Think about the greatest (positive or negative) experience you have ever had. What was it? How do you know it was so great? What made it great (positive or negative)?
I can think of two things in the past few years that would reach the top of my list. One I will not divulge because it is very personal and it is a negative experience that only a few people know about. It was loaded with emotion, most of it anger and frustration. The other was not as emotional but totally amazing to be apart of. That would be the birth of my child.
My in-laws can attest to the fact that I definitely had emotions happening that night but it was not like I expected. I kept hearing stories of an instant bond once the father lays eyes on his newborn child. I did not have that. My thoughts were, “she’s huge, and purple!” and “Wow, is my wife amazing for giving birth to something so large!” Was it exciting? Yes. Was it like being at a worship concert or getting pumped up about praising God? No. But it was something that I will always remember.
We cannot trust our emotions. Here is why. When you have an emotion it is a response to something in your environment that has been triggered by your thought process. Our thoughts or perceptions are not always correct or true. So when you have an emotional experience and you want to validate those emotions then you need to review what triggered that emotional response, even if it is getting into praise at church. For example, I am sure he will not mind, my dad several years back when my sister and I were still young enough to be living in the house, was awakened one night by a loud thud downstairs (where my sister and I were). Mom and dad came running downstairs believing that somebody was in the house. Dad’s emotions and senses at this point are heightened. He is pumped up ready to fight to protect his family. This is a natural response commonly known as “fight or flight”. Had there been a burglar I am glad he did not choose flight. But as it was, the house was dark, mom was going for the light and dad could hear whoever it was in the living room so he begins moving forward to check it out when all of a sudden “wham” he is knocked upside his head. So dad naturally starts swinging and moving to defend himself when he is hit again, “wham, wham”. Mom starts laughing cause dad is thinking that someone is in the house. When she flicks the light switch on everybody can see the mystery intruder which happened to be the ceiling fan that had fallen out of the ceiling that was still turned on and swinging at my pops. His emotions told him “burglar” until the lights came on.
But there are times when our emotions are very strong and the situation dictates the responses we are giving it. That is the entire reason behind this post because I had to watch as my beloved cat of the past 6 years was put to sleep this past Sunday. I experienced frustration, extreme sadness, and hopelessness because we just did not have the money to try the procedure he needed in order to save him. I still feel like I betrayed my cat and part of me thinks that I will have to answer for that one day. My feelings of extreme sadness are definitely valid…or are they. Here is where things get tricky. They are valid to me because of my presuppositions that I hold about animals. I see them as creatures that God created for me to have dominion over, or to protect and help live. I believe they have feelings and I believe that they should be treated with a certain level of respect because of the fact that my God created them and trusts me to take care of them. That is why it was so sad this weekend. I failed in that trust and it broke my heart to know that SugarWafer probably had more life to live but that we didn’t want to pay for it. It wasn’t that we did not have the money but that the money was slotted for other things, namely to pay off my school debt and to pay for the medical expenses coming up with our baby that is due in September.
So what do you do? You live life, enjoy the experiences you have, but question why those experiences make you feel a certain way. Don’t lie to yourself and don’t take away from the truly great things by spending all your time questioning whether it is valid or not. Build your base of factual knowledge in advance so that you don’t have to worry about it as much.
Time to go. Students are about to be let off the buses.