Freedom · spiritual growth

Two Truths and a Lie

maxresdefaultWhen my children were teenagers they taught me a game. The name of the game was, “Two Truths and a Lie” and it was a great way to pass time while waiting for our food at a restaurant, when standing in line at an amusement park, or while riding in the minivan. The conversational game was as simple as its name. One person would list two things that were true and one thing that was a lie. The others players would then guess which two were the truths and which one was the lie.

Here’s an example:

  • A)  Before my mother was married she worked as a lingerie model.
  • B)  Since marrying my husband, we have lived in 14 different homes.
  • C)  I wrote the entire first draft of my fictional manuscript, Kimly’s Trade, in 7 weeks.

So, which are the truths? And which one is the lie?

The lie is “B”. Since marrying my husband we have actually lived in 15 different homes. #packingpro

I’ve come to realize that a lot of us play a more harmful variation of “Two Truths and a Lie” and when we do, we are overwhelmed with unnecessary shame and fear. What happens is we take two indisputable truths and while pondering them, we allow a lie to seep into the mix. Here’s an example of a version I’ve been struggling through over the last couple weeks.

  • A)  My very pregnant daughter needs help with her sick toddler.
  • B)  I live over 350 miles away.
  • C)  Because of my poor choices, I had to move away and now (once again) I have failed the ones I love the most.

So, which are the truths? And which one is the lie?

In this game the lie is easy for you to spot for a couple reasons. First, you love me…or you don’t, but either way, you want to believe there is something decent about me, or you wouldn’t be reading my blog. Because of that you want me to forgive myself and move on. You want me to start new and let the past stay in the past. The second reason you can see the obvious lie is because you are not emotionally attached to my situation. It doesn’t boil your blood, which allows you to see “C” as a lie.

But what happens when it is you? How can you spot the lie when the game is boiling your blood and you don’t even realize you’re playing “Two Truths and a Lie” because it feels like you’re playing “I’m the Biggest Loser Ever…and Here is My List of Reasons Why”

Well, you’ll certainly get no sideways glances from me for playing the second game; I’ve definitely played the “I’m the Biggest Loser Ever” game myself. However, in some of my more sane moments, I’ve come to recognize a couple things about “Two Truths and a Lie.”

First of all, the lie is bathed in judgment. Look at the items on your list and pull out the ones that have judgment attached to them. Chances are they are not indisputable truths. The things that we know about ourselves to be absolute truths will only lead us to a place of judgment if we need to change the way we are living. If we have overcome, if we are making steps to move towards a better way of living, if we are honestly trying to restore what was damaged—there is no room for judgment.

None. Judgment was necessary, but the work there is done and judgment has passed.

The second thing I have come to recognize about playing “Two Truths and a Lie” is that the lie always sneaks in super-duper close to the truths. (Yes, I said duper…that’s how close it is.) Remember the original lie in the first game. I said:

  • B)  Since marrying my husband, we have lived in 14 different homes.

The true answer of 15 different homes was super-duper close. It was almost accurate. Well, that’s the way the enemy gets us to fall for lies. The lie isn’t glaringly obvious. If I had said, “Since marrying my husband, we have lived in 3 different homes”, most of you would have been able to do a quick inventory of what you know about me and saw that as a lie.  An obvious lie is easy to spot. But, when it is almost accurate, it’s tougher to discern. In my second game, I said:

  • C)  Because of my poor choices, I had to move away and now (once again) I have failed the ones I love the most.

While the answer is riddled with judgment, it also holds some accuracy. I did make poor choices, and that did set off a chain reaction leading to our relocation. But, I am not failing the ones I love the most. There is the judgement. There is the lie.

By removing judgment, the statement loses it’s power over me. It turns “Two Truths and a Lie” into, “Three Parts of an Ongoing Story”

I’m not entirely sure why I felt led to share this game of “Two Truths and a Lie” with you. Lately, blogging is a conundrum in and of itself. While writing each post, I know two truths:

  • A) I have to do what I am called to do because that’s what gives me life.
  • B) I am called to write.

But after the post has published, I usually hear a lie. It doesn’t take long before I question the validity of everything I wrote. By the end of the day I have heaped scores of judgment on myself for all that I have publicly shared through blogging. I see a list of people making huge strides to make the world a better place, and I’m not on that list. The moment after the moment I blog is pretty much a nightmare.

Thus, I make a new choice…Today, I refuse to play “Two Truths and a Lie.” I choose instead to look for a third truth, and I choose to see it all as part of an ongoing story.

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Grandparent: The Verb I Am

FullSizeRenderMy first grandchild, my granddaughter Isla (pronounced “eye-Luh”…as in Island), turns TWO today. As we prepared to celebrate her little life at a Minnie Mouse themed birthday bash, I got to thinking about the things I would be willing to do for her. I got to thinking about the effect grand-parenting has on those of us who get to walk that path. 

For as long as there have been grandparents there have been toddlers giving their parent’s parents unique pet names. Not every grandparent ends up with the title Grandpa or Grandmother. I have a friend whose grandchildren call her “Googs” and another friend whose granddaughter named her “Dit”. Two and a half years ago when my daughter announced her pregnancy, I was consistently  asked what name I wanted to be called. Most of the time I answered with a simple shrug. The name didn’t matter, as long as it was ascribed to me by my granddaughter.

FullSizeRender5About a year ago my husband had to take a job in another state, which meant we had to relocate. Because I tend to feel things deeply and struggle to see promise when I’m fearful, I was devastated. I felt like our relationship with our granddaughter was going to be severely altered. I feared Isla was too little for us to sustain a long distance relationship. At a friend’s suggestion, each time I would talk to my granddaughter on FaceTime, I would read her a book. Her favorite being Grandma & Me. In the flap book, the little girl, whom we affectionately named “Bacon-Head Isla” asks, “Who’s at the door?” and when the reader lifts the flap, “It’s Grandma!” My granddaughter picked up on the clues, and and gave me a name. I became Door.

Fortunately, that passed, and I am no longer Door. A new name came into play and my granddaughter now calls me “Am”. Yep, Am. I am Am.

FullSizeRender6I have to confess, it’s a little weird to have become a verb. From the moment I was born and the doctor first spanked my pink bottom and declared, “It’s a girl”, I have spent a lifetime being a series of nouns. I have been a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a friend, a student, a cheerleader, a baseball player, an actress, a girlfriend, a speaker, a waitress, a secretary, a fiance’, a wife, and a mother. Mounds of nouns, and I cannot recall a time in my life when my titled role was a verb.

FullSizeRender7But, I also cannot remember a time as remarkable as this season called Grand Parenting. It’s widely known by every parent that a grandchild is God’s reward for not murdering their teenager. Seeing your own child become a parent is easily the most fascinating and fulfilling moment in parenting. There is a passing of the baton from one generation to the next. With a wink and a nod, you watch as your child becomes, not the parent you were, but a better version of the parent you wanted to be. In every way we hope that our children will “turn out” better than we do, and when we see it happening it’s invigorating.

FullSizeRender3Looking into my daughter’s eyes the night her daughter made her entrance into the world was fascinating. It was as if we shared a secret. A secret that could only be understood by she and I, and every other parent in the world. It’s a secret feeling. A new feeling. It’s the “someone just dropped me into an ocean and I’m going to drown in this love” kind of feeling. Knowing your child is engulfed in this new found love is worth every moment of frustration endured with them in adolescence. In that moment, you don’t have to say, “See…” or “I told you so!” because the littlest member of the tribe is saying it to their hearts in a way that is much more powerful.

But that’s just half the story. The other half of the story is the way it changes us. As parents, we already experienced being dropped in the sea of love; as grandparents we experience the ocean differently. When we meet the child of our child we are washed with a wave of love. Each interaction with them brings a new tide, a bigger swell of love.  And in a way, becoming a grandparent allots us each the opportunity to become a verb. Not because we weren’t active as parents, trust me–there is no amount of time that will erase my memory of how much work it takes to care for young children. As grandparents we receive the activity differently. Grand-parenting reminds us of the things we loved about parenting, but were often too tired to always enjoy.

FullSizeRender4Changing a diaper.

Reading a story.

Running a comb through thick hair.

Holding a hand.

Throwing a ball.

Receiving a kiss.

The truth is, for the first time in our lives, we understand how sacrificial love can feel good. Being a Verb Grandparent, it’s suddenly easier to get up, scoot lower, crawl under and carry more–not because our bodies are more fit, but because our hearts are more willing. Being a Verb Grandparent enables us the opportunity to serve with an appreciation for how fleeting the experience will be.

FullSizeRender8We’ve already lived through the life of a toddler and seen how rapidly they grow and change. We are quick to advise new parents to avoid “blinking” lest they miss an important milestone. In one moment our children were asking for help with turning on the bathroom faucet and in the next moment they are asking if they can go camping in Zion with seven of their friends.

Verb Grandparents have less pressure. As a parent there was a looming fear of failure, but this time around we don’t carry the same burden. Most of us have little fear about making the smallest member of our tribe feel important and special. We can see they are brilliant, and because this isn’t our first trip to Disneyland, we know that as long as they feel loved–everything else will eventually fall into place.