Saturday, April 05, 2008

I'm through with trying
to be "Sister So and So"



Recently I was dealing with some things and a close friend of mine said to me, "why are you distant with me? You are shutting down and that is your typical response when something is going on with you...please talk to me."

This friend had done absolutely nothing wrong in fact they are a 100% incredible support to me and have been for many years. So, I said to them, "I'm trying to be sister so and so, and it's really hard..."

I have attended many funerals where they have talked about brother or sister so and so -- the deceased -- and what a saint they were. You hear things such as:

"She never said an unkind word about anyone or anything..."

She was always "up"

"She never complained..."

"She always had a smile on her face..."

and when I leave funerals like that I can't help but be inspired that this is the way I should live 24/7. It gives me another push to pull myself up by my boot straps (remember, I love boots...LOL) and be a completely positive person, minimizing any problems I may have and keeping a cheery disposition 100% of the time.

I also read blogs by people who talk about living life "with the end in mind" -- looking to the end of your life, your eulogy -- what you want to be said about you. One blogger in his 20's actually went so far as to write his eulogy. He has detailed his funeral and is now making it his goal to live the next however many years to make the things he wants to be said of him come to pass. I will be honest, I was incredibly inspired. My thinking was, "okay, okay, I can do this..."

What that requires for me is to be quiet...

not tell anyone when things aren't going right...

read...

shut out everyone out who really cares to ask, "how are you?... (and wants the real answer)

simply answer "fine" when asked ...

because if things aren't exactly peachy and I speak honestly from my heart...then all of a sudden, I am back to being the real me and so unlike "Sister so and so" who they talked about at the funeral.

When I told my friend all this they promptly sent me an e-mail telling me that it was time for me to quit trying to be sister so and so, or have her bio at the end of my life. They told me they used to try to live "the eulogy" but they stopped because they realized (and I'm quoting them here) "Those wonderful old saints who have those wonderful sayings about them all sat home and knitted. When you are out doing something like we are, you will be criticized." My friend gave me an exhortation that I sorely needed. They told me, it's time that you live like you were dying and let the chips fall where they may. And they reminded me of what friends are for. They said, "Deanna, I don't care if you call me everyday crying as long as you don't mind me doing the same."

So it was time. I unloaded on them. A huge load. And when I was done they said, "I think that might be all you needed." I think they were right.

What a shame that the "sister so and so's" may have never gotten an opportunity to do that. Surely they had things bottled up inside. I'm sure they took it to Jesus (I do too) but sometimes you just need somebody with skin on.

As my friend pointed out, trying to be the "sister so and so" that you hear about at funerals is not only exhausting, it really isn't healthy. God made us for relationship, and sharing our ups and downs is a part of that. So if I sound off to a friend and it's not in the most spiritual of ways, or polished with a lot of "praise the Lord anyways", it's okay.

So that's how I'm going to live. Or at least I'm going to try to. Instead of living my life with the end in mind, I'm going to try to live my life more in the moment. It's the opposite of what I'm hearing in some sermons or articles, but truly, living life the other way isn't really working for me. It's hard for a goal oriented person like me to live more in the moment (I really do want the "sister so and so" eulogy at the end of my life!) but as someone once said, "well behaved women rarely make history."

So I guess I'll just be me. And that means being honest with my friends about what is bothering me, even when I don't seem as spiritual as sister so and so who never shares her woes or when she does, veils them in a lot of christianese.

6 comments:

Sharon said...

Good for you! You are YOU, and not so and so! :0)

One thing too, think back to when you and Larry first got married. I bet the first things that come to mind, that you would talk about would be the good times, the highlites. Even though many so and so's seems to be saints, they weren't perfect.

As I'm typing this I have a picture of a river in my mind. I see the flow moving quickly. Occasionally you see a stick or a leaf floating with the water, but most of the "gunk" settles to the bottom. If we're in the flow with the Spirit and moving (as we should be) the gunk will settle to the bottom and be left behind. I don't know if that will minister, or mean anything to you.

You be BEAUTIFUL YOU. That's who God loves, Larry & the Kids, and who I've come to love in Christ as well.

Michele said...

I am glad you are going to be you because one of my favorite things about you is you are REAL- and so very honest.
Love you
Michele

susan said...

I love you just the way you are. Thank you for always being real and honest. Thats one of the many things you have taught me. Thank you for everything.

Deanna Shrodes said...

Thank you, ladies. I appreciate your encouragement.

Sharon, that's a great analogy. I LOVE IT. So right.

Come to think of it, after I wrote this post I remembered what came out in the news this past year about Mother Teresa's journals. She had many down days and was depressed greatly at times. People read the journals and wondered if she was a fake...unspiritual or whatever. Of course not! She was a real person (not just a "saint") and although she evidently never discussed these feelings with others, she indeed did have them and went to her journal with them.

I go to my journal too. But I also have a need for people at times.

I look up to people like Mother Teresa and it would be my incredible dream to one day have a eulogy like them. Notice when she died, she got nothing but accolades, they didn't talk about her journal at the funeral...

But I guess there is a whole side of her (not a bad side, just a "real" side) that many never knew...

I agree with you Sharon that it seems like many were true "saints" but they were still real although they never showed it...

Love ya guys...have a great Saturday. I was going to weed, but it's pouring down rain. Aw....shucks!

Kerry said...

PD, God knows the "real" you and He's okay with you. There's no need to be sister so and so because there are a lot of people, including me that appreciates the real you more. You make a difference every day. One more thing, most of the time eulogies are sugar coated anyway. You never here anything bad about sister so and so because the people reading the eulogies want to give a great send off. I think sometimes if sister so and so could rise back up, she would say, "who are they talking about?" She would be clearly confused because even she knows that nobody is that perfect. lol

Deanna Shrodes said...

Now that you say that, Kerry...I realize that is true in many instances I myself have witnessed. I have been at the funerals of cantankerous old coots, and heard people say what a man or woman of God they were...

My husband always says all you have to do to be immortalized is leave...or die. People's memories tend to be through rose colored glasses on most accounts I guess...

So we really can drop the "striving to be Sis. So and So", I guess, after all.