Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bloody Shards & Willie Nelson's Mini-Me

When was the last time you went to a Bar-B-Q or other gathering where there were games played? Tug-of-war, three-legged race, sack race, or maybe a soft-pitch baseball game. I love watching these games, but I am not the one you want to pick for a participant (unless you are putting me on the opposite team - that's a good move). I make for a very enthusiastic spectator, but my lack of coordination and strength just don't lend themselves to success in physical competitions. Which is fine by me - I got over not being athletic many years ago and got better at yelling at the television when my football team runs when they should throw!

There is, however, an endeavor where my strength - emotionally and mentally - put me into Pro-Am competitions when I was fairly young: Holding On To Things I Need To Let Go Of. Imagine that! A sport that's name ends in a preposition. My friend Krista would be so proud (not)! For the sake of my poor typing fingers, let's just call it Holding On (I won't abbreviate it to HO so that we can stay family friendly here).

The Holding On events that I participated in are:
  • Failed Expectations of Self
  • Failed Expectations of Others
  • Perceived Slights
  • Actual Crimes Committed
  • Primary Resentments
  • Resentments at Other People's Resentments
  • Professional Female Victimization
  • Doubles Resentments on an Uneven Playing Court
There were a few other categories that I could have competed in, but I wanted to specialize. It takes a lot of work to be a competitor in these sports. Mental and Emotional athletics can be just as draining as Physical athletics. It's just that our sports drinks can be a lot nastier than Gatorade ever thought about being.

A point came when I had to retire from Holding On Competitions. I had depleted my energy both mentally and emotionally and it was even starting to take a toll on me physically. I could not recharge myself the way I used to and I had suffered several injuries during Pro events. The question then became: what do I do now? I had not trained for any other profession.

I looked around for some people to help me retrain for some type of productive enterprise. In doing this, I found out that I had to learn how to LET GO. Ah, this was hard. Hard like changing the polarization of a magnetic field. (actually, I don't know if that is hard or not, but it sounded good) And it took willingness. What was that all about? I had to give up a pro Holding On career AND be willing? All that pouting practice down the drain...

I have to say here that God was much more willing to help me through this transitional time than I was willing to help myself or work with Him. I'm sure I earned some divine eye-rolls during that period. The people He put in my life to help retrain me had a big job on their hands. The good thing was that they had all also competed professionally in Holding On before they joined the Let Go Team.

One of the people who helped me during this time was a lovely woman named Kris. She worked hard with me and we made a little progress. But this was at the very beginning of my steep learning curve and I had not gained much momentum, so it often didn't feel like we were getting anywhere at all. One of the things Kris used to say when she was coaching me was, "It's bloody in my grasp! I have to drop it. YOU have to drop it, Carolyn." Unfortunately, I had been trained to hold onto things until my hand was just full of crushed, bloody shards. Dropping it seemed to go against my genetic code. This was going to be much harder than I ever thought. Sadly, Kris was soon overcome with her own resentments and stopped coaching me. Yet even today I can hear her voice in my head saying, "It's bloody in your grasp, Carolyn. Drop it."

God had not given up on me, though. He brought me into contact with many more people on the Let Go team. I was standing around talking to some of them one time when a man walked up to the group and my first thought upon seeing him was, "I had NO IDEA that Willie Nelson was so short!" I did really think Willie had just walked up. There was the bandana across the forehead, the braids, and the weathered face - all of it. Then the man said to me, "Hi, my name is Lou" in a deep New York accent and I just about fell over. Go ahead and imagine a New York accent coming out of Willie's mouth. Doesn't feel natural, does it?

The internet lists Willie Nelson as being 5ft 6inches tall, so he is no giant. But Lou was short - shorter than me and I'm 5ft 4inches on a good day. The Austin Powers movies had not come out when I met Lou, but when I was finally introduced to the concept of Mini Me, that's I how I began to think of Lou - as Willie Nelson's Mini Me. Lou was not only a member of the Let Go Team - he was a guru. I wish he was still in my life, but he was travelling the country in a van and our little group of people struggling to Let Go only got to spend six weeks with Lou before he continued his journey of enlightenment in a white Chevy van. God bless that man wherever he is at today, please.

Lou said many wise things during our acquaintance and I wish I had written them all down. When we met, I was still very obnoxious and pissy, so I often challenged Lou instead of taking notes. For instance, Lou once got a little frustrated with me and asked, "How many miracles do you need in a day to make you happy, Carolyn?" Instead of acknowledging that God was indeed giving me a miracle every time I was able to Let Go of something, I looked at Lou and said, "Five!" Sassy mouth - it never gets me anywhere good.

Lou also touched on the metaphor of shards or splinters that we have in our hands from Holding On. He asked me if I had ever had a splinter in my hand (literally) before. Of course, I said yes, and it hurt too. Then he asked if I had had somebody dig it out for me. I had - both with a needle and with tweezers. I pointed it out that getting splinters out from under skin is PAINFUL (if I haven't mentioned it before, I have diagnosed myself as being allergic to pain). Lou then asked me if I would prefer the constant pain of the splinter under my skin or the momentary greater pain of taking it out, which would then lead to healing. As usual, I hated that he was making so much sense, so I said something unladylike and went into another pout. Having to learn life lessons from Willie Nelson's Mini-Me was hard on my pride for some reason. At that time, anyway. I would gladly set at his feet right now and try to soak it all up. Lou had a connection to God that I should have gotten in on while the getting was good.

The good news is that I managed to remember some of those early lessons from the Let Go team. I am still a Let Go team member, but I have never reached Pro status like I did with Holding On. Letting Go is much more challenging and hard to learn for me. It's that darn genetic code fighting me again, right? (at least that is my excuse du jour) My five loyal, regular readers know that I am in a period of life where God is challenging me and working me HARD on the Letting Go process. I'm still stuck in the "this splinter hurts" stage and not actually looking forward to the "momentary greater pain" of digging the splinter(s) out. God's big ol' tweezers can really pinch when they are trying to get those splinters out. And I evidently have more bloody shards left than I had originally thought. Thankfully, as I heard a preacher once say, "He's got a God-sized hankerchief that is going to wipe away all your tears." Good thing too, because I'm going to need it.

So which team are you playing on right now? Are you in pain from Holding On or have you been able to Let go?


  1. My genetic codes fighting me right now too. Now I guess I need to find those tweezers and start digging. I just loved that cactus though. I keep secretly hoping someday it will flower and not be full of spikes.

  2. Maggie, I actually had an uncle who grew cacti for a business. He had so many varieties that I couldn't count them all. They were all so beautiful in their own ways, but I could not understand why he enjoyed them so much since they were, indeed, very prickly. I like to think that your cactus is actually more like a porcupine that needs to learn to keep the quills down. Maybe. Maybe not. I'm sorry that you've been hurt. I'll be praying that the splinter comes out easy and that you always have a God-sized handkerchief ready. xoxoxo c

  3. Hi Carolyn,

    I think that letting go is one of the hardest things we ever have to do. And there's always something new we have to learn to let go of. But it' far more wise to be members of the Letting Go Team than the Holding On Team.

    Blessings to you!

  4. Hi Carolyn, I just found you, and I'm so glad!! Holding on is a sport many of us have mastered, and I too was the girl they always wanted on the other team. :-)

    Fear was a huge one for me. I'm so thankful that the Lord has been faithful to work on me to let go and surrender to His hope.

    Thanks and Blessings, Deb

  5. Julie, thanks so much for stopping by. Thanks for praying for me. I think about that often.

    Deb, I'm glad you found me too! I'm glad we are on the Let Go team together!

  6. Carolyn,

    I see on your profile that you live in Leander; I am praying that you and your family are safe from the fire.


  7. Juanita, thank you for your prayers. We are about two miles from the fires. It would have to do something monumental to get over to where we are, but we have friends in danger. The fire has flared up and we can see flames above the treeline. We don't have enough firemen for all of the fires burning in Central Texas right now. Please pray for rain too. xoxo c

  8. I have definitely been praying for rain. We live in Pflugerville/Round Rock. My daughter's husband's family and business are in Spicewood; so far, they are safe.


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