Give me a moment

This was composed while I waited today for the doctor during my 6 week post-op from my hysterectomy -a day after Father’s day. My surgery was 3 days before Mother’s day. I can hear them checking for an unborn baby’s heartbeat next door. A week after my surgery, my first post-op, I heard the same. It’s a beautiful sound. It’s breath taking moment that I am unexpectedly forced to participate in.  

If you love someone in my shoes or who struggles with infertility or the horrible sorrow that comes with miscarriages– love them enough to give them a moment. I know they want to be excited for you, but emotions tend to rear their heads at odd moments. 

Ladies, and gentlemen, who also struggle with this grief, love yourself enough to give yourself that moment. 

(A letter to a friend)

(Internet search for ultrasound heartbeat)

Give Me A Moment (RKG 6/2017)

Please, just give me a moment. 

Just a few to catch my breath. 

Just a few to stop the tears.

Please, my friend, just give me a moment to grieve. 

Give me a chance to package up these emotions and store them in a safe place. 

I’ll be happy for you in just a moment, but this is still so new. 

No matter how many years go by, knee jerk reactions might still bring tears to my eyes.

It’s not against you, please don’t ever think that.

But, you see, grief is this weird thing. It ebbs and flows and sometimes attempts to drown you like a sneaker wave.

Even if I had known this was needed, so that I can have a better life, grief is waiting for those moments when I think I’m past the pain. 

The what ifs and the could have beens, are annoying little mosquitos waiting to suck the joy out of your moment.

So please. Just give me a moment to spare you unwarranted pain. 

You deserve your joy and your excitement. Please, help me not to tarnish it.

I am so happy for you, my dear sweet friend. I’ll be the first to plan your shower of joy, if you just give me a moment to wipe the unexpected tears from my eyes. 

My joy for you will overshadow these feelings of sadness for a future left unwritten, if you but give me a moment to acknowledge the pain it carries. 

I have such plans to spoil your beloved little joy, books to read, games to play. If you would just sit a moment with me under my little rain cloud. 

Just hold my hand for a moment, please.

I’ll dry off these tears and force my smile until it’s real. I’ll hold that little sweet bundle and count the toes. 

I’ll wait until I’m home, before I think of the no longer possible. 

Don’t give me platitudes because you can’t think of what to say. Just promise me to chew on your words a little before you say them to me.

I don’t want to be bitter, so please just give me a moment. 

I’ll be happy for you. I’ll be so excited for you, if you just know that I need a moment.

A moment to shake hands with my grief. 

A moment to acknowledge the empty space in me. 

A moment to remind myself, that grief is okay, but so is joy. 

Give me a moment to move pass this sorrow so I can be with you in your joy.

Please, give me just a moment.

***********************************

This is connected to my post Fight For Your Health if you are curious to what lead to this letter. 

I also encourage you dear reader, that if you find either post encouraging or enlightening, to please like it on this blog so others might be able to find it. In this world of blogs, billions of posts are published every day. Help a writer out and put a star on one that helps you! 

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Walmart Bullies

image

We point.
We snicker.
We groan at the poor choices.
We click a photo to show others.
Some of us might even post it for the whole Internet to get a chuckle over.

But, we don’t consider ourselves bullies.

Just a little harmless fun. No harm, no foul.
We can’t be bullies if we never even talk to the person. We’re not physically causing harm, and the odds of them seeing themselves on some website? No reason to worry.

Just sharing a chuckle. That’s all.

Did you know that there is a website dedicated to making fun of people in Walmart? I only know this because my Facebook page is bombarded by snapshots of innocent people living their lives. Average people plastered on screens by others who think it’s funny to pass on a little slice of humiliation wrapped in poor tasting humor.

I am the first to admit there have sadly been times where I have joined in on the snickering bully train.

But, then I remember, it could be me.

It’s not just Walmart that collects the jokes, though it seems to be a favorite stomping ground for the bullies. It is any person anywhere who is dressed differently, acting oddly, or has an unexpected feature that seems to be fodder for those who love to poke fun at others.

I think we ALL can be accused of jumping on the bully bandwagon at some point in our lives. We cave under the pressure of others’ expectations of humor, or are so uncomfortable by the innocent person’s look or attire that we have to share the experience with others.

We are weak.

We speak a good game against bullying, but we turn around and laugh at another person’s clothing or weight.

We embody the disease that is bullying when we do that.

How can we expect our children to rise above these pitiful actions when we as adults are even worse?

We live in a world that hides behind screens and usernames. It removes us from the pain we have inflected. It gives those of us who have been mercilessly bullied in “real life,” power to cause the same harm on those who might be considered popular. We remove our filters when we stare at the false example of life that is found on the computer screen.

Misplaced hate and fear spew across the keyboard with all the vitriol possible.

It does absolutely no good to the other person to be mocked. It does us no good to mock anyone. We may think that it doesn’t do any harm to us the mocker, but I think it stains our souls. It makes us less compassionate to another’s blight. It makes us less willing to help someone in need. It ultimately makes us less willing to acknowledge the other person’s humanity.

We make those who are being mocked into the “Other.” Someone who is not worthy of participating in our brand of humanity. Someone who is not worthy of common decency.

We participate in the act of attempting to crush their spirits. To make them less.

That is bullying.

So, I urge all of us, myself included: if you don’t like another person’s clothing, hair, or weight–don’t look!

It is truly that simple.

I know someone who feels like she has to say something about someone every time she sees them. Comments range from, “If you walked more you wouldn’t limping.” Or “Long dresses make you look old.” “That man needs to see a barber.”

It wears on my soul to hear her negativity. It’s constant. There is no edification in what she is saying. She sounds so bitter and hateful. She does not add beauty into the world when she talks like that.

There is an old childhood saying I grew up with, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” It really needs to apply to our presence not only in real life but on the computer as well.

We should be helping put a stop to mental illnesses that are abounding. We should not be adding our mean thoughts to those whose brains are already being bullies. We should not push people into self harming themselves because our words do indeed have power.

Yes! Sticks and stone do hurt, but words wound so much deeper than the fleeting pain of bruises. Words create large open wounds in our minds and hearts that never truly close. Because we wonder, maybe what they are saying is true. Maybe I really am worthless. Maybe I really am a waste of space. Maybe I really am ugly.

Clothes are just fabric made out of fads that change with the days. Ultimately they have no bearing on your standing in life. We must look past the ripped jeans and tube tops. Clothes just cover a body that God created with love.

You have no idea why someone’s weight is the way it is. We all struggle with forms of eating disorders. Americans do not know what a proper serving is anymore. So we all either love food too much and over indulge (guilty) or despise it and the pleasure God has created for us in the ability to enjoy it. We judge people on eating meat or not eating meat rather than asking what makes you personally more healthy? Our dietary needs are all different, and we need to encourage each other to find health rather than our idea of the perfect weight.

We perpetrate negativity and harsh unattainable goals which cause people to starve or cut themselves or seek oblivion in drugs or death. We do this to each other. Our beloved friends and family members in their off handed comments about others, dig into our souls and cause us doubts.

We bully each other without even realizing it.

The next time you see someone that makes you want to snicker and point, instead see the humanity in their face. And give them the respect and decency that someone might deny you. If a person’s clothing or weight makes you uncomfortable, don’t look.

Be an encourager. The world has enough critics already.

You are better than someone who mocks others simply because you can. We are all better than that. Let’s remember to be good humans who add beauty to the world when we speak of others.

Be good. No matter where you might be.

My shoulders are tired

Last night, I watched “Moms’ Night Out,” and I highly recommend it. I understand this woman! I won’t give it away, because you HAVE to watch it. Suffice to say though is that there are three women who are beyond stressed out with their families. One in particular just can’t get a hold of life anymore and either needs to take a night off or is going to mentally break. Fun and hilarity ensue.

Now, while I am not a mother obviously, I am on that stress precipice where I will either explode leaving emotional debris everywhere or where I will cause equal damage by throwing up my hands and literally walking away.

But, right now, I am stress paralyzed. I totally concur with the movie–it’s a real thing.

I’m not getting respite on any of my three fronts. I can’t run to church to escape the tensions at home and work. I can’t hide at home on my days off to recover from work and gear up for church. And work is no longer a happy experience where I can focus on something to take my mind off of church and home.

And before you give me the supposedly sage advice of finding a new church or job– that is not going to fix anything. The idea of running away from the blessings God has given me, is not hardwired into my DNA. The opposite is. I care too much for the people involved to just leave when things get rough.

Running away– while a nice thought when your jaw aches from biting down on the harsh words that want to spill forth–never solves anything.

I think there is enough broken relationships in this world to prove that.

I am a fixer. I am a counselor. I am a listener. I am a caregiver. These are aspects of my core personality. I can’t change who I am. It is not in me to say, “I can’t handle any more, so don’t tell me anything else!”

I have been so consumed by the stress, that I, who process things by writing, haven’t written anything in many weeks. Which, let me tell you, adds more stress because what in the world am I stressing about?! I don’t know, because I can’t write it out. Argh!!

I always like to say that I don’t worry. Worrying will not change the aspects of the future you are concerned about. Staying up late at night chewing on your fingernails won’t change how much that doctor’s bill will be. Nor will it affect the flight that a loved one will be on as if your worry will be the cushion that will keep that plane from crashing.

Nah, I don’t worry. I stress! Totally different in my book.

I don’t care if Webster’s Dictionary says worry is a synonym of stress. You can’t believe everything that is written okay?

Webster’s says that stress as a noun means: “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.” While worry means “give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.”

Sure, I dwell sometimes. But, everything that is concerning me, isn’t even about me! It’s about people I love and am worried concerned about. How can I be there in the moment for them? How can I encourage them? How can I represent God’s love in the tension? How is it going to affect the community, family, client?

I’m not trying to control the world. I’m not even trying to change my little sphere of influence.  I just want answers to be given so people aren’t waiting for the next shoe to drop. So I don’t feel as if I have the weight of these people’s fear crushing my back.

My shoulders are tired from the burden I carry.

The unknown is scary. We do not know how to ready ourselves for the hidden threat. We don’t know if we need the shield or the first aid kit, if we need knives or bullets. We don’t know how to protect each other from the masked intruder who is right outside our peripheral vision. That dark entity that could possibly be holding a sharp knife that is ready to rip our lives apart. We’re in a constant state of readiness, waiting for the attack. Sometimes it happens and we can expel the adrenaline. Other times, we are in the fight/flight response with nothing to do. But be ready. Be alert. Be exhausted…

Sometimes, I feel as if I gather other people’s worries, fear, concerns, hurt, anger, as an attempt to get them through the problem. As if I am trying to protect them from that sick twisted emotional bomb by holding it for them. As if I want to throw myself on that grenade in a brave Steve Rogers act, so others have a chance to live. As if sacrificing my peace of mind will keep someone else sane.

I must think highly of myself.

We, or maybe I should just say, I, get this convoluted idea that if I work my butt off, I can protect people from…well, from life. I can keep my friends from finding out that their beloved parent has cancer. I can keep my parents from worrying about their financial existence. I can keep my grandparents healthy. I can keep my brother and his wife safe in Texas from the floods. I can keep gossipers from harming my church family with their vicious vitriol. I can keep my client safe from her anxiety. I can keep my community working together for the betterment.

(Humm, psst! Ranelle, you know, that sounds a lot like worry.
Nah…it’s stress, you don’t know what you are talking about. Shhh!)

I don’t have a messiah complex. I don’t have a hero complex. I don’t have a martyr complex. Believe me, I don’t aspire to be Captain Steven Hiller who takes on the alien ship with a nuke strapped to my ship.

I KNOW that the weight of the world is NOT on my shoulders. That the happiness of those around me is not my job. I KNOW this. But, still. I have a desire to make sure that if I can, I can keep them from shedding tears. I can keep the anger at bay.

I need to live in the Swedish Proverb, “Not my monkey, not my circus.” Or in BBC’s Sherlock’s Detective Inspector Lestrade’s motto: “Not my division!”

Don’t borrow trouble. You can be concerned, but ultimately, it’s not your job to shoulder the responsibility of caring for the world. God gave me the heart to love people, but he has also told me that I have a limit on how much I can take on. It is all in God’s hands. I need to stop taking my loved ones out of his hands, thinking I can do a better job at caring for them. Because, obviously I can’t.

Where I grow weary and exhausted with the strain, God never does. Where I get exasperated and frustrated by their actions that just cause more pain, God just continues to love. When I don’t know the whole story, God does and still loves. Where I make mistakes in the course of helping, God never does. God is the only perfect caregiver there is. I am a pale broken imitation. But, still God uses me.

So, today is a day of self-health. I am dating myself. I am finally writing, here in the park on a pretty day. I am taking a breath. I had my comfort food, aka Tacos. (Yumm) And I will go watch a movie. I will go home to play with my dogs and be snubbed by my cats. I will simply be. Try to keep from mind the problems that Sunday will bring, that Tuesday will hold. I will unclench my jaw and rotate my neck. I will shed this weight and put it where it belongs, in God’s hands.

When I start to take it back, I will say a prayer instead.

I will learn how not to worry the problem like a nasty mosquito bite. Checking in on it every few minutes to see if it still itches. I will pay attention to God’s police line, where it says “DO NOT ENTER” and in smaller words “IT’S NOT FOR YOU TO WORRY” (I mean…stress.) I won’t sneak under the tape and rob my loved ones back into my hands.

If you pray for me…I would be eternally grateful.

“No one can pray and worry at the same time.”– Max Lucado

Matthew 11:28-30– “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.”

Luke 12:25- “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”

When health lets you down

Health is a very elusive thing to quite a few people in this world. Those who are blessed to be truly healthy from birth to death, don’t always understand how draining it is to have a nagging, chronic illness.

Perhaps it’s a physical pain that never goes away. Or perhaps it’s a true disease that drains your mental health and physical body.

Pain, is in a way, a gift. It allows your body to realize that something is wrong. It means that the body is attempting to fix it, either internally or making sure you get external help. Pain is supposed to be good. It helps the mind recognize that the body is still alive and functioning. It’s a survival instinct.

It’s not an evolutionary instinct, but truly a God given gift. He gives us the ability to be able heal ourselves as well as the knowledge to remove ourselves from the very thing that hurts us.

The human mind and the human body are amazing for what they can put up with. But it is equally amazing what they can’t handle. Emotional anguish can affect the body just as much as an actual wound can, sometimes even more. Sometimes a simple little prick to the skin can equal death, while another person can survive falling on a steel bar that goes all the way through the body.

It’s the chronic pain though that is the hardest to deal with. It doesn’t allow the body to rest. It doesn’t allow the mind to find a solution. It can literally drive a person insane because the pain never ends. There isn’t a way to stop it. It can also drive us to do some truly drastic measures just to find a tad bit of relief. Cautious people throw their money at quacks just for the slim chance that their snake oil might take the edge off. Others try to numb themselves with drugs and alcohol. Still others spend months in the hospital trying to medically treat it with anything a doctor suggests.

We learn how to attempt to harness the pain enough that we can still have a life. But, we have to chose what is going to hurt the less, rather than what would be the most fun. We crave the oblivion of sleep, which is elusive, rather than just having fun with friends. We try to map out every little thing in our lives to attempt to figure what causes the pain to worsen so we might be able to steer away from it.

Chronic pain is so draining. Is it any surprise that many sufferers become chronically depressed as well? It affects every aspect of your life, your attitude from the pain can strain your relationships with loved ones. Sleep is elusive because there isn’t a lot of positions that will keep the pain manageable. So exhaustion makes our attitude just as bad because of that pain.

For me personally, chronic pain makes me not like myself too much. My sarcasm, which to begin with is never the sweetest, gets a sharper edge to it. Sometimes, it slips and can do some damage. It’s bad when you can’t stand yourself, because of something you can’t control.

I had hoped yesterday when I had exploratory laparoscopic surgery, I had really prayed and hoped that there was a reason for the pain. I was ready for what ever drastic measures had to have been done so I could live without pain.

It came back clear…

I was so disappointed. I still am. I hedged so much of my emotional welfare on the fact that there could be an end to the pain soon. Maybe in a few months…no such luck. It has really thrown me for a loop and having to realize that the excruciating pain in the back and front are things I’m going to have to live with for numerous more years.

Pain. It can be good for you. But like right now, it’s a monster that clings to my back and refuses to leave me alone.

God’s grace is in this though. I know that. I just have to struggle with the fact that nothing right now is going to change. And that’s really hard.

Where I am

So this last Friday was graduation for my former school. It’s already been a year since I walked across the stage to pick up my diploma and shake the hand of my dean of students.
A year.
I am so totally not where I thought I would be, but I think I am where I should be for this moment in time.
Right now as I write this, my uncle is in surgery to remove a large golf ball sized tumor from his frontal lobe. We don’t know what will happen, we don’t know how he will come out of it. Life is uncertain.
My mom is facing another surgery next month, this time to repair a hernia due to all of her other abdominal surgeries. Life is uncertain.
I’m finally in the process of trying to get to the bottom of my own health issues, which might take a bit of time. I finally will be seeing a specialist come next Monday. Life is uncertain.
I do not know where I will be when another year comes around. Right now, I do think I am where I need to be. I’m with my family. I’m working, and I am actually healthy even with all the oddities that are going on.
God is Good.
No matter what, no matter when, no matter where.
God is Good.
All the time.
And all the time, God is Good.
Life kicks us some times, sometimes it feels like we can’t get ahead no matter how hard we try. But we have to remember, Life is under no obligation to treat us well.
Life is uncertain because it is not written for us, only God has our instruction manual. He isn’t keeping us in suspense because he’s mean. We have to learn how to trust in the moment no matter what that moment might look like.
Admittedly, sometimes that’s easier said than done.
It is hard to trust God when you have no clue what is around the bend. But, for me at least, it’s easier to wait for that reveal when trusting God, than it is without him in my life.
I’ve been on both sides of the faithful/ non-faithful waiting games. I know God has it totally in control, whatever happens is by his design. My family is in his hands.
My uncle does not have a relationship with God, so I know going into the surgery early this morning had to be nerve wracking, because how do you have hope when you have nothing to hope in?
Ultimately, that is what I was worried about. My uncle, having major surgery when he doesn’t know God. This is versus my mom, having major surgery, again, who does have a relationship with God. My concern is vastly different between the two. I know exactly where if something were to happen, where I would see my mom again. I also know where my uncle could end up, and that does scare me.
But, God is good.
God gave us the freewill to choose where we wanted to end up. It is ultimately up to us where we find ourselves. We can rail against God, saying he’s evil, when he laid it out there exactly what he wanted from us.
It’s not about doing a fancy ritual with lots of sacrifice, it’s not about doing so many ‘works’ to earn our way into the gates, it’s not about following all the rules so we look perfect- all the old ways don’t get us no where. The gates will not be opened for us if we look good to other humans, it’s all about what our souls look like to God.
Are they dipped in the blood of the sacrificial King?
Do we make the conscious decision to accept that sacrifice?
That’s what we have to do, just accept the love that the sacrifice represents.
Such a simple decision that can change your life and your eternal destination.
Why don’t more of us make that decision? Why don’t we all? Because we think we know better than God.
A free gift, given to all. Accepted by few.
Make a choice. Don’t blame God for your decision, all you have to do is accept. Where you end up is up to you. Heaven or Hell? Life or Death? Accept the gift or deny the sacrifice.
What’s your choice?

Megaesophagus & the Kitten who has it

Talley fell asleep while exploring on the first day

Talley fell asleep while exploring on the first day

(Input from creative out of the box thinkers and engineer minded people sought!!)
My family has added two new furry members to the crew.

Talley

Talley

GiGi

GiGi

The story:
In October, a church friend had a litter of kittens and one in particular needed a home quickly due to a deformed paw. She was concerned that the little girl wouldn’t be able survive because she couldn’t keep up with the rest of the litter.
I had wished I could snap her up, but I didn’t have a place for her and we already had two older cats and two dogs at home. If I had my own place I would have gotten her in a heartbeat. But, I didn’t, so I didn’t even think about it.
I was following the young woman’s ‘pleas’ for someone to adopt the little girl and told my mom about it in passing one night. How I wished I had my own place so I could get her.
Mom said, “You should get her.”
What? Did I just hear her right?
“What?”
“Tell her you’ll take the kitten. You have to. She’s prefect for you, with all your disability research. You need her.”
“Mom, I don’t have a job yet. If I do get the one I’m interviewing for, I won’t be home four days a week. I have to live at the lady’s house…”
“That’s fine. It won’t be hard to take care of her. She’s healthy right? Just her paw?”
“So she says…”

Talley's little paw

Talley’s little paw

“Get her.”
“You sure?”
“Yes.”
A few minutes later she whispered (Dad was snoring next to her during this whole conversation) “Does she have a fluffy female?”
“umm (Asks her on Facebook) she think’s so.”
“Say we’ll take her.”
“Ooookkkaay.” Rule of thumb, pets get introduced on the sly to this family. All but our first dog were brought home without Dad knowing. Dad’s cat Puddin’ disappeared a few months earlier, so she wanted to get him another cat. He was a bit depressed.
So two weeks later, two little balls of energy were introduced to the family. And Dad finally realized that, when a furry little creature was placed on his lap, that he had a new cat.
My little grey kitten is named Talley, Dad’s little stripped fluffy kitten is GiGi.
Almost as soon as I fed the kittens Talley started to throw up.
We went through numerous different types of food, even tried kitten milk replacement, and Talley would keep throwing it up. A month after getting her, she lost weight and was very lethargic. Thankfully, I had gotten my first paycheck at this point, so I took her to the vet.
Upon taking an x-ray, my little free kitten was diagnosed with Megaesophagus. Somewhat rare for cats, though dogs are more likely to get it.
Imagine that you have a funnel. One side is open wide and it tapers down to a small hole. This is close to what Talley has, except her esophagus doesn’t taper. It just abruptly becomes narrow. So she scarfs food down, then suddenly it stops because it can’t squeeze through this small hole. The vet thinks a vein from her heart wrapped around her esophagus as she was developing. There is no cure, only possibly a 3,000 dollar heart surgery with no promises she would survive it. I love my pets, but I’m still paying off my ankle surgery! There was no way I could do that.
He basically told me to make a decision. Because Talley will eventually get pneumonia and won’t be able to survive. The food will back up into her lungs and you won’t be able to get her to recover from that.
I made the decision to love on her until the last possible moment. She was healthy, we just needed to find a way to keep her food down. The only thing the vet suggest was to try to make her stand on her hind-legs while she ate so that gravity would hopefully help it down.
Yeah…that didn’t work very well.
Thankfully, Mom thought outside of the box. She has to drink protein shakes everyday, so there are a few protein shakers floating around in the cupboards. She put the wet pate cat food in the shaker and added warm water. Shook that little wire ball like crazy. Then the soupy food was given to Talley and the breath was held. She quickly slurped up the food, minutes went by, still more…and no vomiting! It worked!

Talley has now gained over two pounds in a month and a half. She has also gotten her vaccinations. The vet was surprised to see her doing so well.
The question before you:

We know the protein shaker works. But if Talley even gets one little ball of food, she will vomit. As soon as the agitation stops the food starts to sink and cover the bottom of the bowl. If Talley is still hungry, she will eat that ‘bad’ food.
What I need help creating/or finding: 
*Something that can dispense wet food
(With perhaps a screen to keep any solid food away from Talley)
*A way to have water introduced into the food while warm- (basically a can of food to one can of warm water)
*Something to continually agitate the watery food so it can’t separate.

Does anyone have ANY ideas to help me keep my little girl healthy? What scares me is that once I get my internship, there’s going to be about a minimum of probably 12 hours that I cannot be there with my cat to make sure she gets warm soupy shaken food.
Right now she has three people in and out of the house at random times to make sure she can eat, but when I move out, there’s only going to be me.
HELP! (Thank you to anyone who gives me ideas!!)

The messes of life

2014…It’s here.
I’ve been absent from this blog since October, though I’ve thought repeatedly that I need to get on to record my thoughts, just so I could make sense of what was happening. Obviously, I failed at that.
It’s not that life got too crazy, it’s not even that due to the new job that I started in November I was removed from a place where the internet works. It’s not that I got too involved with church and family. It’s really not a whole lot of anything.
The thoughts just refused to jell into words that anyone, much less myself, would want to read.
I think best when I’m writing. To have this wall (it’s not writer’s block just so you know) in between my fingers and the thoughts twirling in my head, basically made communication of any kind hard. I even saw it play out in verbal communications, like something held my tongue in place so that I wasn’t even wanting to speak that much.
It was as if I was in a bubble. Everything slightly muffled as it happened around me. Feeling disengaged and not knowing how to fix it.
November and December were kind of family trauma months.
November saw my dad in the ER for chest pains, he spent a night only to be discharged with a doctor’s shrug. There seemed to nothing wrong with him or his heart. The only thing that happened is that his much needed knee surgery was placed on hold. His surgeon wasn’t going to touch him due to the chest pains.
Then at Thanksgiving, my uncle informed the family that he was going to have to go in for brain surgery. He has a tumor growing on his frontal lobe. He was, so we wouldn’t have to ‘remember him during the holidays and ruin all the future ones,’ going to wait until the new year to plan the date of the surgery.
My other uncle who has been out of touch for over a year, mentioned some health issues he was having that were possibly serious but were right now lots of uncertainty.
December came and with it a new slew of health problems.
Mom’s hernia is becoming a little more pronounced.
Dad’s knee is getting worse.
I’m having to make some health decisions as I start looking for specialists myself.
Grandpa fell hard on the cement without realizing it.
Then the Saturday before Christmas, my uncle called because Grandma had fallen and was horribly bruised. She could barely walk. To say the least, Christmas was tense as the kids tried to get their parents to realize that they needed to call when something like that happened. Pride was hurt so feelings were bruised while words were hurtled.
Outside the family, I had others I was concerned about. Dear friends who life was forcing them to walk through some rough times. Friends who were losing their sight on the truths they knew. Friends getting into situations that they knew would eventually hurt them…
Then I went into my year check up on my ankle (all good) and found out that my doctor was now wheelchair bound due to a very rare spinal stroke. A young man who was just getting his own practice running and becoming more well known, hit by something that could keep him paralyzed for the rest of his life, or he could walk again.
The list of things that happened these last few months is long and varied and really in the grand scheme of things not exactly horrible. All have possibilities for growth taped in their seemingly dark wrappings.
Life is messy. It’s not always understood why some of us have to walk in certain valleys while others seem to be walking on the hills. Sometimes it feels like dominoes are falling and there is no way to stop the destruction that is happening. One after another all fall, toppling into each other, crashing into one standing so strong and bringing it down to the ground.
Sometimes you can’t help but wonder if you could just get a break. Just for a few days or months. Just so you can breathe. Remember why you laugh, why you pray, why you have faith. Other times, in your guilty shameful mind, you wonder, does God hate me?
This is why I enjoy the book of Job. Anything I feel? Nothing in comparison to the depth that Job felt it. Job endured it all and didn’t know why. He was shamed by his wife, lost his children, his home, his well being, his financial security, and then stood accused by men who knew nothing of the deeper plan.
Each person has their own Job story. I think that’s why the story is so important. We can walk with Job and see how he handled his valley, and hopefully we can learn something about our own.
The only problem that I run into is that…sadly, when I need answers, I decide to escape. My grasp on my Bible is weak, while I get lost in films and the written word. And that makes my valley so very dark.
I know my mind is doing this, I know my sin is getting in the way. So here I sit. Praying. Praying to pick up my Bible, praying to pray.
God’s walking with me, I just need help to take off my blinders so I can see him again.