Smothered? Try up.

On the morning of Sunday, October 27, our 18 month old grandson was up early. Even for an early riser like me, Hudson was up way too early. Try 4:45, I fear he has his grandfather’s internal alarm clock.

His patient mother tumbled downstairs with him, and his father wasn’t too far behind. We all just kind of looked at Hudson with puzzled, bewildered expressions. I wondered out loud to his parents—“Probably when he is a teenager, you will not be able to pry him out of bed.”

Hudson wanted to go outside. It was raining. Sunrise was nowhere to be found. He was persistent. But, we found a temporary distraction —Dora The Explorer.

One of Hudson’s favorite words is up. Dora didn’t disappoint. In one of the scenes, we heard her command in Spanish “arriba, arriba.” 

During this October weekend, I had the opportunity to comply with Hudson’s “up” command countless times. Made me wonder about people and all the things up can mean for us.

Are you going up the ladder?  Can you keep up with the pace?

How do you keep up with your schedule? Are things looking up for you? Can you pick your toys up? What are you up to? Look up at that sky.

I’m guessing at times all of us struggle a bit to keep our spirits up. We all have challenges along the way. Sometimes, those challenges wear us down.

During the spring semester of my senior year of college, I did my student teaching at Aycock Junior High School in Greensboro, North Carolina. That was 44 years ago! My cooperating teacher, Wallace Pegram, told me early on some pedagogical wisdom—“there is a lot of psychology in teaching.”

He was correct. Not only was there a lot of psychology in teaching, there is a lot of psychology in life.

Relationships involve lots of psychology too.

Relationships will experience ups and downs, good days, lousy days. 

There will be days when a person in a relationship might feel smothered, trapped. Days when separation is needed. Days when space is needed.

A bit of separation and space in a smothering relationship might have some benefits.

It gives the person who is feeling smothered, overwhelmed, and with a touch of uncertainty a chance to think, reflect, assess, and evaluate.

Clearly,  I am no psychologist. But, I wonder in assessing a relationship if it might be a help if we consider the following:

Sometimes we must walk backward to learn how to move forward.

What might be gained by looking back? 

When we take an extended view in that rear view mirror is it possible that we might rediscover key turning points that were overlooked or totally ignored? Might those missed details form a solution or a path for moving forward?

Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if figuring out a relationship was as simple and innocent as Hudson’s request—“up.”

Hudson’s tiny request really comes down to listening.

Can that person who feels smothered in a relationship, who needs a bit of separation and space find a set of non-judgmental ears to hear them out?

The short answer is probably yes. But finding that person who can listen without judging is all about timing. 

We move so fast today that we might fail to take the split second to really, really hear the ask from that smothered person.

Way up there in that blue yonder are a couple of guys whose ears never tire. I lean on them everyday. 

The answer to my prayers might not be delivered in a split second, but I sense those ears in that blue yonder hear my itty-bitty voice. Even in all the chaos down on earth.

Those same ears can hear the person who feels smothered.

At some point in his life, our early riser, Hudson, might feel smothered.

I hope he remembers— “up.”

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