Mental Health

Fresh Eyes

My daughter bought me a Coffee Warmer for Christmas and it was a gift that I would have never considered for myself, in spite of my obvious coffee affinity. Amazon touts it as “your new favorite coffee accessory”; I’m not one to argue with Amazon. Guys, this is seriously one of the best presents I received. With a new puppy, I am constantly getting up and down to open the back door, grabbing a chew toy, or pausing for a few moments to play with Ellie Mae. Though I enjoy almost everything coffee – from iced French Vanilla to old fashioned Maxwell House Bunn – the one thing I don’t care for is room temperature coffee. Anyone who appreciates hot beverages of any kind will agree with this statement: lukewarm is no good.

Merriam Webster defines lukewarm as tepid or lacking conviction. The Cambridge English Dictionary deems the term “not enthusiastic or interested.” It is here I must digress a moment and explain something; those of you following my posts know I was impressed to start this blog to honor the legacy my mother left behind. Mom was actually a great writer, but I didn’t know this until the age of Facebook and social media. She would always gush over my writings and Alena’s…she gushed over most things we did. She was enthusiastic and proud when it came to her children and our accomplishments. Anyway, with the dawn of facebook, Alena, Tommy, and I saw a new facet of our mother: not only was she an amazing encourager, but she was also a gifted writer.

The point here is not to say how perfect Mom was; she had a tendency not to confront situations and to internalize her frustrations. In spite of that, the one word I would never use in any depiction of Brenda K. is lukewarm. I can never recall my mother being lukewarm. Even in our less than desirable moments, Mom was always all “look at those purple flowers!” Or, “did you see the plum tree in the neighbor’s yard?” And, “I smelled honeysuckles on my walk this morning!” She so appreciated the life laid out before her and the many blessings adorning her day – even in the worst times, even in her final weeks battling cancer. Her appreciation was genuine; it was not garnered to get likes and comments on social media.

This is the part where I wish I could tell you I’m like my mother and I inherited this natural tendency not to be apathetic (spoiler alert: I didn’t). I’ve always been more of an old soul; in fact, my childhood pretty much ended around the age of 10. People do this thing when they’re hurt and unhappy – they build walls and those walls block out pain, but they also block out joy. The best cure for being lukewarm is to start seeing the world through someone else’s eyes who isn’t. Walk with them, talk with them – like I did with Mom. Thankfully, God sent me a spouse who is not a lukewarm person. He daily points things out to me to appreciate, much like Mom used to do.

When dealing with grief and depression, it isn’t easy to be joyful. However, we don’t want to be numbered among those who are lacking due to a lukewarm spirit. Apathy is toxic and it’s something we must acknowledge and confront. Even in my moments of stress and anxiety – moments like today when I get torn up over things like taxes – I’m growing. Lukewarm is no good – it’s better to be one extreme or the other. Work on finding balance and a Zen place. Lessons from Mom: do what you love, take a walk, spend time with a furry friend, and you will renew your enthusiasm and view the world through a set of fresh eyes.

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