Sunday, February 27, 2005

God's Headache Remedy

Sometimes I wonder if God secretly has shares in the company that created Advil. He just knew there would be thousands of times he'd have to smack me up the side of the head to get my attention and how painful the ensuing headaches could be.

(I also realize that I tend to use language that is violent when I talk about God. Coming from a home where there was a bit of violence I can see why. Like the time my mom tore my brother's cotton t-shirt in the midst of a rage and I sat with my hand on the phone trying to screw up the courage to call the cops on her. But that is a story for another day.)

Daisymarie's post here about not grumbling or complaining is my warning that there's an aura of a headache coming if I don't listen to the whispers of the Spirit about my attitude regarding an upcoming flight.

In a few days I am going to get on a small private plane to fly to a medical appointment courtesy Hope Air. This is my 10th trip to a far away city for medical reasons since last June and my first time of seeing whether I qualified for a trip courtesy this organization. Flying with them means avoiding the 8 hour drive (one way) and the loss of all my spoons in the process.

I have whined and moaned about the flight ever since I found out I was going on a tiny 4 seater plane instead of a commercial flight. Getting on an airplane is one of two scenarios (the other is going under anesthetic)when I am quick to admit God is in control. Even so I did ask my doctor if he could please give me some Ativan to take so I could get up the courage to fly on such a small plane.

Yesterday I realized that I could be using my energy being thankful for the program that makes it possible for me to fly round trip for only $50, compared to what it would cost to drive there and back, instead of whining and complaining.

Just in case I didn't get the drift yesterday, daisymarie's post was an added reminder to get it today.

I am glad to have avoided a headache but I do still plan on taking the Ativan.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Prayers for one of my YaYa Sisters

I have a link to my friend's blog here. Please go read her latest entry. She is facing more issues at one time than seems humanly possible. She needs prayer. I am asking that you lift her up in prayer. If you could leave her a comment on her blog that would be a bonus. Thank you.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Getting My Fix

Somehow just hearing those words the other day "That man giving into his lust is no different than when you give into yours." was enough to keep me going. It doesn't seem to matter how hard Jesus's words are to hear, just hearing something is enough to keep me on the journey without losing heart. Even though hearing so clearly doesn't happen often (in fact it is a rare occurence)I do seem to hear when I really need to as opposed to when I think I really need to. Oh, there have been times of utter pissyness at God because I am demanding an answer, a sliver of hope and there seems to be none coming. To live by faith seems like a cruel joke some days.

One time I went to church and told God, "Please just give me something to hang onto to get me through this week. Something I can take home with me to keep me going."
I am not very brave. I don't say things like that to Him very often cause I am scared of being disappointed. "Show me the goods, God" I want to say, "my faith is getting faint."

I go to a little Catholic Church that is truly in the boondocks. On a good Sunday there may be 10 adults present. If 75 people showed up we'd not only be packed in there like sardines, after a while we'd smell like them too. If you can picture a tiny country church similar in size to the ones built on homesteader prairie land 100 years ago you would be seeing the little church I attend.

There was a time, before I was Catholic, when I arrogantly thought I would never make this little church my home because if there were only a handful of people there, surely it was a dead church. That line of reasoning made sense to me and besides, I was meant for bigger and better things. It was in this church I was too spiritual for, that I asked God, "Could you just give me a little something to get me through the week?" Sounds almost like a drug deal.

The heat is kept to a minimum between Sundays. Couple that with it being an old church with poor insulation and well, some Sundays we all keep our coats on until quite a ways into the Mass. I often am envious of Father Charlie and his robes and catch myself thinking how warm they must keep him!

On this particular Sunday it was cold and people kept their jackets on. I have always loved the Procession of Gifts that happens during the Mass. The combination of people approaching the priest and his joyful expectation have often made me teary. This particular Sunday a mom and her adolescent daughter were the gift bearers. Being a writer I often scrutinize people; taking note of what they wear and how they carry themselves. I am always taking in the little things about people. I am sure there is a file in my head full of snippets of observations. So this mom and her daughter were bearing the gifts. The mom wears her sandy blonde hair in what we used to call a 'shag' haircut. She was wearing faded jeans and a down filled jacket. Her daughter looked like any ordinary girl at school. Approaching the priest they were ordinary people doing an extraordinary thing. I was observing them and thinking about how glad I was that fashion parades just don't happen in my neck of the woods. Into the midst of these observations came the words "Come as you are."

Instant tears. Tears all the way through communion as I told Jesus I was coming to Him as I was. These words still echo in my heart often as I receive the Eucharist.

I got over myself a bit that day. I learned that Jesus isn't into fashion parades or equating lots of people in a church with it being spiritually alive.

You could say I got my fix.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Numbers on the Brain

I have this thing for numbers. Phone numbers. Birthdates. I sometimes wonder if I am the only one who can remember first grade classmates' birthdays? Drives me batty but once that number is in my head it is there a good long time. I once worked at an answering service and had 100 phone numbers stuck in my head like a revolving address book. Sometimes I wonder if in place of my brain there is really just a rolodex taking up space.

Tomorrow is my friend Lee's birthday. The last time we talked was 10 years ago or so and she lived in Texas. I think of her always on her birthday. Tomorrow she will turn 43. I met her when she was the director of a local day care. One day a letter I received from the day care board sounded a bit fishy. I phoned Lee up and said, "It sounds like they are jerking you around." They were and long after she left their organization we remained friends. Our oldest girls were 20 months old and we were both expecting again. My daughter and her daughter are 6 weeks less two days apart in age. So are our sons. To the day. It was a joke around town when I got pregnant the third time to see if Lee would soon follow suit. There were no six weeks less two days matching babies that time.

My then babies are now 20, 18 and 17.

Tomorrow that rolodex I call a brain will stop at Lee's name and remember all the times we had. Two young moms navigating the road of life together.

Happy birthday Lee, wherever you are.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Level Ground

Reminder to self...don't wear mascara to Mass.

I went to Mass this morning mostly to spend some time with Jesus hashing out my thoughts/feelings about the rape being triggered last week. There is something about getting alone with Him there that helps.

After receiving the Eucharist I made my way back to the pew and knelt to pray. I talked to Him about my feelings and need for healing. I don't know what else to call it other than Him speaking to me but the word forgiveness came to me. And before I could protest the next thought was this: "This man giving into his lust is no different than when you give into your own." Oh Jesus, that is too hard to hear. The tears just flowed and flowed. All I could say to Him was how hard it was to hear that answer.

They say at the foot of the cross it is level ground.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Static Electricity

Sleep deprivation and hormonal hell probably are good indicators that blogging should be bypassed until normalcy returns. Boy, I am in a bad head space. I know it is temporary and totally normal. I want it to be gone. But there is something intriguing to me when I get into this mental space. I want to pick apart my thoughts like they are layers of cotton batting. To see what truth there is to be found. Sometimes when I find truth in the layers I jump as if there was static electricity between Truth and my finger.

Last week when the memories of the rape were triggered I froze inside. Hunkered down to protect myself. I wanted to make myself very small while yelling to the world that I count. I'm here but don't notice me. I have looked at what happened to me in as objective a manner as possible. I can identify how it scarred me. I just had no idea there was such power still - that something could be triggered down at some gut level that has me instinctively protecting myself regardless of what my mind tells me.

No wonder I am having chunks of time these past few days when I wildly grasp at control of my whole world. I've been so mad that everyone in my world is not cooperating with my need for control. I want to feel safe again. I want to hurry the process. I don't want to go through it. I want to bypass the hard work that will bring deeper healing. I want to arrive at the end of it without feeling anything. I don't think it is going to work that way. Darn. I think I just got a jolt of electricity.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Life Uncommon

C. over at A Big Fish asked me these questions

1. What is the best memory you have from your childhood?
2. Have you ever had a special pet that you especially remember?
3. What song would you say 'describes' you?
Fish | Email | Homepage | 02.12.05 - 8:07 pm | #

1. In grade two a girl named Charlotte Brown got my name in the Christmas gift exchange in our class. She came and asked me what I wanted. I told her a doll. Throughout school we weren't supposed to let people know whose name we had never mind ask them what they wanted. Charlotte was akin to an angel in my life. That is how I remember her.

She was a pixie like girl with the most beautiful sparkling brown eyes. Receiving the asked for doll that class Christmas party was more than exciting. I could hardly believe it. It was a beautiful doll. I felt special. I felt chosen. I will write another post soon about what this memory triggered for me and how remembering this girl and her gift to me helped me on the path to healing.

2. My mom loved animals. She once told me that her mom was better with animals than she was with people. My mom has the same gift with animals. I have often thought that maybe my mom and granny figured animals were safer than people. The relationship less confusing. You love an animal, they love you back. Many of them love you any which way you treat them.

Once when I was a kid my mom rescued an injured sea gull from the highway. It had something wrong with its wing. I let it ride around on my shoulder. It was such a cool feeling. I think the bird only lasted one day and night before it disappeared but the feeling of that bird riding around on my shoulder was thrilling.

3. This was the hardest question to answer. My choice is a song by Jewel called Life Uncommon. My favourite movie is Braveheart. I love the word freedom. If you can listen to this song it may haunt you. It may become a prayer. Jesus lived a life uncommon.

Here are the lyrics to Jewel's song:

Don't worry mother, it'll be alright
And don't worry sister, say your prayers and sleep tight
It'll be fine lover of mine
It'll be just fine

Lend your voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from
Fill your lives with love and bravery
And you shall lead a life uncommon

I've heard your anguish, I've heard your hearts cry out
We are tired, we are weary, but we aren't worn out
Set down your chains, until only faith remains
Set down your chains

And lend your voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend your strength to that
which you wish to be free from
Fill your lives with love and bravery
And we shall lead a life uncommon

There are plenty of people who pray for peace
But if praying were enough it would have come to be
Let your words enslave no one and the heavens will hush themselves
To hear our voices ring out clear
With sounds of freedom
Sounds of freedom

Come on you unbelievers, move out of the way
There is a new army coming and we are armed with faith
To live, we must give
To live

And lend our voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend our strength to that which we wish to be free from
Fill your lives with love and bravery
And we shall lead....
Lend our voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend our strength to that which we wish to be free from
Fill your lives with love and bravery
And we shall lead a life uncommon

Monday, February 14, 2005

Trigger Happy

The title of this post says it for me. Life feels like it has been trigger happy lately. Every day occurences triggering bad memories for me. Makes me want to hide from life.

On one level I know the triggering is a good thing. It means my guard is down enough that I can feel the feelings that the triggers unearth. But it sure doesn't feel good. Frozen is a good word to describe it. It doesn't seem to matter what age I get a freeze frame of in my head they all feel the same. Panicky. Hide. Take cover. Be good. Cringe.

This past week one trigger was the rape at 17. Another was how I learned sometime as a kid that not having needs was my role in life. I realized this past week I am still acting that one out in real time today. Cut it out already I tell myself. Jesus, all I want to be is a grown up. That's my prayer.

Some days I hate the road to adulthood. You know how as a kid you would chew a piece of gum far too long and then pull it out of your mouth to find it sticking to your fingers? You'd pull it off that finger with another one and on and on until you had bits of gum stuck on every finger and no way to free yourself from its web? Some days that is what the past feels like. Stuck to every bit of skin available with no way to get free of it. All the while pretending that gum doesn't exist at all. Can't you just picture a package of gum titled Denial and in small letters it says "Chew at your own risk."?

Saturday, February 12, 2005

23 years and counting...

It was 23 years ago today that I became a married woman. Wow. I reflect over the years gone by and am just glad it is today. I know the sum of all these years add up to today but I prefer today to all of them.

Twenty three years ago we went to a local justice of the peace, forgot we needed rings(we took my engagement ring off my finger and used it as the wedding band), forgot we could have brought a camera and only brought one witness. Thankfully the local JP had a daughter old enough to be the other witness. The funniest thing that happened during the service was when I said, "I take you, Jim, to be my awfully wedded husband..." Oh, the nerves were ragged. We didn't dare look at each other at this point because we knew we would end up hysterical with laughter.

The wedding was the easy part. We were married 5 days when I had my first (and thankfully only) blackout from drinking. Jim had no idea he had married an alcoholic. (we started out as teenage penpals and had only spent maybe a month total together before we married) It was about 4 months before we had an argument. I remember thinking pre argument that marriage was easy. Well it was a downhill slide from there that saw us, among other things, move 9 times in the first three years of marriage.

Without both of us turning to God for help we would either be divorced or very unhappy in our marriage today. Undoubtedly I would have lost the kids to either social services or to their dad. It was not pretty. We get pretty teary when we look back and see how tenuous our hold was on hanging in there. On our own strength we wouldn't have made it. I'd still be fighting tooth and nail to be right about the whole world and everything in it. I can't imagine throwing teenagers into that mix and coming out sane.

The biggest blessing of these past few years, when life's circumstances crapped all over us, is that I lost my need to be right about everything. I only had so much energy and I saw that spending it on winning every conversation was a poor choice of using up my reserve. We learned to pull together as a team for the first time in our marriage. I've said before it's pure grace and I still say it.

We both came to the table with a shitload of baggage neither one of us knew we had. Our own brands of dysfunction were normal to each of us. When we look at it all now we see that we've made pretty well every mistake they list that would sink a marriage and then some. We continue to learn. We continue to love. We do it imperfectly. And for today I am perfectly fine with that.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Generous in love, huge in mercy!

Psalm 51 was one of the Scripture readings at last night's Ash Wednesday service.

In the last 6 weeks or so I have been so aware of my transgressions. There was a time when I prayed that God would show me what it meant to be sorry for my sins. I knew I felt guilty about them but when people would talk about how Christ took their sin upon himself on the cross I just could not comprehend how they 'got it'. How they could be overwhelmed with the Truth of it. I would think - oh they're just over emotional and don't comprehend it at all, it just sounds good. It's not that I 'get it' now. I think I see a sliver of it now and again though.

Since becoming Catholic the last week of December and receiving the sacraments I have become aware of my sinfulness. It has not been a bad thing. I am not beating myself up over it. I am just so aware that I am guilty of it all. That on my own I cannot stand before God without acknowledging that He is God and I am not. Along with this has been the reality of His mercy towards me. And how much I am loved by Him. Psalm 51 encompasses all these realities. It will be my lenten prayer.

Psalm 51 (from The Message Version)

Generous in love - God, give grace!
Huge in mercy - wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I've been;
my sins are staring me down.

You're the One I've violated, and you've seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I've been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you're after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.

Soak me in your laundry and I'll come out clean,
scrub me and I'll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot tapping songs
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don't look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don't throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.

Brin me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teching rebels your ways
so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I'll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
I'll let loose with your praise.

Going through the motions doesn't please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I leared God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don't for a moment escape God's notice.

Make Zion the place you delight in,
repair Jerusalem's broken-down walls.
Then you'll get real worship from us,
acts of worship small and large,
Including all the bulls
they can heave on your altar!

Monday, February 07, 2005

Stretching Lessons

Some nights when I sit down to write I feel like I am shuffling a deck of cards, trying to choose what card of life to write about. It's so hard to pick just one.

It has been a few years since I gave up reading books for Lent but this is the year to do that again. It is a bit scary because I am unable to fill the void with busyness or other distractions as I did the last time. Books have been such a gift in my life but they have also been an escape. Much easier to digest the words of others than try and find my own.

And while I know the books will be put away in two days time I am rereading one of my favourites.

There are so many gems in this book. Let me share just one with you. I think it could be a mantra said by writers/bloggers everywhere:

Writing is my way to discover what my soul is trying to tell me.

This lenten season I pray to discover even a sliver of what my soul is trying to tell me.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

God's Grace On A Three Spoon Day

It's nearly time to crawl under the covers and call it a day. I do love my bed. A weary body and a comfy bed fit together like velvcro.

It was a three spoon day when I woke up. I knew having a shower was going to use up one of the spoons. Darn.

I want to write about all I have learned through the circumstances of these past two years. How grateful I am becoming for the littlest things in life. How terribly human I still am yet not as discouraged by my humanity. How just when I write about being grateful something or someone will piss me off so bad, any ounce of gratitude I may have had vanishes, and the world is suddenly full of assholes. And how I can laugh instead of beating myself over the head for being a creature full of paradox.

It is nearly 20 years ago that a minister asked me what I thought about God's grace. I had never heard the word grace used before except in context of a prayer before meals. I had no idea what God's grace was. Back then I would have died sooner than admit I didn't know something. But I ended up telling him I didn't know.

I feel like grace has been poured out into my life in abundance. It feels like the warmth of the noon day sun shining through the window and warming my soul. Who knows maybe tonight I am confusing God's grace with my weariness. All I know is that grace feels like it is seeping through the cracks of my humanity. Even on a three spoon day. Thanks be to God.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Questions and more questions

I copied this post in its entirety from A Real Big Fish

"I rarely post meme's here. I rarely post anything 'chain' here. But when I saw this on Blogin Idiot and how wonderful the response to it, I thought why not?


First, recommend to me:
1. A movie:
2. A book:
3. A musical artist, song, or album:

Next, I want everyone who reads this to ask me three questions, no more, no less. Ask me anything you want. (I will respond in subsequent posts. I reserve the right to not answer questions that might hurt someone else or that might be grossly inappropriate for my blog.) I also reserve the right to delete anything inappropriate in comments.

I will answer in consecutive posts as Michael did on his blog.

Then, I want you to go to your blog, copy and paste this allowing your friends to ask you anything they want!"

Looks like fun!

But You Don't Look Sick

This story at But You Don't Look Sick had me in tears. Some of you will be able to relate to it. And some of you may have someone in your life who relates to it. I don't have Lupus but a disorder in the same family. I need to be reminded to carry an extra spoon.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Finding Her Voice

When I start to write anything about motherhood my guard goes up. Actually it is my whine meter. Or maybe my guilt meter. Whatever it is I instantly want to make it all about me. I recognize that as normal and unhealthy. A wretched paradox. I can get defensive and teary. This is one area where connecting every friggin dot and making sense of the whole picture is something I want to demand is my right.

Only because I want absolution.
From my kids.

I am really hoping that I learn to live without it. Or to find peace of mind whether I get it or not. I know, I know, I'm supposed to get it from God and that will make everything better and I will have peace. And I know that 'if I know God forgives me and I don't forgive myself then who the hell do I think I am' spiel too. It's just that the memories sometimes reverberate in my head like a needle skipping on an old LP.

While I wrote a few days ago about learning to accept that life is a journey some days I think I will never cut myself enough slack to accept that parenting is one as well. That gritting-my-teeth feeling of 'oh no - payback, here it comes' can be pretty strong.

My oldest is on her own - pursuing an acting career. In a very safe and nurturing enviroment she is coming face to face with her own story. Her puzzlement over the lack of dots between cause and effect in her life is creating some introspection. I like to think I can connect them in a straight line for her. Knowledge can be terrifying.

She learned today that she can't yell. Is incapable of raising her voice. She is blocked. She writes and asks me if I know any reason for this? There is that smarmy side of me that wants to say it is because she was brought up in a household where we didn't ever raise our voice. Good Christians don't you know. Considering I threw a chair across the room at her dad I don't think she'd buy that line no matter how blocked she is. She remembers the chair. It's the stuff she can't remember that could connect the dots for her.

There are rational moments where I can stand back, look at my screw ups in parenting, and know that God has to be bigger than it all otherwise we're all fucked. Like a monkey in a jungle I want to swing from one rational moment to another without any distractions.

It's very hard not to project my story onto my daughter. To accept that her story is hers and mine is mine. And that while it took me a very long time to become unblocked, I need to remember that our stories are truly two different paths. When I found my voice the screams of pain were so deep I thought that if I opened my mouth they would never end. But I had to go through experiencing the pain before any healing began.

I wrote her and told her I would pray for her to become unblocked but there is a part of me (the part that makes this all about me) that doesn't want her ever to remember. But then a scenario (that in faith I believe God gave me one day when the LP was skipping in its tracks) came to mind.

I am inside a small fort - the walls are about 2 feet high and surround me like a castle turret. My kids are coming towards me. I am building that fort as fast as I can put bricks and mortar together. My kids are bearing beautifully wrapped gifts, held in front of them as if they are ring bearers in a wedding party. They march toward me single file, solem but determined. There is a certain amount of grace to their gait. My goal is to be barricaded before they reach me, with no window in my castle. Into this scene I feel like God tells me that the gifts they bear are the scars and wounds of their childhood and that if I would embrace them and the gifts it would bring healing to us all.

God give me the courage to pray that my daughter truly finds her voice.