting..." Yes and amen. Useless and exhausting. Well said.

  9. I had Dengue Fever in 2006 and it was brutal, so I can totally relate to how you needed to be full of tylenol and weren't feeling so hot! Praying you are on the mend. My kids are young, I am not looking forward to the day they move out and move on :(

  10. I don't know if I'd go so far as admit to savior-syndrome, but I am undeniably a recovering people-pleasing addict.

    Chantelle, thanks for the affirmation. Most people truly have no idea, and I am happy for them.

    Is this where I insert the "enjoy them while they're young" statement? Ack. I'm the old lady! It's always good to be reminded how fast this life spins by.


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