Saturday, March 1, 2008

Going Postal

I am not really sure I want to share this story, but feel I need to. At least this way you will have very clear picture of how perfect I am not.

I would love for those who do not know me personally to have some image of me that is completely put together and creative and complete. But, my nature is to be real with you. I am transparent to a fault sometimes.

Yesterday afternoon, I had to mail a package. A simple errand, right?

I realized I did not have the appropriate shipping materials at home when I went to prepare my package. So, I had to drag my uncooperative 3 year old into a very crowded small post office in the late afternoon before picking up my daughter from her dance class. I walked in and picked up one of those puffy pretty envelopes and labels that sit right in the front of the post office lobby. You know, the ones that are overpriced and if you are a put together person, you never need because you always have the proper supplies at home.

So, anyway, because I was not completely prepared, I had to pick up one of those pretty envelopes to prepare my package for shipping.

Since the line was so long, I tried to do this while in line. I didn't have a pen in my purse. (Of course I didn't, although there were some crayons) So, when I finally got to the front, I asked if she could just weigh it all and print me the stamp. Then I could finish it up and drop it in the box. She was none too pleased with this idea and fussed at us all in line that we needed to have our packages ready when we got to her line. She roughly handed me pen and I went to a counter to address my package.

When I finished, the line was twice as long and I initially decided to just leave and do this another day. Then I remembered I had just put my items in that pretty envelope that I had not yet paid for. Ugh!!!! I was completely frustrated with myself mostly, but also with the situation and the long lines. I tossed the pen back up on the counter and went to the back of the line.

So, the attendant then starts to "scold" me in front of all of these people. I was embarrassed and immediately grieved my behavior. It was only then I realized my son has been watching this entire scene. Shame on mommy. Anyway, I do not believe this woman handled this situation in the correct manner either, but I am sure she was under stress and just had enough of frustrated and unprepared customers. I was the lucky one that she decided to let loose on.

And you know what I did right there in my small town post office with about half the town looking on? I cried. I cried like I have not cried in a long time. The floodgates opened and I just boo hooed right there in front of all these people. I did manage to quickly pull myself together, pay for my items and apologize to the attendant. She wanted to scold me some more and then I just told her it had nothing to do with her and that I was sorry again. I asked her to be more patient with people because you just never know what they have going on in their lives.

I left there, drove to pick up my daughter and wondered what in the sam hill just happened in there? I don't cry easily. Really I don't. And here I was just crying because this post office attendant scolded me after my behavior was less than gracious.

Then I realized it was not really the situation I was in, but rather all the stuff that was going on in my life that I had not dealt with that day. The stuff I was trying to deal with and not letting go of.

There are people, friends, all around me right now dealing with huge life issues.
Addiction--suicide--divorce--financial loss--death of loved ones--deep depression.

I, thankfully, am not dealing with any of these issues in my own life. But my heart just aches for these friends of mine. I mean it is so heavy with hurt for these special people and I have been just carrying it around with me. It is as if I have a backpack and I just keep loading it up with each hurt of these friends and carrying it around. As if carrying it will ease their burden somehow.

So, as I sat in the car while my daughter finished up dance. I prayed and let a little go.
I am letting a little more go now by writing this post.
I will let more go later. More tomorrow.
I will keep praying that God protect these friends of mine and lead me to help them in the best way I can. I can't fix their problems, I can't take the hurt away and I cannot carry their burdens around.

But I can listen to them, love them and I can pray for them. I can lift them up to an almighty God who can take all that hurt and turn it into hope. Someone who can meet them where they are, love them in ways I can't and bring healing to their lives. His back is very strong and he wants me to put my backpack down now.

Loving but letting go,


Queen B said...

Bless your heart. I really feel for you. I can completely imagine myself in your spot.

Letting go is the best thing that you can do. I have been forced to put up some boundaries with loved ones because I was taking on their burdens. I truly love each one of them and want to be there for them, help them and support them. But I don't need to carry the weight of their troubles indefinitely. That is what God is for. And as long as I am carrying them--even a tiny portion of them, they might not get to the point of needing Him.

Thank you so much for sharing this. It has blessed me and I know it will do the same for others.

Janel said...

Thank you for your words. They are comforting for sure.

You know, I really love being there for my friends and family. I find that I am mostly able to do it without being too "co-dependent". I never want any of them to think they cannot talk to me or ask for help because of the weight of the issue or that I may feel overburdend.

I just have to continue to listen, help in the ways that I can and then give it over to God. I just forget to do that sometimes.

It is why my friends come to me in the first place so I will pray, not to fix it.

Sarah said...

I've been there. I often joke that for some reason, I seem to attract needy and crazy. Iv'e always been this way and then I went and became a therapist!

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received was in my undergraduate social work program. The professor told us to always remember that we are responsible to people, but not for them. In other words, it's always our job to love people and care and pray for them, but not to fix them or make it all better. Their choices and problems are not my responsibility.

My professors words were freeing for me and I constantly remind myself of them. A big heart is a wonderful thing and it's obvious that you have one. I'll be praying for you to find the balance.

Dawn Ward said...

I understand this completely, Janel. I am a "fixer" by nature, and I feel responsible for everyone. Sarah's words are so true, though. I am not responsible for them, though. God is.

You have such a big heart, and I'm sending you cyber hugs!

Love, Dawn

Nicole said...

Sorry you had such a rough day - just know it wasn't your fault. I agree that the attendant didn't handle it correctly. In every post office I've been to, if you need to fill something out, once you talk to the attendant about whatever you need, you step to the closed counter (there always is one) and fill out said paperwork/label/whatever. Then, when you're ready, you're the next one up at whatever window is open. You happened to run into someone that was having a bad day and needed someone to take it out on. Good for you for crying - maybe she'll go home and realize she needs to mend her ways.

Rachel said...

Poor you.
Sometimes crying is the healthiest thing your body can do and Praying is definitely the healthiest thing your soul can do.
Put it all on Him, He is infinitely stronger.
Bless you.

Amy said...


I read this post the other day. I went into the post office today (I am pretty sure the same one you are referring to here) and immediately...and I mean immediately God placed you on my I stopped right there (and acted like I was doing something with my package:) and prayed for you, for the friends in your life and for those at the post office. What was so cool is I can do that..and that I KNOW God hears me...and even though I do not know your friends by name or their situations..I know that God knows and hears our prayers! So Janel I probably from now on will never go into a post office and NOT think of you and pray for you! Glad to be in this journey together with you my friend!

Love ya!

Janel said...

Thanks Amy! It is good to be on the journey with you too! You are a true blessing to me and thank you for praying. I can feel such a difference this week. And I see God working in incredible ways in my friends lives. Wow - I wish I could share it all here!

Jadekitty said...

Thank you for sharing, I've had some bad experiences with my local post office.
In retrospect I realize all the reasons I end so frazzled are normally all internal stresses.

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