SOUR AND SWEET

So I began a journey 3 months ago, when I went to the endodontist to fix an infection in an old root canal.  They discovered my blood pressure was 245/145, which for those of you who are unfamiliar, is a stroke level blood pressure, referred to as hypertensive crisis.

I already care for my immigrant mother who is post stroke since 2004.  She went from a vibrant 66 year old to a right side paralytic, who no longer speaks.  Her response to music is there, but no words.  Having been illiterate most of her life, television is her only repose except for watching her great grandchildren bustle about her.

It’s taken 3 long months of bed rest and experimenting with meds to get me somewhat stable.  My family has endured months of spiraling emotions, schedule changing, and unexpected household challenges while I lay flat in an attempt to keep my pressure from exploding something in my head or my heart.

Something, however, did explode in my heart.

Vulnerability.

The vulnerability of laying bedridden and watching the sun rise and set while others hustled about me was tough for a type A person.

However, rest allowed me to grieve the loss of my beloved, less than 2 years ago.  That pain never really subsides, it remains much like my blood pressure…silent.

Occasionally, I find that the tears will emerge as a memory drifts in like a lone candle in the cold night and I find my heart chasing a beloved memory as the candle goes out and the momentary light fades into twilight, along with the brokenness of my heart.

My blood pressure medicaitons have left me with a lingering metallic taste in my mouth that makes food not as appealing, but the wanting, the hunger, remains.

I guess the loss of anything is like that.  I know the loss of my most special of friends has left me also wanting.

In life, there aren’t many people I have met that are actually real.  So much brokenness, pain, and fear.  It’s not the pain and problems I fear, but the fact that no one feels brave enough to talk about it, deal with it and hope for more.  I’ve been somewhat asleep the last couple of years. There is a black hole in my life since his passing, sucking all life, all I know as my universe into it.  I don’t lack the courage to stand again, even as the void left by losing the one who brought me sunshine and flowers, welcoming arms, and a love of life is worse than any pain I have yet endured.  Just tired.  Weary of searching for people with passion for life.

I am disillusioned by the ever-imposing truth that there isn’t anyone out there that is unafraid to be real, transparent, and vulnerable.

So as I searched for a way to make this overpowering taste of metal dissipate from my mouth, I found a pill, miraculin, in a product aptly named, Miracle Berry Fruit Tablets.  They make sour taste sweet!  I had seen a science special on it and now learned it is used with chemo patients to help their taste buds return to normal so they can eat.  For most of us, it turns the sour to sweet.  I’m hoping for anything to help me enjoy the foods I love, but it did make me ponder.

It sure would be nice it we could have such a pill for people, wouldn’t it?  For those who find life somewhat sour, depressing, lonely, and dark. it would be wonderful to savor life again and enjoy the sunlight, being alone, and highlights of life.  Just one pill.

Now, as a nurse. I know they make pills they claim can  bring more life, more joy, and just plain MORE than you feel right now; but somehow, the body knows.  It knows it’s not real.  It’s like the face they paint on “The Drummer Boy”.  It suffices to hide the pain, the illusion of great, without the reality.

My pills get here this weekend.  It’s snowing outside right now and I want to climb under my blanket, pull the covers over my head and pray that like spring,  the sun does shine after winter.  Hopefully, when I pull the blanket off, it will truly be warm and I will find the sun is shining again and the will to continue is present in the ground below, just waiting to push its way into the light and perhaps give one blossom to the world with an enduring aroma that inspires those who pass by to remember.  Just as the smell of pines reminds me of Christmases long ago, when as children we still have the naivete to believe in things we can’t see and await moments of reunion with family that has now long departed but still remembered.

I found that “miracle” pill long ago that has the capacity to leave the taste of wonder and joy and cloak the heart in the miraculous amidst a world of hypocrisy and disappointment.  It still abides.  It still holds true.  It is LOVE.    Only now, it has to span the place between this world and the next, but I still remember when its aroma was strong, its presence, close and its reality, present.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Day With You Brings Me Back to …Love

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So a couple of weeks ago, I went to visit the grave of my Beloved.  It doesn’t seem like it’s been a year and then again, it feels like a lifetime ago.  My daughter and I painted some rocks worn smooth by time to commemorate the time he has been gone.  My 2 grandchildren were with us and asked, “Is Papa coming down to visit us today?”  My daughter replied, ” Papa’s in heaven.  You won’t see him today, but he sees us and one day he will return.”  They picked their favorite rocks and placed them on the mound which he now sleeps under.

It seems surreal that his body lays there and that we are separated by about 6 feet of dirt and yet by dimensions of time that we cannot yet cross through.  Can a hole in the ground hold a heart that was bigger than the universe…a love larger than all the souls of men?

My daughter wept…for the man who gave her love, taught her about the real meaning of love, held her, wept with her, encouraged her, taught her and never judged her.  One who loved her boys and knew they would grow to be better men than the ones before them.

I wept with her for feeling inadequate to fill that void now left within her because the only man she really trusted to be truthful, unselfish, loving, kind and with a sense of humor that lit up a room. He loved her dry wit and understood her.

I wept for the memories I hold tight within a heart now broken and yet knowing he would admonish me for not living to my fullest and not allowing my face to shine before others and so I go on.

I struggle to write, to share all our Father gave us.  I know the sun will shine and the pain will subside.  I just miss my best friend holding my hand and reminding me how much my Father loves me and cares for me.

So I will go onward, looking for him in every full moon, every sunrise and sunset, every new bloom and the smell of fall in the air, the first snowflake, every song I sing and play, and every night I pray and wait to hear his voice, his encouragement, his love.  For now, the echoes are what remain, but I remember always his last words every night to me…love still abides and it does.

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The Beauty of the Broken Place

Can there be beauty in the broken place?  I believe so for it calls for healing and for the One who is the Healer.  In the body, a break in the barrier of the skin’s protective layer signals an immediate call among the line of defense that sends warriors willing to lay down their lives by engulfing any invaders within themselves and exploding, thereby destroying the enemy and themselves.  Broken places also leave voids to be filled that we might not have allowed in our lives before.  Like the broken pieces in a kaleidoscope colliding together but thru the right lens, creating ever-changing beauty.

It was out of the broken place that God pulled Adam’s soul mate.  It is out of the broken placenta that life will emerge; fragile and hopeful..  It is out of the broken tomb that Christ arose and out a broken world that life still finds its way through the cracks left by those who take and rob and destroy.

It is why Yeshua came in the flesh, died, and rose again… to fix that which was broken.  Broken hearts, broken spirits, broken relationships, broken…people.

There will always be those who prey upon the innocence of others, upon their kindness, and use the God-given talents of others to make themselves higher.  BUT, there will also be those who choose to give kindness, love, and give their gifts to make the life of another a little bit brighter.

They are the ones who enter in when the arguments and beatings of others enrage them and they stand on the side of what is right, not what will gain political power for another.  The powers that be will always seek to turn us on one another so we do not see what they are really doing…division.  Division allows one to fight the other, to appear smarter, wiser, healthier, prettier, richer and better than another even when the opposite is true. They rob us of our power to give and place us in a frenzy of taking that is never satisfied.  They love the broken and profit in its pieces.

I went to see “Woman in Gold” this week and truly enjoyed seeing the “little guys” finally win.  But as the main character states, ” I thought it would somehow make things better” but it didn’t.  Evil men and women will always attempt to weary the ones doing good but perseverance pays off. It may not seem to reap today, but one day it will.

In the movie, the Nazi’s took over Austria and stole riches from those they believed to be not worthy of such things and referred to them as thieves of the motherland, but the real thief was themselves and those who stood idly by and allowed it.  Real thieves are always good at identifying or labeling another like themselves and they are believable, but if we are able to lay down the things that really don’t matter and lift up the things that bring life, we will see.

We will be broken, pushed down, and humiliated by those who find their courage in words and accusations and gather followings of weak people who need to feel empowered.  But sometimes, in the breaking, something else is broken that releases an inner power, we were unaware of…LOVE.

No not the mushy, romantic love movies portray but the kind of love that makes us persevere under trial and rise up when others push in to take and break.  This love does not find its motivation in hatemongers and division and does not also believe that toleration of social norms is meant to silence its voice.  This love speaks in its actions, its gentleness and at times its motherly outrage over the oppression of the weakest ones.

Light did not enter into the world, but broke thru the darkness of barrenness and filled the void left by the scars of a war fought without hands and filled it with its warmth, its brilliance so that we could see into the dark places and grow and encourage others to grow.

This light broke forth mighty waters, life that appeared dormant beneath a blank landscape and the broke off a part of itself to give life.  A seed that if allowed to grow would dominate the earth with its luminescence.  It gave its first born to tend to its creation, protect it and nurture it.

All this so that we would know who He is.  He broke His own heart to bring His children back to Himself and requested that which was closest to His heart to do the same.  And there was always one present who was a master at broken promises, broken hearts, broken spirits who would seek to aggravate the break between God and His creation.  But one day, his neck will be broken, too.  The first blows have already begun.

So when you sit down today and rest (I know, impossible right?).  When your broken body aches from toiling in the world, and your broken spirit just wants to pull the blanket over its head and weep, know that the One who keeps all your tears in a bottle is coming and desiring to reveal Himself in this brokenness and He will.

It does not mean the aches and pains will cease or the heart will not continue to have moments of grief, but He has a greater plan at work. Be patient and wait for He is near to the broken…hearted.

If we can ever break free of this flesh tabernacle we dwell within, then the spirit can rise up and seek its source of true life.  Let us run the race unencumbered by the flesh with all its emotions, reactions and will.  We can choose to break that habit and run freely in a world where so many are handcuffed to job, alliances, habitual choices that do not reap good.  Let us choose more wisely.

Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s

Tonight I finished my business taxes or schedule K’s which will be attached to my personal income tax. It would have been the ordinary tax time hassle, but this year it included a loss they don’t put on a line.

Today I said goodbye to the business my beloved and i worked so hard to establish. It was his dream to finally paint, sculpt and totally leave the corporate world behind.  We enjoyed a wonderful 2 1/2 years traveling around the country to comic cons and meeting interesting people, dining at interesting places and some of the usual dives, and conversation.

How do you write about a loss in your business due to the death of one so treasured?  How do numbers and lines compute the life of a person so much more valuable than the paper I recorded on?  His name on a line doesn’t do justice to the life he lived.

If love could be expressed in money…well, he died rich.  As for the inheritance, he left behind. Well, it too can’t be recorded except on the heart of the ones he loved. There will be continual loss every year and gains but not the kind the government can tax me for.  The tax is heavy though on the heart.

Going through receipts brings a flood of memories and tears.  Some great memories and some sad.  He was dying and I didn’t know it; suffering and willing to do so to be together and run our dream together.  If I had only known, I might have spent those last months working on other things. I have no regrets. We talked, laughed, cried, argued and loved each other and as I close yet another account, another chapter, I hear him.  …
“.if I died tonite, I would be a happy man!”  He lived. He loved and he left an endearing legacy for me to walk in. I will always remember these very special years I was able to celebrate and see his dreams come true and remember his gift of laughter and love.  Goodnight Beloved, until we meet again our love still abides.

No Weapon Forged Against You Will Prosper`

Isaiah 54:7:

No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, says the LORD.

I have a friend who carries a concealed weapon pretty much all the time and we got into a conversation last night about leaving his gun at home for 24 hours.  He is a careful, cautious young person and his family is used to carrying guns. His grandfather is a gunsmith.  They reload their own bullets and support the right to “bear arms”.  He has been so helpful the last few months to teach us about guns and ammo after I got my conceal to carry license.

We live about 40 miles from any civilization and really carry guns because of the 4-legged trespassers than the 2-legged ones.  He and I got in a discussion about what would happen if he forgot his gun for 24 hours.  I say this, one, because I forgot my purse at Starbucks last month and my gun and phone were in it. I was so concerned someone would find it and misuse it.

He said he had forgotten his for a few hours the other day and he did panic about how he would protect he and his mother if someone accosted them.  I said, “if we are believers then shouldn’t we be just as comfortable without a gun as with one?”  He said, he hadn’t really thought about it in spiritual terms.

A long discussion continued between us as I said that in the “church”, I found many who said the Word of God wasn’t always applicable to this generation or that particular parts are for the chosen ones. As if in Christ there are chosen and unchosen ones.  We all exist and live because of covenants made with God by those who came before and by the One who laid down his life.  My friend and I discussed the scene in the garden of Gethsemane where Yeshua heals the ear of a soldier after Peter slashes it off.  We agreed that wisdom in this generation prompts us to be aware of our surroundings with shootings and violence here in America and abroad.

If any of you haven’t seen “China Cry”, you should. It speaks to the miraculous hand of God moving even in modern times.  There are many other examples, but it’s a good one.

Do we really believe our God is still there and active in our lives?  Do we ask Him permission for the big things as well as the small?  Do we hear Him?  So Friday, my friend will travel without his gun and no music…just waiting and listening to see what God has in store.  We’ll see what happens.

So in reference to the above Scripture…if we are without physical weapons or strength, will His Word be true?  Is it true when He says not by power of might but by my Spirit says the Lord.  Our battles are never really flesh and blood are they? So if we do not sharpen our sword of Truth, is it really God’s fault or ours for not trusting and believing when the test comes?  What do you think? Better yet, what do you do?

The First Cut is the Deepest…Divorce

Just read a young mother’s post on her blog about an impending divorce.  Don’t know all the details but did identify with the feelings she is facing.

It was almost 30 years ago I met my high school sweetheart.  He was a jock wrestler, which I didn’t know at the time or probably wouldn’t have gone out with him.  Most of the friends I had that joined sports ended up leaving their old friends behind for the popularity game.

Jeff and I would attend community college together and marry before we headed to University…so much for a honeymoon.  The next 4 years we spent with him in Engineering school and I in Nursing.  Many of our high school friends were at university also and married.  The single guys would jest with him that he must be “getting it all the time”.  How crude but also untrue.

In the 80’s AIDS was still pretty new on the scene and being in Nursing school helped me draw some necessary lines due to my husband’s infidelity.  He’d pretty much been a MENSA pothead and alcohol user since he was preteen. I, on the other hand, never did drugs and after having an alcoholic wifebeater for a dad, I stayed away from alcohol.  We’d fought a lot about his DUI’s and indiscretions during our high school and college years and I withdrew sexually from him in the 2nd year of our 4 year marriage.  He continued his bad habits until my junior year in nursing school and then decided his husbandly rights were being violated one night after a long day at the hospital and studying for midterms.

I woke up to pressure on my chest and by the time I figured out he was on top of me and forcing himself on me, it was too late.  I begged him not to do this.  He knew about my past as a victim of child sexual abuse and I had worked so hard I think because of my past to ignore his infidelities, figuring maybe it was my own fault…that I wasn’t NORMAL.  I participated in all he wanted to do and dabbled in porn videos early in our marriage because that’s what he wanted, but this night he just told me to lay there, B—-and it will be over soon.  I cried. I laid still and somewhere in it, I fell asleep.  The next year is a blur of continued violation when I least expected it and then he graduated and separated from me, going for a job in civil service.

I thought it would be easier with him gone, but it wasn’t.  Now, I was alone to face the pain of the past, the failing of my marriage, and the beginning of my senior year.  I went into a depression and thank God for a couple of wonderful friends who found me at the bottom of my misery, alone in my trailer, no food, no money, and no hope.

It took me a month to eat lettuce.  Jeff had seen to it that I was left with a junky car, debts from credit cards I got as a senior which he used to buy dinner and gifts for other women, and with my mother out of the country, I had not help from family.  I thought about going to the police about the rape but in the 80’s…they just laughed and said what everyone else said…he’s your husband..so it’s not rape.  ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Like my body wasn’t my own.  in those days, women had to have their husbands sign sterilization papers or they couldn’t obtain the necessary surgery regardless of the threat to their health and being left with multiple children and no support.  Sounds crazy, right?

Believe it or not, I tried to reconcile twice that year.  I think because my parents were divorced when no one else in our neighborhood was and they labeled us as their children, some ugly names and apparently my mother who worked two jobs became a swinger.  The only swinging she did was swing shifts from assembly line work to nights as a hotel housekeeper.  I didn’t want to be labeled a divorcee’.  After an attempt at the second reconciliation and exhausting my student loan money on his reckless spending, I went to my university law school and the kind gentleman told me I could get a lawyer for free as a student.  Finally, some sunshine in my dark world.

We had to threaten him with jail time for running up credit cards that weren’t his, but he finally signed and I got my divorce 3 days before I graduated nursing school.  He attended my graduation; I’m not exactly sure why, but he mentioned how I had changed my name on my degree and I countered with why would I have his name on a degree I earned and that truth be told my name should be on his engineering degree since I pushed him all the way through.  He said I looked great. I replied that the starvation diet is an amazing way to lose weight. He proceeded to follow my friends and i the whole night like some predator waiting to pounce.  I went home a few months later and he found out I was in town and accosted me at a gas station and grabbed me by the arm saying I was his.  I told him that might have been true once, but never again.  He pretty much trashed me with friends in my hometown, being there a year before me. Many felt uncomfortable and just disappeared into the background of life.  Some would still welcome me, knowing how bad he was and they encouraged me to keep my head up.

I remember still the day the judge asked me if I wanted my own name back.  I felt somewhat like the slaves when they were set free.  Who is that?  I hadn’t known that name for 9 years and I held someone else’s name for 4 years.  I replied yes, but not really sure about the mess of feelings laying within me.

I’ve been remarried now 26 years.  He’s kind, generous, compassionate, loyal, and we’ve had 2 children.  Is life happier?  Soimewhat.  I can honestly say it’s safer.  We talk. We’ve loved, but we’ve also realized that we thought we knew what love was, but we didn’t .  He tries but struggles trying to find the reins for what he calls, a “mustang”.  It’s sad that after all this time we find ourselves friends, but without purpose.  We have a type of love, but not the forever eternal kind of love.  I have tried to love many times, but been loved my only one.  One who knew the One who loves unconditionally, whole-heartedly and eternally.  I knew him for 15 years and he was a most precious friend who taught me the beauty that God placed within me, the love God intended and the pain of losing a friend most precious in his giving and forgiving spirit.  He died 6 months ago and so now I continue in the love he showed me and the faith I have that I will see him again.

My husband feels the same way.  He’s lost a brother in the Lord and his example can only be described as one of a kind.  We now find ourselves united in our grieving for one who showed us how love never fails and still abides in the memories we share together.  We live each day now trying to give to one another as friends and parents and grandparents.