Thursday, September 30, 2010

spouse arrest

So, this morning my husband woke up screaming--well, man-yelling is actually a better term--in pain.  We've all had that stiff, painful "crick-in-the-neck," and he was pretty sure that's all he was having; however, the pain was so severe he couldn't move his arm or change positions.  After lots of coercing, he got into the shower to let the hot water try and relax some of the pain.  After our valiant combination of ibuprofen, heat, and massaging--all to no avail--we decided it was time to call up the dreaded MDs.  My hubby hates going to the doctor, so it's always a last resort.  Upon speaking with the doctor and getting prodded in his already aching neck, the pain got too strong and he passed out. He also now knows the startling smell of Ammonia smelling-salts, an experience he never wants again.  It took awhile to bring him back to lucidity, and currently he's fine, home, and resting.

It doesn't take much of a medical scare to show me how much I love my husband.   Throughout the morning I was blessed with peace, able to really analyze the situation and understand the cause for the pain and side-effects.  It was all I could do to ward of the temptation to think about worst case scenarios.  However, when my husband was in the hospital room--a place he hates and is completely uncomfortable--nothing else was important at the moment:  not the meeting I was supposed to be at, not the appointments I had later in the day, not any of the things I wish I had, nothing...  complete arrest of my senses.  Maybe it all sounds a little dramatic, but it takes a lot to take out a big guy like my husband, and he was the most important thing to me at that moment.

I wonder what it would be like if I was like that more often?  How much more honoring could I be to my husband if I was more concerned with his needs than the thousands of things littering my brain on a daily basis.  How hard would it be to put down my work when he gets home and give him a big hug, grab him a beer, and ask him about his day?  How much would I really miss if I switched off "Keeping up with the Kardashians" (my guilty pleasure) and just talked to the hubs?  Or switched to the football game?  I should not wait for emergencies to put aside the countless worries in my life in honor of my husband.  That's something I can do on a daily basis, in small ways, to show him how much I care; not only would it make him feel more like the amazing man I see him as, but I think it would also help me organize my priorities.  And he is SO worthy of that kind of attention and love.  What an eye-opener!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

black and white

When did things stop being black and white?  I've had a few deep, albeit unsolicited, fears since getting married in 2006.  1)  That my husband would die, leaving me alone (the ultimate) and 2) That I would be unable to have children.  I recently reminisced with the hubby about my "crazy-at-the-time" worrying; and honestly, it was crazy at the time to worry about things I have no control over, but try telling me that.  Recently I've been reflecting on these fears and the amount of time I spend worrying about unlikely, uncontrollable outcomes.  How am I being at all productive, and how much time have I wasted fretting?

In the past year, I've tried desperately to hang onto the moment--to live in the "now" rather than worrying about what might come next week/month/year.  Sometimes I slip back and forth between being staying in the game and getting lost in the muck of worry, planning, and uncertainty.  My prayer tonight isn't for those things I want, though I pray for those often, but my hope is that God would grant me with a presence in daily life so I can live within the time at hand instead of worrying or grieving over things I have no control over.  I hope that I can stop seeing things as one extreme or another, that I can enjoy the daily little things:  my loving husband, my precious friends, the beauty God surrounds us with constantly.

Life is not black and white.  If something bad happens, even those things I fear most,  God will see me through; I know it wouldn't be the end of the road, and I know that just because things don't happen in accordance to my plans, it doesn't mean God doesn't have different--and more wonderful--plans than I have for myself. 


Generally, not much really bothers me, but there are a two things that definitely put a bee in my bonnet--and I REALLY hate bees.  I wasn't sure whether or not one post would be enough to address all my feelings, but I'm gonna take a whack at it.  While this little jaunt looks into the idea of aging in the American culture, the other side to my concern is the issue of self-deprecation as commonplace in the female rhetoric.  That will have to wait for later.  I guess I should preface this article with a little self-disclosure.  While I believe all people are capable of great things, I am not what most people would consider a feminist.  I have what mainstream culture would label conservative views when it comes to women in society.  So, my heart in addressing these issues is not to pump up the feminist bravado or in any way try to place blame on the guys... actually, women can do a lot on their own to not let themselves fall into the pattern.

Aging.  While this issue does not only affect women, it is women I hear constantly lamenting their aging bodies.  Among many things our culture has decided to place no value on, age is prevalent, and I don't know if we can count the emergence of "Cougars" as a step in the right direction.  I'm all for staying healthy and staying on top of our fashion game, but it breaks my heart when someone who's fifty feels the need to look like they did in high school.  Our society places so much importance on appearance, we forget about the wisdom and experience a fifty-year-old woman has attained in her fifty years.  In our culture, to grow old is to become senile, useless, and inhuman.  Instead of looking forward to the later years in life, we constantly battle the signs of aging, trying to convince our bodies, and ourselves, we aren't as old as we actually are.  When it comes down to it, there's no stopping time; our bodies will age, we will get older, and everyone will eventually die.  Why spend so much time, effort, and concern on fighting something that's inevitable.  I wish, instead of placing so much value on women who look twenty years younger than they are, our culture placed value on women you used their experience to help others, better their community, or teach their children.

Ultimately, what we leave behind in our corpse will all rot away, but what we leave behind through our interactions with others will be our true legacy.  I would much rather be remembered by the way I treated people and the difference I made in the lives of others than for my ability to ward of aging for a few years.

I will also choose to value the older generation in my life.  In a culture that mocks the elderly for their driving, memory, and laughable mannerisms, I will choose to honor the lessons shared with me be the people who have had much more experience living than I have.

Friday, September 17, 2010

leonard's overalls

My grandfather, Leonard, is a lot to live up to.  Doing remodeling or painting generally leads me to, at some point, slip on these well-loved overalls that once belonged to the MAN himself.  Looking back now on my relationship with him over the years, I find myself wondering if he would have liked me as an adult.  People say I'm a lot like him, but people say a lot of things.  I often wonder what he would say or what he would think about who I am and what I'm doing with my life, but he's been gone since 2000, and there's really no way to know.  Regardless, slipping on these overalls--several sizes too large for me--and adding to the years of shop work splattering the fronts, working on projects always helps me remember how much he affected my life during the 14 years I knew him--how much he continues to affect my life through the lessons he taught me.

"I'm lazy; I do things right the first time so I don't have to go back and do it again."  

Oh Grandpa...  This was generally what he would say any time I was told to do a chore as a child.  Obviously, I was resistant, and, at the time, this saying just made me mad.  I knew it wasn't right to be lazy; I also knew I did NOT want to do whatever it was my mother or grandmother had told me to do, so I was generally left confused.  However, this trait, this affinity for proficiency and excellence, now seems to be one of my most prominent characteristics.  I'm not saying I always perform or create to excellent standards, but I am passionate about bringing out the best in myself and others, and I always want to do this efficiently.  Sometimes I jokingly tell my husband that I just want to control other peoples' lives, but he not-so-gently corrects me that's not the case (self-deprecating humor:  something I learned from several women in my life, and something I will address later).  My husband, God bless him, points out where I recognize where people could make themselves better, and that I'm generally amped to help others reach their potential.  I guess that's the teacher in me--Leonard.

While Leonard's saying doesn't always describe my intentions towards doing the dishes, weeding my flower bed, or general housework, as an adult I can see how this sentiment is also a description of how I operate with people.  Around our house, we say "we never half-ass anything," and we work hard in our relationships and at our jobs; that's something Grandpa would be proud of.  

"I'm just lookin' at the dollies."

As a child, I thought Grandpa sitting on the park bench "looking at the dollies" was hilarious.  Now that I'm older, and despite the face I'm oh-so-educated and understand the objectification of women should never be funny, I still find it endearing.  We often called my Grandma, his wife, a saint because she was able to tolerate is ever-slightly-crude humor, and his love of women.  Now, when I say "love of women," I do not mean he had a weakness when it came to "wandering".  He loved my Grandma so much--and with such openness--I cannot believe he would have ever wanted to be with anyone else.  However, he loved to laugh, flirt, and tease with women--and men, too, actually.  He would intelligently craft little jokes here and there, generally making others laugh or blush, and my grandmother would smile--as always--and cluck "Oh, Leonard."

Analyzing this memory leaves me with a muddled idea of how his habit of "watching the dollies" really affects who I am, but it's a strong memory.  Even while I can see this might have been seen as one of his flaws, I believe it to be somewhat of a ruse, a big nothing said for a reaction.  What I am more and more amazed with now is the confidence and grace with which my grandmother laughed with him.  They were both so confident in one another, and so trusting; my grandmother always smiled and giggled, always found him funny, and he loved to make her laugh. I hope I can "get" my husband as much as she always seemed to "get" Leonard.

"Dazzle them with your speed."

These are the last words my grandfather spoke to me before he died.  Not on his death bed or anything; no, he had come to watch me play basketball, and for some reason he had to leave before the end of the game.  As he walked out of the gym, he rounded the baseline where we were lining up to shoot a foul shot.  As he passed me, positioned at the bottom of the key, he whispered, "dazzle them with your speed."  Now, in all honesty, I thought he was making fun of me, but that's what can be gleaned from a 14-year-old's understanding in her lack of self confidence.  When I asked my dad, my coach, about what he might of meant, my dad told me I was fast--not fast like I could beat someone down the court, but I was fast in my first three steps.  Later, as I began to strengthen my game, I realized what he'd been talking about, and I realized that his last words to me had been those of a coach, an educator... grandpa.

Monday, September 13, 2010

grieving and veruca

Maybe someone else can clue me in on what is normal in the emotional world of being an adult woman.  I have never grieved something like this before, barring the death of an actual person.  Even in the tumultuous high school years, one day was about all it took to get over a breakup, a backstab, or the like.  Maybe I have always been good at convincing myself I'm not upset, or that whatever I'm going through isn't a big deal.  I've also always held fast to the conviction that God has a plan for me.  In general, I like to know what's going on  in my life; I like to plan where I'm going and analyze where I've been.  I can see where God has worked that control loose from my death-grip and has been slowly showing me where His will is greater--and much more informed--than mine.

All that being said, and with my complete understanding that God knows what's best, who can explain this deep grief I am experiencing?  I say "grief" because I can't think of another suitable word.  It's not like I feel I've lost something, but, at the same time, I feel as though I'm on the verge of losing something.  Perhaps I must loosen my grasp onto this dream I've always held for my future.  Perhaps I'm grieving a possibility, and how foolish does that sound.  God has not told me "no," but he has shown us "not right now."  Am I the spoiled daughter who wants everything in her timing and by her standards?  Veruca Salt from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" comes to mind.  "I want it all, and I want it right now."  Reality check?

All this aside, I can't fight the deep feeling of sadness creeping into every corner of my being.  I think I've safeguarded all the corners of my heart and life when, BAM, someone says something, or looks a little too knowingly at me, and I'm all crumbles and sobs.  Swaying between feeling completely responsible, almost superstitious, concerning any outcome and then feeling completely helpless--like nothing I do might matter:  my pendulum.  In looking at the constant emotional state of myself, I can't help but try to analyze what's happening; however, my small knowledge of the brain, depression, and faith can only go so far.  In my head I know that I cannot trick God into giving me what I want; there is no magic formula of prayers, actions, and heart changes that combined correctly might change the course of His will.  In my head I also know God's plans are more perfect and more wonderful than anything I could create.  But what does my heart say?  It says everything I don't believe and everything I know to be false.  The disappointment creeps in, tugging at me to believe lies, but I know better.  Though I feel the desperate longing to fall completely, to give up hope, to allow myself to be swallowed by the darkness; despite the feelings of my heart, and the temptation to fall into the nothingness of depression and deceit; I will and can choose God's truth and God's timing. 

Father God...  forgive my selfish wanderings in self-pity and sadness.  You know the deepest desires of my heart, and you know the sadness I battle.  You know the attacks I am facing, and you know where my strength ends.  I choose to trust Your truth and Your provision for my life.  I know that You will never test me beyond my limits; you will never hand me more than I can bear.  With Your help, Father, I am ready to relinquish control of my life to You.  Though I am quick to snatch up my dreams, I know my plans are sandcastles in comparison to the concrete freedom and joy You promise to provide.  Please let me taste the freedom of a peaceful heart once again.  Remind me of Your goodness and the safety I have in Your arms.  I choose Your plans for me.  Please prepare my heart for whatever those plans might be, whatever path you want me to follow.  Shape my dreams to follow Your perfect plan for my life.  Continue to remind me of my commitment to you--my promise to continue giving You the control I desperately cling to.  I know You are good, and I know You are perfect.  ... amen.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

barren woman I

"Waiting on God's timing."  

"Whenever it is supposed to happen, it will."

"A lesson in patience."

No matter how many times I try to explain it to myself or to others, it's the same feeling in the pit of my stomach, the same pull on my heart--squeezing until the pain spills out in tears (so NOT like me).  Sometimes the grieving just blindsides me.  I'm not even thinking about not being able to get pregnant, then, out of no where, someone I know is getting pregnant, I see pregnant women and babies everywhere I look, or a mention of babies sends me into a spiral of self-pity (also, NOT like me).  I'm beginning to wonder whether or not everything else has just come easy to me in life.

I'm a hard worker, don't get me wrong, but it seems like I've always been in control of my schedule, my timing, my life.  Sure, I've had times where I've "given everything to God," and relied on His timing, but faced with something like the inability to conceive, I'm forced to wonder whether or not I had just convinced myself I was being patient before.  Now, if you know me, you know I don't like to wait around for things; I love action, progress, and change, so living in a year of what feels like utter stagnancy only leads me to constantly wonder, "what the hell am I supposed to do about it?"



I know.  I know the answer to my own questions.  So, when people talk to me about this battle, what else can I say but, "there's nothing to say about it."  Is there something more to say?  Something more to do?  Anything I say or do only feels like a contrived, superstitious effort to convince God to give me what I want.  What does that make me?  Human, I guess.  So much of me believes if I just do everything right, I will get what I want, but that's not the way God operates.  He isn't some trickster, expecting me to pay the price for what I want in life.  He is the divine creator and all-knowing master of my universe.  How hard can it be to get it into my thick skull that HE REALLY DOES KNOW BETTER?!?  I know it in my head, now to pray for that reality to sink into my heart...  just another reminder of how weak I am and how much I need Him. 

back on the wagon

Maybe there's something about getting older that drives me back to the blogging world.  Lots of things have happened--and haven't happened--since my 24th birthday, and here I am about to turn 25, in a completely different place than I thought I'd be... fancy that. 

Aside from vocational expectations not living up to all I promised myself, personal and family stuff has changed a lot.  It's been a year since we decided it was time to stop trying to prevent pregnancy.  It makes me sick to think of all the times were were terrified I was pregnant before we were ready; now, it's a monthly roller coaster I feel like I might never get off.  Dogs, kitchen remodeling, having a great house... none of that is the same as having a family.  I don't understand God's timing, but I'm praying for patience and understanding.