The First Date with Disaster

I remember our first “study” date.  Actually it was the first time we were together outside of class, and had spoken more than a few words.  I had been interested in him because he was tan and hazel eyed and addressed the teacher as ma’am.  I figured any college boy that polite was worth knowing.  He was from Colorado, and I soon learned that the manners he used in class were either cultural, and applied only in school, or were completely fake.  Whatever the case he was NOT what I expected.

I met him after play practice, probably before 4 o’clock.  I have lived in New England all my life, yet I remember this fall was on of the exceptional ones.  I suppose they are all pretty amazing, yet there are a few that leave the rest behind.  This was one such autumn.  The leaves simultaneously blazed forth from the trees in golden glory,  carpeting the earth and brightening the sky.  It called to mind Tolkien’s Lothlórien , filling me with mystical delight.  I was glad we were going to walk together to his residence, somewhere off campus for both the exercise and the view.  We made small talk as we walked past some of the dorm houses of the small Catholic college.  I was very  nervous for some reason-more nervous then usual for a date.  My roommates thought me confident, because I auditioned for a play (I had to sing) and was not afraid to ask questions in class.  I suppose I was confident in some ways back then.  I figured was away from home and so what could hurt me?  I was convinced  I had learned all I needed to know from bad highschool relationships. I was 18 now and experienced.  Besides,  I usually had very good intuition, something I had learned to depend on.  I trusted my first impression of him, not recognizing my flip-flop stomach may have been how my intuition was really trying to communicate with me.  Anyhow, I was used to that feeling so I thought it was normal.

We were not five minutes off the campus (which was small, very small) when he turned to me and asked “Do you want to be my girlfriend?”I found this very odd because we did not know each other at all.  I felt like a deer in the headlights-the car that would run me over was approaching, and I just stood there.  “I..I..Guess…” Now my stomach was really churning.

I have no clue about the conversation and where it went after that exactly, but we talked some more. I may have told him I wasn’t a drinker or smoker and I was a technical virgin. I also went to Mass every week, mostly because I wanted to find some way of connecting with God.  I believe these things came up because I remember his reaction.  “You are a good girl, and you are gonna get tired of me.” He shook his head. “I am a dirdy dawg.  A low down dawg”

Why would he tell me this?  Now I was really nervous.  Wait…Did he want me to lose interest in him?

“Ooohhhhh I get it you are trying to scare me away. ” I was thinking out loud.  “You’re not a dirty dog, you just think you are.  I am not going to be scared off.  You just need someone to believe in you.”

He just grinned at me, which I found encouraging.  Challenge accepted.

I don’t remember anything after that except he started making out with me on the couch as soon as we got to the place he was staying.  I felt we were moving too fast, yet I didn’t know what to do.  He was a pretty good kisser, I guess.  I found he kept catching me off guard, and leaving me feeling bewildered. I kind of liked the idea, however, of having a boyfriend. It made me feel like somebody, like I belonged.

 

 

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Lent Comes Slowly

Today, March 8th 2018 I took the plunge to drastically reduce my caffeine intake, staying open to the possibility of quitting entirely.  3 cups of white or green tea a day.  Decaf coffee. That’s it.

Caffeine in small doses throughout the day has been my artificial lifeline.  Tired?  Put the kettle on.  Depressed, eat some dark chocolate.  Difficulty concentrating-more tea!

While moderation is key, I haven’t been moderate.  Coffee tea dark chocolate-in a desperate attempt to focus, get things done and numb pain.  I fear the sudden feeling of exhaustion that comes over me at work.  I trust the Lord-but some days caffeine was the only thing from me and a meltdown.

However, I have lately been tired thirsty and exhausted.  Caffeine does nothing except maybe lift a little brain fog temporarily.  Too much caffeine seems to do very little.  I have a physical in a week and if nothing is abnormal, my psych nurse wants to put me on a tiny dose of Adderall.  Oh how I both fear and covet the happy pill that could make me better or a psychotic mess.  I was perfectly fine until I realized I was bloody exhausted, and thought I might have a way out.

Medication is a risk and depression causes fatigue.  The bottom line is no matter what happens I need to trust Jesus, and bear my burdens cheerfully not worry about being like everyone else, whatever that means.  Wellness must never be an idol.

New England Work Ethic and Depression

My depression is WELL under cotrol thanks to great combo of meds…note the word control…the ultimate illusion.  I cannot do anything.  I hyper focus on T.V. books or the internet.  I don’t feel like socializing but force myself to. Today I felt lazy.  I did walk the dog, make cookie dough and healthy muffins.  I made oatmeal in the rice cooker for the week adding applesauce spices and raisins.  But for the most part I did very little…and it felt great.  Despite inserts my planters facitis acted up making my ankles hurt so I havent exercised in three day.  That combind with the dark, the cold, and rapidly decreasing hormone levels make me think I am loosing my mind.  I already have concentration issues, now perimenopause is depleting what is left of my mental faculties.  My husband found a wrinkly 2 day old cucumber on the middle shelf of the hutch.  I had been eating it while decorating and put it up there to keep it away from the dog.  I forgot I put it  there, and went searching for it.  Unable to find it, I concluded I had finished it.  Two days later and…

I don’t think I will live to be in my eighties.  I will drive into a tree or wander into traffic before I reach that age.  My only prayer is I will not be naked.  I can see the headlines now: Elderly woman dies fully clothed in the bath tub with a bra strapped to her head.  I think I will be smiling.

I guess depression is like anything other illness.  You have good days and bad.  I really wrestle with being unproductive and groggy.  It’s like Prudence the Puritian is somehow watching me, taking notes, and criticizing my work ethic.  She looks a lot like my mom, who has never had a lazy moment since going back to work and quiting soap operahs in 1985.  She is now a devoute Catholic and gets up at 4 am with my dad to pray.  EVERYDAY.  Always.  You only sleep in when your sick.

Actually my parents are a tough act to follow.  When I was young they were incredably hard working and sacrifical.  I often wonder if people have lazy days besides me and a handful of others who have confessed.  If your from milltown New England USA like my parents the answer is no.

So the guilt is always there, threatening.  I don’t want to be a sluggard or a soth or a fool,  What I do want to do, however, is sleep until Feb/March when there is sunlight.

Atleast when I doze I can also interceed in prayer.  Maybe that is enough.

Mid Life Marathoner

We got a runner folks

She is not armed,

Only dangerous to herself

She has been charged with several counts

Of imperfection,

And fleshly weakness-

A warrent was put out for her arrest,

By none other than herself

And she intends to punish herself under the full extent of the law,

If ever she catches up with herself

Jesus has been calling

From the helicopter above

No wait, he’s running beside me!

Shame propells me forward,

Grace calls me back,

Into His arms.

 

 

 

Not Self Actualized

I had a lot of thoughts today,

A sinus headache,

And an need like desire to watch a hokey hallmark whodonit.

Whodonit indeed!

I think about my “attitude about food” and family history,

And my own inclinations

About why we become who we are…

Some of it learned,

Some genetic,

Some experiential

So where does the soul come in?

Do families really know each other or do we just say

“He gets that from his dad!”

Or “I dont know where she came from!”

And what happens when you feel you don’t know where you belong?

Have we all lost who we are,

Because tv and technology wastes our potential?

Have I?

I like stories.

stories about people

Preferably in a series

familiar people you can pretend to get to know which is comforting because they can never be as complex as real people and the problems are solved and you can live vicariously.  Thank goodness she ended up with him and not the other guy.

I don’t want to think about the rest of it,

About how TV is cheap and effortless,

How tired my brain gets and shutting it off is so delicious ..

Why I crave adventure and my mind,

Takes paths into regions,

That bring only regret.

Is it stress?

If I got paid for every moment spent,

In lesson plans,

Would it seem less tedious?

I feel I’ve hit a big brick idea-less wall

SPLAT!

Like a cartoon character-

Except in this case,

My forehead  hurts.

What is required of me in the responsibility department and what about some sort of holy God induced self actualization?

Hmmmm a bit of an idealist maybe?

Who am I supposed to be?

Or better yet,

Who have you created me to be.

God, you know better than I,

The answer-

Help me when I can’t

Be everything I want

or should.

 

 

 

 

To the God Who Is Outside of Time

I hold in my hand

That precious gift-

Sunday-

Another week-

Sunrise-

Another day-

Time is such a mystery

Limited,

By breath,

infinite to God-

I know this yet I pretend,

It is an Everlasting Gobstopper,

So I can do what I think I want,

Only to regret it later.

Give me wisdom to number my days,

Let me make most of evil times,

Help me to balance work exhaustion and rest-

Never forgetting,

Tension will always exist

And perfection lies elsewhere.

 

The No and the Yes.

I have battled depression since I was about 10 or 12.  I don’t know if it started at puberty or when I fractured my skull, or even before that.  As an adult, I take medication, go to Christian Counseling, eat right and exercise pretty hard.  I have received prayer for healing and prayed for it myself.  My depression is being treated, yet it is not cured. Even when not feeling the emotional effects, I fight exhaustion, mental fatigue/lack of concentration, and feeling overwhelmed.  Yet some days are much worse than that.

Jesus will you (instantly) take away my depression?

The answer seemed to be a big fat NO…

MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU AND MY STRENGTH MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS. was the answer I received, over and over, every time I pleaded for healing.

The Apostle Paul heard those words, so I guess I am in good company.

And then there was the next big NO…After 5 years of marriage, 2 years of infertility treatments, countless prayers for healing, exploring  adoption, and foster care, the door suddenly closed.  I was crushed.  The next few weeks I found church both difficult and comforting.  I would hide myself in the prayer room until I was composed enough to join the congregation. One particular service I was waiting to receive communion, kneeling in prayer,  The usher came over to the side pew occupied only by Geoff and I, signaling it was now our turn to join the receiving line.  My pew was directly below one of the stations of the cross.  When I rose  my eyes fell on the caption underneath the picture, which somehow seemed to leap off the wall and meet me: “Jesus Comforts the mourning women.” I knew  Jesus was promising not to heal me, but to comfort me.

If anyone knows how to comfort the mourning, it is Jesus.  He pleaded in the garden  Father please take this cup from me.  For Him the cup was unimaginable suffering, physically, mentally, and spiritually.  The cup he drank was the cup of God’s wrath, the dregs of human sin, the bitter poison of separation from God.  My cup is Depression, ADD and infertility.  Jesus sweat blood just thinking about what he was about to go through.  I feel very sad and tired and try not to eat too much chocolate and drink too much caffeine and not to be grumpy with the kids I work with.  Jesus sweat blood in response to His suffering and I eat Hershey Kisses.  Kind of puts what I am going through into perspective.  Even dealing with past events that left me traumatized are not so horrible as to make me sweat blood.  Yet Jesus did.  Despite the horrors He knew awaited Him, He submitted to the Father’s  will.  Father not my will but yours be done.  Jesus was not only perfect in obedience, but very brave.  In the face of suffering He both calls us and enables us to be the same.

As Lady Julian of Norwich said in Revelations of Devine Love “

“If there is anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe, I know nothing of it, for it was not shown to me. But this was shown: that in falling and rising again we are always kept in that same precious love.”

It is easy when things don’t go our way to think of it in negative terms. It feels like God is saying NO.  Yet the answer is always Yes and amen in Jesus.  Yes-Jesus knows what it is like to experience pain and loss and suffering.  Yes -His grace is enough. Yes-He will perfect His strength in our times of weakness.  Yes- He will comfort you.

And no, you are not alone.

 

I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:7b-9 (Saint Paul)

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Dueteronomy 31:6