Good Afternoon

Good Afternoon, friends! (You will have to watch ”Spirited” to know why this is funny—or an attempt at being funny).

I am not going to give away the whole storyline to “Spirited,” but I do want to write about one of their themes that is in the message I have been sharing for quite some time now.

Transformation. It takes time.

I was listening to Brene Brown talk to Adam Grant, author and organizational psychologist, about pancakes. We all know the first pancake never turns out, and they were saying we should celebrate that first pancake. Without the first pancake, we do not get what comes next. It is the shitty first draft we should not hide but celebrate. Transformation cannot happen without the shitty first draft—the first pancake. I like the say I am Baptist House of Studies first pancake now. Celebrate me for the excellence that will follow. Ha! I kid. I kid. But there is truth to that.

I had to learn how to write when I got to seminary, and it was a painful process. I had so many emotions about it—being graded again while learning something new, trying to overcome imposter syndrome, taking tests, studying a religion I was still traumatized by, etc. I am so freaking proud of myself now looking back on it. I no longer feel the shame of the breakdowns it caused me, because it made me resilient and stronger for the fight of my life that was coming. Learning to manage my emotions is one of the greatest things I learned in seminary. And it took a whole team of people to help me learn how.

I have read somewhere that we cannot talk about self-care without community-care. Healing happens communally, even though it is an individual choice to heal and do the homework necessary to make it successful, excellent. It will start out shitty. Your community should be aware that you are on a journey to heal and to not judge you for where you are on your healing journey—I learned this from a rabbi. They can meet you where you are so you can continue the journey. This never ends, by the way.

You know what happened to me at the end of that horrible, no good season my family just went through? We ended that fight more loving than we began. More loving of others and ourselves! I can say I matter and I belong now. I exist. Love is the acknowledgement that one exists. I exist! That is huge. Could not have gotten here without the mess—not without the first pancake that I will not throw away and act like did not exist. I love that first pancake too. None of what is happening now would have been possible without that process.

In the show, they talk about how taking a jerk at work you work to turn around overnight (i love how they said that) does not work. They have to do the work, and it takes time.

Emotional work is work. It takes time, it is hard, and it is messy. Will Ferrell’s character said to Ryan Reynolds character: You are feeling inner turmoil, that is good. That is the beginning of transformation.

That is the first pancake.

As I listen to teachers talk about how their students either struggle way too much with wanting to get everything right, or they do not care about doing it at all, I think about what a difference it would make if we were celebrating the first pancake more. It is a celebration of getting something accomplished and now the transformation can happen. Transformation can happen because the first pancake exists.

Happy Tuesday, y’all. We are a society that needs to work on emotional intelligence. It takes time and is a slow process. Maybe it just starts with saying one less “Good Afternoon!” (You need to see the show to understand) to get the process moving. The line between good and bad is not as clear as we think it is; although, there are lines that should never be crossed and they mention that too.

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