Whoa, did New Year's happen already dude?

Do any of you have a middle of the afternoon slump? Because I sure do. I get regular house stuff done in the morning, and we do school, and then the afternoon is supposed to be the time of day where I do other projects, or organize stuff, or write, or paint! (Although I'd drop dead with amazement if that ever happened.) But now, I push through the slump and I write! I write. Because it keeps me sane. GRACE! GRACE! (GRACE! is sort of my version of Serenity Now!)
A wise woman once said that if you can go through trials without letting them embitter you, they will refine you. That wise woman probably heard that somewhere else, most likely it's a paraphrase of the Bible, maybe the whole Bible, since that seems to be a great deal of the message, and that wise woman is my other personality.

Because, my friends, I'm feeling BITTER. I'm feeling bitter, like with a raspy smoker's voice at eighty-two, imagine it with me if you will- BITTER. Maybe I'm thinking the voice of Marge Simpson's sisters- BITTER.

It's a sucky way to feel. It leaps up out of me at the slightest provocation. Bitterbitterbitterbitterbitterbitter.

Bitterness will suck you dry, it will take the joy out of your life, it will rob you of the lessons that the trials you have gone through are meant to offer you- a good gift, a gift from a Father who loves you. It might make you sick to your stomach, like it does to me. It might make your heart race with anxiety, cause your attention to wander from your children to inner rants and raves. It might cause you to accidentally crush a can of tomatoes with your bare hands. Or not, if you're not all that strong.

I honestly believe that bitterness comes when we think we deserve more than we've been given. I think it also can fester when we don't know how to grieve and let go. Often it seems like grief demands a reason, like maybe I moved away because everything WAS SO SUCKY. Or maybe, just maybe, I moved away because it was simply time to go. A season passed, and love is everywhere, love is around the corner, love is right now. But we aren't where we were. That doesn't mean that where we were is bad.

The question of whether we deserve more than we've been given is an interesting one. Maybe, in a perfect world, some of us would make more money for our hard work. Maybe in a perfect village, we'd all let each other know how much our contributions meant. If I was perfect, I'd certainly be a better friend.

But today I was reading about Joseph with my kids. Joseph with the coat of many colors. (Whenever I think of that, I think of the Dolly Parton song. Yeesh.) One thing that hit me was that after Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, (totally didn't deserve that, I don't think) and then he worked his way up in his slave owner's household, he gets thrown into prison for leaping out of the lusty clutches of his owner's wife.  Totally didn't deserve that, either.

And then, in prison, what it says about him is that he was such a great prisoner that he was put in charge of the other prisoners. Actually, what it says in my kids' bible is that he didn't whine and pout about being in prison. You know, like "poor me, my brothers jumped me when I was seventeen and sold me into slavery and then I got thrown into prison because some woman who is ALREADY MARRIED tried to hit on me and I ran away." You know? That would be totally lame of him, to object to that, right?

But somehow he still gets the award for being a good citizen. (I got that award once, a long, long time ago. I think I was eight.)

So basically, maybe some stuff has happened that makes me feel like crap. Maybe it was a raw deal. But, here we go, into a new year, and I WANT TO GET THE GOOD CITIZEN AWARD. Or not. Maybe I just want to be sweet, salty, curried, pickled, but not bitter. Maybe I want to leave this stuff behind. AND BE THE BEST DAMN PRISONER THAT I CAN BE.

Tomorrow I'm going to write a post in remembrance of 2007, rest in peace. And the next day a blow your mind post for 2008. And then it's done. No more it's not fair, poor me, killing me softly with his song, wish I were an Oscar Meyer wiener crap. Okay?