There are two things which are eternal: Love and the Soul.
If the things we do in this temporal world do not nurture that which is eternal, then we are doing all people a terrible injustice.
There are two things which are eternal: Love and the Soul.
If the things we do in this temporal world do not nurture that which is eternal, then we are doing all people a terrible injustice.
I said some day I would write this down. Figure it all out. Make the story make sense. Because I am a figurer… and a planner… and a puzzle solver. It’s what I do. I may do it on a small scale, but I do it whole-heartedly. And often.
It was 2014 when I said to Dom, “What if I went back to school? What if I wanted a master’s degree? Would you be cool with that?”
I wasn’t asking permission to expand my horizons, mind you; Dom would never hold me back from what I felt called to do with my time. But we are a team, and I needed to know if he could sacrifice some dinners or pitch in with the housework while I studied for the next two years. I knew this would not be easy on any of us. I would publicly state two years later, “If I ever say that I want to go back to school for a third time, someone hit me in the head with a rock.” It was an adequate statement, and I sensed it before I even began.
So there I was, rocking along toward an MBA. Dinners were still relatively on schedule. Dom was becoming a laundry KING. I was stressed out and stretched too thin, but I was killing it, or so I thought. And then the bottom fell out.
October 2015. I’d been in school for a year. One down, one to go. Mid-way through Halloween decorations and smack in the middle of terms, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with Stage 3 pancreatic cancer. We live right next door to her, and of the six of us “kids” (her three sons and their wives) I had the most flexible work schedule. So I rose to the occasion. I managed to balance school and work and doctors’ appointments. Against all odds, Mom lived. Hell, she was outright cured. I fell to my knees in gratitude and when I rose I danced and cried and danced some more. I had plenty to be thankful for and I was ready to shout it from the rooftops.
Six months after the doctors looked at my mother-in-law in astonishment and I thanked God and every saint I could name, I finished that dang program and got my MBA. The trials were over; the dust had settled. There was light at the end of our tunnel.
I thought the achievement of the degree would satisfy me, but a desire to do more started murmuring in my head and wouldn’t shut up. What good was that degree if I wasn’t going to use it? What had all the struggle been for if nothing was going to change? Why did I pay that tuition if my family would never see some return on the investment?
So I said to Dom one morning, standing at our bathroom sinks, “Among those companies that your company works with, if you hear of any job opening that I might be good at, let me know, okay?”
I don’t know how much time passed between that statement and a certain phone call. “Hey, remember when you said for me to keep an ear open for jobs?” he asked. “OIB is looking for a credit analyst.”
Seriously. That’s how this journey unfolds. The next thing I knew, I had an interview. I’ll never forget it – March 30, 2017. My father-in-law had a doctor’s appointment that morning at the same time as my interview. After two years of my accompanying them to every appointment and my helpful ability to recall dates and details so that I was almost a walking medical file on my mother-in-law, Pop wanted me there at his appointment. “That’s alright,” I remember him saying. “They’re just going to look at my esophagus and figure out why I can’t swallow. It’s no big deal.” That wasn’t self-pitying sarcasm; he genuinely meant it and I believed him.
I had my interview and came back to my office at the Catholic Center to tell my co-workers, “Y’all, I bombed that thing! There is no way I’m getting that job.”
Within an hour my phone was ringing. Remember that light at the end of my tunnel? Turns out, it was another train. Dom told me that Pop’s appointment that morning had taken a morbid turn. Esophageal tumor. A biopsy had been scheduled, but it was most likely cancer. No. Just, no.
Sometime in the next three weeks, Pop’s diagnosis and treatment were confirmed, and I got the job. It was bittersweet, to say the least. In a new work environment with entry-level vacation time, there was no way I could attend all of Pop’s appointments as I had attended Mom’s. Everything felt upside down and I felt guilty for so many things – for being happy about new opportunity when those I loved were so distraught, and also for not being available to my extended family when they needed me.
I cannot imagine that I was much good those first six months of my employment at the bank. My family was going through some tough stuff – scary, and yet too familiar all at the same time – and I did not have my same confidantes and supporters in my day-to-day world. I had new people. Wonderful people, but not those onto whom I thought I could dump all my crazy and still keep my job. I held it in, for the most part. I only let out the little bits that I thought wouldn’t send my new coworkers running for the hills or searching for the nearest straightjacket. I know now that I did not give them nearly enough credit.
As 2017 drew to a close I experienced my first series of working holidays. Switching careers from the Catholic Church to banking is culture shock, to say the least. We work on Christmas Eve?? Are you kidding me?? Perhaps I would not have been as selfish with my holidays if I were not watching Pop dwindle in strength and spirit with each passing day. I managed to take some time off after Christmas that year, and I vividly recall taking a phone call from my new friend and supervisor as I stood in the backyard on a partly cloudy, cold December day. She was informing me that our community bank was being bought by a larger bank. Our merger would be complete in February.
I spent that last week of December mentally willing myself to see the silver lining in our merger. Maybe I would start to grow into my position and gain some confidence. I had not been with the community bank long enough to feel credibility in how I did my job; maybe that would change. I don’t know if I was tricking myself, but I managed to feel hopeful about the whole thing. Maybe this was why God led me into banking. Perhaps I would find my footing after all.
Three days into 2018 Pop succumbed to the cancer we could not beat. I don’t have to tell you how badly that hurt. I started comparing the timelines and sizing up his cancer journey and my OIB journey. Both began on the same day. Both ended within just a few weeks of each other. Both turned my world upside down. Both were beautiful and painful. Both would leave permanent marks on my heart.
The following month I spent my birthday in training for the new bank. My heart was still heavy, my body was still tired, and my head hurt with too much new information. While I had only six months of procedures to re-learn, my co-workers had years’ worth. I was quite surprised (and somewhat ashamed) at the relief I felt as more and more people joined me in my unsteady little boat of The Unknown. I finally felt like we were all on the same ground, rather than me being in a pit while everyone else stood far above me. To be fair, some days we were all above the pit, and some days we were all down in it, but at least we were together. Misery does indeed love company.
It was somewhat similar at home. Some days we were all smiles and some days we were just weepy messes. Oh, I could talk a good game – God’s plan for our lives, waiting patiently on the Lord, no need to worry about tomorrow, blah blah blah. I was saying it, but I wasn’t instantly buying into it even as the words were passing my lips. Okay, yes, my heart knew the truth. But it was like my brain had just been through a war-zone video game that it couldn’t shake even though the game was over. There were no winners in that game, by the way; it was all just destruction and shambles – programmed blood and pixelated gore that I couldn’t unsee. There was real loss that I couldn’t unfeel.
I recall one particular Spring day when I was feeling especially down and I was complaining to Dom that making new friends at work had not been easy, that I missed terribly the sisterhood I left behind at the Catholic Center, and that I didn’t know if I’d ever have that level of emotional camaraderie again. His response gutted me. “I know how you feel,” he said. “Think of who I hung out with, who I shared everything with when I wasn’t with you. Daddy was my best friend; we did everything together. If I wasn’t with you or at work, I was with him. I don’t have that anymore.”
The realization stung as it sunk in. I had been so laser-focused on what I was missing that I failed to see the innumerable layers to Dom’s loss. My selfishness had known no bounds.
I wasn’t willing to ignore our feelings at home, and fortunately neither was Dom. We began to set aside time every night just to be together and talk about our day with no distractions. We tried to make sense of where we were, both personally and professionally. Did we want what we had? Did we like who we were? Were we simply too scared to change? The answers varied, depending on the day’s events, but ultimately we realized that we had been changed by our experiences, not ruined by them. The question that remained was simply, “What now?”
In the midst of our grief-filled year, we had some pretty significant events – Aaron graduated from high school and we dropped him off at college. I managed to distract myself from the additional changes in our home by focusing on travel, crafts and holiday party plans. But December found me at my lowest point. For the first time in memory, my favorite season of all was not filled with hope and wonder and peace. I had no spare vacation time and was working through Christmas. I came home one night in tears and vowed to Dom, “I will not do this to another Christmas season. I have to have a different job before this time next year.”
As 2018 became dust and shadows I realized that we had been to Mass approximately four times during the year, not counting Pop’s funeral. How had I been such an idiot? No wonder the year had been so hard. I prayed still, but my prayers were more akin to venting sessions with the hopes of a magic eraser. They lacked gratitude. I began to see that as a general rule, I lacked gratitude. This had to change.
“We gotta go to Mass,” I finally told Dom after the year anniversary of Pop’s death. “We gotta get our butts back in a pew or we are never going to recover from this.”
He nodded. “I feel it too. We need a major change, though. Maybe a different church.”
I could be on board with this. I understood the sentiment. We needed a drastic enough change that we could see and feel a fresh, new start. “Okay,” I said. “But, can I ask one thing? When we change churches, can we still be Catholic?”
“I’m not gonna quit being Catholic!” he exclaimed, and then we both laughed – he with amusement and I with relief.
There were so many issues with changing churches that my stomach soured at the thought of addressing them all. Victoria was in the middle of her Confirmation year; I served on the church finance council; our church had a new pastor whom I deeply respected and whose feelings I did not want to hurt; we had grown to love so many of the congregation members, and all of those people had supported us and loved us through the highs and lows of the previous twelve years. There was no way leaving wasn’t going to be awkward.
I decided to start with the pastor of the church we would attend: the church where it all started – where I fell in love with Midnight Mass, where I became Catholic, where we were married, where our children first learned how to sit still in a pew. In other words, home. I called Father Tim, whom I know from my days at the Catholic Center, and said, “I need confession and consultation.” He came to my office and we talked about all my issues. There wasn’t a single problem I brought up for which he didn’t have a reassuring answer. It was not official, sacramental “confession,” though I did share with him all the ways I had gone wrong in the past year and my general state of discontent.
“You need to come back and work for the church,” he said. I laughed. He didn’t. “Why not?”
It was the question that would start the healing I needed. The next time I saw him, he outlined a job description for a new position he was creating. I didn’t tell him right away, but that description was exactly what I had decided I wanted to do – a little HR, a little insurance, budgeting, facility management – basically, managing a small business. I just never thought that business would be a church. But, if I’m qualified for anything, it’s a church job. We touched base with each other several times over the next two months while he fine-tuned the position and took applications and I prayed for direction.
“You still interested?” he’d ask.
“Yep.” I handed him my resume. “You still hiring?”
It became official on April 17, 2019, just a few weeks past the two-year anniversary of the kick-off of my journey. I got the job. I’m back in the fold. I’m going home.
In The Lord of the Rings epic, Tolkien wrote, “Not all those who wander are lost.” It feels like I have wandered for two solid years, and I frequently felt lost. Hindsight is 20/20, and only now I can look back and see that I may have lost myself but God never lost me. Even when I let go of his hand, he still had my back. He blessed me with new, dear friends and a bank “family” who consoled me in my loss and lifted me with their daily presence for two years. Perhaps he blessed me with a little darkness so that I could appreciate the light. And he blessed me with opportunity – to sacrifice, to grow and to love. My mental image is of me as a child, toddling away toward something shiny while God gently reaches out and holds a belt loop to keep me steady. The toddler, oblivious to everything in the periphery, is only aiming for what’s ahead, and what’s ahead is always going to be unknown to us. But we learn when we wander. We learn so much.
** Since this post contains Dom’s feelings as well as mine, I had him read it to be sure he was okay with my sharing and required no edits before this was published. He said he had only one edit from my original draft: that I share my mental image of God as Henry Blake from M*A*S*H. It’s true. From the time I was little, I envisioned God with Colonel Blake’s quirky hat and fishing vest, complete the the pinned lures. I have no idea why I made that association at such a young age, but there it is. Since Henry Blake was always smiling and happy, yet still Large-and-In-Charge, I suppose it’s fitting in its own way. I can definitely picture him corralling a toddler by the belt loop. And that’s good enough for me.
We all grieve. We grieve things, circumstances, pets, people. It’s a process. It’s long and it’s messy. I hate messy.
Sometimes during the process I realize all over again the finality of the situation. The bus just pulled away from the station without me. The person I love is on the bus. Gone. Just like that. Can’t call him. Can’t go visit. No more last minute Hey-would-you-mind or How’s-your-day-been. The imaginary line just buzzes, or worse, I get that upward ringing tri-tone and the voice that annoys me even though it’s pleasant. “We’re sorry. The person you are trying to reach…”
I know, I know. He’s gone. I get it.
For the last two nights I’ve dreamed about Pop. They’re perfectly normal days and circumstances in the dreams, except that I’m aware Pop is supposed to be dead. I’m glad he’s not, but I’m confused. He awakes from his chair, round faced and wide-eyed. “Hey!” he says as he gets up and walks outside. The family follows. He chats ‘em up. I hear him laughing. That laugh.
I’m staring dumbfounded after him. I turn to my sister-in-law. “They embalmed him,” I say. “How is he walking and talking?” She shrugs. And then she smiles.
“Where are the groceries?” Pop asks as he throws his arms around a grandson. Groceries are dinner. Pop’s ready to eat. What in the world is that doing in my dream? I don’t know, but there it is. I hear him laugh again.
I think of cooking, and suddenly remember that my food-prep knives are dull. Really dull. Pop always sharpened them for me. I’d send them next door and he would bring them back, five deadly weapons wrapped neatly in newspaper. “Wash those before you use them,” he would advise. Hey, maybe Pop can sharpen my knives while he’s here. I’ll ask him after dinner.
Pop moves to stand beside me and I examine his profile. His hair is not the white I expected. It’s black, peppered with a little grey, I notice. He’s younger than when I last saw him. How is that possible? I reach to touch him and he moves away. If he’s aware of my confusion, he doesn’t let on. I let it go. Food. Pop was hungry. I need to get food made. I turn toward a kitchen I do not recognize and wonder why my legs are bound. I can’t move as freely as I should. I look down into nothing.
My eyes open and I’m staring at my bedroom ceiling. My legs are bound by the sheets, comforter, and a Siberian Retriever. Move over, Max. I gotta go help fix dinner.
Except that I don’t. There’s no dinner to fix. No Pop to eat it. The realization brings back the heaviness. Ding, dinng, dinnng… “The person you are trying to reach…”
I was cleaning up my laptop files today and found this letter I had completely forgotten that I wrote back in 2015. I do not recall if I ever sent it, nor do I think I could even retrace my steps to find the person for whom it was originally written. But when I read it today, it struck a chord, as I’m sure the writings of the young girl for whom it was intended originally struck me. I still feel the sentiments expressed here quite powerfully, so they belong in this forum. I hope it helps somebody.
Hi there. Let me introduce myself by saying that I am a mom. I sing horribly, embarrass my kids with unbridled car-dancing, and say cliché things like, ‘I am old enough to be your mother,’ mostly because I am. I have two teenagers, and one has turned me on to the Gorillaz. So there I was, surfing around for the backstory on the characters so I could know more about why this real band had these interesting cartoon images, when I stumbled upon your blog. And for the life of me, I cannot get your personal comments out of my head. So, that is essentially why I’m writing to you…because I’ve read your blog, comments others have made and comments you have made back in reply. And they touched me.
Let me also say that I do not make a habit of getting in the business of other people’s families. I have never suffered from anxiety or depression or gender fluidity, so I am puzzled by my own need to reach out to you, for I know I have little to offer you in the way of support. Except that I am a Christian. I hope that confession does not instantly conjure negative images or emotions for you, because I believe that as a Christian it is my mission to love. And with that in mind, I want to give you hope.
I want to tell you that your life has value, that you ARE important and dignified and worthy of love beyond measure. I want to tell you to never, ever, ever give up on who you are, because you are an inspiration to people and can be even more of one if you just allow yourself the time and space to grow. What you have done with your blog, in my opinion, is given people a chance to let their thoughts be heard without judgment or repercussion. You have allowed people to be free to express themselves in a way that we stuffy adults don’t seem to understand.
Honestly, we do understand it. I think sometimes we’re so jealous of youth that we would rather hold it in oppression than let it blossom into something new and beautiful. I, for instance, still feel 25, newly initiated into adulthood, swinging the world on a string. I look in the mirror and that is not a vibrant 25-year old staring back at me. It’s a little unsettling sometimes. 😉
YOU are strong and brave and amazing for your honesty and strength of spirit. And I know that not every day is sunshine and roses, but I want you to recognize the days or even the moments that are, and believe that in your future those days and moments will become more numerous than they are now.
I am not the sort that goes around spewing scripture at people, and I am certainly not going to preach to you. In fact, the only people I want to hit over the head with a Bible are the ones who are using it to spread hate. But I heard a verse today and it made me think of you, so I want to share it, in the hope that it will give you some peace:
“Everyone will sit under their own vine, and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid…” (Now, why that is not grammatically correct is beyond me and it drives me crazy, but I digress.)
That made me think of you because I think that sitting under our own vine means we are each different, living our own ways of life, enjoying the customs and lifestyles that fit each of us. The part that I hope you find comfort in is the second part: ‘and no one will make them afraid.’
Some day, some day we will get it. Some day we will stop trying to change people because we disagree with them. Some day we will stop trying to control others because we want them to be just like us. Some day there will be no reason to worry or fear. That day, I know, has not yet come. But as long as you breathe you have hope within you. I will pray that sustains you in the hard times. Please, please remember that even when you think this party we call life is not worth the cover charge, there is a middle-aged lady in Louisiana who thinks you’re pretty cool.
Peace for your beautiful soul,
Some ticks of the clock have the power to take our breath away. I think those moments exist to remind us who we are and why we’re here. They come from out of nowhere, flooding our souls with either joy or melancholy or simply reason to reflect. I experienced one of these moments just the other night.
The four of us had just finished watching a movie together in the darkness of our family room. The fireplace roared with hearty flames to warm us as we relaxed together for an impromptu movie night. As the final scenes flashed on the large screen above us, Aaron and Victoria stood and stretched. Aaron, my quietly-growing 7th grader, approached me as I stood, preparing to share our traditional good-night hug before asking if I would come tuck him in. A new song of the soundtrack cranked up as the final credits rolled upward, and I reached to hug Aaron, only I didn’t let go. He looked confused for a minute until I took one of his hands in my palm, in traditional dance posture, and began to sway with him in front of the fireplace, my cheek resting on top of his head. We danced through the end of the song surrounded by light from only the television screen and the flames that danced with us. I glanced toward Dom and saw the sweetest smile on his face. And I never wanted that moment to end.
My favorite inspirational author, Max Lucado, describes what he calls an Eternal Instant as “A moment that reminds you of the treasures surrounding you. Your home. Your peace of mind. Your health. A moment that tenderly rebukes you for spending so much time on temporal preoccupations such as savings accounts, houses, and punctuality. A moment that can bring a mist to the manliest of eyes and perspective to the darkest life.”
This moment, this eternal instant, did just that for me. And so very much more.
Today begins the liturgical season of Lent for many religious denominations. In my Catholic household, dinner table talk centered last night around what each of us is willing to “give up” in observance of the sacrificial season. Among the suggestions, my wisenheimer kids offered to release their hold on such things as “homework,” “messing up [my] room,” and even “Mabel!”
Har, har, har.
Finally…and I might have sort of, um, maybe, well, suggested it…it was decided that the males would give up donuts. We make considerably frequent visits to Southern Maid, so it’s a pretty fair sacrifice.
Vic decided to give up talking on the house phone. It will take half of Lent to spread the word to her friends, but, like the donuts, is ultimately worth it in my opinion. Even if I get only one week at the end of Lent without the house phone ringing off the wall at hours well past my own children’s bedtime, it will be sooooo worth it.
And then came the magic question: “Mom, what are you giving up for Lent?” Ugh. Here goes. Once I verbalize this thought, there is no going back. Should I? Do I dare utter it aloud?…
“Snoozing my alarm clock, and…oh dear…Starbucks.”
Shocked and horrified gasps echoed off of our freshly painted and still bare walls. I know, right??
To be fair, at the start of the last three Lenten seasons I have considered this option, and casually convinced myself that sacrificing coffee (of all things!) was really not the point. Unnecessary. I mean, I don’t live at Starbucks, after all. I’m there once, maybe twice, a week. Okay, okay…sometimes three times a week. (Sheesh! Let it rest, will ya?)
And so, in light of this confession and the fact that this year I will focus on the sacrifice of something I really and truly enjoy rather than trying to avoid sacrificing by swearing that I’ll pull extra duty on some chore I detest, here goes. The anchor is dropped. I will buoy here in my Starbucks-barren waters for the next forty days. Wish me luck.
Dear Lord, please please please let Starbucks be open on Easter Sunday. Amen.
In a bout of ragged wits-endedness, I flopped down with my Google Reader to try to catch up on everyone I have missed for the past, oh-I-don’t-know, five weeks? (Who’s counting?) I didn’t realize how absolutely defeated I felt until I pulled myself away from dishes and laundry and cheer-challenged family members and sank into my iPad for the first time in Way Too Long.
Not too far into my Reader I saw Shell’s post titled Hey, It’s Okay, so I checked in on her world. I like checking in with Shell. She brings perspective to me far more than she knows. And she offered Airing My Dirty Laundry’s linky-loo opportunity (I’m so bad with the internet terms!) to share my own “Hey, It’s Okay” post.
So I am. Right now. These are things that have turned me on my ear in the last seven days. Things I’m dealing with. It’s all good. I am woman. Hear me roar.
Hey, it’s okay…
To serve canned tomato soup and boxed mac-n-cheese for dinner.
To make your child do his science fair project on his own. And it’s also okay if said project looks like he did it All. By. Himself.
To use your car’s seat heater in 60-degree weather. Just because you CAN!!
To tell your son that you won’t tuck him in or kiss him goodnight until he clears his floor of all the Legos so that you don’t sprain an ankle tripping over a plastic Hogwarts.
It’s also okay if your son merely scoops all the Legos to one side of the room, clearing you a runway of sorts to his bed.
If you haven’t finished (or started) the book you want to write.
If your grandmother announces in shock when she sees you on Thanksgiving that “You’re a redhead!” even if you have had black hair all your life until your four-year romance with permanent hair dyes. And it is also perfectly okay if you immediately return home to dye your hair black again, and wear solid black to work the next day in order to detract from the hair. Your coworkers will keep mum because they know what is good for them.
To secretly long for payday so you can buy that holiday bottle of Bailey’s Irish Crème. The same bottle you plan to drink without sharing.
If you make a muffaletta cheese ball that suffices by itself as two of your lunches. Whatevs.
If you set out your Christmas tree and your Advent wreath on the same day.
If you check your daughter out at 1pm on a Monday because she’s “sick” even if you aren’t entirely convinced that she is, in fact, sick. Sometimes we just need to be taken away from the stress.
If, after rolling your eyes, you realize that – holy crap! – your daughter might actually be sick, what with all that coughing she’s been doing since 1pm.
If you’ve committed yourself to saccharin-free, dye-free, preservative-free homeopathic medicines, only to go running to the pharmacy for Children’s Motrin and Delsym when fever and coughs put up a bigger fight than you expected. Do what works and let it go.
If you buy everyone gift cards for Christmas. Better yet, buy them all at Kroger when you run in for a pint of Ben & Jerry’s! (makin’ a list…checkin’ it twice…)
If you can’t hold out on seeing the new Twilight movie just because you haven’t been able to get the book from the library yet.
If you want to take two vacation days so you can have your own Twilight marathon for the sole purpose of comparing the significant differences between the books and the movies. (Not sayin’ I’m gonna…just, you know…to each his own.)
If your now-public food-and-habit chemical-free lifestyle change that so rocked your world is considered by acquaintances as your “special diet” and they wonder ALOUD if you are “still on it.”
If you move bunny rabbits from the warmth of your only empty bedroom to the starkness of the garage. They really don’t care. You’ll actually be happier. And your carpet will be cleaner.
If your vegetable garden looks like crap at the end of November but still manages to produce veggies. We call that Lagniappe.
If iTunes is acting wonky. Another update is just around the corner.
If you don’t take out ALL the Christmas decorations this year, knowing what a pain it is to repack everything in January. Set out only that which you truly enjoy. It’s cool.
Hey, it really IS okay. Thanks. I feel better. 😉
There is no easy way to lead into this…The little guy I told you about recently, who is a student in my PSR class, passed away yesterday. Our church family mourns with his parents.
For lack of my own original thoughts, I am drawn back to a conversation between Pippin Took and Gandalf the White in the film The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. It plays over and over in my mind, granting me peaceful reassurance of “a far green country.”
P: I didn’t think it would end this way.
G: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path. One that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass… then you see it!
P: What? Gandalf? See what?
G: White shores… and beyond. A far green country, under a swift sunrise.
P: Well, that isn’t so bad.
G: No… no, it isn’t.
May that swift sunrise light your eternity, Than. Rest in gentle peace until we meet again.
As I write this, one of my religious education (PSR) students, a second-grader, is lying unconscious in an intensive care unit with fluid mysteriously pooling in his brain. I went to visit him yesterday with Kim, my dear friend and PSR director. The doctors drained fluid Wednesday night and again Thursday morning. As far as I know tonight, there are still no answers.
When I think of what this child’s parents are going through, I am embarrassed to admit that I spent most of Wednesday stressing over why my daughter has field trip anxiety.
Of all things.
Wednesday night I came home from PSR exhausted and upset. I shared the news with the Hubster and my own children. Then I ceremoniously turned off the porch light and slowly headed up the stairs. It struck me how simple that little act is – turning off the porch light. When it is turned on, it is done so with little thought to what all will transpire while it burns, what the day – or night – will hold. But turning it off – that has always held significance for me… like the closing of a book, the lowering of a flag, or the kiss goodnight. It means the day is done and we are all safe at home together. Wednesday night our home ended the day whole, unscathed. Another family’s did not.
So while I still inwardly reel from recent news of potential legislation that protects the pesticide industry over human health, I hope you will forgive that I just don’t feel like talking about it today. While this issue is important, my political soapbox is not my priority right now.
If you pray, may I ask that you add my student to your list next time you talk to The Big Guy? For his family’s privacy, I am not sharing his name here. “The busy little boy with the big smile” will identify him just fine.
May your family be blessed, may your children be safe, and may all your prayers be answered.
You got a minute? Can I offer some unsolicited advice? I mean, waaaaaaaaaay unsolicited. Like, the kind of advice you really don’t want to hear, but I’m gonna eventually say anyway because I love you.
You gotta deal with this matter. You have to. Hear me? It’s going to ruin your health (even more than it already has), your marriage and your family. This thing is bigger than you, and you need help to get through it.
WE are here.
I’m going to say things you won’t like, and that you may even hate me for. I have already thought of all the outcomes, and I have concluded that you cannot hate me more than I love you. So, I’m starting out like this, to give you a heads up that I know what’s up, and I am going to force it into the light so that you can be free of the burden.
It will hurt. I’m not going to lie and say this is going to be easy. There will be tears and screams, and possibly even some threats. Not from me, but from you. I anticipate it and I am already forgiving it. But we are still going to deal with it.
A lie is a lie is a lie. Did you know that the human is the only creature capable of lying to itself? We can do whatever we think is “justified” and we can say that “it doesn’t hurt anyone,” but the truth is that one lie causes you to make another. And another, and another…until the lie is bigger than you and it’s spinning out of control, and then you have to lie to yourself and say, “It’s all going to be okay. Life is temporary. We should live and have fun!”
Only, you’re not really living. You’re lying.
Lying is cheating, and cheating is infidelity. Whether it is committed against your spouse, your friends, or your God. None of us are perfect, but I believe we are put here to learn to love, and we cannot love a lie. We cannot knowingly support a lie and be truly happy and at peace.
Do you know why we Catholics go to Confession? Because it forces us to say out loud what we have tried so hard to hide. Confession often is misunderstood as being punishment itself, until we get in there and participate in the Sacrament. There is such immense freedom in letting it out – really letting it out. Once you say it, it’s outside of you, and there’s someone right there beside you to tell you that God loves you and heals you and wants you to experience this freedom.
I want you to experience freedom too. I know you feel like you will lose freedom if you come clean. Realize that as part of the healing process, YES, your habits will have to change. Changing your habits will change your mindset. Changing your mindset will enrich your life. Enriching your life will enable you to live and grow to who you are supposed to be.
I am not judging you. I am not perfect. We all make mistakes. But I hope you love me enough to be this honest when you see me heading down the wrong road.
I hope you will force me to deal with it.
I have been vague on purpose, for the privacy of my friend. This advice could be given to anyone for any situation. If you got an email from me with a direct link to this post, then I’m talking to you. And I love you.
[5 minutes later] Oops… this does NOT apply to those of you who are subscribed to receive automatic emails to my posts. Yikes. Sorry about that!!