Filed under: *eep!, Dewicate feewings, family, God Stuff, Sometimes she thinks too much | Tags: Coping mechanisms, Oversharing, perspective, solving personal problems
One of the things I have trouble with is perspective. I get caught up in the problems and issues of family, and how THIS CRISIS seems overwhelming, and THAT SITUATION is intractable but the reality is…it’s all kind of small, isn’t it.
When I am feeling overwhelmed (like right now…things are a blooming roller coaster), if I can remember certain things…like how BIG the whole of everything really is, and how in the grand scheme of things I am just a tiny thread in the tapestry of God’s great plan…it’s easier. I don’t like being all-important. I want my situations and issues and problems to be a blip on the map of life.
One of the things I am doing, in order to (hopefully) get a better grip on things, and maybe put it all in proper perspective, is give up the alcohol. The truth is, I have been drinking. A lot. 2 or 3 very stiff ones nearly every evening, and I think of them as sandpaper smoothing the edges of a rough day, when the reality is it’s been more like a set of blinders helping me to ignore the real issues that need to be dealt with. That’s no way to handle things.
I am nervous about it, letting go of the security blanket that was keeping me comfortable. I can do it, though. The crutch is purely psychological and one of the things The Good Dr. H has said is that I am very determined and one of the most self controlled people he has ever met. I guess that’s what the drink does, allows me to let go of the self control for a little while.
So for today, I am going to try to remember that I am a blip. I want to be a blip, not a supernova. I want to be able to remember that in the grand scheme of this life on this planet, the issues I am dealing with are small. They are important, yes, to my life and the lives around me, but they are just that thread, not the entire tapestry.
I need a clear head and strong resolve. I need to be able to communicate coherently with the people around me, so they will know that even in the midst of STUFF, they are loved deeply. That will not change.
This is where I am going in my head today. It makes me remember how vast God’s creation is, and just how small I am. I will feel the wind and sun on my face, and listen to the rattle of the cottonwood leaves. I will smell the cedar as the sun beats down on it, and I will probably cry, because it really overwhelms me. I will pray, constantly, for wisdom, strength, and courage. Those are things I cannot have on my own. I can’t do any of this on my own, but with God’s guidance, and the reassurance that He is always there, I can do this.
Filed under: *whinge*, Dewicate feewings, family, God Stuff, Sometimes she thinks too much | Tags: Coping mechanisms, Oversharing, solving personal problems
There are things about myself which I hate (this is my attempt at not ending a sentence with a preposition.)
There are things I hate about myself…(I don’t like that either)
I hate some things. (how can I write that without sounding self centered. Which I totally am, read the title of this blog to see that)
I need a refill on the coffee cup (looks around, sees no one to do it ok FINE I’LL DO IT MYSELF)
ok there, refilled. I love a good cup of coffee (or 3) in the morning. It’s even cheerful with this cup Will gave me for my birthday (insert picture here) (ok then don’t…it’s tall and rosy pink with white spots and holds about 16 oz)
I have decided that my biggest problem is that I am not happy unless I am worried about something. If I am not worried, my mind will search around like the Eye of Sauron until it finds something nasty to focus on, latch on and worry it to pieces (or a satisfactory resolution, or until something Bigger To Worry About comes along).
This morning, I woke up feeling…worried. About what? At the time I did not know. Everything is going well:
- Have you noticed the increase use of bullet points? I actually just discovered them and I like them.
- Terry’s work is going pretty well. His hours are not as brutal, and he has a weekend now and then, and is able to do some woodworking.
- All 4 of the boys seem to be in a good place. They’re healthy, getting various sorts of educations, and keeping up with their laundry.
- I have plenty of fun stuff to do to balance the housework, which also isn’t that bad but I’m not exactly…well, most of my friends (by most, I mean ALL) are better at keeping clean than I am. I just don’t really care that much and would rather be sewing than dusting. Or mopping the floors. The kitchen is clean tho. And the dining room. And it’s not like a Hoarder lives here, the house is tidy, just not CLEAN. There’s a difference, you know.
- Money is ok, we have the bills covered and a little left over for an occasional weekend away or eating out once in a while. I am not interested in a $10,000 trip of 2 weeks in Hawaii, and we don’t have time for a trip to The Grand Canyon or whatever…the boys’ school tuitions are covered, no worries there.
So I don’t honestly HAVE ANYTHING to worry about! except…
the cat is acting funny, like she doesn’t feel good. OH NO SHE’S GOT FELINE PANLEUKOPENIA! WORMS! FELINE DISTEMPER! SHE’S DYING!
Well no…Terry said “she was probably out rambling all night and is tired.” Or maybe she’s got a cold. Cats get colds, you know. Maybe she got in a fight (there’s no tufts of fur missing, and I poked around on her and she doesn’t seem to be bruised and in pain), she’s just more lethargic than usual. Except for her tail. Her tail is like my left foot, always moving.
But that’s what I have to worry about right now. So I am. This stupid mind has glommed onto that stupid cat (not so stupid a reason to worry, really, I’ve spent $1700 on her what with the broken pelvis and surgery and such… she’d damn well BETTER not get sick and die!) Plus, she’s a really SWEET cat who loves laps and is (usually) very playful and smacks the dog upside the head and such but right now she’s just sitting there with her eyes closed and if that damn cat DIES on me I will KILL her. Or something. No not really, I just hope she feels better. If she is still puny tomorrow I will call the vet.
But that is something I hate, the way my brain has to have something to worry about. Since we moved here 7 years ago I have scaled back tremendously on the stuff I could possibly worry about. Social interactions are limited, and I am cautious about getting out there. I don’t make the sort of obligations that are difficult or painful to fulfill (like hosting a tea or a shower, tho I will agree to make a tray of appetizers for someone else who is hosting), I limit the number and type of people I associate with, having learned that it is far easier to manage one or two friends than to try and have 20. I also am choosier about the people I try to be friends with. I have little patience with whiners or the types of folks who think it’s important that your house is clean. consequently, I don’t worry about interaction with others very much. It used to be an enormous part of the energy I spent- worrying about what this person thought or how my house looked to that person, and now…nope. I don’t worry about it much at all.
Now I worry about the damn cat. Which I suppose in the grand scheme of things, compared to the worries of 22 years ago,when David was constantly sick as an infant, or 10 years ago, when Will was being bullied in school, or 6 years ago, when Terry was working 14 hour days/7 days a week…it’s not much to worry about, and here I am worrying about THAT as well.
This is when my Reformed Calvinist Preacher’s Wife fusses at me, for not trusting that God has it all worked out since the beginning of time and in the grand scheme of things all of this is something meant to happen and when am I going to realize that God has His hand on the master control knob of the universe and my life is just a thin thread in the tapestry of Eternity and I can’t possibly see The Whole Picture to Let Go and Let God…or something.
Filed under: church, Church type stuff, Dewicate feewings, God Stuff | Tags: Coping mechanisms, going to church, In the Southland, perspective, responsible adult
I’m not writing so much about God and Religion here, as I am about church- the organization- and my experiences with them. God will probably come into it, because He is,well, the reason for church, after all.
I was born into a family of Presbyterians. My father’s family could be considered Presbyterian Royalty, if there were such a thing. Ministers are in every generation all the way back to John Knox and John Calvin, and my great great grandfather was Hugh Cunningham (if you’re a Presbyterian from Texas, you’d know who he was. If you’re not, that’s ok, neither does anyone else who isn’t a TexPres, except the 27 people and companies in Texas named Hugh Cunningham, but that doesn’t have anything much to do with the Presbyterian church…try googling it and you’ll see what I mean), who brought Presbyterianism (thus True Religion, much to the irritation of the Baptists, who were already there when he showed up with his Calvinist Ways) to Texas even before it was a state, back when it was called The Republic of Texas.
Did you follow all that? Now that my dubious pedigree is established, on to more current and relevant stuff.
BTW, Terry amused by all this pedigree stuff, and the importance placed on it by my family. He is, and always will be even though we attend a Presbyterian church, a Free Will Baptist. Which is about as far from a Predestination Presbyterian as you can get and still call yourself a Christian. Fortunately for the sake of our marriage, I am not hard-core Calvinist, but more of a Methodist, but I prefer the Presbyterian liturgy and most of the Westminster Catechism (here’s the short version, if you’re interested.), which is a statement of belief. An even shorter version would be The Apostle’s Creed, which I see as a lovely concise statement of belief, nice and compact, and gets it all in there in a manageable way.
I grew up going to Presbyterian churches. The earliest one I remember was in Champaign, Illinois. About all I remember of that one was that it’s very contemporary architecture, and how I’d run up to the front after the service to blow out the fat candles and dip my fingers in the melted wax. I also remember that we’d ride our bikes to the services, if the weather permitted. And how I’d balk at wearing a dress. That had nothing to do with church, though. I always balked at wearing dresses.
Then we moved to Athens, Georgia. We started out going to a church (Friendship Presbyterian) that was near our house, then (as I learned was to become the normal thing) there was some sort of disagreement between my parents and the church leadership (or something), we left and went to First Presbyterian. First Pres was the church I attended during my high school years. During that time, a new associate pastor was hired, fresh out of seminary. He was, shall we say, (in the late 70′s teenage vernacular) Quite A Fox. One fine Sunday, it was the first time he was actually leading the service and giving the sermon. I and a couple of friends had come to know him fairly well,and promised him we’d sit on the front row as his cheering section. Midway during his sermon, we began making kind of horrified faces, and pointing toward his zipper (he was walking all over the stage-or whatever you call it in a church), making up and down motions, indicating his fly was open. He kept preaching, but turned bright red and stood behind the podium so he could check it. Where he realized that he was wearing his vestments (long black robe, etc). Calling the look he gave us “murderous” would be an understatement. We, of course, thought it was hysterical.
Between my junior and senior years of high school, we moved to Auburn, Alabama. We briefly attended the Presbyterian church there, but soon realized it was Too Liberal (or something). I am not sure why we quit going there, only that there was a fundamental difference of opinion between my parents and the other congregants. I was totally ok with that, because the youth group was comprised of 5 people who took great delight in putting me down for not being able to play a musical instrument with any proficiency. Never mind that I could sing rings around any of them (many years of voice training and a 4 octave range, but that meant nothing because apparently any goob could sing). We went across the street to the Methodist Church, and I quit participating in any youth organization. I like the Methodist sensibility, and it’s emphasis on order (method) and quiet evangelism.
However, that did not stop me from quitting church altogether at 18. As an adult (well, sort of…the law saw me that way) I was free to make my own decision, and I decided church was a waste of time and all this God Stuff was cramping my style. So all that got put away for a few years.
Then I met Terry, and we decided to marry. Which meant we needed a church. I was still a member of the Methodist church,and he saw no reason to change that. We attended, he did some work for them, and we were married there. Well, not THERE there, but by the minister of that church. Which lead to a brief and intense moment of excitement the day of our wedding. My grandparents (remember, Presbyterian Royalty) showed up the day of the wedding, and my grandmother asked the minister if he was PCA (Presbyterian Church of America- the Conservative Ones) or PCUSA (The Liberal Ones). Rev. Miller said he was neither, that he was Methodist. Grandmother Disapproved, and briefly considered leaving. I am not sure what convinced her to stay, but they did and I am glad of that.
A year later we moved to Tenille, Georgia, where Terry had his first job after graduating college.We sporadically attended the Methodist church there, but I didn’t enjoy it and really didn’t particularly feel like belonging to a congregation. I did it out of that ingrained sense of obligation. I’d always been a member of a church, therefore I was always meant to. Like it or not. Terry didn’t push it, bless him.
18 months and a baby later, we moved to Cordele, Ga. Methodist church, sporadic attendance, and a failed attempt to join the Women of the Church (I was new, and Cordelians were suspicious of anyone they hadn’t gone to Kindergarten with). 2 years and another baby later, we moved to Monroeville, Alabama. For some reason I got it into my head that I was going to be A Good Wife, and attend the church my husband was raised in. We visited a single Baptist church, and was visited by the preacher a couple of days later. He asked about my background and upon discovering that I was raised Presbyterian, said I would have to be baptized. I told him I’d already been baptized, and he disagreed. While I was in the process of puffing up like an offended toad, Terry said a couple of diplomatic things and saw him to the door. I stomped and snorted for a bit, and asked if, since I wasn’t married in the Baptist church and marriage is a sacrament just like Baptism, did that mean our 2 children were illegitimate and every time I’d taken communion I was faking it? Terry calmed me down and said we’d stick with Methodism.
This time it was better. The pastors were a husband-and-wife team that the congregation was united in their dislike of (yes, Ruth, I know I am ending sentences in prepositions). Fortunately, Methodist ministers are moved around every 4 years or so, so we knew what was really important was the congregation, and not the pastors. The next pastor was the one I hold closest to my heart, for he saw me through the most difficult period of my entire life, with compassion and wisdom, and through example showed the entire church what it means to show God’s love to His entire creation, not just other people who go to church. He also wore electric purple silk shirts, and took my awkward and lonely 2nd grade son fishing. His ability to show God’s love in a real and wise way rekindled my interest in God, and I am thankful that God used such a man in my life.
After 6 years, we moved again to Auburn, Alabama, where we rejoined the church we’d been married in. It had changed dramatically in those years, growing from a church of about 500 to one with over 5000 members. Some of the Old Guard (the pre-5000 ones) were still there, and knowing a few folks made the difference in staying or finding something of a more manageable size. We both disliked the massive worship services (3 per Sunday, each with 1000+ attending),because they were so impersonal, and no one every knew if you were there or not. We quit attending worship, but would come for Sunday school- classes of maybe 15-20, and people noticed if you were there- and I participated in mid-week Disciple studies and played in the handbell choir. I understand the appeal (I think) of these massive churches. Comfort in numbers, I suppose. The pastor there was…I don’t know…Squishy feel-good or something. His wife taught art at the local middle school, and Highly Disapproved of my free-thinking children who wouldn’t make art the way she wanted them to. Art which hangs on my walls because not only is it theirs, it’s Quite Good. I was not enamored of his feel-good sermons, and wanted some meat, some Biblical teaching, something more than “God loves you,so y’all be nice, now”
9 years later, we moved here, to Deepest South Georgia. For 4 years, we did not attend a church. We would go sporadically to this one or that, but none of them had the warmth and sense of community I so desperately wanted. I have a dear friend here, who knew we weren’t in a church, and knew we needed one. She harassed me every time I saw her, telling me to get to a church, find one, when was I going to get my child in a church, all those things Good Church Women say of to people like me. I needed harassing, too. Finally, one day she’d had her fill my lack of church-going-ness and (she’s Ethiopian, not White American) and said the one thing she knew would get me off my sorry ass and into a church. “Peggy, you are a White European Heathen Why aren’t you in church?” and I said OK FINE…I’LL GO. So, because Terry is nice that way, we visited the local Presbyterian church- the PCA (conservative, like just about hard-core Calvinist) one, not the SquishyLiberal PCUSA one. And…it was like walking into a family reunion held at Grandmother’s house. A small church with about 250 member, we were immediately recognized as visitors and greeted and asked who we were and welcomed and made to feel like people were genuinely happy to see us there. Even with the various doctrinal differences, we were welcomed.
It isn’t the kind of church that says “show up and you’re a member”. You take a class, where you can argue and ask questions and the various doctrines and beliefs of the church are explained. Then you’re interviewed by the Session to see where you stand in your faith, and they decide if you are accepted as a communing (that is, allowed to take communion) member. Now, if you are not accepted as a communing member (because you don’t believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior- refer to The Apostle’s Creed) that does not mean you cannot come to church. Anyone can come, I mean, that’s what we want, for people to come, to hear the message, all that. So don’t think it’s some Exclusive Club. You should see the people there, you would know right away there’s no exclusivity going on. It is…for me…Home. A return to the comfort of a familiar liturgy (the way the service is performed) with familiar hymns and prayers, and a simple unadorned sanctuary. I am back in Church again, and I don’t ever want to leave.
Filed under: family, God Stuff, Grandparents, Memories, Sometimes she thinks too much, spouse, things that make you go hmmmmm | Tags: Christian Values, Coping mechanisms, Dealing with a grandparent, Spouse
Yesterday was rough, y’all. I got a call from my father, who asked me to call Grandmother and talk to her, assess her over the phone. Grandmother’s 100th birthday is in August, and she lives in a (very nice…REALLY REALLY NICE) nursing home in Texas. Lest you get all indignant about her living so far from family, it was her choice. Anyway,a couple of weeks ago, she was moved (not physically, but in her care) from standard care to Hospice.
On one hand, this alarmed me. “HOSPICE!?” I thought. But…but…she’s not *that sick!* And really, she is in pretty good health for a 100 year old. But, according to the care nurses, and they know these things (seriously, I’ve met with them. They know their stuff),she is reaching The End Of Life. She spends a lot of time in the past, reminiscing about her parents and siblings (all whom have passed on), and is getting kind of…groggy, I guess.
I called her yesterday, and she was thrilled, but there was definitely something “off”. She wasn’t completely there, and I had to repeat myself a couple of times. This is very unusual behavior for her. She seemed preoccupied, and that is unusual for her.
So, I decided I was going to fly out to see her in July. I have several obligations to meet before then, but I made plans. And attempted to buy a plane ticket.
Do you believe that God messes with things, so that we will do what REALLY needs to be done? I have always said I believe that, but yesterday, trying to get that plane ticket, it became abundantly clear that He was messing with things to get me to change the plans.
I got online with Expedia, to get a ticket and car rental. Fine, no problem, great flight out of Atlanta, etc, decent price blah blah. Then, my American Express card didn’t work. What? I’d never had trouble with it before. So I tried Terry’s. Same thing. So I called Expedia and went through the process with a real person. Same thing, neither card worked. So Terry called American Express and they were all OhSoSorry! Some Issue! We’ll get on that right away!
So…then Terry comes downstairs with a funny look on his face and says “Let’s drive to Amarillo instead. We can leave Sunday and be back Friday, and it will cost the same as your plane ticket. I think God messed with the AMEX on purpose. and I think you need to see your grandmother sooner than July 10.”
and so it is.
13 years ago, just days after #4 was born, Terry got a funny feeling about his own grandmother, and drove to see her. She passed on 2 weeks later.
Yesterday…was tough for me. I thought a lot about Grandmother. Not just the 100 years old part…she remembers WW1. She grew up with a horses and a buggy for transportation. She has seen the world change in ways that boggle the mind. Antibiotics, air travel, all the way to computers and people on the moon. Her world has changed more drastically than I can imagine. Uncommon for women of her generation, she has a college degree, and never stopped learning something new.
I look around my house and there are bits and pieces of her everywhere. She loved to do needlework- any sort. I have her quilts on my wall, a needlepoint firescreen, several pictures on the wall of my sewing room. I have her old cookbooks, too. A 1950 Betty Crocker, a Gnomes Gnotebook she wrote her favorite recipes in. I inherited her love of sewing and cooking, and her sense of adventure in those things. I am also cautious like she is, and stubborn too. I have this beautiful painted china doll she made when I was 7. It was an experiment in creativity for her, and she said she enjoyed making the one she gave me, but couldn’t see making a whole bunch of them. I get that from her, too. I will make one or two of something, then wonder why do need 100 (of whatever, silk neckties, dyed scarves, homemade soaps), and move on to something else.
Grandmother went deaf at the age of 3, from an illness. She doesn’t remember what music sounds like, or birds singing, or another person’s voice. This served her well in her 71 year marriage to Grandad. He was an irascible old goat (from the age of 5, according to his brother Walter) and frequently went on rants and tirades. She would just turn off her hearing aid and look at him seriously. One of the things that kept me so emotional yesterday was the realization that when she passes on, SHE WILL HEAR MUSIC FOR THE FIRST TIME!
I am so incredibly excited for her! Of course I will miss her, but she has said for the last 5 years or so that she is ready to go, ready to see her siblings and parents again, and tired of being the only one she knows who’s still alive. I get that, and respect it.
I have many very happy memories with her, most of them formed as an adult. We didn’t see our grandparents very much growing up. We always lived far away and only saw them once every 3 or 4 years. My very first memory- Mom says I was 2-1/2 when this happened-was of playing in Grandmother’s rock garden. I had casts on my legs and was unable to walk, so they sat me down in the rock garden with an old Welch’s grape juice can and a couple of kitchen spoons. There was a bird bath filled with small blue ceramic tiles, and I played with them, filling up the juice can and dumping it out, stirring them around, making stacks and knocking them over. I remember it very clearly.
Once Terry and I married, we started traveling to Texas to see them. We took the boys, because I wanted them to know each other. Then as the boys got older, I started flying out there, to stay for a long weekend. She and I would work on a project, cook something, and generally enjoy each other’s company. I kept this up even after she moved out of the house and into assisted living. A couple of years ago she moved into the nursing home where she’s at now. Dad asked me to fly out there and check the place out, to make sure it was nice enough for her. It is. The people who work there are very committed to the care of the residents, and take real time with them.
Now that she’s in Hospice, I need to see her. It might (and maybe even probably) be the last time I see her. Maybe not. It could be that her grogginess and general behavior is a result of a medication change. That is something that needs to be looked into. I hope it won’t be the last time I see her, but I am prepared for it either way.
100 is a long time to live. She has outlived all of her siblings, friends, and 5 doctors. I don’t want her to go, she is a part of my heritage, something that I am attached to, in a way. I have never had a close family member pass on. Grandad died 6 years ago, but I wasn’t attached to him the way I am to Grandmother. When he died, it was more…Something To Do, I was able to be useful and plan the funeral, clean up his house, and that sort of thing. I was there. I don’t know if I will be able to do that for her. I know she would like it if I could.
The idea of letting go is hard. It’s not that I am howling NOOOOO DON”T GOOOOO! because I believe in Heaven and I know that’s where she’ll be, and that isn’t a platitude of someone patting my shoulder and saying “oh she’s in a better place now” in some attempt to comfort me. I KNOW she will be there, when she goes, and she will be with the people who love her, and she won’t be lonely anymore. It’s more…overwhelming…than anything. The idea that someone I know and love is actually on the cusp of this massive transition is incredibly exciting..and overwhelming.
And so I cry…some grief, even though she’s not gone yet, but mostly out of a sense of ..I am not sure what it is. I’ve never felt like this before.
Filed under: Anger management, Dewicate feewings, God Stuff, Sometimes she thinks too much | Tags: Coping mechanisms, Depression, Oversharing, solving personal problems
I don’t hear much about it…
What I hear a lot of, in all sorts of places from the news media to Tragic Novels, are people saying “O Woe, all this stuff wasn’t my fault, I’m being picked on! I’m just a norm person a innocent person and everyone’s picking on me O Woe!”
But y’know what? In my experience most (not all, but most) of the bad things that happen to most (not all, there are folks out there with incredible bad luck) people are the result of hasty decisions, or bad ones, or thoughtlessness or even pure-T active meanness (selfishness, whatever you want to call it). We make our own lives,for the most part.
I feel like I need to put in all those qualifiers because if I don’t someone is going to comment and tell me all about their cousin who doesn’t have a mean bone in their body and only wants joy and sunshine for everyone and yet life still dumps a massive load on her head every time she takes a step. I know there are people who can’t get a break. I know that. I am not one of those people.
But the fact is, for the most part, we form our own destiny with the decisions we make.
We also affect the lives of others with those decisions. That doesn’t mean we must spend hours evaluating every single thing we do before doing it…wouldn’t that be hard on the economy!
I remember…I think I was reading it or maybe someone said this to me…I don’t remember that but I do remember what she said . She said she prayed before every. single. decision. She prayed that God would lead her to the right toilet paper in the store, and that He would show her where to park her car so that He would be honored. As a Christian, I get understand what she was doing. Really, and I kind of respect it but…
I also think God gave us brains so we could make these decisions rationally and on our own. Ok, it’s like this. We are His children. All of us, even the ones who don’t think they are. Do you have children? Do you want your children to rely on you for Every Single Thing? It’s one thing for your 2 year old to ask to go potty,and need your help. You are delighted he asked and happy to help. What about your (normal, non handicapped) 13 year old? What if he asked to go potty and needed your help? What if I called my father (I am 47, he is 74) and asked him which stamp I should use on the envelope I’m mailing the water bill in? God gave us brains to use…
But…sometimes I don’t use them. Sometimes I really SHOULD ask Him before I go off and say or do something, and when I should, but don’t…Things Happen. People get hurt, and guess what…
IT IS MY FAULT. Because I am not perfect. There. I admitted it. ( and didn’t even die, not for a tiny bit, even)
As a human bean, I don’t like to admit to making mistakes or doing something wrong. It is embarrassing and sometimes painful. I was raised in a family that finds tremendous shame in being wrong. We have a hard time admitting it, and I grew up being pretty sure that if someone was angry with me, it would result in absolute rejection. Anger=Hate. When someone in my family was angry with someone, maybe a coworker or a fellow church member, that person was rejected and branded as being WRONG and nothing could fix that. We changed churches a lot when I was growing up. I have no real training in fixing things like a broken relationship, because I believed that if someone was angry with me, they would reject me entirely.
Then I married someone with an entirely different method of dealing with people he is angry with. He yells at them. He waves his arms around and pounds the table. Then he says “now that THAT is clarified, let’s go eat some curry.” He was raised with a noisy family that holds no grudges. It, frankly, scared the hell out of me.
Now, back to me being wrong. I did some stupid things that resulted in someone I love very much being hurt. This person knows of my fear of rejection and kept the hurt inside, not letting me know of it. And,like anything kept inside, it festered, which made it hurt even more.
Then, all that came up and out and resulted in reciprocal hurts and back and forth like tennis with a hand grenade…only…to my surprise…no one died. In fact, getting it all out and realizing the hurt I caused and being able to apologize, and ask for forgiveness was…actually, pretty cathartic, I hope for both of us. I can’t really speak for the other person, except to say I *think* (hopefully) things are better. For me, knowing what caused the problems, EVEN THOUGH THE CAUSE WAS INDEED ALL MY FAULT is a big step in making it right.
My point is that often we are the cause of our own problems. Sometimes, yes,Life craps on our heads. Sometimes, though, we poop ourselves, then try to blame circumstances outside of our control, when reality is that they are entirely within our control, we were just too blind to see it. It is terribly frightening when the eyes do open and recognize what’s going on, and the fear of the world seeing what we see and rejecting us as Awful is very real.
However, I think (hope…) that what really happens is that the world sees us and thinks “Oh, I’m NOT the only one who craps herself!” and actually might feel a little better for it, not feeling so alone in it all, perhaps. I know that’s how I feel, when I see someone make a monstrous mistake. Especially if it’s someone I know and love. I don’t hate them, reject them, or whatever. Yes, I might feel angry for a bit, but mainly I feel empathy, because I know how it hurts.
Filed under: Anger management, Dewicate feewings, Dream a little dream, God Stuff, Sometimes she thinks too much | Tags: Dachshunds, Depression, Oversharing, solving personal problems
So, in the interest of resetting my brain I was thinking of going to Tybee Island for a day, sometime this week. Only, according to the people, it’s supposed to rain every day.
I take this as a sign that I am not meant to go to the beach this week.
I believe in signs. Not the woowoo stuff of tarot cards and palm readings and things that totally kind of skeeve me, but signals that say “no, I am not supposed to do that.”
And please, don’t give me your reasons for loving tarot readings and that sort of thing. I do not like them and you will not convince me of the benefits of using them. You want to use them? Fine. Go ahead.
Sometimes it’s something as silly as my computer deleting a whiny and bitter post I’ve spent 30 minutes typing in, then I accidentally hit control instead of shift and WHOOSH…it’s gone. I will curse for a couple of seconds, then realize how self indulgent and self pitying it was,and decide perhaps it’s for the best.
It’s happened with emails, too. Perhaps I was blasting one out, in a fit of ill temper, and whoosh- it’s gone.
I see it as God being a kind editor.
We badly need the rain. It is a joy to behold. Well, the grass, that also loves the rain, isn’t a joy to behold because it’s reaching the “bush hog” stage of needing to be mowed, but the crops, the corn and peaches and soybeans, cotton and peanuts…the river which has been so low…the rain has so many benefits that my trip to Tybee seems so self indulgent I don’t want to get peevish because it might not be able to happen.
Perhaps there is a very good reason why I need to stay home this week. Other than the normal stuff like “good grief the dust bunnies are evolving into sentient beings” and needing to locate the Spot du Jour for the dogs bathroom needs. I am immensely thankful that Terry recognizes and respects my dislike of carpets and rugs, because that means the dogs bathroom du jour is easy to deal with. (Dachshunds are notoriously difficult to housetrain, and when it’s raining, they are exponentially more stubborn about going outside.)
I do have things to do, here at home. 3 skirts to make for a 12 year old girl. The 2 women (both I’ve done sewing for) asked if I could make capes for the kindergarten class (that they’re teaching) at Vacation Bible School. My Fabric Pimp is going to see if he can find purple fabric to donate, otherwise I’ll use red…but we’re talking about 2 adult sized capes for the teachers and maybe 20 for the kids. Fortunately that is 5 weeks away.
I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. This fugue has been 8 years long. It has to do with teenagers, and work, and marriage and personalities and emotional self-protection. I have built a wall around myself, a fortress of sorts. Only, it has grown more into a prison than protection, and I am trying to knock the bricks out, one at a time, so I can see light again, and maybe get to the point where (maybe? Hopefully?) I can step over the walls back into the world, and breathe something more than my own stale air. But, something that has been 8 years in the making isn’t going to come down in one day, and when you’ve been inside a fortress for so long, and become accustomed (even comfortable) to it…well…it’s not easy, is it. I am anxious. What if I am making the wrong decision to come out of this? What if I get hurt again? So, caution is in order. I must be careful. I am, however, determined to do this. I want to live. I want real friends who know me. That won’t happen as long as I stay in my fortress, hiding behind a thick wall.
Filed under: church, food, God Stuff, Holidays!, home and hearth | Tags: Easter
I don’t really do a Thing for Easter. The house is not decorated, there are not baskets of candy and stuff for the kids, and I don’t bake a ham or fix a fancy dinner of any sort.
It’s not that I don’t get excited about all that, but…honestly? I celebrate Jesus’s resurrection every Sunday, and doubly so on Communion Sunday (first of the month)…so…no, notsomuch with the annual thing.
All the eggs and bunnies and chicks and pastels and chocolate in the world don’t mean a thing about the Resurrection, to me anyway. And since I am the one in the house to whom all the work of baskets and hams would fall, nope. I am not even sure what we’re going to have for dinner today. I don’t typically cook on Sunday AT ALL, but there is still some sort of cultural pull telling me I am supposed to fix dinner today, since it’s Easter and all. Maybe I’ll make some deviled eggs. We all like those.
The only thing I did, as a bow toward Easter Cultural Mandates, is make a new dress. I needed one anyway, and Terry found this really pretty coral colored linen, and I have a pattern I’ve used a couple of times, for a dress that fits nice and suits my style. And I bought new shoes to go with it. So now I have a new dress. However, it might require wearing some form of pantyhose or stockings, and…no. Also, my ankles are a mess from chiggers gotten at Mom’s. I am incapable of not scratching and now the ankles look a bit like the dachshunds have been gnawing on them. Maybe I can pretend the scratches are some sort of art-nouveau tattoo. Maybe I’ll wear a humongous rose in my hair, so people will notice that, instead of the ankle mess.
Anyway, Easter. Yep. I like it. I like the hymns we sing this day, I like seeing the women in church wearing their new stuff and the little girls who all look like peonies with their puffy skirts and multiple petticoats. They never dress like this any other Sunday, but Easter Sunday brings out the Victorian Stylist in women with daughters.
And about hams…I’ve never understood why we Protestants bake hams for Easter. The books of Acts, and Peter’s vision that released us all from the mandate of Kosher cooking didn’t happen until a while after the Resurrection, so it always seems a little inconsistent and odd that we would bake a ham to celebrate the resurrection of a Rabbi. Lamb seems more appropriate (given that Easter falls with Passover). I don’t particularly care for lamb. I don’t like any sort of baby animal. Not out of preciousness or softheartedness, but baby meat (lamb, veal, suckling pig) tastes weak to me, and if I’m going through the effort of fixing an expensive cut, I want it to taste like something more oomphy than milk.
The school Eli goes to has a Seder right before Spring Break (which coincides with Passover/Easter Week), and after the Seder they serve fried chicken and mac&cheese. Maybe that’s what we’ll have, assuming Bi-Lo is open today. Which is not a safe assumption. Walmart will probably be open but I don’t like their fried chicken and they are inevitably out of it when we get there after church. Pastor Barnes tends to go longer than typical with his sermons, so we don’t get out until after 12:30. His statement on the matter is “I’m going to preach until I’ve said all I say, not until the clock says 11:55.” Which is fine with me.
So anyway, today I will celebrate Christ’s Resurrection as I do every Sunday. I’m glad He did it. I’m overjoyed that God decided the best way for us to be able to relate to Him was to come to Earth as a man, and live among us for 33 years, and experience our frustrations and all the nonsense that comes from being human. It’s a comfort to know that God knows what it’s like.
I had a couple of weeks reprieve, that was nice. Like a little vacation from…something…reality? I don’t know. I just know I went 2 whole weeks without any drama or tension or STUFF. Now it’s back, the feeling that there’s a couple of hooks pulling at the backs of my eyeballs, pulling them into my head. That’s what tension feels like, along with the sensation of not being real sure where my feet are, how far the floor is or where doorframes should be. I get clumsy, start crashing into furniture and getting bruises. It’s a sure sign of my mental state, how many bruises are on the arms and legs.
But I did get a couple of weeks! And that’s been really restful, so I reckon it’s time for Drama to come back, time for some tension and angst and worry.
Worry’s a SIN, I am told. It means I’m not trusting God to handle the situation. I suppose that’s true. I am a control freak. I admit it. I despise uncertainty and surprises. I want to know what’s going to happen and 2 weeks in advance, please. When someone comes along and throws a wrench in the monkey-works, it’s discombobulating and I start crashing into furniture.
I’m supposed to pray, when things get hairy. I’m supposed to pray when they’re not hairy, too. And I have. The past 2 weeks have been full of praises, thanks to God for things going well. Now it’s time to pray for guidance and wisdom (something I am terribly short on), forgiveness (oh yeah…especially that) and peace.
(why did the radio come on spontaneously just now? That’s weird.)
I’m not so special that I don’t get hardships. I’m really not. Life happens, and along with living comes dark times and difficulties, and sometimes those are of our own making.
A couple of years ago I read “The Shack”, it made the rounds of the world, and everyone was singing its praises as a story of redemption…I thought it was tripe. The main character had something awful happen that was outside his control, and abandoned his relationship with God, then found redemption. That’s all very nice and well and good. Redemption is a wonderful thing. What I have YET to see (please correct me if I’m wrong) is a story with a main character who is thoroughly bad, all on his own, and does terrible things because he wants to, not because of some childhood trauma or some tragedy beyond his control, but because he’s willful and selfish and thoroughly bad, and THEN he finds redemption, but still deals with temptation and old habits. Real, unmerited Grace and mercy. The kind that makes you fall down on the floor and weep, because you know completely how undeserving you are.
I know life sometimes sucks, that sometimes things are going to be difficult. I want to be able to roll with it. I’d like to be able to smile sweetly and say God’s will, or “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” and blithely accept everything that happens without argument or fear of consequence or whatever…and I have to assume that when Paul is saying “all things” he isn’t meaning “most things” or “those things that probably look like they might have a real purpose”…but everything, good and bad, the ones that cause that fish hook feeling in the backs of my eyes, the things that I cause with my own willfulness or lack of wisdom …God knew those things were going to happen and somehow He will use them for something grand. I simply don’t know what that will be. I am a thread in a tapestry, and can only see the threads around me, not the whole big picture. I have to hold on to that promise.
But I still feel fish hooks, I still look at my own behavior and wonder what the hell I was thinking, and I still hold to the promise of redemption. I have to. Right now it’s the only thing keeping me from sinking.
Filed under: *whinge*, Dewicate feewings, God Stuff, Sometimes she thinks too much
What I need is Time Away. Away from the house and all the myriad THINGS yelling at me to be done.
Time away from my own brain, thinking constantly, evaluating and revisiting, gnawing on past issues, mentally regurgitating like a damn cow chewing on her cud the same old same old anxiety inducing STUFF. how come I can’t just LET GO?
One of the things I like about myself (and there isn’t much, so when I find something I like to enjoy it) is that I can, eventually, understand most anything. I may have to think about it for a long time before grasping the concept, but eventually I’ll get there.
That is, however, sometimes onerous. There are times I wish I could just plod along like a beetle in the pine straw, not having to understand things, but simply living, looking for the next thing to eat, not even having enough brain mass to worry about being eaten by a bird, just relying on evolutionary progress to make me hard to see.
Have you ever felt like that, like you wish you didn’t think so much? I wonder how much anxiety we visit upon ourselves because of overthinking things. I know my essentially pessimistic philosophy of “Expect the worst, so when it happens you’re prepared and if it doesn’t, you’re pleasantly surprised” is purely overthinking, and to be honest, so far the worst has *never* happened. Some close friends think that philosophy is awful. Ungodly, even. I’m not trusting God to know what’s best for me, good or bad, when I think like that. And the fact is, no one has ever pulled out a gun and shot me between the eyes, nor am I dying a slow and painful death from a horrible disease (the 2 worst things I can think of), no one near to me has died, and I’ve never been hungry or lived in a cardboard box. Technically there’s no real reason for my pessimism, no past history that says “see, it’s happened before, it will happen again.”
So, I’m wishing i could turn off my mind for a while, go somewhere lovely and huge…like the mountains or the ocean. Huge places, my all time favorite being the Palo Duro Canyon remind me that I am small, that my life with the inflated issues of my mind, are not significant in the grand scheme of things. Huge places remind of of God, the biggest thing there is, implacable and unchangeable, and yet with that, He loves *me*, tiny Peggy, a speck on the backside of the universe, and that is a great comfort. To be reminded that I am nothing much, yet loved completely.
When I spent too much time right here in my own home environment, I forget that, and start thinking that *this* is the world, this half acre of property and house, these 5 people that live here, with Bulloch County and church and grocery stores like rings around Saturn. I need to get away for a while, and remind myself that there’s more out there than this.
Busy day ahead. Church from 10 to 2-ish, then moving CJ into his apartment! It’s 4th Sunday at church, which means a tasty potluck lunch after the service and I was called and asked to give my testimony which makes me a little bit nervous, tho speaking in front of a crowd doesn’t bother me, it’s just I tend to ramble sometimes and Terry will be at work so he can’t give me subtle cues like flapping his hands or throwing a balled up napkin at my head. Anyway, the testimony thing- no big deal. Sometimes i wish I had a Huge Thing to tell like how I used to be a prostitute or a member of the Mafia then Found God and now I’m a housewife with 4 kids and some cats. and dogs…but then again maybe it’s best that *isn’t* my history because there’s this strange competiton amongst some factions of the Christian Church that is all about “well my sins were bigger than yours so I am more Saved than you are” and that’s totally not my case. Oh sure there’s a big of grubbiness in my history, who doesn’t have that? But it’s low grade-grubbiness, like the kind where you have to take off your shoes so you don’t walk poo onto the carpet, not the kind where you really ought to spend a couple of months in a decontamination unit to make sure you don’t infect the rest of the town with Ebola.
It’s funny (funny-peculiar, not funny ha-ha, unless you’re me then it’s totally funny ha-ha but that’s because things I think are funny aren’t what the rest of the world thinks funny) to get in a group of Christians who then start in on how they were Saved. There’s this whole one-upmanship thing with sin.
“I was a terrible sinner!” Christian 1 will say, “I drank too much and slept with my boyfriend one night BEFORE we were married!”
Ooh ahh the rest of us would say.
“Oh I slept with THREE men before I got married!” Christian 2 replies.
OOH AAH the rest of us would sayl
“Oh that’s nothing! (insert long account of the 6 months as a BDSM tourist)” Third one says.
etc, and each account is apparently a little more heinous than the last. Y’know, the more God has to forgive you for, the more forgiven you are, apparently.
Forgetting entirely that PRIDE is the thing Jesus got the most pissed at. And these accounts feel like PRIDE to me. Tho I am not Jesus and I am mighty glad they have repented and been forgiven, this whole “More Forgiven Than Thou” attitude kind of grates on my nerves.
And so, my boring and not very dramatic conversion experience and testimony about how it changed my life will be short and sweet. And boring like a bowl full of cornflakes, but there it is. I am glad that it happened, that my world view has changed because of it, and that it totally threw up there that PRIDE was my biggest flaw, pride in my Good Girl life, pride in my heritage (what does that matter, anyway?) pride in my abilities (gifts I did not earn to begin with), and in the process of the recognition of my salvation, the PRIDE was removed. I still have many flaws,and yes, pride is still there, but now I can recognize it for what it is, and smack it down. Humility is where it’s at, and I’m not so good at that, but there’s an example of humility I can look to and emulate…when I can get past the pride, that is.