It’s not personal or business, it’s emotional

The tears might be coming easy today because I had strep throat last week, and I’ve read those scary studies that say that the virus can affect your brain chemistry.  Or it may be because my throat feels like tiny paper cuts as the bright red tissue of my throat tries to heal from it’s attack.  Or it may be because I haven’t eaten for a week or drank coffee.  I refuse to consider soup a real meal.  Coffee hasn’t tasted right this week.  My taste buds are jumbled.  I need to give them a break.  I’ve drowned them in cough drops, peppermints, and Gatorades.

Earlier today I cried at a touching FaceBook post, so, clearly the tear ducts have been compromised.  I don’t know if it was the strep, lack of food, my lack of pain threshold, lack of caffeine, or some combination.

There’s one other culprit I should mention that may have my emotions out of wack (and wack is the appropriate word.)  I watched the full Godfather series this week.  All nine hours of it.  Straight in a row.  For the first time.  (Don’t judge me.  Be jealous that my husband has that little control of our television.  That we’ve been married for almost 18 years now, and my husband, with a career in video editing, has not made me watch anything.  It’s all been on my terms, baby.  I call the shots.  Why am I talking like a gangster?  Oh yeah, The Godfather.)

On a whim, I recorded The Godfather about two years ago.  There it sat on my DVR.  At some point I put a little circle-K by it with the remote, telling my DVR not to record over it.  It could hold out hope that some day, this little lady might look it’s way.

On another whim, Tuesday night, I said, “Let’s just see how this goes.”  Click.  N-I-N-E   h o u r s   l a t e r.  Did I mention that it was 3 hours long, and there were three of them?  And kids, 3 x 3 is NINE!

Confession.  I didn’t record all three of them.  Just the one.  As soon as it ended.  I immediately shelled out $3 to rent Part II from Vudu.  I had to know what happened.  It was late at night.  I did it.  Three hours later, I did it again.  I paid $3 more dollars to remain in that world for a few more hours.

Funny thing number one, my husband didn’t even watch it with me.  He was sitting on the bed making dj mixtapes for the youth group.  And he did this thing called “going to sleep.”  I really should look into that.  I’ve heard it’s good for you.

I was completely drawn into the world those opening scenes of the movie created.  They are so vivid and engulfing.  I wanted to dance at that wedding, and eat that lasagna, and sway when the crooner sang into that big, beautiful 50’s microphone.  It was all so fascinating.  Like Vito Corleone had created this island.  It wasn’t Sicily.  It wasn’t America, because clearly he didn’t follow those laws.  It was the family.

Funny thing number two.  I was almost immediately angry.  Why haven’t I seen this movie?  Why didn’t somebody tell me that this much fun was sitting on my DVR?

I think I’ve heard too many guy’s talk about The Godfather.  It’s all about respect, right?  They puff out their cheeks, cuff their hand, and talk about kissing the ring.  Respect is such a guy thing.  Not just A guy thing, but THE guy thing.  Most girls don’t get respect, and know it’s pretty easy to live without.  It’s definitely not worth gunning down the 5 family heads over.

The other thing we hear is guys talk about is the guns.  There are guns involved, obviously.  But it is less violent than any crime-drama on network television right now.  The violence was surprisingly not part of what I thought were them major themes of the movie.

It’s about family.  Not just in mafia terms.  Actual relationships between sons and fathers, wives and husbands, mothers and children, brothers and sisters, and fathers and daughters.

It’s also about the hardening of a man’s heart and the consequences of sin.  The transformation of Michael Corleone from a hopeful, sweet young man into a lonely, heartbroken old man.

If you’re a girl, who’s thought, “The Godfather is not for me.”  Give it a shot.  Take that whim to Corleone land.

I hope you will let me off the hook when I tell you that it doesn’t have a happy ending.  Everyone has to know that, right?

After my 9 hour “whim” watch of The Godfather series, I was a little emotional.  I was overly sentimental and completely exhausted.

All of these Godfather sized feelings have invected me like the virus I was trying to find distraction from.

When my mom called me this morning to tell me about a sweet letter she got from the new pastor at her church, of coarse I was crying.  How sweet was that pastor!?!  Boy do I wish I could hug him.

She hasn’t even met the new pastor yet, and he wrote her a letter to let her know how much she meant to many members of the church.  He wanted her to know that the prayer meeting group had spent half their prayer time going around the room sharing how my mother was instrumental in their salvation testimony.  I know it is true, and I am proud of my mom.

The reason she hasn't met the new paster is because mother struggles with depression.  Going to church is hard for her.  Going anywhere is hard for her.  Depression is hard to understand, and it makes it hard for others to know how to deal.  That equals messy.  And in church, messy usually gets ignored.

I’ve struggled to avoid being bitter about church that doesn’t have a game plan for dealing with mental illness.  Just that sentence brings tears to my eyes.  I told you, it's a problem today.  Thanks, Godfather.

Can we all give this guy props for doing something?  A letter.  That simple act, was huge.  It is the biggest outreach of kindness from the church to my mother yet.  A pen, a piece of paper, and a few kind words.

Gosh.  It doesn’t have to be a “flow chart needed, break out the binders” plan.

Reach out to people.  Remind people that they matter.  Spend a few minutes on the phone.  Drop of a food product (it doesn’t need to be a meal.)  Send a card.

In your local church, there are multiple families dealing with mental illness.  I know it’s true.  There are statistics that make it impossible not to be true.

People don’t talk about it because they don’t feel safe talking about it.  I once complemented a friend’s church on their SOS ministry in a group setting.  When I told them that SOS stood for Survivors of Suicide, you would have thought I had dropped a grenade.

I don’t know how to change that uncomfortableness.  Taking away stigma isn’t done in a few steps.  I don’t know how to make people feel safe to talk about mental illness among Christians.

Just be aware that the stigma exists.  There are families struggling.

The more uncomfortable you are about the mental illness issues a family might be facing, the more they need you to reach out to them.  They are putting out that messy vibe that is scaring others away.

That little outreach of kindness, that letter, has inspired my mom.  It has reminded her that she matters.

Please reach out.  Not because it is church business.  Not because there is something personal to gain.  Do it because they need to know you are emotionally invested, that you care.  Do it because they are family.