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In Which a Heated Chair and an Allergic Reaction are Not the Same Thing- How We Survived Chemo Day 1,

IMG_6655Monday, we spent the day at the Cancer center. We needed to be educated to “choose” my husband’s next treatment plan. The whole idea- I find dumb. We are not doctors, how on earth are we supposed to choose? We didn’t even sleep at a Holiday Inn Express the night before.

They gave us several “equal” options. Basically, it’s literally  choose your own poison-when it comes to chemo.

Overwhelmed by the choices- we took a break from the appointment to talk through, pray and decide.

It was a hard decision. Eventually we made it- then- returned to the oncologist’s office and scheduled his appointment to begin treatment. This involved much signing of consent forms and even more information. Specifics about  potential side effects, common side effects and un common side effects.

There is something weird about chemo. (Well there’s a LOT that’s weird about it… but we’ll start here.) Or, maybe it’s just our response to the idea of chemo. Chemo? Is the ultimate denial buster. There is no more pretending.

Crap just got real. For our whole family.

Monday night was the beginning of pre- chemo meds (read: mega steroids) Tuesday was a long day of waiting and appointments. First with a Nurse educator who went over everything to expect and watch for, then- finally- the actual infusion.

Everyone responds differently both emotionally and physically to chemo. There’s really no way to predict what will happen to any one person. One of the things that can happen in the first few minutes is to have a reaction to the meds. The hospital is pretty firm about telling them if you feel anything “off” or different. If you do react- they have meds to counteract on hand and ready- so you can hopefully continue treatment- otherwise you need to start the decision making process all over.

We were pretty anxious about the risk of reaction.

Our chemo- to-do bags at our sides- (I don’t believe in being bored.) we took our respective seats. Kyle in the big comfy Chemo chair- (Heated WITH massage. He might have gloated and been a bit smug about that…) and me in the not so comfy but serviceable “driver/ companion chair” directly across from him. My job: to watch him like a hawk.

We had a great nurse. She found a good vein on the first poke- then ran the pre-chemo meds through without a glitch. We also had a great visit with the chaplain on site- and prayed and talked about God’s presence even here- in this mess.

By the time they actually started the chemo meds- we were messaging obnoxious things with good friends….(a great distraction- BTW. I highly recommend giggling about stupid things in the infusion center.)

However- about halfway through treatment- Kyle suddenly got a pseudo panicked look on his face. “I feel hot. I think I might be having a reaction.” He said it quietly – to me. I looked at him and he looked fine which is what i told him… (they’d said he’d turn beet red and we’d know it if it happened.)  However- I am NOT the boss of the Cancer center- and THEY listen. within a few seconds his comfy chair was swarmed. 5 nurses and a doctor popped up from nowhere.

They immediately clamped off the infusion, and started peppering him with questions. “What do you feel?”

“Warm, kind of hot a little sweaty.” They readied the reaction cart and started opening the counteractive meds. At which point he got a funny look on his face. Kind of an “i’m either dying or, stupid.” look. I don’t know how else to describe it.

“Umm… wait a minute- is the heat on on the chair?” He sheepishly asked…..

“Yes- We’ve been pushing the buttons like 12 year olds playing in an elevator….” I responded (ish- I don’t actually remember what I said.)

“It could be the heated chair.” He said.

“Oh Lord…. can we turn off the chair and give him 60 seconds? I bet it’s the chair- because she looks fine.” I responded….

The entire staff waited with us…. tick tock…. tick tock…. he cooled down.

No- he wasn’t reacting. He forgot he was enjoying the heated massage……

Much a do about: nothing.

Within a couple of minutes his IV was running again and he finished up his treatment with some music playing and the heated chair turned : off.

We laughed about it all the way home. “You don’t kow the difference between an allergic reaction and a heated chair.” Is now our favorite line.

It was like a tornado drill…… we now know and trust that they really ARE watching (and listening) and ready for anything while you’re in those chairs.

Maybe next time, he won’t gloat so much about having the comfy chair…..justsayin.

So far the preventive  side effect meds are doing their job. His particular chemo med doesn’t even cause baldness- just some thinning- if anything. It does however take some time for what ever side effects you’re going to have (if any) to set in…. we’re still in the waiting phase.

So far? So good. Plus- hilarious. I’m sure they’l be talking about us all week at U of M….. it was an epic chemo-moment.

Continued prayers appreciated- and YES Kyle gave me permission to share ethos story- because: duh. Funny. And we’re looking for 2 things in all of this mess- 1) God’s presence 2) humor. We found both at that first chemo appointment-

Even here- God is with us and holding us. And- quite possibly- laughing with us.

Dear Lord =please use this treatment to kill this cancer. And please continue to wrap your arms around us during this process. (Just not in an overly warm way… Kyle will freak, and so will the nurses- if you do…) Thank you Lord for the little reminders of lighthouses you placed there for us…..and for the pastor who encouraged us with just the right words….words you’d already spoken to our hearts about storms and facing them with God….I love you lord- even here- amen.

Luke 8:23-25New International Version (NIV)

23 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

Matthew 14-

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

 

 

 

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WWF of Faith……In which I don’t have six-pack abs nor, do I wear golden underwear to work- but, I’m wrestling, just the same….

Hasbro_WWF_Ring_1990_Wrestling [1600x1200]“Let’s get ready to RUUUUUMBLE.”

I can almost hear that famous 80’s wrestle mania announcer as I step into the ring, ready to wrestle. (It’s been a long time since I’ve watched wrestling… I’m not actually- a fan. You probably guessed that already.)

Except,  I’m not wearing golden underpants, (well- not in public) a mask or a cape. Actually? Right now? I’m wearing my horridly wonderfully comfy yoga shorts and a yoga top that has never seen a yoga class.  With slippers, of course.

But- trust me, I’m wrestling. Not with a famous wrestler… that would just be awkward, and hurt. I’m wrestling with God.

On the surface- that IS probably even dumber than the idea of me stepping into a WWF ring. Me? Wrestle God? HELLO? I’m going to lose.

  • God is considerably stronger than me. (Duh.)
  • God knows every move I’m going to make before I make it…(can’t exactly pull a slick move on God.)
  • Between an autoimmune disorder, arthritis and 3 neck surgeries- body sucks- I can barely wrestle my 8 pound shorkie without injuring myself….let alone GOD.

However-If you look deeper- it’s exactly what I need to do.

I’m not the first one to wrestle with God. I’m in good company. For the record-I don’t think Jacob wore golden underwear, either. 

In the story linked above- (Go ahead- read it- I’ll wait…) Jacob is facing the potential wrath and attack of his brother. (Yup- families have been dysfunctional since the very beginning.) Jacob sent gifts to pacify him. (hey- bribery works- sometimes.) Jacob then sent his family across a river- to a safer place. (Safer meaning: away from him.)

Jacob stayed back and wrestled WWF style all night. Literally. With an angel of God. That’s hardcore. Jacob refused to let go until the angel blessed him. Around sunrise- the angel did just that. After touching Jacob’s hip and causing him to walk the rest of his days with a limp…. (Jacob didn’t let go – he kept wrestling- even with that limp.)

“Finally The angel let Jacob know that he’d actually spent the night wrestling with God… and that God had decided to bless him. But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.””27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”“Jacob,” he answered.28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[f] because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”

But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

Most of my readers know that the past few years have been especially rough for me and my family. We’ve faced losses, the decline of my husband’s parent’s health, (oh- what a mess that is.) I’ve had 4 major surgeries, and My husband was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. Add to that: daily life, common core curriculum homework, other personal issues and the effects that all this has on our family and loved ones? We’re a mess.

We feel battle worn and tattered. And- much like Jacob- we feel like we’re facing an approaching enemy.

This week- we’re fully engaged. Tattered and tired or not- we’re wrestling. Today- is the day my husband starts chemo.

And today is another day I refuse to let go of God, until he blesses me.

Yes, I am wrestling. With emotions- with fear, with fury. with cancer, and yes-with God. I desperately want God to spare my husband’s life.

Honestly? I think Jesus may have a new set of nail scars- from my fingernails. Because I am holding on as tight as I can. I will not give up. I might be hurt in the fight. I might walk away with a limp- but I won’t let go.

How about you?

Are you facing an attack? An enemy? Whether it’s cancer, sickness, loss, work problems, kid problems, emotional issues, eating disorders, addictions… whatever it is…

I hope you’ll join me in the ring…. (Golden underpants optional.)

Let’s be brave and wrestle and hold onto God until he blesses us- how ever he sees fit- and what ever the cost.

We might be hurt in the wrestling. We might walk away with a limp- but the blessing will be worth it. God’s blessings always are.

Entering the ring is scary. It does;t feel brave. The lights are bright and the noise is deafening. The risks are huge. But what I’m learning is this: Sometimes starting out scared- ends in bravery.

Here’s to wrestling scared.

“Dear Lord- you know every detail. Of my life and the lives of my readers. Make us brave Lord- give us courage to wrestle through whatever we face today. We won;t let go util you bless us- whatever the cost…. Because we love you- we know you are good and you desire to bless us…I love you Lord- even here- in the wrestling  ring. Amen. ”

 

 

 

 

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The Week That Changes Everything- Again. Or, not. Even Here.

I’m not a fan of storms. I’m terrified of them, actually. They send me into a fury of violent cleaning and running of all household appliances to avoid the crash of thunder and the sight of lightning. (Violent cleaning- one of my healthier coping skills- trust me. We’re talking Cross-Fit type- cleaning.)

Yet, I have to admit-a week or so ago I found there is also something beautifully terrifyingIMG_0025 about them. I found it in this picture.

It was taken from the balcony of our favorite vacation spot- Pinestead Reef Resort- in Traverse City, Michigan.

It took me 2 hours and 244 pics to catch this picture.  At some point, I realized, I wasn’t afraid. I was enthralled.

“Why aren’t I afraid? Have I lost my mind? I’m sitting here-with my arms on a steel balcony, sticking my long lens camera out like a lightning rod- trying to SEE it better. That thing I’m afraid of. The thing I avoid and hide from.”

Maybe it was because the storm was out across the bay. Maybe it was because I have absolutely no sense when I’m behind a camera lens. Maybe its because I wasn’t sitting in my home nest- surrounded by those I love afraid it’s about to be set afire or torn apart. Maybe- it’s because I had a different perspective. Or maybe-it was a God- thing.

I think it was a little of all those things.

This week is yet another game changer. Last week we found out that my husband’s zombie cancer has spread even further and faster.   BOOOM. Can you hear the thunder? I can. That news felt like a direct lightning strike to the heart.

Tomorrow- we meet with the oncologist to form a specific plan. What we know already is that the next step is:  chemo. There’s something about chemo that makes cancer very real.  It means He’s going to (potentially) look and feel sick.

Something that has been surreal about this 3 year walk through cancer- is that aside from minor med side effects and 1 surgery- my husband hasn’t looked, or felt- sick.

Cancer has been like heat lightning or a storm viewed from across a bay. It keeps flashing to make it’s presence known,  but has been (surreally) more emotionally hard than physically. This week that could change.

Or, not.

The truth is- every person responds to chemo uniquely. We have never done this, and have no idea how he will feel. There is really no way to predict what side effects he’ll actually have. Vomit? Exhaustion? Hair loss? Who knows? I don’t. The oncologist doesn’t. What we have is just have a list of “potential side effects.”

What we do know is this- we are facing the biggest storm of our life.

We also know this: We are not facing it alone. We are facing it with faith that God is present- even here. We are facing it with the love and support of friends and family. And we are facing it together.

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Every year when we visit Traverse City- we stop at the same spot and I take a picture (Or, a hundred.) of my guys on the beach. I usually try to plan this on a sunny- beautiful day. That didn’t happen this year. This year there were clouds. Rain. A storm coming in. Also-this year- a couple happened to be there at the same time.

I asked them to take our picture. It’s the first time my whole family is in the shot. Which-at this moment- is a symbol that we’re in this mess together. We’ll get through this storm: together. Regardless of the lightning or wind it brings.

God and the love He pours out in and through His people- is greater than cancer.

Bits and pieces of Psalm 55 I’m savoring—

“My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen on me.
5 Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
6 I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
7 I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;[c]
8 I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.”

As for me, I call to God,
and the Lord saves me.
17 Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.
18 He rescues me unharmed
from the battle waged against me,
even though many oppose me.
19 God, who is enthroned from of old,
who does not change—
he will hear them and humble them,
because they have no fear of God.

22 Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken.

But as for me, I trust in you.

Dear Lord- I don’t know what’s ahead. This storm has been raging for a long time and is increasing in intensity. I pray that you’d be our focus. Lord, help us face it like the storm on the beach. Be our peace, our comfort and savior- help us find beauty- Even here-In Jesus name-amen

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Of Turtles and Trust and Trusting Again…. Even Here.

IMG_5918She was an average turtle. Living an average turtle life. Like turtles do. Every day, along with her turtle friends- she slowly made her way to the water lily and cat tail lined pond-that she called home. It’s where she found both the beauty and sustenance she needed to survive and thrive.

One day, as she walked on the cool grass- a seagull swooped down and pecked her. Hard. In the head. The one tiny spot where she was vulnerable. She immediately pulled into her shell. All four tiny feet, her head and her tail.

She stayed in there- halfway to the pond for a night and a day.

She got hungry. Very hungry.

The next morning she decided to risk the walk again- “I need to get to the pond.” She gingerly peeked out from her shell- and saw her turtle friends making their way safely to the pond. She carefully and watchfully, joined them.

The safety and relief she felt as she slipped into the water, was heavenly.

For a few minutes she snacked and sunned peacefully. Until: the bite.

The bite of a pike. Which is a little like a fish with a saw for a jaw.

The pain in her tender turtle foot blazed. She started for the shore.

She limped. Part of her tiny turtle foot was gone. Once on shore,  she again retreated into her shell. Safe. protected. “I’m never leaving my shell again.” She was determined. She meant it.

She stayed tucked inside herself for a day and a night. She grew hungry. Thirsty. She grew cold, as the shade and night replaced the sun.

Still. she stayed in her shell.

Each day, other turtles took made their way to the pond. She watched as some suffered their own pains. “Nope. I’m not going out there. It’s not safe.” Each day she grew more hungry, more weak more alone.

Finally- one of the other turtles gently nudged her shell…..”Are you ok, in there? You need to come out- you need to  eat and sun….we miss you. And if you don’t eat.. well.. you’ll die.”

“No, I am not ok.” The turtle snapped. “I was pecked in the head and before that even healed- a pike bit off one of my feet. I’m hurting and I’m not going to be hurt again. I’m not going to that pond again. As a matter of fact-I’m staying right here- safe in my shell.”

Her turtle friend peeked into her shell… she saw the pain on her friends face and the blood from the wounds. She also noticed how weakened the turtle looked. She was worried.

“I know you’re hurting. But- I also know you’re getting weaker by the moment. The pond is where you need to go. You need to eat. You need the sun. I know you’re afraid. But- look. See? ” And the turtle friend held out her own tiny turtle foot… or what once had been a turtle foot and was now a turtle stub. “Wounds can heal. I know. I’ve been hurt. I also know it’s scary to come back out once you’ve been hurt. But if you don’t- you’ll surely die. Staying in your shell and staying away from the thing you need most- might feel safe- but it isn’t. It’s the most dangerous thing you can do. I’ll tell you what. Let’s walk to the pond- together.”

The turtle peeked her head out of her shell- just barely enough to see her friend.

“Did you really lose a foot?”

Her friend waggled her front stump in reply.

“Are you sure we’ll be safe?” The turtle asked- as her turtle tummy rumbled and her parched turtle mouth longed for the sweet taste of fresh pond water…

“Not really” Said her turtle friend. “But , we’ll be together.  and I am sure of this- the pond is where we need to go. It’s our only hope for survival and healing.”

The turtle knew her friend was right. She had to try again. She had to trust- even though she was so afraid that the turtle toes she had left shook.

And so- the turtles  slowly, stumbled their broken way to the pond- slipped in together and ate their fill of the tastiest treats. They sunned on a piece of drift wood. The little turtle grew stronger. She healed. She trusted the pond again.

I’d like to say the turtles lived safely ever after- but turtles- like all things- suffer and die. The truth is- the turtles lived their lives- fully- with pain and delight- as turtles should.

And when they were hurt again- they made their way back to the pond each time.  Not because it was safe- but because it was what they needed.

Dear Lord-  we are all turtles…. we have trouble trusting. When we’re hurt-we want to retreat into our shells and never leave again. Sometimes we retreat from others- sometimes we retreat from you. I know- because I’ve done both.  The problem is- when we retreat into our selves- and our shells- it keeps us from the things we need so desperately to heal and thrive and survive.

The pond.  The pond of community where we encourage, nourish  and heal each other and the pond of your love….. where our deepest needs can be met and our deepest hurts can be healed.

Lord- make us brave enough to trust again. Yes- even you. Which I know is ridiculous- but we do it. We retreat when we’re hurt and keep ourselves from the very source of what we need.

Help us to take the risk to try again- to peek out from our shells and make our way to the pond.

Lord- some of us have been hurt by life- some by others and some by sickness and things we wish you’d have kept us safe from- and honestly? It can make us retreat from you.

All these things and so many more- can make us retreat to our shells. Heal our hurts, Lord.  And as you do- give us courage to peek into the shells of those we walk near as we make our own broken way back to the pond- those who are hurting, hiding. Give us grace and courage to remind them of the truth- sometimes it’s dangerous out there-but it’s worth it.  Give us courage walk beside them. To show our own bumps bruises and hurts and how they’ve healed. Because we kept going back to the source.

Help us Lord- Even here. In the dangerous place we call life.  I love you lord. and I pray you’d make us brave, broken little turtles….let’s face it Im already shaped like one- you’ve got a good head start…. I love you lord- amen.

Dear Reader- if you’re hurting. I get it. Scroll through some of my posts and you;ll see how well I do….You’re not alone- dear brother or sister turtle…..I’m hurting too-and healing. Come on- et’s go back to the pond- together. It’s worth it.

****and because someone will be thinking it: Yes- I know this is a sea turtle- not a pond turtle….I took her pic;) She resides at the Mote aquarium in Long Boat Key Florida;) (I think it’s a she… I didn’t check- and wouldn’t have a clue how to:P)

I like to use my own photography vs stock;)

 

A nest among thorns- in which cancer follows- but God continues to hold us- even here

IMG_0074.JPG 6 days. From around 6 a.m. – until….well, when ever the heck I finally stopped. I nested. Everything in my heart said: “this will be our escape. Our place of peace. Where we’ll enjoy the grace that is living away from all the mess and stress that is life. ”

I made it beautiful. It was sold furnished- all I had to do was a surface makeover to make it ours. It’s As cute a tiny respite as I’ve ever dreamed of having. A dream come true. Our own little cottage on a lake.

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I even have a desk. A real writing spot.

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And this: I can’t even believe it…..

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Just about the time I stopped furiously working- the wall of safety I thought I was building was once again hit by the wrecking ball of cancer. I did not want cancer to show its face here. Not here.

But, it did. Another bad report. More treatments ahead. More fear. More struggle. Lots of tears. Lots of prayers.

Cancer doesn’t respect boundaries. Cancer doesn’t take a vacation. It follows you and surrounds you wherever you are. Even here. In my favorite places ever.

As I was wallowing in the mess of emotion that is tied up in cancer I remembered a picture a dear friend sent me, this one:

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This is how I feel right now. In our nest of peace trusting. But also- surrounded by thorns and cacti needles.

I’m choosing to trust the one who’s holding our little nest- even here. In a place I’d never choose to nest. Cancer. Stress. Fear. Pain. Living in this nest isn’t as safe or comfortable as other places we’ve nested. The thorns reach out to tear at us every time we move. They hurt. We heal.

We do the next thing. We take the next step. Over and over.

If you’re feeling the same, I pray you find rest and nourishment for your soul. The nest may be surrounded by thorns- but it’s still being held by one who loves you. Even there.

Here’s my prayer today:blessed be your name

Abiding- in a pleasant place. In which I’m surprised by God- yet again-Even Here.

IMG_0094I’ve spent the day- walking without shoes. I’m not sure if I wore shoes yesterday, either. I may not wear them tomorrow.

Don’t panic. It’s for an good reason. No, there is no #icebucketchallenge involved. There’s not even “a mile without shoes”- challenge. (Yet.)

Today, I walked barefoot, on a dream.

We’ve been married 26 years in October. Almost 30 years ago we spent long summer and fall days- on Big Portage Lake and Tim’s Lake- near Jackson, Michigan. We always talked about the cottages that lined the lakes. We shared stories of each of our families’ cottages.

“Someday.” We dreamed. “Maybe, someday we can have a place on a lake.” However-we never actually believed it could happen. Lake front property is notoriously expensive. (Yes, even here, in Michigan-  where we have more lakes than bathtubs.)

There is always “something” else that we needed. Like: college tuition. Groceries. Vet bills. Cars breaking down or needing replacing. Home maintenance. Life. It’s always something. Isn’t it?

Still-we kept saying: “Maybe, someday.”

For one week a year we have a time share that my mom and step dad blesses us with. It’s in Traverse City. Right on the water. Every year we look at buying another week or two- because a week by the water is just not enough. It’s heaven. But, goes by so fast. Except, that involves just another week. It’s also hours from our home. Not exactly somewhere to just go spend a day. Or, two or, ten.

We’ve looked at property there-every year- and dreamed: “Maybe someday.” “Maybe, someday, we’ll have  a place up here-where we can go anytime we want- and just: rest.” Nature or nurture or, maybe God’s calling us to His creation- water and sun and trees = almost instant- rest. Always. Sunshine and water are better than Zoloft. (Trust me, I know of what I speak.)

We love to go camping- and for years we’ve been calling our camper “our mobile cottage.” Still thinking: maybe someday. Camping is amazing- but- it’s a lot of work with moments of rest. Every time we’ve packed up to leave our campsite we’ve said: “Maybe, someday.”

Then- came surgeries and cancer and their BFF’S: medical bills.

“Someday” Became “No way.”

For the past few years our lives and dreams have been on hold. Between my hubby’s health and my own- it’s been wave after wave of waiting for test results,surgeries, doctor’s appointments. Treatments.  All while working and writing and traveling for work and living and kids and – life.

A couple of months ago- we started talking about how tired we are of being on hold. Being on hold is different than waiting. Waiting ends. Test results eventually come in. Decisions are eventually made.  Having your life on hold, means not making decisions because: “What if?” “We can’t plan a trip, because what if the test results are bad that month?” “We shouldn’t spend on that- because: what if? The BIG What if, happens?”

Only like the cable company- when your life is on hold- time continues to pass. So does the life you actually, have.

Instead of moments savored, they are moments of torture.  Like the cable company- there is also, bad hold music. Of course. It’s the sound of all the worries and scenario running- good, bad, miraculous and ugly- that plays in your head the whole stinkin’ time. You’re on hold.

As we thought and talked that through we realized that whatever happens- this is the day we have. This is the life we have. However long or short, it may be. The truth is- none of us know how long our days will be. Only God knows and he wisely keeps that to himself.

So we took ourselves off hold. We changed some of our what it’s.”

Everyday I pray for a few things- that God would bless the work of my husband’s hands and heart, that my kids would know they are deeply loved by us and by God, and that God would make a way where there seems to be no way.

He hasn’t healed my husband’s cancer- (yet) and I think my kids know they are loved. And this year- God did some pretty awesome things through my husband’s hard work.

We made some plans. College plans. Bill plans. Financial plans. (We’re Ramsey flunkies who are slowly getting it. We passed the second time- it’s a process.)

Then we realized: That dream? Well- maybe it could happen. If we could find something that would work for us. The “that would work for us” part was the difficult part.

Our list:

  • Close enough to home to actually be able to go to for just a day trip.
  • In a price range that wouldn’t change our ability to help others.
  • Big enough- but not too big. (Bigger means MORE WORK.)
  • NOT a fixer upper. We wanted a place to rest- not work. Low maintenance.
  • On the water.

We weren’t asking for much, were we?

We started looking online. We were shocked to find some reasonably riced cottages. We tried not to be excited. We started to spend weekends driving all over South East Michigan – looking at cottages. “Too far.” “Not handicapped accessible.” “Too expensive.” “Needs too much work.” Then I found one we fell in love with online. It fit our criteria. It was also on the lake we’d spent so much time dating on.

We drove out just to “see it.”

We loved it. We called the realtor from the driveway. “Sold.” I nearly cried.

Kyle (My husband) Suggested we just drive around a bit in the area to see if anything else was for sale.

A few misses and then: Bam. It happened. At first glance I wasn’t sure I even wanted to go in- It was red. Which was kind of weird. My hubby said: “Let’s just look.” He called the realtor. It was still available. “Could we see it?” She called the owner’s- who happened to be at the cottage. They said to come on in.

The kitchen needed a little love, but the view and the deck and the layout? PERFECT. They were also selling it: furnished. Appliances included. We left to talk- and pray. And question and pray. We talked to some trusted friends. We battled a lot of guilt- because really- it was  a want- not a need. And- I remember so desperately wanting a home of my own for years-that to have a home and a cottage just seemed like too much.

We talked to our doctors. Both said: Do it. Enjoy your life, now. It will be good for you. Mental health can lead to physical health.

So- Friday- we did it. We bought that tiny almost 100 year old cottage on the lake. By Saturday night- it felt like our own. The previous owners left everything immaculate- and stocked- from a jet ski (another dream- little known fact: jet skis are my roller coasters. Give me a ski and a tank of gas and I’ll hit that lake hard, and come back to the dock with bugs in my still grinning teeth. There is a shed full of everything a cottage owner needs, lawnmower (Mostly moss and low growing grass- only needs cutting about twice a season.) a bbq a bug fogger- lake rake…. life jackets, enough floaties to invade Cuba. Patio furniture, fans and window AC units. It even has a big wooden swing.

All we had to do was bring clothes and give it a Tracey Makeover. Which we did. Including an actual writing desk that faces the lake. It’s light and bright and cozy all at the same time.

In some ways- it doesn’t make sense. Now? Really? In other’s it makes total sense- it’s now- or never. We decided to be brave and wise and go with now.

Which is where I am, right now. Writing where I’ll be finishing up my book. Facing the water. Soaking in sun, and finally feeling off hold.

No. The cancer is not gone. Yes. it’s still bad. But, today? We have a place to enjoy- rest, recover between appointments and make memories.

When I chose my word for the year- “Abide” I had totally thought it was going to totally be about abiding and enduring. I had no idea it would also involve abiding here- in a dream come true.

I have no idea what you’re going through. I have no idea what dream you have that you’ve set aside as “not ever.” I have no idea why your life feels on hold. Honestly- I also have no idea why we were blessed with this option at all. We sure don’t deserve it.

But, I do know this: Winston Churchill was right when he said: “When you’re gong through hell- keep going.” Whatever your hell. Whatever your dream on hold. Keep going. Take another step. Breathe. Do the next thing. You just might find yourself surprised by God, even there- as well.

“Dear Lord- I thank you for all you have done and are doing. Thank you for our little cottage of grace that we so do not deserve. Thank you for all the tiny affirmations that this is the right place for us- for now. Help us to enjoy your presence even as we continue to go through the hell that is cancer. Even here- abiding in grace- and surprised at where it’s led. Lord- for those who’s lives feel on hold- who feel like they’re barely treading water- help them to keep going. To try again. To breathe one more breath. Take one more step. And meet them with grace- where ever they are.- in Jesus’ beloved name- amen.”

Dementia- I wish I never Met Ya. The Job I Never Showed Up For- and How I Face that Fear- Every week. (Because God has an ironic sense of humor.)

UnknownIn my brain- it was a natural fit. I already had the white shoes-(Years of waitressing= white non-skid shoes.) and I love people and taking care of them! I was pretty sure it was even biblical- fits under the orphans and widows thing or honoring your parents- (Even if it wouldn’t be mine I was honoring.) To my 20 year old brain, it all made sense. Of course my next job should be to care for elders in need at a nursing home. Duh.

I walked in for my interview- and stopped to chat with those gathered near the front door in their wheel chairs- obviously longing for some attention and chatter. “I got this.” I thought, My current waitress job was at a restaurant known for it’s older clientele. And they loved me. I was a shoe in.

In the administrator’s office -overflowing with paperwork and files, I aced the interview. She hired me on the spot- then took me for a tour after giving me my employee handbook and training materials.

Which is when the panic set in. The people in the rooms were not exactly like the people I’d envisioned, or those I’d met by the front door.

I was thinking: “Hanging out with people like my grandparents.”  These people were not like my grandparents. These people were sick. Hurting. Limited in their abilities. They needed bedpans and diaper changes. These people said awkward things that made me feel confused at best, and extremely uncomfortable at worst. In the middle? Just plain at a loss. Some talked to me like I should have a clue what they were talking about- often with insistent questions I didn’t have answers for. I didn’t.

I kept smiling and nodding.I tried to talk to everyone as the administrator introduced me as”the new girl starting soon.”

Inside? I was CREEPED OUT. It wasn’t the smell or the messes that did it- it was the Alzheimers, demential and the senility. It was the impossibility of answering a question and having it understood. It was in short: ME.

White nurse shoes purchased or not- I was not cut out for this.

I never showed up for that job. I just couldn’t do it.

Years later, when My great grandmother had to be placed in a nursing home due to her own dementia and limitations- I visited often- but the same feelings haunted me. Not understanding people and not being understood or remembered scared me.

I went anyway.

Decades later- we’re facing the beginning of a new journey- with my much loved and somewhat-crazy in-laws. There is some dementia. A stroke. Several other health issues- all of which added up to their needing more hep than the family can provide.

They aren’t in a nursing home. They’re in a lovely assisted living apartment. But, I’ll be honest- it’s hard. As much as I love them- it’s hard to see them lose independence. It’s hard to not be able to make them happy. (They’re not exactly fans of their new accommodations and I tend towards people pleasing… so yeah- that’s fun.) It’s not the place-the place is great and so are the caregivers- it’s the idea of not being at home that bothers them. I get it.

I just can’t do anything about it.

Problem: Dementia and situations like this: still freaks me out.

But, this is my inlaws! I love them!

So- I go.

Not showing up- isn’t an option here.

Tuesdays are my day. I take over whatever they need. I try to think of things to do with them or things they may enjoy while we’re not there- I keep hoping it will make it easier for them.

It doesn’t.

But, I keep showing up. Yes- it’s sometimes awkward. (Last week someone decided that depends are as good as pants. Um -they’re not. GO PUT SOME PANTS ON. OY. It burns!)

Things are said that make me feel uncomfortable. There are people hanging out by the front door just longing to talk to someone. Abut: anything. Somedays it takes me a while between hitting the button to be buzzed in and actually walking the 50 feet to their apartment. Cause I Have to talk to the lonely ones.

My inlaws- are actually on the high end of wellness – and we’re thankful for that. Assisted living is not the same as a nursing home. (Still trying to convince them of that.) But it’s still hard.

Partly it’s because of : ME. Give me  room of drooling crazy hyper kids? I got that. A room or auditorium full of people to speak in front of? No problem. Love it. A little nervous that I might suck- but for the most part: bring it.

Coming face to face with dementia? I’m tempted to go fetal. I’ve read books. (I research everything to death.)  But, it still comes down to just going- and facing my fear.

So I do. And I will again today.

I’m trying to find humor in the awkward. (Every week we have the same discussion about my tattoos…. it goes like this: “No, it’s not new. It’s scripture. I don’t think Jesus will send me to hell for having scripture on my foot…..if He does- that would really suck.” They do not find this humorous. They usually switch the TV to Jimmy Swaggart to make sure I at least hear the word and might someday be saved. Ironic: ager a dose of swaggart or other TV preacher- they immediately turn on the afternoon soaps. which I’ve never watched. Because I think they’re just garbage.

However- the dichotomy between TV preachers and  the soft core that is afternoon soaps? I just-don’t get. It’s also really uncomfortable sitting with your father in law while 14 people climb in and out of bed with each other- mostly while threatening and plotting against each other. Awkward. On so many levels.

I’m trying not to take their anger and frustration personal.

I’m trying to not be judgmental. Apparently failing at that. I ALMOST edited the last paragraph out because it’s so judgey- but- I try to be honest about what a jerk I am- so I’m leaving it in.

So- decades after slipping out of those white nurse shoes because dementia creeps me out- I now weekly go by choice. (And without getting paid- just saying.) This time it really is to honor my parents well- my in-laws whatever.

It’s still awkward. It’s still kind of creepy. But apparently God won’t let me off the hook on this one. Whether it looks like it or not- I have to believe I’m making a tiny difference.

But i’m not wearing white shoes- they make my feet look fat.

Dear Lord- this is so hard. Please give my inlaws peace and strength and dignity in this hard phase of life. Give our family grace and mercy and courage and endurance to help them. especially me- Lord- You know intimately well how outside my comfort zone this is….and yeah- I get the joke- if there is one. My little disappearing act won’t work here. So go ahead- teach me something. Even  here- in dementia and assisted living and the mess of emotions and stress that swirl around it…. Thak you lord for the amazing people who are called and equipped to care for elders- without fear and with love-they amaze me! I love you lord- amen.

Questions for you my reader friends: 

Have you ever just plain not shown up for a job? What was it and why?

Have you ever gotten a job only to find it was NOT a fit?

i think there are 2 kinds of people- (totally making this up) those who can handle crazy kids- and those who can handle crazy old people- which are you? Or neither?

Ive said before that ‘sandwich” generation is a misnomer- it’s more a hot panini press-of stress – than a simple sandwich. Am I the only one feeling it? Are your parents or in-laws or grandparents moving into a more dependent phase of life? How are you coping? Or not?

PS: The Theme for MOPS International this year is “Be you, Bravely” who knew it would apply to assisted living visits?  It does. Trust me. ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of Robin Williams- and My Best Failure. (At least to date.)

I was a teenager. Full of all the angst and fury and fear that teens can be full of.  Angst at who I was. Fury over a lack of control and fear that I could never become  what I so desperately wanted to be: good enough. Good enough to be noticed for something. Loved. by someone.  (Other than my parents- as a teenager they didn’t count.I was weird.)

The details of my story don’t matter- because they could be a Madlibs of issues. You could insert your own nouns, verbs and adjectives and end up with the same ending. A suicide attempt.

Or, maybe it was a beginning.

In this story, the beginning came after the ending.

At least what I’d planned to be the ending:

My dramatic exit from this earth. It looked like this in my head: To be found asleep in my white eyelet canopied bed- suicide note pinned to the canopy. After which, the world would know how much they’d lost when they lost me.

Of course- I’d also be done with the angst. The fear, the depression and self loathing and fury.

I waited until bedtime- went into the bathroom and swallowed all the Tyelnol I could swallow. Then- I went to bed. Fully expecting not to wake up. Irony: did I really want to kill myself? I think so- however- I ironically bypassed the bottle of aspirin because I am allergic to it. So maybe somewhere in my brain I didn’t really want to die. Or I bypassed it out of habit.

Either way- what happened instead: I failed.

I woke up vomiting the most horrific “Exorcist” like stuff you’ve ever seen. And I woke up: scared. This HURT. This was not my dramatic slip into the netherworld- plan.

What followed was a flurry of a drive to the hospital- a transfer to children’s hospital a lot of tubes inserted into a lot of places- and blood work taken every hour. Apparently the ibuprofen I’d chosen instead of the aspirin I was allergic to had done enough damage to my liver to almost carry out my plan. Plus: I remember feeling like the biggest loser before the show existed- only the biggest loser in the universe- because I could;t even kill myself right. I was disappointed. AND hurting. That’s a rude awakening.

I’ll never forget the hurt in my parents eyes.

I’ll also never forget the chicken wire like windows that were in my “suicide watch” room. I’ll never forget the timed phone calls in the hallway like prisoner in a movie. I’ll never forget the gag order put forth to keep other kids from copying my attempt. (Suicides often happen in waves. They aren’t contagious- but almost. I was :”sick” I hadn’t tried to kill myself. Except: I had. )

I don’t remember going home. I do remember going to counseling.

I also remember years later- when my mom brought me the evidence of her broken heart- my suicide letter- that she had carried in her purse for years. I remember the guilt of the hurt I caused.

I remember the freedom I found in burning that letter. I wish I could have burned up her pain along with it. I couldn’t.

I’d love to say that Jesus showed up in that chicken wired room and took away the depression and all the insanity that had led up to my attempt. But, he didn’t. At least not in the dramatic way I’d prefer to write into this story. (Although- if I’d told them Jesus showed up in my room- I think they would have extended my stay… justsayin.)

Instead- I slowly got better. Over the years-I learned that depression doesn’t haven’t to be terminal- but it does tend to cause recurrences.

It almost was terminal for me.

Except I failed. And 30+ years later, I think that was my best failure to date.

I am my own living “It’s a wonderful life.”  I know what I would have missed- the good the bad the horrific and frightening and amazing had that plan “succeeded.”

  • 3 incredible man-children.
  • A husband who adores me- even at my most crazy.
  • Encounters with a God that give me meaning, purpose, grace and mercy and unconditional love that I longed for and still do.
  • Friends and family that love and “get” me. In part because I’ve learned to let them: know me.
  • A calling and purpose that is bigger than myself.

This is just a tiny slice of what I would have missed…..of course I’d have also missed grief, sickness, pain, feeling helpless in the face of my husband’s cancer and a whole host of other problems….

But what I know now- is this: suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem and most problems- are temporary or can at least be managed.

Depression is treatable- in my life it’s like diabetes in my brain. I have to care for my brain like a diabetic does their blood sugar. I take my necessary meds- I do the hard work of dealing with emotions, and I keep trying. It gets better. Depression doesn’t usually hold the MainStage of my life- but it’s sometimes playing it’s song in the orchestra pit.

Lives can be changed.

There is help.

Depression does’t have to be terminal.

I’m glad to say- my failed suicide is my best failure ever. I wish Robin Williams would have failed, too. Because he was an amazing, brilliant, gifted and well loved man.

So are you. Whether you believe it or not.

Need help? Get it now. 

Want to help? Click the same link and either donate or volunteer.

Or be brave enough= reach out to a friend who you think might need help.  You matter. They matter. To me- to God and to the world… even when you don’t feel like it.

PS: I wish I could erase the pain I caused my parents.  Now that I’m a mom- I can think of no greater pain than to lose a child- or to have a child want to die. I can’t- but I can help others- so today- I’m offering this in hopes that it helps someone.  Moms- watch your kids. I’ll admit I’m hyper vigilant about mine. (They’d probably call it paranoid.)

I hope this: saves a parent the heart ache of child a lost.

A child the trauma and loss of a parent lost.

Or, just plain lets someone know they aren’t alone.

You aren’t.

 

 

 

 

Sock Basket Albatross. Time to Let it Go. And I’m not talking about Frozen.

10301062_10203276759212474_4664838666416046099_nIt has mocked me from the end of my bed for years. Day after day I feed it’s maw with offerings of hope and it just sits there.  I keep hoping the rest will show up.  They don’t. It’s just a black hole of guilt and procrastination. I can’t even tell you how long it’s been there.

it’s been at least since we’ve been married- in one form or another. White , blue, five dwelling places- but always at least one.  I don’t exactly remember packing them up- they’re just always- there.

No, not my husband. I like HIM. And no- it’s not some weird animal I’m keeping chained up that could get me arrested or protested by PETA. (Although I’ve briefly considered keeping a sea otter in my bathtub.. they just make me smile. That. Much.)

Nope. it’s not alive. It’s a black hole I keep tossing things into. Useless things. Things that make me crazy. (Okay- crazier.)

The mismatched sock basket.

(Full disclosure that will probably cause you to judge me as a sock hoarder- but I’m being honest- it’s 3 laundry baskets- not just socks… mostly socks, but also random other things I don’t know what to do with. There. I said it.  3 baskets full- just like the baa baa black sheep…..only not. Honesty is so freeing. )

I keep MEANING to go through it and match up what I can- and toss what I can’t.  But something always stops me from actually doing it.  Like laundry that people actually need cleaned. And vacuuming. And knitting. And writing. And reading. And just about anything BUT, sorting those evil, guilt overflowing baskets.

Saturday morning– I tried to just bag the junk up and throw it all out.  But, I could’t do it. What about all the naked footed children in need? What about my own kids- who are probably sharing the same 3 pair of socks each that I keep rewashing because they keep being thrown into the hamper already matching? What about the waste?

Instead- I gathered them all up- tossed them into the washer (I’m sure there are a few less after that… ) re-washed and dried them- then sat down in the living room. Pile before me- iPod on my ears.

And yes- I played the worst game of “Memory” ever. For at least 90 minutes. So long that my feet fell asleep and my back ached. So long that Christmas music came up on shuffle.

When I was finished- there was a basket of neat little sock balls- and STILL a sickening pile of mis-matched socks.

UGH. They are like foot shaped ragged little bunnies- multiplying faster than I can roll them up.

I went through what was left, and THREW OUT anything with holes or stains that didn’t resemble anything worth putting for sale on Ebay. (No socks stained like Michael Jackson or, Jesus. Bummer.)

There was still a pile sitting in front of me.

I put the pile in a bag. JUST in case I find more socks. You know- the missing ones. Then I started the dark load. OY. yes. A whole second batch. And I did the same thing all over again. the next day.

Now, I have a basket of white sock balls and a basket of dark sock balls and 2 piles almost as big- of STILL mismatched socks.

I suppose that’s progress. Right?

Here- the thing- I’m sick of these baskets taunting and mocking me. I’m sick of my bedroom looking like a laundry museum. I’m sick of holding onto things that are useless. Things I don’t need. Things I haven’t used and probably never will.

I’m also tired of holding onto the guilt.

So today is the deadline. I’m letting it go.

All of it. It’s time.

I think we all have things we hold onto and hoard that make us feel like these sock baskets. They sit in a corner and taunt us- and we just keep feeding them. Not dealing with them- just adding to them. And they just grow bigger. They take up more space in our heads, hearts and lives than they deserve. What starts out as a simple temporary place to store mismatched socks turns into a huge vortex of self condemnation.

Maybe, it’s not about socks. Maybe, it’s something else. Something else you keep feeding and avoiding dealing with. An addiction? A pile of bills? Another mess? Or something from your past. Pain. Sin. Anything. Something you keep feeding and holding onto…..

What would happen if you sat down, did the work you can, and then- let the rest go?

I’m not actually sure what would happen. It could be risky.

  • What if we run out of SOCKS??? We’d have cold feet!
  • What if the Other sock shows up and it’s too late? What if it’s heartbroken that I didn’t keep it’s mate?  Could I live with that guilt?
  • What if there’s a miniature flood and we  could have used those mismatched socks as tiny sand bags?
  • What if there’s an urgent crisis for single socks on a yet to be discovered island of one footed orphans and I miss my opportunity to bless them with my abundance?
  • What if someone posts the perfect use for them on Pinterest?

I just don’t know.

But, I’m willing to find out. How about you?

Are you willing to do the work to clean out that mess you’ve been avoiding? Are you willing to let go of that guilt you can’t do anything about?

Me too. And I’m starting with the sock baskets. Really. Today. I Promise.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14

Dear lord- somethings are overwhelming and frustrating. Like the guilt I keep feeding and the mismatched socks. I don’t even know where to start to clean them up. Help me to know what to hold onto and pry my fingers off of the things I need to let go of…. I need your help- I love you lord- amen.

PS: For the really smart and intuitive among you- yes- this was yet another way to avoid actually throwing out what’s left or finding something else to do with them…..I’m just. that. good. at avoidance. :P

But, I’m doing it. TODAY. I’ll post pics. I promise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is no Trump Card in the Game of Pain….. (Which is Worse than the Game of Thrones- Which- I’ve Never Watched, ‘Cause I’m not Cool Enough.)

UnknownI’m pretty much a “what you see is what you get” kinda girl. I am admittedly two faced, but there’s only the one I wake up with and the one I paint on, shortly afterwards. That’s it.

I have no poker face. If you ask me how I am- I’ll most likely tell you. If you ask me how my husband is- I’ll tell you that too. If you ask me my weight, I’ll probably give you a blank stare and tell you: “Nunya”. No- that’s not a curse word in another language. (That I know of.) It means: None of your business.

I’m pretty much an open book, with a few boundaries.

Which has been pretty interesting and kind of sad over the past few years.

Because once in a while- someone will ask, I’ll answer, only to discover I just threw down the Trump card, in a game I didn’t even know I was playing.

It usually happens when talking to someone and I think we’re having a real honest conversation- the kind I like, the kind that matters. About life and the messiness of it and how it’s all hard and worth it, but sometimes sucks. Then suddenly the other person looks me in the eye and says:

“Oh, wow. I should shut up. My life’s a piece of cake, compared to yours. I don’t want to bother you with my “Stuff.”

BAM. DOOR CLOSED.

Game over. Trump card played in a game I didn’t even know we were playing. The game called: “Your life sucks so much, it makes me feel like a giant whiner that shouldn’t have any feelings about my current tiny crap-tide- so I’ll shut up now.”

I get it. Really, I do.

The other person suddenly realizes my life is a jacked up mess. They do a quick emotional balance sheet and decide I have enough stress in my life and they don’t want to push me over the edge to crazyville.

Except, they pushed me away. What was a two sided conversation, suddenly becomes awkwardly one sided. The other person feels like they can’t be open or honest with me… because well- my life is crazy.

Instead-they shut down and stop talking. They become uncomfortably “there for me.”

People don’t just do this in conversations- they do this in real life, too. They decide I can’t handle their “stuff” in addition to my own- so they try to protect me. By not including me in “their stuff.”

I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I was trying to be considerate.I get it. I mean- when you compare feeling frustrated with your spouse or in-laws or the bill pile, or the abundance of laundry you can’t seem to keep up with, or kids who are driving you nuts, and someone else says: “Yeah- I feel overwhelmed and frustrated too….this cancer thing is making me nuts.” It does put things into a different perspective.

Except-I didn’t realize how comparing and shutting down and cutting them out to protect them- can make the other person feel.

It makes me feel: disconnected. Like an emotional leper. Like my life is so hard that I can’t possibly think of someone else- and like I might not be able to handle it either….(Newsflash: I can’t. Neither can you. That’s why we need each other and God. Justsayin’)

I feel like I just won the game of “Who’s life sucks the most.” A game no one wants to win. (Well, I suppose there are always a few who are up for that win.. But, not me. and not  most pseudo- emotionally healthy people.) Winning that game is lonely.  It leaves you perched on the top of a dung pile by yourself, holding a trophy you don’t want. And since you’re holding giant “my life sucks the most” trophy- you can’t even plug your nose against the smell.

It makes me feel: useless. Like I couldn’t possibly help someone else because of the mess I’m living in.

Feeling disconnected and useless are not helpful.

Here’s what I’m learning: Comparing and shutting down- doesn’t help anyone. It creates disconnection when we most need connection.

Instead of comparing our pain and declaring someone the winner and someone the whiner. What if we just heard each other out- connected and were compassionate to each other? What if we let each other set emotional boundaries instead of trying to set them for each other?

Sidebar: That’s usually how boundaries work. we set our own and respect the boundaries of others.  I know-because I’ve read that in books, like 10 million times- so it must be true.

The truth is-there is no Trump card in the game of pain.

We all have pain in our lives. It’s relative. The most pain you’ve ever felt- is the most pain you’ve ever felt. The pain you’re feeling right now- HURTS. Whether it’s cancer, or finances or relational or daily frustrational. (I like to make up words. So- whatever. Frustrational is now a word. I said so. Spell check can underline it in red forever. I’m leaving it. )

There is no trump card in pain. It’s like the Cake in Portal- it’s a lie. (Random Video game reference. Go ahead- google it, I’ll wait.)

Pain hurts. Pain shared- hurts less.

Let’s quit the card games and comparing and start living with love and compassion. Deal?

(Ha! Deal… cards… get it? I’m punny.)

Dear Lord- There is no trump card for pain- you know us and love us and long for us to connect. Help us to stop comparing and start living with compassion and love, even when it’s messy and hard…and we feel like our pain pales in comparison to another’s. Give us courage to love boldly and to respect boundaries and the pain of others. I love you Lord- even when I’m the disconnecting doofus… amen

So am I the only one?

Tips for dealing with friends who are living in and with a mess:

1) Let them set healthy boundaries.

2) Keep them in your emotional loop. (trust me- sometimes it’s kind of weirdly nice to help someone else when you’re own life is jacked up.It makes you feel like there is something MORE than just your own pain.)

3) Don’t compare pain.

Any tips you’d add?

Post them in the comments and I’ll add them here;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where I write about what it's like to walk a few miles in my shoes and the shoes of others….

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