My dad passed away in October, and I can’t remember a single thing that happened in my life from October to around May. I know I got a 4.0 in both the fall and spring semesters, but I can’t even remember what courses I took. When I finally snapped out of my head enough to go out with my friends again, I realized I was pushing everyone away. I had a problem in every single relationship I had, even my relationships with my mom and childhood best friends. Every time a friend complained about work, school, or drama, I snapped at them, wondering who the heck they thought they were to complain to me. Every time my mom asked me to do something small around the house I snapped at her, wondering why she didn’t appreciate how much weight I was already pulling around the house.
Then I realized, if there was something wrong with everybody I know out of nowhere, the problem was probably me.
One of my best friends from high school started dating an incredible girl during my blackout period, and since most of my friends are guys, I naturally latched right onto the new girl in the group and started spilling my life story on her. One night when I was explaining to her why I cut off ties with some really great people, she said probably the smartest thing ever and it stuck with me ever since:
When you’re on an airplane and the flight attendants are going through the safety protocol, they show all the passengers that bright yellow oxygen mask. They show the passengers how to strap it on, and they explain that air is flowing even if the bag doesn’t inflate. But the most important part of that whole spiel is that you must always make sure your own mask is secured before assisting someone else.
By taking a break from everyone and giving myself a chance to regroup and fix myself, I was just securing my own oxygen mask before I dragged someone else into my crashing plane. Whether it’s just a break from people for a while, a little R&R, or full-blown therapy, you need to take time for yourself before you bring others into your life.
Last Sunday, I was a guest worship leader at United Methodist Church in Center Moriches (aka I just sang a few songs, but “guest worship leader” sounds way more grownup). During the message, a woman spoke about how we are all created in God’s image, and whenever we sin or make a bad choice, we distort the image of God.
From October to May of this past year, I was a mess, and the little bit of God in me was very distorted. There was slim to no chance anyone could see even a fragment of God in me. Still, I expected other people to be the perfect picture of God untainted to me. It was a huge step for me to realize that I had to fix myself before I could fix others. Even now, my oxygen mask isn’t fully secured. But at least I’m aware of it, and now I know the rules.
PS thank you Amanda!!!