"Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." ---John 14:6
Monday, February 27, 2006
Yesterday I learned that the actor, Don Knotts, passed away and I was, and still am, saddened.
In this blog I've often written about Mayberry and for forty years I've watched and loved The Andy Griffith Show, due in large part to Don Knott's hilarious Barney Fife.
Last night I watched one of my favorite 'Barney episodes', one called The Song Festers. It's where, upon a dark, silent stage, Barney softly, tearfully sings part of Santa Lucia after he'd been asked to bow out of performing his solo. On a good day that episode makes me cry. On the day when I heard about the passing of Don Knotts, well, the tears came from a deeper place.
Few things in this life can be said to be perfect. But Knotts' Barney Fife was one of those few things. No one else could have played Barney, no one upon this planet. No one.
But then, no one else could play you or me, either.
No one else can teach the lessons you teach or touch others in the same way. There is a sense of perfection in that, too. And I hope you have found it.
I was going to title this post Farewell Barney Fife and yet Barney will always be here on film. I will keep Mr. Fife upon my shelves and when I need to be reminded of a place like Mayberry and how good life can really be, I'll slip The Andy Griffith Show into my dvd player and Deputy Barney Fife will live again.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
When I was eleven years old I became a Christian. It was wonderful, it was real.
And when I stare behind me and see those years after 11, I remember an increasing frustration and sense of guilt instead of increasing joy and peace like the Bible promised.
Why? Basically, it was because I tried to be like Jesus. I ... I.... I tried to be like God. But that wasn't my job and the frustration grew because I was in the wrong job. I plopped myself into an impossible career, one no person on Earth can handle, though I tried for the next 25 years.
I'd go to church every Sunday and was preached at that I should tell people about Jesus ("tell, tell,tell..that's the main thing") and I thought that meant telling strangers about the Jesus in the Bible. And my guilt grew like trees because talking to strangers scared me to tiny pieces.
I was told to 'be ye perfect' and I tried so hard and scribbled tons of plans and read stacks of books and tried and tried to be perfect. But I never even came close. And guilt grew taller and a sense of failure, too, as well as the need to wear a mask to hide all this mess. To appear as something I should be, but wasn't.
Probably many of you know exactly what I mean and it would be like watching your own version of "This Is Your Life."
Finally, God gave me a break. You could even say He put me out of my misery. He got my attention one night 12 years ago--and there was so much love. He knew I needed love after all the years of mental abuse and stress I'd given myself. But that night, the room was alive with love and acceptance--from Him. And that is when it's best--when the love comes straight to your heart from God's, bypassing other people, places or things first. At least, that is what I've found.
He told me we were starting over because I'd run this whole thing into a bottomless, dark ditch. I'd taken the reigns from Him many years prior and I'd gotten lost somewhere out in the Fog Of Doing It All Myself.
How good to begin again, to take baby steps with my tiny hand curled around His fingers. God was there to pull me back up and remind me that it's up to Him to keep me walking. My job is to cooperate. To learn. He loved me through it every mile of the way, never tossed me aside in my failures.
Oh, there are hard times, yes. It is never easy to die.
Over again I've had to die to what I had wildly insisted was true all my life. I've had to face the ugly, mishapen quasi-Christian creature I had formed and oh, how shocking to see that in His light! But how good of Him to stand beside me while facing it.
And whenever I fall, God is there to pull me up and remind me that it's up to Him to keep me walking. It's up to me to simply cooperate with whatever He tells me. And He loves me through it all.
And finally the little girl who was once 11 and terrified of telling others about Jesus, well, she can just laugh about that because how hard is it to tell others about the best friend you ever had?
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Yesterday while the morning was still black and blowing icy winds, Tom and I drove to the Big City for another of his back injections.
We had to travel over my least favorite thruway , then to a section which is always in the news for violent altercations, and arrive at the hospital in darkest downtown before 6:45 a.m.
All week I'd reminded myself of what I've written in this blog--how dreading things spoils potentially-special times. I tried, instead, to anticipate that something wonderful during that too-early-too-awful-thruway-drive Friday hospital visit.
But we got out of the car and were glad to see various workers all around us in the dark--safety in numbers and all that. And just as the ice in the wind whipped away our bodies' car-warmth, we stepped into the hospital's Main Lobby with it's scattered bistro tables, couches, coffee bar, fish tank and even a grand piano, lid opened high. It was as though we'd entered a 1930's nightclub! Bluesy music playing, people sitting drinking coffee beneath the warm lights and laughter, greetings and kindness.
Like walking into the Twilight Zone, only sweeter.
In a violent part of town, here was not just a huge, antiseptic hospital, but a meeting place for the elderly, especially, to meet safely, companionably, with their neighbors. There was no sickness required to hang around within these walls.
One woman at the desk searched for any piece of paper stating that Tom even existed, while the 60-ish woman beside her spoke to someone else about switching the stations back and forth between American Idol and Olympic skaters last night, also pausing to speak joyful greetings to anyone who walked past. Finally, the woman helping Tom, (but not helping), told the smiling woman next to her that she could find no record of Tom's appointment and rather than panic, moan or roll her eyes, Joy Woman simply laughed and said, "Well, let's see what we can do."
And then Joy Woman looked at our last name upon the sheet Tom handed her and remarked what a wonderful name it was. And because there is a certain word within our name, she commented about that word, how good it must be to have such a word in our last name--that it was special. By what she said, this woman gave us a hint that she knew God, and had she not been so efficient and able to send us merrily on our way before we even knew what happened, we would have acknowledged that we, too, were Christians.
But as we followed an adorable elderly gentleman volunteer, we simply voiced our warmest thanks to Joy Woman and we came away feeling as though we'd just spent time with Tess from Touched By An Angel.
And later, riding up and down the elevators and sitting in the child-sized chapel to kill time, I thought, "That's how I want to be--just like Joy Woman at the desk. But there's no way that's going to happen unless it comes from God, Himself."
And I was okay with that. I can trust Him enough to eventually get me to that place because He's brought me a thousand miles farther already than where I used to live before.
And you know? I'm looking forward to the remainder of the trip because with God, you never know what kind of surprises He's planned for you.
Especially when you switch from Dread to Anticipate.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Inside my car today I waited in the drive-thru lane of McDonalds (this is Tom's day off) and in the sun and light of winter it came to me what being spiritual really is.
Well, at least, what it means to me.
Being spiritual isn't what I used to believe it was, you know, memorizing Bible passages to impress people or being on so many committees at church that everyone calls my name as I step past. Or putting 'witnessing' and church and visitations before my spouse and my family or carrying my Bible with me everywhere and underlining nearly all the verses or trying to speak and write in an ultra-spiritual style to keep up with the 'big kids'.
No, as I sat in the car today reaching for the paper bag of chicken sandwiches the guy handed me, I thought being spiritual is waiting patiently, with a real smile, in a line, whether it be at McDonalds or the supermarket. It's hurrying to my quiet time with God in the mornings because I can hardly wait to get there and making sure there's always peace between Tom and me.
It's having compassion for people who live differently than I do and obeying God, even that that means tossing away my big plans and taking on His 'smaller' plans, instead. Or staying silent when I'm just dying to speak, or doing my good deeds in secret when I'd rather do them upon a stage.
My definition of being spiritual is always changing, like the light of morning deepening to the light of afternoon before switching, yet again, to twilight. Subtle changes happen over time and only in looking backward can I see how much my own pathway has brightened, how far I have come, and how the Great Light changes absolutely everything as long as I stay out of the grey shadows.
That is, as long as I prefer His path of mystery, and not my safe, worn rut.
Monday, February 20, 2006
Looking for something fun to do? Pray for the people who read your blog.
No matter what kind of a blog you keep, you can pray all sorts of things for people who stop by and read your words. You can even get sneaky and pray tons of blessings down upon that person who regularly freaks-out inside your comment box, disagreeing with everything you write. Just don't tell them, though. Wait a while until God starts to soften their heart toward you. ツ
I often pray for my readers, that they'll--
--find peace here, especially when reading late at night, unable to sleep, searching for comfort.
--understand what I'm trying to say. That I'll never write a sort of intellectual, religious mumble-jumble Christianese which would make anyone afraid that following God is far too complicated, boring or impossible.
--find at least one little thought in each post which they can, like a stick of gum, chew upon during the busy hours ahead...
--feel the love, the nearness, the breath of God while they do what must be done each day. That they will feel closer to Him today than they did yesterday.
--awaken each morning smiling with the anticipation of spending the day with God, Himself.
It's my idea of fun and I enjoy believing God's idea of fun is blessing others, also.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..." ... James 1:19
It's funny-sad. You mention certain well-known people, ones who have their own talk shows, tv ministries, radio programs or those who write controversial books or newspaper columns and so often certain people bristle and exclaim, "Oh, I never listen to that person! He/she believes _________ and I totally disagree, so I stopped listening to him/her years ago."
And when people say words like that to me or I read it online? Immediately a picture flashes through my mind: I see babies spinning down bathtub drains. You know, because of that old saying, "Don't throw out the baby with the bath water."
I'm sensitive to that attitude because I used to be the same way, always holding my ten-foot pole up to anyone with whom I disagreed.
Basically, fear was involved. Fear that untruths would tackle me and make me believe in them, even against my will. That gullibility would cause me to devour any little tasty, foreign morsel--and doom me forever.
And well, there are still things, teachings, I avoid even to this day, namely, anything I perceive as being contrary to the Bible. I'm not talking about opening myself up to that which is, hands down, evil or anti-God.
No. But what I am saying? These past years I've loosened up. I've begun listening to people who I don't agree with 100%, people from far different backgrounds and thought--and I have grown. I've discovered that every person has something to say, teach, even if it's as basic as, "Don't do what I have done. Don't let this happen to you."
But usually, the lessons are much more varied and I come away glad that I'm no longer filtering what I hear by a sort of fear factor. I'm not turning the tv channel just because a friend told me that she can't stand that person. No longer avoiding that tv ministry or that newspaper column just because a group of people or a blogger told me that the celebrity said or did _________ (fill in the blank).
No, because again, every person has something to teach me.
Will I listen long enough to actually come to care about that person or group and then pray for them out of compassion? Perfect love casts out all fear and the less I fear the differences in others, the more I am growing as a person because of the lessons each of us are placed here upon Earth to teach.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Once Tom and I drove to an estate sale way out in the country of a nearby town.
The large, white farmhouse had belonged to one family for over 140 years and that day, spread over acres, was the flotsam and jetsam removed from inside where families had burrowed together.
The tree-surrounded house had been purged of its decades and decades of stuff: 1940's lamp shades, sea-foam rugs, mahogany beds and tables, round boxes of Mother's Oats and bisque dolls in heaps. And books! One field looked like a garden ready to be harvested of its rows of boxes of books.
Tom and I, beneath cloudy, cold skies walked around, mesmerized. We poked at old items spread everywhere and oh, how I wished that I could've been one of the emptiers of that house. What fun to wade through all the drawers, cupboards, closets, making discoveries of treasures and serendipities which people hoarded over 100 years. Layers of stuff which decades of children and parents deemed worth keeping.
Slowly we drove home that day. Took a different route, one through hills bursting in autumn and thankfully, I wasn't the one driving because I was encased in a dream. I wondered about my own drawers and cupboards. What do they conceal? What do they reveal about me and what I like and who I am?
Probably, I'd be surprised.
Still, since that estate sale day, I've viewed my drawers and cupboards more like treasure chests which, someday, people will pick through. And part of me likes that idea, I want to collect unique, old things which will make the sifters-of-my-stuff smile with excitement of possible discovery.
But the other part? It wants to share the treasure right now with those who would appreciate them. Of course, hoarding is not exactly the 'godly way to go' so lately I find myself collecting my own flotsam and jetsam, yes, but with a different eye. With an eye and a spirit which can, at the drop of a 1930's felt hat, give away any bit of treasure to anyone who may voice an especial delight.
May I see all items in my drawers and cupboards as temporary--almost like foamy shells rolling into shore, then tumbling back out to sea. Here, then gone to a better belonging place.
And I want to look at my credit card as a type of golden ticket so to bless others with surprises on what may be a sad-afternoon-turned-sweeter after a walk to their mailbox and the discovery of treasures inside.
Rather like "gathering flowers while ye may" and giving them away this side of Heaven.
Friday, February 17, 2006
It's all one big adventure for me. My life, that is.
I mean, I watch adventure movies, but to me? The way I keep up with mopping the floors, washing all the clothes and dishes and paying the bills on time, cooking meals where everything is hot at once, exercising, running errands in the car when I'd rather stay home and trying to follow God's steps for me through it all, well, that's plenty of daily adventure for me.
And when I watch pro football or the Olympics and the sports announcers shout wildly into microphones, sounding as though a touchdown or a race won are similar to saving the world from blowing-up, well, it reminds me that whatever God asks me to do is just as important. With Him, there are no small things. He could ask me to make an encouraging phone call, but if I raced out at that moment and tried to feed the whole world instead, well, that would actually disobedience.
Obedience to God, always, is huge, even in what appears small in our eyes.
When those touchdowns are made or races won because of years of practice, faithfulness and persistence and going beyond ones own strength, well, when God wants me to be like that with my own simple blog? Then I, also, am involved in great adventure and reap rewards just as incredible.
Yet my rewards arrive in quiet ways, with no applause or notice from others, only whisperings from God. But that's ok--His 'atta girl' was all I craved, anyway.
Yet still as I watch tv sports, Olympics and adventure movies I find all the parallels to my own simple life. The lessons I've learned and the struggles I've faced are similar.
And I consider how God provides an adventurous life for all of us, though many people search for others' adventures, never a custom fit and usually disappointing.
Most of my adventures happen within my heart and all the practice, sacrifices and hard work are done in a stadium where just One sits watching, cheering. The main One. The best One.
And that's fine with me. That's more adventure than I can handle on any average day.
"Adventure is not outside man; it is within." ... David Grayson
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race] that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours." ... 1 Corinthians 9:24
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.” ... Helen Keller
Thursday, February 16, 2006
After five weeks at home following his shoulder surgery, Tom will return to work tomorrow.
No more hours lolling around in our winter room watching movies and tv series on dvd, trying to be first to solve the mysteries, squealing toward the tv, "Wait for back-up! Stay out of that dark room! Shoot him! Shoot him!"
No more days when, if I washed a load of laundry, ran down to the video store, wrote in my blog and washed the dishes in between movies, I considered it a highly productive day.
And ok, maybe I wasn't a mega-productive, but it was a learning season. But then, every season is rife with lessons.
I relearned a lot these past 5 weeks, like, God sends Grace to help me do anything, only sometimes I fail to open the door for her when she knocks. I keep her standing outside in the rain while inside, I try to keep my normal schedule. Yet here God sent Grace almost Mary Poppins-style to give me a break. To present peace and rest in the middle of this season of helping Tom. To give me permission to sit and keep him company while he healed.
He reassured me there was nothing more important to do. Never is anything more vital than what God asks us to do at any given time.
The only hard minutes these weeks were when I felt pressured to do 'business-as-usual', to keep up, do work, alone, when Grace and I should have been doing it together.
But I'm learning. Like, when I'm frustrated, I've again, shut Grace out of the house and closed my ears to her knocking. I've, like a child who's failing at dressing herself, cried, "I do it myself! I do it myself!" till she falls in an exhausted heap upon the floor.
I'm learning to recognize that frustration comes from one of two things:
Either I am doing what God never asked me to in the first place
I'm doing what God asked me, but I'm doing it without His help. Without Grace.
Frustration, for me, has become like a red light suddenly flashing on a car's dashboard. "Warning! Warning! Something is wrong!" And when I see that red light I'm learning to veer off the road, sit awhile and calm down.
Then proceed with Grace to the next season just up ahead.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
For the record, I hate complication. Hate it. Hate it.
What do I mean by complication?
Complication, to me, is knowing in my heart what God wants me to do, yet analyzing that thing to death, then trying to enhance God's instructions with my own bright ideas. And failing all around.
You know, like when God asks you to show kindness to strangers and then your head, like rapid fire, starts shooting questions like:
"But what if I'm just hearing things? What if this isn't even You at all?"
"What if that person doesn't need any help/kind words?
"What if I suddenly can't think of a thing to say?"
"Shouldn't I do something bigger than what you're asking me to do?"
"What if they think I'm weird/demented/looney?"
That's the kind of complication I'm talking about. That type of mind game complication (drama?) has cheated me out of years' worth of a grateful, giving life and denied others of what God wanted to give them through me.
Another word for this kind of complication is reasoning. Hate that, also, even though some Christians declare they thrive on figuring-out in their minds what to do or say or think or who to follow.
Well, they can have it.
I feel cheated anytime I do what God never asked me to do in the first place. Why? Because only God's ideas will succeed and bless others.
What have I chosen now instead of complication? Simplicity. Good old-fashioned simplicity which resonates more like this:
"You want me to help that person, Lord? Ok, show me what to do and then I'll trust you for the words to say."
"You want me to invite company over to my house? Well, please help me to keep things simple and think more about my friends having a good time rather than impressing them with the way my house looks."
Simplicity. Longing to know God so well that I can hear Him whisper then obeying, not asking for five signs and miracles before I'll step out on the water.
Coming away with God when He calls to those quiet places where I can best hear Him assuring me that He'll enable me to walk on any body of water up ahead.
"Simon answered, 'Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.'" ... Luke 5:5
Monday, February 13, 2006
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27
That's the verse I was reminded of when I read something my friend, Wilma, wrote to our old-fashioned email group. One of the ladies thanked Wilma for the Valentine she'd mailed to her home and this was part of Wilma's reply:
"I'm glad the cards gave you a bit of cheer. That's really what I like about Valentine's Day. A bit of cheer in the dark of Feb. I try to send them to my housebound or nursing home neighbors and friends also. I get so much fun from doing it and it's good to know someone was made happy."
Amen, like, a million times!
February 14th comes around when many people feel desperate for Springtime flowers, sunny afternoons, walks and porch talks with friends. I can only imagine how dark this month is for those who are shut-in, forgotten.
When I first read Wilma's words I immediately regretted that I'd not sent out Valentines to more widows. True, a couple of my friends are widows and I did send them sweet little cards in pink envelopes. But next year may I mail more Valentines to widows or singles or those, alone.
May I remember that a Valentine can act like hope and good memories and sweetness all-rolled-into-one upon a simple piece of paper. A Valentine can create a smile and gratitude, too, for being remembered.
Millions of people are desperate for even the most simple forms of love. Sometimes we forget that.
Last year I wrote about Anytime Valentines and I'd almost forgotten about those. I might mail some of those out later this month and on into March. Perhaps I'll include gift certificates or homemade certificates of promised gifts or visits. Or pass along Anytime Valentines with flowers from my garden later near summertime.
The possibilities are endless because peoples' needs are endless.
Wilma and I agree: we just cannot understand how anyone could ever, ever hate Valentine's Day(???) Heaven forbid.
Happy Valentine's Day to all my readers!
There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.
~ Mother Teresa
You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived, are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love.
~ Henry Drummond
Sunday, February 12, 2006
For the first twenty years of our marriage, Tom was always on the worship team of any church we attended.
Church to church, people were charmed by his singing and more, by the way he could lead a congregation to what felt like the very throne of God. And more than anyone else, I loved to hear him sing, also, be it at home, at church, around camp fires or at the occasional concert where he sang alone or with a band.
But one thing made me crazy.
Being in the power plant, a business which operates 24/7 and is known for its wild work schedules, Tom often had to miss church one or two Sundays each month. There was no avoiding that. Yet always I would pack up Naomi and we'd go to church on those Tom-less Sundays. And no matter which church, the same old thing would happen when I would walk through the doors.
People would look at me, smile real big and then ask, "Where's Tom?"
Man, over and over. Time after time, "Where's Tom?" Not, "Good to see you, Debra!" or "How are you doing, Debra?" or "My! Aren't you the faithful little thing, Debra."
Nope, always just plain ol' thoughtless, "Where's Tom?"
Well, when you're the shy, insecure mess that I used to be, that kind of thing stirs up your nerves. I mean, it didn't matter how 'important' I became in any church or how many classes I taught or how many acts of kindness I did, still, year after year it was, "Where's Tom?"
Since I do try to be honest in this blog, well, I'll say here that it took me around 20 years to finally stop getting my feelings hurt by that constant "Where's Tom?" stuff. But the hurt stopped only God became more important to me than people. It ceased only after my love for God grew stronger than my love for everyone else.
And also? When I realized people are just people and I need to give them time and space to grow. You know, like God had given me much time.
Oh, all this took so much change, dying to self, lessons, time and --but God proved faithful and got His points across. Thankfully.
And those changes are what I write about in this blog. The changes God has made in my life are what I'm recording here.
Anyway, the difference now? Indescribable. Go ahead and ask me, "Where's Tom?" when I step through any door.
I'll just pause, then God and I will laugh at the silliness of it all.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Somewhere along the way I discovered some things, namely it:
--ruins my day to get my feelings hurt about little things.
--takes much concentration and energy to hold a grudge.
--requires too many idle words to gossip about how others treated me.
My life became sweeter, more peaceful when, instead of automatically becoming upset with other people, I chose to ask God, "So, like, how am I doing?"
"Have I spent this whole day under a cloud because of what was said to me? Am I toying with becoming a recluse?"
"Was my verbal reaction to that criticism something you, Lord, would have said?"
"How about my emotional reaction? Are my feelings headed down, down into a spiral?"
"Am I learning the lessons I'm supposed to be learning through all this?"
Oh, the difference!
I can't change others, but I can, with God's help, change myself. And also? I can forgive others--and move on.
God gives me the power, the energy to change, but He does not give me power to stay upset with people. So that's what wears me out.
So may I make right choices so I can keep going and going and ---
"Love hardly even notices when others do it wrong." 1 Corinthians 13:4
"One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life." Chinese Proverb
Thursday, February 09, 2006
I belong to one of the Internet's most old-fashioned groups. It's a Good Thing.
Some of us are mailing paper Valentines to each other and I worked on mine this afternoon while sitting upstairs in my dream room, listening to my record player.
My cats slept nearby on my bed and there was snow outside the windows and a pool of light on the table where I filled out my Valentines. I smiled because always, signing Valentine cards makes me feel 10-years-old again and reminds me of the delight of Valentine's Day parties (oh those cupcakes!) in warm elementary school rooms.
I find it sad that so many people hate Valentine's Day. I love it.
I view it as Friendship Day and revel in it, heart-shaped confetti and all. And may I never blast and spoil such a sweet holiday and become sour, Grinch-like about sharing a card and a grateful sentiment for the sake of friendship--on any day.
May I never let others' negativity win, spread and thrive. But instead, may I celebrate each holiday on my own terms (when I can) and keep them all with joy.
Personally, I never have anything better to do than let people know that God and I love them. Because after all, that's what always matters most, any and all days, indeed.
"When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people." ... Abraham Joshua Heschel
"The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines." ... Charles Kuralt
On Tuesday night the fog rolled out of my head and the sun arose, making Life appear good again. How good to feel good!
During my Flu Days, Tom and I watched probably 14,000 dvd's (well...), but on one of them, a young man doubted whether he should continue his training to become a priest. Taking time off, her later shared his doubts with his own priest who had some, ok, I'll say it--rather dubious advice. He chuckled and asked the young man, "Is that all? All these years later, I'm still waiting to feel certain that I should have become a priest." He went on to tell him, basically, that you just have to hope you've made the right choice, do the best you can, yada, heard-it-all-before, yada.
What's up with that? I think this is true:
"A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." James 1:8.
I've found there's zero peace in making a decision, then wondering whether I should have made a different one. That's more like fear--fearing I've missed God, disappointed Him or that I'll never feel fulfilled no matter what I choose.
Yikes! Fear brings torment (1 John 4:18). And that's the last thing God wants us to live with. (Can you imagine?)
I've found that crumpling-up my own agenda helps me make more right choices. I make fewer wrong decisions when I'm not in this life for myself, but rather, for whatever God asks. His ways are always right and He's never made a mistake in His whole life.
Such great comfort--I can be led by Him! And if I make a mistake? He'll be there to right my wrongs and lead me back to correct paths.
It's my own agenda where I become lost and mess up everything.
We walk by faith, yes, but we are also led by God. His ways? Always the right ones so what remains is that I stay oh so close to Him. Listen. And obey.
"For He is not a God of confusion and disorder but of peace and order." 1 Corinthians 14:33
"...because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." Romans 8:14
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Here in this blog I've talked about Fairy days, Nevada Days and who knows what other kind of days.
Lately I am having Godzilla Days. Ugh.
Turns out, this is no simple cold. No, this is the flu. Man, I can understand how elderly people die from this. I've fantasized about crawling beneath our bedroom dresser, lying flat, all the while hoping God would meet me there and whisk me away to Heaven, sick, ailing body and all. (Can you say 'delirious'?)
Yes, these are Godzilla days. My poor house looks like Godzilla trudged through it, and stepped back through the kitchen again. I, myself, look like the bride of Godzilla (think I'm kidding?). And well, if Godzilla is a big, fat whiner, that's another resemblance.
And here's what might prove to be a helpful note: If you're looking for a stock to invest in, you may want to try Kleenex. Just trust me on this one.
But I'm grateful for one thing.
Although I have phone calls and emails piling-up, God is giving me a break. He's says He's not expecting me to take care of all these loose ends at this moment of sickness. He knows exactly how horrible I'm feeling and that I'm able only to curl up in my chair and try to stay warm as I watch tv with Tom (he with the arm in the sling).
Again and again I must give myself that same permission. I keep wanting to push myself to answer those emails, phone calls and errands yet almost hourly I remind myself that--even on good days--God only expects me to do what He gives me the grace to do. That's all.
God doesn't stress me out. I do that to myself.
And over and over in my near-delirious state, I keep reminding myself of that.
A very special thanks to each of you who left comments after reading my last post.Please keep praying(she says as she drags herself up the stairs, slow step by slow step, in her greatest, dramatic form. Where are the Oscar people when you need them?) Heh.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
The good news? For 2 1/2 years I did not contract one single cold. That may be a personal record, due in part to taking 1,000 - 2,000 mg.'s of Vitamin C every single day of those lovely cold-free years.
The bad news? Last night I came down with a stupid, beyond annoying cold. Bleh.
But the second my throat scratched a mega bit, I swallowed lots of Vitamin C which probably helped me have just a sore throat all one sleepless night and not two. But still, I've been one wilted, sleep-deprived, woe-is-me puppy all day.
And I am so sick of hot lemon juice. Sick of it, do you hear? ジ
But the other good news? We've had only a faint powdered sugar snow so far and I didn't need to drive anywhere today. And Tom is home. And I've been so quiet, so complacent, that even all the hours and hours of Super Bowl pre-game stuff has appeared quite interesting, maybe even delightful. (Not being a football fan, that may mean I'm a lot sicker than I thought. Perhaps even delirious?)
There's even more good news. This, too, shall pass. It shall. (Right?)
Friday, February 03, 2006
... is quickly disappearing from our table. But oh my, it was delicious while it lasted.
Yes, here where I live, we've been having what I call, a Piece of Cake Winter. I mean usually, January is our iciest, most dangerous month. The month where you stay home and when you do get outside, everyone is bundled and huddled-over while taking baby steps across parking lots of ice.
It's the month when we all ask,"Why do we even live here?"
Oh, but not this January. No, last month was like early Spring-without-the-flowers. It was a month of stepping outside the door, feeling the gentle air upon your face and exclaiming, "Man! I can't believe how warm it is!"
Some people don't believe in global warming. I do.
But you know about cake don't you? You have it one day and then you want it the next day, also. And the next. Soon you start demanding cake. And next, you can't even imagine life without cake.
Well, this glorious January has been like that and everyone in my town has become terribly spoiled.
But this weekend? Piece of Cake Winter will finally be taken from our table, crumbs and all. This spring-in-winter party will be over and oh well. The party was lovely while it lasted and I thanked the Host many times for showing us such a good time.
The lake effect snows will swirl-in this weekend and it's up to me to not let them bury my gratitude for what we had. Awhile.
And now may I stay far away from complaining, reminding myself, this, too, shall pass.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Something happened last Saturday, something I didn't tell you about, but then, that's not unusual. There are many things I never mention here.
But anyway, Naomi and Carl came over for lunch to celebrate Naomi's birthday. In between caring for Tom and keeping house, I'd shopped for Naomi and given a lot of thought to this lunch and her gifts. The anticipation was sweet.
The lunch went well as did the gift opening. But afterward, Naomi gave us the bad news about her worse-than-we-dreamed financial situation and that she may need to move back home in March for a 'couple weeks'. We asked questions--made not a single accusation, did not raise our voices one mini-bit-- yet she shut down. Told Carl she was ready to leave. We offered to change the subject, but no. Naomi dragged a poor, in-the-middle-of-it-all Carl out of our house.
I sat at the table, stunned at this swirling whirlwind too reminiscent of earlier years--and cried. But not many tears--by the time you've had a child for 26 years, your mother's heart has toughened a bit. You've been through this before and learned the difference between the end of the world and just another problem which someday will be a memory.
I told Tom, if he wanted, I'd run down to the video store and get the next disc of 24. 24 is great for taking your mind off of what is going wrong in your life. At least, it works for awhile.
He said that would be great, so he walked back to our winter room, using his cane and with his arm in the sling, and I got into the car and immediately switched on Kimberley Locke's song, Eighth World Wonder. Then out in the sunshine with that song, already the world felt better.
Down at the video store (where they've come to know me quite well since Tom's operation), I chatted with Brenda, the woman our age who recommended 24 to us, as though everything was just fine. With people behind me in line, there was no time to complain about the-birthday-lunch-gone-wrong.
But sometimes that's a good thing. Those few words with Brenda reminded me that life still goes on. It's fluid, flowing forward and I need to cooperate with it and move along.
Then driving home through the sunshine and the song again and then back in the house, Tom told me he had cried a bit while I was gone. But I told him already I felt better and I tried to share the sun and the song and the video store chat with him as reminders that yes, we will move past this day.
In a way, I was giving Tom pills for the pain--the same pills I'd been given after I left the house. But you realize the thing about those, don't you?
Pain pills heal nothing. If you only take pain pills for an ugly, gaping wound, that wound can still become infected and kill you.
Everyone knows the old saying, "Time heals all wounds." Well, Dr. Phil says "Time heals nothing," and at first I disagreed with him. Quickly I recalled how Time, always moving forward, had whisked me far away from the moment of specific injuries. Time carried me to places beyond the wound and left it so far behind me that, even in looking backward, not one hint of pain resurfaced.
No, but now I think Dr. Phil just may be right. Time is more like a pain pill. Time can dull the pain of a gaping wound, but it cannot clean it or stitch it up so that it will heal-over, leaving just a tiny scar.
No, now I believe God heals all wounds. And we help Him by cooperating.
Maybe that's why Tom and I, both, felt a lot better after watching the 24 dvd(stay with me. I know that sounds funny.)
I think many of us never feel healed because we can't sit still long enough for any surgery God wants to perform. Instead we run, run to friends, phones, professionals, liquor, food and who knows what else. We grasp for anything but God so then he cannot hold us down long enough to stitch us up.
We run and God cannot take us into His lap and hug and whisper comfort in our ear.
Maybe Tom and I felt better after watching 24 simply because we sat still. I know as I sat there, I kept one ear opened to God's whisper. He can speak an encouraging word in just a second, but you have to wait for it, expect it.
You often have to sit still for it.
Yet when it comes? Oh my, there's nothing like the healing His words, His love, bring. I know, because I heard Him whisper to me that day--and felt whole again.