Kindled Gratitude

Fatigued and weary, I entered that room. Who knew “it” would become a place of worship? Who knew the God of all creation would flood me with His love. A midst the clamoring weights, a Presence that would break through the dark.

I was reminded of that ditch. How did I not die there? How did I crawl out? Why didn’t he kill me? What made him stop the brutality?

I was reminded of that barrel at my temple. What happened? Why didn’t he pull the trigger? What scared him away? How did I find the will to move?

And, so it went. Picture after picture…none scared me, none made me angry. I breathed, “Why me?” Not “why me”? as in why did such and such happen to me, but in “why am I still here?” “how did I survive, and others didn’t?”

Not everyone escapes

Not every suicide attempt is thwarted

I think of sitting at our dinner table speaking hard things, deep things…not the norm.

I think of sitting with my hubby…sometimes talking, sometimes silent.  Oh, the peace and tranquility…not the norm.

Even my daughter’s last days, last moments…final breath. In her room, on her bed. Me by her side as she took her final breath and her final heart beat still palpable on my palm. Yeah, NOT THE NORM. I think of My Grieving Friend who got “that call” and had to go identify pieces of her precious son. Of that Momma who got “that call” that her son had hung himself. Of that life that ended in a ditch with no one to say goodbye.

Psalm 106:7, “…They did not remember Your abundant kindness…” — Oh God, may I not take for granted Your abundant kindness. May I have a heart of gratitude as I recollect ALL that has been given to me; all that has been granted.

“…AMAZING GRACE, HOW SWEET THE SOUND THAT SAVED A WRETCH LIKE ME…”

May I continue to have eyes to see beyond the here and now. May I cultivate a heart of gratitude and NEVER, ever forget where I’ve been and where I’ve come from. Every tool has chiseled me into the person I am today. My story continues…

 

Ragged Edges

Thinking it is a good idea to attempt something normal…familiar. Hey, they are safe. They love me and I love them. Venturing out of the home-made shelter to test the outside world, only to be thrown into spiraling thoughts that assault the mind with unending questions. How stupid of me to think it would be “ok”!

Everything has changed! It’s ludicrous to think otherwise. For sure, I am a totally different person. My ragged edges cut and hurt. Not an excuse, just a fact.

Walking on eggshells, I don’t do. My masks shattered by sorrow and pain…not apologizing for this! Filters annoy me. Primp and proper, I am not.

Being around me is incredibly difficult! The sharpness of my ragged edges cut and bruise. I think I’ll crawl back into my home-made shelter where everyone will be safe😢

Shame

“…I couldn’t imagine confessing the anxiety which whispered white noise in my ears. What would fellow Christians think about the black dog of depression often barking louder than the voice of God?…” ~ Steve Austin

I’m floundering. I don’t fit in anywhere. Too “holy” (haha!) for the world. Not “saintly” enough for the church. In God’s providence (yes, I still believe…) I came across Steve Austin on Twitter. No, no magical story, he “just” turned up on my feed. I’m not completely familiar with all that he proclaims, just this quote just hit me raw.

So, we don’t have a “home church”. Since we came to faith we have always “belonged” somewhere. Crazy how that high school mentality of belonging continues even as adults. Yeah, we don’t belong to the popular crowd…anymore. We are outsiders. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s tons of people that would love for me to be in their “group”. I’d be an amazing token to show off what God can do! Sexually abused as a child, raped, domestic violence, alcohol abuser AND now, the cherry on top, the death of her daughter to cancer. Can you read the BOLD letters on the billboard? But no, I’m just a used up, discarded “saint” that has disappointed the masses. No victory story here.

Just this Sunday we visited a church. It’s a small crowd of smiling welcoming people. Maybe this one? I thought. After service they were having lunch together. We were invited. I panicked. We rushed out. Once in the car, I felt “safe”. Where they mean and snotty? No! Far from that. But my brain went to all kinds of scenarios. Some, real and others, well, made up…I guess.

Back in my “corner” with thoughts of how messed up I am and wondering how in the world I got here. And, thinking this is how it’s going to be…sigh😔

I got this!

Hand me the gavel. Give me the whip. I got this! I’m an expert at wielding just the right blow. I know just where to hit. I got fifty plus years of practice. Don’t you know, practice makes perfect? My perfectionist self continues to wield the weapons until the perfect blow renders me “wilted and useless”.

It’s exhausting to be both the offender and the judge, but one word or phrase hits the brain and the onslaught unravels. How to stop the onslaught, is not an art I have mastered. On the other hand, laying it on hard and heavy, well, it’s so easy. I’m a natural.

”They must think…” “Yup, they are tired of dealing with me.” “Did they mean…?” And on and on it goes. You see, I not only got my own thoughts castigating me, I put words in your mouth as well. Cause I’m just talented like that.

I will isolate myself, AGAIN, cause this talent needs lots and lots of work. And, solitude, is the perfect environment for it.

Don’t worry…I got this!

Trying to Get Back

Ya’ll still here? It’s been a L-O-N-G “minute” since I last posted. Goodness life just tumbles through, doesn’t it?

My laptop has taken “ill” so I am attempting to type on an IPad…yeah, not working as smoothly and speedily as I’d like, but I was itching to get back to my writing routine.

An update (in summary): I’ve been “down”, pretty crazy how dark it can get. Made more changes in the pursuit of caring for my mental health. We moved. Adjusting to a new town. I lived in the same town since we came from Mexico in 1975, so theirs tons of adjustments. One being trying to reconcile, in my chaotic brain, that I haven’t abandoned my daughter since the cemetery where her remains lay is further away. Yeah, working through things that might be “normal” to some, to me seem like huge unsurmountable mountains. But learning and trying is the name of the game, and, at the moment, I’m ok with that.

”Routine” is my friend, but it seems to be hiding. And, again, learning that the dictates of my brain, at times, need to be silenced. Trying not to be so hard and rigid so as to flow and enjoy those blessed moments of sanity.

OHHHHHH, guess what? We are expecting our first granddaughter in February! Oh the joy! Yup, the sweetness of a life bringing us lots of sunshine! Hearing her heartbeat for the first time was surreal.

Our life journey continues. Whoever is still here, I’m glad we are walking together. Your companionship is a gift.

Daddy-Issues

Another holiday in the books! Social media in tip top shape with all its Kodak moments. The endless flow of post card perfection. With all them filters who can go wrong, right? What lurks behind the scenes? What if we could peel off every “filter” and were allowed into the rawness of life?

I read a blog post which was originally posted on June 6, 2018 entitled “Gravity and Stars: A Father’s Day Reflection for the Fatherless” by Sammy Rhodes. Within his post Rhodes quotes Michael Chabon:

…fatherhood is “an obligation that was more than your money, your body, or your time, a presence neither physical nor measurable by clocks: open-ended, eternal, and invisible, like the commitment of gravity to the stars.”

“Obligation” and “commitment”, words packed with a punch. Words that enter the recesses of my mind and turn up with an “ERROR-MESSAGE“. Rhodes says, “There are a lot of ways to lose a father, each with unique pains.” and “…[his father] haunts the land of the living with the presence of their absence…his absent presence…” — Wow, this hits hard! (emphasis mine).

Thoughts of my own father “missing” yet there. Remember Dad? Yeah, The Runaway has deep “daddy-issues”.

Memories of my Dad are few. From that trickle flow, one looms the size of Gibraltar. His “presence” was painfully absent when his little girl needed the protection of her Daddy. In a sense handing over the preciousness of a soul to abuse. With his “absent presence” came others that would step into his abandoned role. However, this proved to be disastrous. One said that “he loved me as his daughter”, only to cowardly bury the truth. The other said, “I love you like a daughter”, as he denied his thwarted attempts to violate her body.

In the mystery of this life journey there are turns in the crooked road that bring you to ponds of fresh water. Waters that quench and satisfy a thirsty soul. I have been given eyes to “see” A Father. The only one and perfect Dad. I am so grateful! And, by the grace of God, my husband has been that Dad that has been and continues to be always “present” for our children.

~~~Gratitude in the midst of pain~~~

In the End…

Ponder with me…

When someone comes to mind, what is the first thing that pops into your mind? When death comes, how will you be remembered? When you are just a corpse, and hopefully, people come to pay their respects, what will they “think about” as they stand over you?

Death has rattled our cages again. I’m older, and hopefully wiser. I’m learning to “think through”, to “work through” grief and loss. Our family has the tendency to stuff grief down our being so as to not deal with it or even acknowledge our pain. So, I’m a pioneer in this “new and improved” way…haha! And, guess what? Working through loss and all the implications thereof, I’m finding, is so much better and healthier than the alternative.

What triggered the above questions has been two recent deaths. When the first death occurred the words and sentiments written were those of love and honor. When the second death occurred there was an eerie silence. The legacy left by the first will be one of fond memories and the deep desire that the person wasn’t gone. The second, well, there is almost a “relief” that they are no longer causing damage.

In the end how will I be remembered? What memories will I leave behind? Will I be missed or will it be a welcomed loss?

Oh, that I would learn to number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom; that I might leave a legacy worth emulating.