Monday, January 31, 2011

Distant Horizon Today I’m working hard at finding the good…looking for what to thank Him for…finding the joy. Because if I relied on my circumstances, I would be overcome. Tragedy always seems to come in multiples and I can’t sit here and anticipate the next one. Instead I can try to stop, right here and turn it around. Being right here is how I can experience the joy…only here, only now. I’ve been writing it all down the last week or so – per day, by number. I’m determined – determined to grasp this joy – I won’t give up. I’m thankful for: 50. Blue sky in the distance beyond the clouds. 51. Being home with a sweet baby girl, who even though she is sick is in good spirits. 52. Having known an awesome person, my brother-in-law, who God decided he needed more. You see, if I look forward, past all this and think about what I have to get through – what we have to get through as a family, I miss the joy of what is right now. Even if it isn’t ideal or easy or simple. Even if it is complicated, messy, painful. That joy does not rely on my circumstances – what is happening around me, but this conscious decision to be thankful no matter what. So I stop and look outside. The blue sky is out there – far in the distant horizon. I can’t reach it and maybe it will never be right here, but I can see it and be thankful. I can stop and experience this moment and name it and write it down and then it is mine forever. Friends, please stop today – stop right where you are. See that joy in front of you…experience NOW, don’t rush past, hang on to this moment – there will never be another one like it. Life is too fragile to keep going this fast. That distant horizon is not beyond you or out of reach, but right here. Don’t let it get away.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Feet, Glorious Feet At times you will find that profundity eludes me, so I just have to go to silly land for a bit. I have a confession to make…I love my feet. Yes, this is a sincere, unabashed love for my piggies. When my fat little toes are polished – they gleam like wiggling jewels and I can’t help but stare at them. I take a peek and just smile to myself. That whole barefoot and pregnant thing? Yea, I was all over that! How could I resist the urge to walk around with my feet burrowing into the carpet – feeling the softness between my toes? Toes in the grass? Yes indeed! Toes in the sand – why not? Toes on the cool, tile floor – mmmm hmmm. Wait...what? It’s winter? Awww shucks, yes, that is a bit of a downer. Poor little chubby things are stuck in socks, slippers and shoes…fighting the good fight to get out. The occasional appearance yields naked little toe nails – a bit shy and bleary eyed from the bright light. Not sure if they want to touch that tile floor these days…content to live in the ugly brown sweater socks. It’s OK, little lovelies…spring will be here soon…maybe we should try that pretty Spring Fling nail polish to warm you up? Ahhhh yes, I thought you might like that. ;)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Sound of the Tea Kettle Years ago, at Grandma’s house, the sound of the tea kettle called us to every meal. Sturdy and shiny with no top – only the small spout to fill with water. We came and ate and she sipped…and I will never forget. Tea unites us… Brother’s red tea in a far away land Mom’s Lipton for everyday iced tea Grandma’s Salada so hard to find Best friend’s green tea in all forms – hot, cold, sweetened, bottled Lost friend’s cinnamon spice Niece’s chai Father in law’s room temperature black tea Friend’s herbal spiced tea Sister’s Oh My Chai! My love - out drinking white tea Sweetened, unsweetened, milk, cream, hot, cold, tea latte… The tea kettle – its soft whistle unites us – binds us together in friendship, love, and connects us when we are miles apart. Memories, warmth, soothing, peaceful. It’s cold, my friends…turn on the tea kettle…I’ll be there with you in spirit.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Holding On She – round, dimpled face, messy hair, mischievous smile…running, squealing, trying so hard to talk. Me – momma to three, watching my last baby growing so fast…each stage so bittersweet, holding on so tight…too tight, maybe. Last few days… Not so long ago, she was born; so fast her sweet little head didn’t have time to become misshapen. Breastfeeding was as natural as if we had known each other our whole lives. The hours spent in my comfy place as she nursed…I watched the snow fall. Time slips through the hourglass and I’m in denial of what is so obvious…it’s all ending…one of the last glimpses of babyhood. She would rather play and read her books…so opinionated in her arched back and fussing…toddlerhood embraced so soon…too soon…my heart hurts. I swallow my tears…I smile and hug and kiss her…I let her go…those little wings starting to take flight… My sweet baby, how I will miss our quiet moments in the half light, your content sighs, your sweet little face sleeping in my arms, so close… I will never forget this time we’ve had together my little Abby. I don’t know when it ends, but I’m always here, my love.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Winter of Discontent Back to that discussion of joy…better yet – the living out of joy. I have a confession to make, I haven’t been very joyful lately – can you tell by the last few posts? And yet here I am in the year of joy and with it being so fresh and new and all I haven’t quite slipped it out of its pretty, iridescent wrapping and really embraced this shiny, new thing. It’s kind of like when I buy journals or new books and *gasp* don’t crack them open. (Check out one of my original posts from the archives on Journals.) I’ve come to realize that I’m in the Winter of Discontent. Yes, I capitalized it to emphasize how much it is affecting me. It has dawned on me that this Winter of Discontent started last year, but it had its beginning long before that…in a showering of seeds that hadn’t quite sprouted until a year ago. You see, I was on that mama high – nearing the end of my leave time after Abby was born. I had about a month to go and the thought of going back made me reel. After every child I wanted to find a way to stay home with them, but it wasn’t to be. But here I was child #3 in my arms and the thought of going back again, for a 3rd time was more than I could bear. We had been praying and pinching pennies, but it wasn’t enough. It was wintry and bitterly cold that January – much like it is now. I stared out into the snow everyday praying for a miracle. I went back and the return was less than smooth for many reasons – a lot of the problems of my own doing, some not. The Winter of Discontent was in full swing. The last big snowstorm of the year happened my first day back to work. I cried. Spring came and now a full year has passed and these scenes, images, repeating themes haunt me. This Winter of Discontent – it never fully went away. But I’m reading a new book and I hope all of you will consider reading it too – One Thousand Gifts. The author, Ann Voskamp is an awesome blogger that I have had the pleasure to read over the last 5 years. In the first couple of chapters she rips my heart wide open and I realized that gratitude – being thankful for where you are right now is what gets me to joy. And even though I have posted that joy flows into those other things, a thankless heart has nowhere to go. So I’m making lists – much like she did – starting small…learning to be thankful / content in all situations. It’s in these things we don’t understand – the supernatural power of gratitude – where I believe the true miracle lies. I look forward to spring and the true end of this Winter of Discontent. I know that I will find that joy stirring up inside me, melting the snow of this thankless heart.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

On the Baking of Bread I’ve been baking a lot of bread lately. It’s not like I have a lot of skills or enjoy kneading it – I actually just use my bread maker. It’s not like we need the bread or prefer it over commercial bread. We usually buy a heavy wheat bread as our normal, daily bread and I usually make white Italian bread when I bake it. So I bake the bread, but it’s not for any of the things you would think. I enjoy the smell of it rising and baking and the way it warms the kitchen on these bitterly cold January days. I haven’t even eaten much of the bread that I’ve made. It’s as if the bread represents something to me that I feel like I need to have right now. When I think of what I will be making for dinner, I think “this would be better with fresh bread.” When I think of it baking and the smell, I think of how comforting it is. I make the bread because it has a different meaning to me. This makes me think about how we all process and work through what we experience in life. We carry around this view of how things should be…our collective experience that is the baggage or view we bring to a situation. Through this cloud of “stuff” we interpret our world. We likely apply a different meaning to a situation then what is expected. This cloud contains the good and the bad of what we have been through. The more bad things we hang onto – unforgiveness, really – the likely we are to interpret situations in a negative way. This is dangerous ground. Jesus does not want us to come to him unless we resolve unforgiveness and conflict in our lives. (Matthew 5:23-25 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.) I am not here to preach to any of you about this – I am writing about this because I realize I have a problem with this myself and have to deal with it every day. Remember that forgiveness does not mean that the other person is right; it removes the pain associated with that hurt. Forgiveness is not easy – in fact, it takes supernatural help to truly do it. Please take a moment to reflect – think about what you need. Think about who you need to forgive. Maybe it is a close family member, a former friend, a current co-worker…maybe it is you. Ask God to help you do it. I promise you, this burden was not meant for you to carry, and once you let it go, you will feel as light as air. I know that I need to do the same thing. In the meantime – I’ll be baking bread…and thinking of you, my friends.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Three Worlds I live in three worlds – work, home, family. I have an important role in each of these three worlds and try as I must, I can’t seem to get it all together in all three. I fail, it seems in all places. At work, I can’t seem to meet the demands put on me…I struggle. And because I struggle, others that rely on me do too. Every day I feel like I’m chipping away at the side of Mount Everest. I derive little satisfaction from what I do there, maybe because the other worlds demand so much attention and mental devotion. Home – something is always piled up – dishes, laundry, toys. While I think that overall things have gotten better, I still struggle with systems and processes to keep up with the day-to-day demands of my home. Family – there is always a little voice demanding my attention. But somehow I have to figure out how to balance that out with the other two worlds when in reality I just don’t want to. I don’t want to balance these three worlds – I want to simplify, change, move around and focus on what is really important – family and only family. But that is just not realistic for me at this time. So what do I do? I don’t have a good answer…I compartmentalize…I allow my daughter to watch too many movies when I’m trying to work from home…I do dishes when the roughhousing begins. My oldest has stopped asking me to play with her…and I feel like I should suggest that we play with something but I know that somehow I won’t be able to hold up my end of the bargain. And my heart breaks a little. And I know how I want to change it, but it would take a miracle. I’m OK with that…I believe it could happen. I keep praying for that miracle.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Half Way There If you are like me, you start the work week begrudgingly…trying to keep a good attitude for the kids. “School will be fun! You get to see your friends and have recess!” “Daycare will be great – you get to play with your buddies!” But of course, the truth is – none of us is happy about it. Tuesday is really a pointless day in the week – too close to the beginning to feel like you’ve made it anywhere, not further enough into the week to feel like you are almost there. But Wednesday OH WEDNESDAY! Thank goodness for “hump day”. Just getting through Wednesday feels like the climb up the mountain was somehow bearable. Maybe you even think to yourself, “Hey, that wasn’t so bad – I can make it!” It’s nice to make it half way – to feel that sense of accomplishment, to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Making it half way of course assumes that you can see the end point. That is the trouble, though isn’t it? In this life we can’t see the end point – we don’t know the landmarks that tell us we are almost there. It is human nature to be striving towards some sort of goal – some lofty motivator for all that we do. You could argue as a person of faith that heaven is that goal – that everything we should be doing is pointing us there and we need to be sure to stay the course. I cannot argue with you on that point. However, I believe that our God wants us to focus on the journey – the relationships, the connections, the love that we share with others. John 13:35 says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (emphasis mine). But if you are like me, it is just so darn hard to love people! Sure, I respect all people as those created in God’s image and really strive to live out that belief in how I treat others. My family members, close friends, and even some acquaintances – yes, I DO love them. But once I get outside that group, I really struggle. This journey I’m on, I can’t see the goal, I don’t recognize the sign posts, I have only now to experience and somehow practice love with all that I encounter. It is clear that I need supernatural help on this one. But thankfully, God has got me covered on this one. Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” So Father, I ask you now, teach me how to love so I don’t have to worry about where I’m at during this journey. Please let me know that I’m right where I am supposed to be. Let that be enough.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Grace I didn’t want to face today. No specific reason, calamity or concern, I just didn’t want to do it. I went to bed too late, did not properly prepare as I normally do. The phone rings too early to be a normal call and I stumble out of bed to answer it. It is Kayla’s school closed due to weather. I sit on the edge of the bed a bit perplexed. There was no weather warning – no big hoopla on the news last night. I tell Jerry that I will stay home with her and lay back down. Minutes later I’m up with Abby…pondering the gift that is today. The gift of being home when it was not planned or even hoped for. I pray my normal morning prayers and it’s as if God is smiling down at me. I thank him for this day. I’m overwhelmed by the grace he has given me and wonder about the purpose of today. You see, there were only a handful of schools closed today – the main school district in our town closed along with Kayla’s school and a few others. It just doesn’t make sense. I can’t help but think that the Father knew what I needed today and here I am. Working, baking bread and cooking soup, making coffee and enjoying the quiet and productivity that comes from being snug at home. How has God shown his grace to you today?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Sweet Abigail To my Abigail – a very late birthday tribute. I look in those deep, blue eyes and touch my fingertip to her dimple and watch her wiggle and shoulder sway across the room. This sweet, little baby is NOT a baby anymore, but a toddler?!?!?! I’m in disbelief… I think back to last year at this time – sweet little bundle in my arms sleeping and nursing, waking me up at all hours, cooing, and snuggling, and smelling of sweet, newborn goodness. I look out at the same snow, quietly falling, darkness drifting in… This little girl – the gift I didn’t know I needed…I can’t imagine life without her screeching and boisterous laugh, sweet little hands around my neck, pulling my hair, open-mouthed kisses that sometimes bite. So smart – pointing at what she wants, nodding and shaking her head yes at questions I ask – so staunchly opinionated about life. My sweet Abigail, my life was not complete without you. I’m in awe of the gift that is you and I enjoy every minute we have been given together. In some ways I wish that time would stop, but it is so much more exciting watching you grow and become the sweet little girl God made you to be. I love you my sweet babe.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fragments There are pieces of thoughts, emotions, and experiences floating around in my head – fragments really of what happened. I think that overall I’ve gotten over the big stuff, but there are still things lingering that I haven’t fully dealt with. There is a heaviness and dread that I sense near my workplace. Maybe it is all of us collectively hurting still from everything that has happened. Time heals all wounds, sure, but that process is slower for some than others. I try my best to stay away from it…to not let that outside influence steal my joy. I am judgmental of people and how they treat others thinking that we should all be a little nicer to each other after what have been through. But then I turn around and I become angry easily over little things. (Fortunately I have learned not to direct this anger towards others.) I think about how fragile life is and how it can be stolen in a moment. It makes me think that I’m not taking enough risks in life; not giving enough, writing enough, loving enough, reaching out enough. That realization is painful, but pain I have not allowed myself to feel and really deal with. For so long I have made excuses about all of those things and now here I stand at the crossroads and realize that I have to go down that challenging road…how can I not after all of this? I think of my friend’s smiling face – always sunny even when others were cruel, when she faced personal struggles, when challenged with anything and everything. I’m so happy to have the memory of her smile. As I put these fragments together I realize what I’m seeing is the picture of someone who is still healing…that someone who can’t admit these things to herself...because she always has it all together… Yes, it’s true, folks…that girl, she’s not perfect. Whew, it feels good to get that out.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ramped Up So yesterday I wrote about joy and well, today, I’m just a little ramped up and not exactly of the joyful sort. I have found that the last couple of days I’ve been getting worked up pretty easily. As I look from the inside out and evaluate myself, I realize I’m just overreacting. I’m just trying to figure out why that is just so second nature of me. I’ve been a pretty intense person since I can remember. My Mom recently told me about how when I was a little over a year old (about Abby’s age), I would do the throw-yourself-on-the-floor tantrums. Growing up, I always wanted just that one close friend and was always on the lookout for her. I had that best friend just about every year, but found my high school years to be a bit more challenging in the best friend department. I think that people were just overwhelmed with me. When I was your friend, I was your friend all the way – no holds barred and I think I just scared people away. Because of the experiences I had with people rejecting me through the years or not completely opening up to me, I got kinda choosy with my friends and that is where I am today…a little wary, a bit cautious, making sure I don’t bowl people over with me, me, me!!! (Ask my sisters about this. They put up with it because they have to! Love you both!) I’m a bit intense, you see, but have found ways over the years to reserve the total freak outs for situations that require them. But every-once-in-awhile I regress. Today was one of those days. Every little thing just put me (mentally) over the edge until I could feel my heart just pounding in my chest. “What the heck is going on here?” is all I could think. I start to pray…I realize it comes back to fear…fear of a situation, a memory, an unlikely possibility. You see, fear is what paralyzes me, what paralyzes all of us. Today it manifest in me in panic – a sense of being off kilter. I think of each situation and one-by-one I pray them off – handing each one to God. My heart rate slows down, the panic leaves. Now I can breathe and welcome the joy. I re-read yesterday’s post – I return to this center. Oh what a challenging theme I’ve chosen! What is your theme / resolution for this year? What keeps you centered?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Joy – Only Joy So, I’ve already told y’all that I don’t do New Year’s resolutions and that is true. But I’ve been recently inspired by some of my favorite bloggers to name this year. To them, naming the year is a theme or inspiration, focus or center for what the year means to them. To be honest, I read their posts resisting the idea – I’m not one to follow the crowd on anything. But I felt like I needed to pray about it…to ponder if I should do this. Recent events for me have been extremely difficult and here I am not so long after it all happened and I find myself overwhelmed…overwhelmed with the joys of this life. I spent a couple of hours yesterday with just Kayla. This child has a light in her that overwhelms me. She can talk for hours (literally) about a new idea that excites her – building her own sleigh (“Tell Daddy I need the leaf blower for the sleigh”), to a new stuffed animal and all about who the animal is, who her friends are and what she likes to do. As I sat there with her drinking coffee (she – a smoothie) and eating a treat, I was overcome with joy. Joy that can only come from this place deep inside me. How fitting that her name is Kayla Joy – which together means “pure joy”. The next day, I’m on the way to work – passing by views of what should sadden me, worry me, concern me…but they don’t. Happiness comes from the outside, from what happens to us. But joy, no - joy comes from somewhere else – from the spirit. Last month, I wrote the post Winter Wonderland – about finding joy in the dark days. I included James 1:2-3 which says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Trials should not shake our joy…they may temporarily delay it, but our joy comes from our spirit – from God. As I’ve been praying about a word for this year, many words came to mind – gratitude, giving, contentment…but all of those things naturally flow from joy. Joy is where I must begin. Joy when my children are laughing and playing…joy when they are screaming and crying…joy when I’m ridiculed and talked about…joy when I’m honored. Joy, only joy, only joy. My daughter’s middle name, the shorter form of my mother’s name, the source of hope and perseverance. So here it is – this year…JOY – this is where I will return, where I center myself, where I remember why I’m here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Two Days Lost Sorry for my temporary absence here. It seems we have succumbed to the stomach bug going around these parts…first Jerry, then me, than Kayla. I’m praying that Zach and Abby don’t get it and truly believe that they won’t. Please support me in praying for them and not talking anything otherwise into existence. (I believe words have power – a post for another day.) So here it is two days later and I’m in a fog…not quite 100% and not quite sure what I should be doing. Not well enough to go to work, not sick enough to be in bed…sure that I need to take it easy, not sure I am making the right decisions about anything. Sickness has a way of making you feel that things won’t ever truly be right…each day passes slowly and deliberately and you count the hours on the clock praying that it will be over yet not really believing that it will ever end. Yet it does and if you are like me, you wonder where those days went…it is as if they are lost in oblivion. I suppose in some ways they are lost. I don’t get sick very often, but when I do it seems to help me put things into perspective – it makes me thankful. I’m thankful that Zach and Abby are fine. I’m thankful for a warm, comfy bed to recover in. I’m thankful that we all slept peacefully last night. I’m thankful for my soft couch to rest my achy bones on. I’m thankful for the quiet. And strangely enough I’m thankful that I haven’t wanted to eat much the last few days. It makes me think that the raging headache I had wasn’t part of the illness but a serious sugar / carbohydrate withdrawal…which of course makes me think that I have a problem to address. I do, but that is something to write about on another day. For now, I’m just quiet…trying not to move too much…resting, eating sparingly, making sure Kayla is taken care of and just trying to become strong again. Maybe these two days aren’t a loss, but a hard dose of perspective…something I needed. Just one more thing to be thankful for.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Crisp and Cold The decorations are down, the lights are dark, the pine needles vacuumed away…my living room is shadowy and empty. It’s amazing how a month of red, shiny, glowing items can transform a room – bring so much cheer and then suddenly be swept away as if it were never here. Taking down the decorations each year for me takes some kind of herculean effort that I seem to muster up at odd hours of the night (finished the clean up at 1:30am). I had been avoiding it for hours, but after awhile, I just knew it was time to face it. The next day, the kids have the worst morning on record…there is crying, screaming, resistance on every level…Kayla wants to go back to bed, Zachary wants to know where the tree went, Abby keeps pointing to the empty corner with an odd look on her face. (If you heard great wailing wherever you were this morning, I guarantee that was the sound of my children mourning this great loss.) It’s so hard to move on after Christmas…it’s as if the whole year crescendos at that moment. And even though we don’t really recognize it or acknowledge the build up through the year – it seems to be there silently pushing us on. But today, there is no build up; it is quiet and stark. It snowed here today…a silent, steady, fluffy, flaky cloud of white. As I walked outside, I stopped for a moment. I’m always in awe of the ultra quietness of a snowstorm. It’s as if the whole world is sleeping…hibernating…waiting. Waiting for next Christmas, for the rebirth, for the next celebration. Yet for me, it all seems too far away to begin any countdown. I go home, look around my house…the holiday clutter is gone – everything is crisp, clean, cold. I’m at peace here – I don’t know what will happen next, I don’t know what direction I will take, I don’t know what to look forward to…so maybe I just need to look up instead. He’s been waiting, I’m sure.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Looking at the World with New Eyes – Part 4 (Take a look at Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.) So where do I go from here? How do I move on from this? I go back to work. I look down to the parking lot – I feel peace, I am not afraid. I try to help others that are hurting…I share the vision with some. I will never understand why…why this happened, why I was meant to see it, why I was there. But in some small way I hope that God has put me there to make a difference. I don’t think I fully know what that is yet. I’m not perfect and sometimes when I look at this world I am afraid…it is dark and cold these days and the pain of losing my friend is almost too much to bear. But that fear and pain cannot win, cannot steal my joy, cannot rule my life. I see the sun rise – its golden beams reflecting off the nearby glass. I face it, let it light up my face… Time slips away…its healing waters drifting by… In this early January, I yearn for spring, for the new world of the hope that can be. I will never forget, but I don’t live in that moment, that pain, that horror anymore. I see Jesus, I only see Jesus; thank you Jesus, thank you.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Looking at the World with New Eyes – Part 3 (To read Part 1 click here. To Read Part 2, click here.) But then there is Monday night, when it all changed. I call a good friend and plead for his prayers. What happens next is unbelievable…not the big flash in the sky, loud, dramatic unbelievable…but the still, small kind. But isn’t that how God is? A gentleman waiting…just waiting for us. But of course, he was there all along with me. There are so many what ifs about that day. I never, ever, get to work that early and there is no reason I should have been there that early. I had not eaten breakfast – I should have stopped. Had I stopped, I would have been in the parking lot at the time this all happened…There was a least one stray bullet… Another co-worker was late – he would have parked right where it happened and gotten out of his car at the same time. A good friend of the victim cut her finger and walked away from the same view of what happened. Her gentle spirit would have been crushed by the view that I had. All near misses… We are talking – my friend and I and he begins to pray for my memories of this to be healed…for that dark place in my mind to be released. As we were both praying, I see an image of the situation in my head – the place, the circumstances, the people. As I saw this image, I see in my mind’s eye the image splitting in half and Jesus rising up through it. As he rose up, I could hear him in my mind saying, “I control what happens in this place.” He said it over and over and over. I could see him rising up higher and higher and the image crumbling as if it were rocks crumbling. Then all at once it was as if a large flat rock covered the image completely – the whole parking lot and the foundation of the building where I work. Jesus grew larger and larger and his foot covered the spot where the incident occurred. I could see the scar on his foot from the crucifixion. At this point he was taller than the clouds. He said to me, “Jenny, you don’t see this incident anymore. You only see me.” I feel like I have been delivered from something significant. I don’t have that dread that I had just a few minutes ago. The image is there, but it is not a dark spot in my mind. I see Jesus – I see him standing there – I see rock covering that place. I’m in awe of Jesus gift to me, of his healing, of his great love for me and all who I tell of this. Some may think I’m crazy when I tell this, but I don’t care. I will tell it anyway to those that I believe God wants me to tell. Go to Part 4.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Looking at the World with New Eyes – Part 2 (To read Part 1, click here.) But it isn’t over yet for me… It is the weekend, I try to function as normal as I can, but I’m angry. The WHY floods my thoughts and my anger rises against this nameless, faceless person. Why choose to make a victim of my friend? But why also make a victim of the rest of us that were witnesses? The rest of us that were nearby when it happened? Then I feel guilt – “How important am I here? What about her family? Their pain must be overwhelming.” I snap at others – my mind racing – the incident replays over and over in my head. I pray more – peace comes over me. I get to Sunday night thinking that I can make it. I can go into work the next day. I wake up on Monday – I just can’t do it, I can’t, I can’t move from this place. Overall, I feel peace, I am not afraid. I no longer feel anger towards the shooter. But this incident does not leave my mind. It replays over and over. I can’t go more than a few minutes without thinking about it. There is a dark place in my mind and heart and nothing will release it. We go somewhere and I am overwhelmed trying to watch people around us. “Why did this person do that? That one over there? Are they too close to us?” I don’t trust this world anymore. It is ugly, dark, harsh, not where I belong, not how things should be. But then there is Monday night, when it all changed. Go to Part 3.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Looking at the World with New Eyes – Part 1 I’m looking at the world with new eyes and it’s not what I want to do. I want to look around me in trust and peace and with the general idea that there are good things out there, good people, but something is in the way. Something has happened, you see, something that makes it all different. A couple of weeks ago, I witnessed a horrible tragedy – my co-worker and friend brutally attacked – injuries that a day and a ½ later would end her life. I was looking down from the 2nd floor of the building where I work watching it happening, calling 911, trying to comprehend what I had just witnessed. It was awful, horrible, shocking, senseless, baseless, wrong on every level. I remember thinking in that split second before my mind allowed me to act, “I can’t believe what I’m seeing right now – why am I seeing this? Why do I have to witness this?” The next couple of hours are a blur – she is taken away alive (miraculously), the shooter captured, people all around me acting heroically – demonstrating the good that we humans have in each one of us. I tell the authorities what I know, I go home. I sit at the kitchen table, crouched over, my eyes wide – my senses numb. I try to eat breakfast – everything is tasteless, dull, sawdust. Jerry is home with the kids that day – they are trying to talk to me and hug me and I just can’t move. I am frozen… I cry at the horror, the pain, at the fear of not understanding or knowing what happens next. I hear a loud sound, I jump – “What was that,” I croak? Just one of the kids jumping off the couch. Each email chime from my phone is a lifeline of information…it was not a random act. A relief in some ways to know, but then the questions rise up in me like a flood…WHY? Yet I know that no answer or reason will ever make sense to me – ever. I stay home, I lay down, I close my eyes, but I don’t sleep. I pray. I feel His peace come over me. I know that others are praying for me – I know that I must pray for my friend. I know that deep down, she won’t make it. I don’t accept that as an answer. I pray for her soul. She dies late the next night. But it isn’t over yet for me… Go to Part 2.
Not Doing All around me I see activity – change, changes, changing…but here I sit in the not doing. You see, I’m not doing those things that many of you are doing…oh, don’t get me wrong – I’m not here to judge. Those things you are doing are all well and good – for you – but for me, I need to live in the not doing for just a big longer. I’m not doing resolutions… I’m not doing un-decorating… I’m not doing the calendars and lists for the weeks and months ahead… I’m not doing tomorrow and pondering what it will bring… I’m not doing that hoping or pining for another day… I’m not doing the post on that recent tragedy… You see, if I don’t do those things, I don’t have to move on from the past, the celebrations, the pain, the here and now…and I need to be here, right here, for just a little longer. I need to look at what is in front of me – those sweet little faces, my quiet husband holding my hand, recent laughter with family, today’s date on the calendar, the hands on the clock, the fear that threatens to overshadow me, the pain that I can only handle spoonfuls of at a time. I need to focus on now…just right now and breathe and take it all in. Tomorrow is practically here and with that I will find my resolve to face these things… But for now, I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it.