Sunday, July 28, 2013

Truth

I read the other day, while flittering around in cyber-space, that there are three sides to every story - yours, theirs, and the truth.  At first I was taken aback a bit by the statement.  I mean, after all, aren't we all entitled to our view of something?  Then, after sharing this thought with a dear friend, and talking through it with her, the conclusion was drawn that it is assuredly the God's honest truth.  See there?  Truth.  Here's the thing, each of us, yes this includes us all, have our own perceptions.  It is our perception that forms our basis of truth.  Yet, what is it that forms our perceptions?

I think those are formed by our feelings.  If it is something that makes us mad, angry, or even hurt, then we have a very dark bend on the the truth.  If it is something that makes us happy, glad, or even full then we have a very bright bend on the truth.  Honestly, both can be devastatingly wrong, and in some cases damaging to ourselves and others.  All of this for the very reason that when we chose to only see or even rely on one side of the truth then we most assuredly miss the other.

I'm not saying one has to have both sides to make up their mind.  In fact, there are a multitude of individuals out there that are living comfortably in their land of ignorance because they are choosing to listen to one side and one side only.  And, since I'm being honest here, I have fallen to this myself.  I know why people do it.  They want the easiest thing to latch on to.  They want that bit of the story that requires the least of them or in other cases allows them the opportunity to react in basal ways.  But, at the end of this - you know, that place where all three sides meet, everyone is left with the realization that perhaps, just maybe, they jumped the gun in their reasoning.

Yet, and I know this, no one likes to admit fault.  It takes a strong person to step up and share that they were wrong.  It takes and even  stronger person yet to apologize for the reaction(s) they had.  Face it, in some of these cases grown-ups can be more childish than toddlers.  They can say and do the most inane things because they chose to react first and question later.  In the end, what does it prove?  Who really wins?  What is the true outcome? 

I suppose the point I'm trying to make here is this:  People...take the extra few moments, days, whatever, to get the whole picture.  The BIG picture.  See it from all sides.  Know the truths.  They will set you free.   You are still entitled to your opinion, but wouldn't you like it to have a foundation in the truth?  I mean, it will prevent the egg from ever landing on your face.  Just saying.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Happy Un-anniversary

July 20th.  Another day to some, but one that used to hold a fond place in my heart.  You see, 11 years ago on that day...yesterday actually...I said "I DO".   July 20, 2002.  I walked down the isle in our sweet, little church which had been lovingly decorated by the ladies there with items donated from all the other couples that had just recently gotten married and with the floral arrangements the decorating committee had.  My step-dad, dressed in shirt and tie, walked me, a new, young mother who was shaking tremendously, down the isle to be given to the man who gave me the gift of a daughter.  Here I was 24 years old beginning, what I thought to be a life time of, well, something.  Meeting me at the end of that isle was a man who was doing the right thing.  Who was making us a family.  Who, now, was not actually my forever someone.  July 20th, 11 years ago.

It was hotter than the hinges of Hades that day.  I can remember the friends and family that came out to support us.  There weren't many, really.  It was a small wedding.  But honestly, does the number of guests truly matter?  I can remember the planning leading up to that day.  There wasn't much.  We didn't have much.  The whole thing cost under $500.  Amazing, I know.  We were just a couple of young kids, scrapping by, working at being a family.  I didn't chose the colors.  I left that to him.  A comedy of errors, really.  I didn't want to chose.  I had already planned a wedding once before.  I big one.  An over-the-top, elaborately expensive waste.  I wanted nothing to do with the planning of this one.  He chose green and purple.  Why not?  It had something to do with a Jim Carrey movie.  Yeah...I know.  But it didn't matter.  It wasn't about that anyway. 

My best friends stood up with me.  Kim, who regrettably is no longer a friend, and my Sarah.  My beautiful, strong, Sarah.  He had his two friends.  The only ones I have ever met.  Two.  I have no clue what they are up to now.  Truth, it doesn't matter.  After the ceremony and the amateur pictures taken by anyone who had a camera that wanted to help us capture the day, we headed off to his mom and step-dad's for a hog roast.  Remind you that is was hotter than the hinges of Hades.  Hovering in the 100+ range - and it was outside.  No shelter from the heat save for a big tent like thing.  People milled around playing croquet and talking.  My biggest memory of the reception?  The cake melted.  It was a beautiful cake made by Kim.  The heat had other plans on what it should look like though. Thank goodness it still tasted good!  Ha!  We didn't have a honey moon.  You know, being a young married couple with a baby, the money was never there.  But we made a go of what it was.  It was, simply, what it was.

And then, then for all the July 20ths after that I'd like to sit here and tell you we/I had a fabulous memory of them all.  Honestly, I cannot remember a single one save for last year.  Last year which was our 10th.  The last one, had I known then, would be the last one we shared together.  We didn't really.  Share it that is.  We took the littles to the city.  It was hot and miserable and they simply did not want to walk around at all.  They did like LegoLand.  I think I wrote a post about that somewheres.  You can look.  It's alright.  Then there was this July 20th.

This year I spent it with my kiddos.  We went to the lake, their favorite beach actually.  We got ice cream at their favorite Ice Cream shop.  Then we went and saw Turbo.  They didn't know what meaning the day did and didn't hold.  They didn't need to.  They never need to know any of it.  It isn't their place to have all that grown-up emotion thrust upon them.   But I spent the day deep in thought.  Playing and enjoying the day with them, but with all the what-ifs and the why-that's filling my brain.  All the brokenness and wrongness and in some cases the rightness that was the previous 10 July 20ths in my life.  I won't lie there were some good days.  Actually some of those days followed each other often enough to turn into weeks and in some cases months.  Sadly never more than that.  I accept it now. 

However, what didn't hold itself true for this July 20th, did so in another way.  This first, happy un-anniversary that I celebrated.  I was able to work through  a lot today.  I was able to spend the day in a way that, though it wasn't what it would have been, was perfectly what it was.  It was a celebration of a day, a newly ordained, non-committal, ordinary day.  And I spent it with the people I love most on this Earth.  Each one bringing a smile to my face and helping to create a special memory.  Sand castles and splashes.  Skipping rocks and sea shells.  Hugs and kisses.  Giggles and smiles.  Ice cream cones and root beer floats.  Junk food and a movie (yes...I gave in!).

So here is to all the future July 20ths.  Here is to celebrating it like every other day of the year.  Here is to the love and support of my family.  Last, but certainly not least, here is to all you out there who will or have celebrated your first happy un-anniversary - may it be a day of new found hope, love, joy and strength.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Don't Judge Me

I've thought about this for several days now.  I've talked to several of my friends and to the one that I love.  I won't deny that some topics are hard to discuss.  Painful at times, in fact.  Some bring out the ugliness in others and in some cases yourself.  However, this subject, the one that I think really needs a good, solid dose of reality thrown at it is: what is a Christian?  I can almost hear you now.  It's alright have at it.  I can't really hear you.  Not that I wouldn't mind listening to your opinion, after all you are choosing to read mine.  Yeah, it works that way.

In the past several weeks I have had my Christianity questioned.  It's true.  Would be a silly thing, really, to lie about.  What do I have to gain.  Not a thing.  Here's the thing.  The main point.  The key principle (and yes, the grammar/slang is apropos) - AIN'T NOBODY PERFECT!  Yes, that means you.  I'm not here to point my fingers.  I'm not here to say your sins and choices are worse/better than mine.  It simply is NOT my place. Because in the end, we are all sinners.  And the Lord is the one and only one that can truly judge.  The reason?  Well, dear, HE is the ONLY perfect being.

Christians are all fallen people.  Perfection does not need saved.  Perfection does not need a savior.  Perfection does not need the Bible.  However, Perfection, as in Jesus, was still wholly dependant upon the love and guidance and teaching of His Father.  Yes, there is a point.  I hope I haven't lost you.  I'm not a perfect person.  I  have NEVER claimed to be.  I am simply a girl, who like all the others out there, puts her trust in something greater than herself.  I am a girl who believes in the goodness and truth of others; who actually seeks to find the good and not the bad; who gets upset over the wrongs; cries at the injustices; hurts for those in pain; and longs to be loved.  I can't negate that in all those things...I'm merely human.  Yes, human.  As in NOT perfect.  As in, I do not need your moral code to define me.  I need the Bible and my Jesus to do that.  He will.  I know.

So here it is.  You show me a perfect person and I will show you the Jesus they need to meet.  I admit I need Him.  I need Him daily.  I need Him in the morning, the afternoon, and at night before I go to sleep.  I  need Him.  And that, that is the first part of being a Christian.  Knowing you are not whole until you have Him, then being humble enough to accept what He has to offer. (Oh, and actually accepting it!) So here I sit with my beliefs being knocked and my Christianity being questioned.  Just remember, we have all fallen short, which is WHY we need Him.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Failure

My biggest fear in life is failure.  I know this seems odd especially when there are more obvious fears like spiders, snakes, heights, etc.  But, no, not me.  I fear failure.  It consumes me really.  It takes me to places I don't want to go - mentally speaking of course. Well, I guess I have gone actual places too, but I will get to that later.  I need to admit something.  Not that I need for you to know, but because it is a form of healing.  It is a way to get the pain off my chest.  It is a way for me to move on, mentally.  I have failed.  I have failed at keeping on keeping on and it is tearing me up.  I know, this is vague. 

Last October, when the floor fell out from underneath me, the first thing I clung to was my Bible.  I ran to it.  I spent hours a day scouring its pages looking for the answers to my pain, my hurt.  And I found them.  I found that the answer was sin; it takes us places it shouldn't.  I found that fears and failures are all part of that same trap.  I found that my fear of failure is nothing more than my fear of falling into it.  But I also found the way out.  I found the hope, the joy, and the comfort that comes from those same pages.  I found the one and only thing that can deliver me from that fear.  I held onto it and had it for many, many months.  I had the closest walk ever.  I had a relationship.  With Jesus.  We were close. Then, I failed. 

It doesn't look like failure from the outside, but it feels like it on the inside.  He went from being a close friend to an acquaintance.  How exactly?  Well, it was slow.  I simply replaced my time with other things.  I clung to things that helped me forget.  That helped me "move on."  That helped me not have to actually think about things.  Oh, it felt like healing.  I let myself believe it was too. But it wasn't.  It was running, and hiding, and ducking.  It wasn't facing it.  It was doing everything but.  I knew this then.  I even, in moments of remorse or clarity or both, prayed for what to do.  I got the exact answer I knew I would get. It is quite literally like the story of the rich, young ruler.  You know, when he went up to Jesus and asked what he had to do to in order follow Jesus and he was told to sell all he had and give away his riches.  It wasn't because he couldn't have them, but because that one thing was what was preventing him from having his close relationship with God.  I have my one thing.  I know what it is.  I can tell you straight up.  I won't of course.  That's too personal.  But we both know that I know.  Ironically, this message, this one I just spoke of, was a part of the SS lesson last week.  Coincidence?  Not so much.

What do I do?  How do I know that God is trying to re-direct my steps?  Simply - its several reminders a day, in completely random ways, to do what I know to do.  The random calls from good friends telling me to pray about it, to take it to the cross, to talk it out with Jesus, to read His word for truth.  It's the constant unease.  It's the constant second-guessing, doubting when I should be believing, the wanting but not getting.  And the fix?  The answer to all of it?  Taking my friends' advice.  But, I'm not doing that.  Why?  Because I am afraid.  I'm scared.  I'm petrified to come face to face with my fear.  I'm remiss to accept that I will have to make a choice.  Take a stance.  Come to terms with my fear.  And then let go of the one thing that has severed my closeness to the one person who will love me no matter what, regardless of my choices.

Please know that this post has been hard to write.  That sharing this has been brutal.  It hasn't been easy to put out there the thing that I keep hidden from everyone. Everyone, except my Savior Himself.  Funny really, how the one person I moved from has always stayed there, waiting, gently waiting, for me to find my way back to him.  But I think, in it all, He's still making a Bible story out of me.

"Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame." - Pete Magill

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Called Home

I didn't get your last phone call.  I was too busy doing Heaven only knows what.  Life does that. It keeps you busy.  People will always tell you, mostly the older generation, that you need to slow down and stop and enjoy the simple things in life.  They are right.  I think it comes from a better understanding of what is truly important.  Because I missed that phone call.  The one that may have only taken a couple of minutes.  I didn't get to hear your voice for the last time.  I didn't get to say, "I love you grandma," for the last time. 

You came into this world a chubby little blond haired baby on September 22, 1941.  You grew up like most kids in the depression, without much, but from the pictures we sifted through for hours and hours yesterday, you looked happy.  I think having siblings helped.  I saw you as a teenager in the 50's, a radiant beauty in the 60's, a bustling mom in the 70's, a proud grandma in the 80's, and a woman who enjoyed her life, her way, through out the decades. 

Grandma, I have a hundred stories fighting over themselves begging to be put down on this virtual piece of paper, through this medium you cared little about.  You hated technology. Everything to do with it.  Truth...we are so much alike in that area.  But, sometimes you just have to roll with it.  I think you would have appreciated it more years and years ago.  Thank goodness there aren't any VCR's in Heaven that need programmed!  Ha! 

There's a picture of you, the one that comes to my mind time and time again.  It is when we were all still living at the lake.  You were standing in the doorway between the two bedrooms, the one to your craft room and the guest bedroom.  The sun was coming in ever so softly through the big window and your hair (at this time a caramel color...hehehe) was shining like a halo was around it and your smile, your beautiful smile, was spread across your face.  This picture of you.  This is the one I see each time I close my eyes.  It is the one I saw in my mind's eye the minute I received the news that you were called home.  This is the one I see now as I type this letter to you.  It's funny how, when at that precise moment children finally "see" someone for the first time, they etch that picture in their head.  I'd give almost anything to know where that picture is today.  I captured it on film.  I was always playing with your cameras.  Always.  I hope I can find it. 

I hate that a couple hundred miles kept us apart so much over the years.  I hate that I didn't drive to see you more than I did.  Chicago really isn't that far away from here and gas money, well, something else could have always been given up.  Something.  But that is the thing about after the fact.  It's view is always the better one. Yet, I know I can't get one more hug.  I can't get one more kiss.  I can't get one more "I Love You".  But what I can get, and what I do have, are a memory bank full of things about you.  I'm going to keep these thoughts in my mind.  The ones I do have, not the ones I won't get.  That is what you would have told me to do. 

And in all of this.  All of this sorrow and pain and grief.  All of these tears.  I know you'd be standing beside me holding out Kleenex encouraging me to let it out.  Then you'd wrap your arms around me and cry with me.  You always gave, grandma.  You gave and gave and gave.  (Even when it was stuff people didn't want!)  Your heart was so amazingly beautiful.  You loved with your whole being not caring what anyone thought.  You just loved.  You thought of yourself last as long as the other person knew you were thinking of them and caring for them and loving them.  I think this is the part of you that I am the most like. 

Jesus called you home on July 5, 2013.  And I know with all my heart, you are singing, radiantly, with all the others before you that were called home, to Jesus.  I know that he has given you a new, healthy, vibrant body.  One free from sickness and pain and ailment.  I know that you are in our Savior's hands for the rest of eternity, because if there is only one thing I know, Jesus was your Lord and Savior and you wanted nothing more than to sit at his feet.  I can't wait to see you again and I know that one day, one day, I will.  And together, we will both sing to Jesus.

Here's the song you sang to me all the time when I was little - What A Friend We Have In Jesus

May your beauty light up the Heavens as you sing to Jesus.
 
I love you grandma.  And I miss you so much.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Understanding

There comes a time when you know.  You just KNOW how someone feels.  You see their actions, their words and you know.  You know without a shadow of a doubt what they are going through, not because you have sat down with them, but for a reason all the more prominent than that.  You've been there.  You've walked a mile in those shoes.  You know.  You have a deeper understanding than many people do.  An understanding that you wish you didn't have because of what it is, but one that you do have because of what it is.

I know the pain.  I know the struggle to hold on and fight and beg and plead.  I know the way it feels to come to the realization that there are no words left to fully express what needs to be said.  I know the anguish of the truth as it comes crashing down at your feet.  I've been there.  I've been in that place where you don't know if you are coming or going.  Where merely going through the motions of every day life is all that you have in order to make it.  That the simplest act of breathing takes every ounce of energy that you have, because you have spent all that you have on going over every wrong/bad situation created over the years - time and time again.  I know.

I want to say sorry for knowing this.  I want to say I really wish I could take the pain away and heal the wounds.  I can't.  No one could do it for me.  No one.  Not a single person, even those who had been in these shoes before me could not take it away.  They listened.  They cried with me.  Grieved with me.  Got angry for me when I wouldn't.  I never got angry.  I got hurt.  I got sad.  But never mean.  Never once.  I didn't have time for that.  I squelched every one who did.  It wasn't their fight.  I asked for them to listen. And they did.  People will - for a time.  Then it will become too much for them and they will stop calling, texting, emailing, sending letters, and letting you know they are there for you.  People don't mean to do this, but they have lives too.  They have to move on too.  This was their way of saying it is something that needs to be done for me too.  I needed to move on.

And it does happen.  It happens when you least expect it.  That moment when you realize you are going to be ok.   That the crap storm that has uprooted your life has passed and in its wake it made you a stronger, wiser person.  It made you a person that won't compromise who you are and what you want for anything or anyone. No settling.  Not a lick of it. In fact, it will make you take that extra moment to stop and smell the roses, even if you are in danger of touching the thorns.  Because moving on is the best thing to do.  Oh, I won't negate the pain that comes from that.  Especially now.  When it is so fresh and new and overwhelming.  It is the overwhelmingness that will consume.  It will consume you.  Let it.  Drown in it.  Then kick it to the door.  You are better than it.

Then when you get to that point when you are second guessing everything about you.  Everything that makes you who you are.  Know that time changes people.  Life changes people.  People are at their core the same, but other things about them change.  Sure you will see all those things about you that you let go.  That you stopped caring about because you didn't think it was necessary.  They are always necessary.  Don't lose you.  Don't give up who you are to make someone else whole.  The right person is going to love you - exactly who you are.  They aren't going to find ways to change you to make you who they need you to be.  You are who you are.  Be that person.

Then one day.  One day when you are faced with making a decision.  One that will have its own consequences in conjunction with its own joys you'll have the strength to do what needs to be done.  You will have owned every aspect of the story.  Yours and theirs inside and out.  You will have weighed all the truths.  And all this because, not only have you been there, but because you have understanding.  An understanding that you wish you didn't have, but one that made you better in the end.