When you’re just not sure

As a blogger, if I would even dare officially consider myself one, I guess my job is to share some of the stuff that’s going on in my own life. 

I’m supposed to mine my own experiences, and turn them into something transcendent or relatable for someone else, in the hopes that maybe it will resonate with them. 

In the hopes that they can say, “me too.”

Then I read this. And I am still trying to remove the barbs that it thrust into me. 

Is what I do pointless? Is it stupid, or meaningless? It is useless?

I try to remind myself all of the time that I write for myself. And that hopefully, in doing so, some of what I say might reach someone. Someone who wants to laugh. Someone who wants to feel like they aren’t the only one. Or maybe, someone who just can’t even anymore. 

For nearly twelve years, my father has been sick. He has hepatitis c. His liver began to experience cirrhosis years ago, but the condition came to a head in 2005. Funny thing is, that word has fluttered out of my mouth at times in a high frequency over the last twelves years, but I still had to double check the spelling on it. For a long time, it was the unseen enemy, threatening everything.

He had a liver transplant in 2008. It was the weekend of my birthday. I was a new teller at a local community bank, working the second lane in the drive thru when I got the phone call from my mother.

I remember the swish of my khaki pants and how I started to cry when my mother told me that the hospital had a liver for my father as I hurriedly went and hid in the supply closet in an effort to contain myself. My joy. And my tears.

He wasn’t going to die. So many times, we thought he was going to, but now he definitely wasn’t. At least, if he could make it through the next few weeks.  

“It’s over,” I thought. 

Things are going to go back to normal. We celebrated all weekend, both my birthday and, seemingly, his day for rebirth. His second chance. I stole him a spoon from IHOP so that he would always have a trinket to remember such an occasion. 

I have no idea where that spoon is now. And the ghosts of a family broken who thought that it was over linger. 

That was eight years ago. Since then, addiction, continued and prolonged sickness, and anger have shattered my family into something unrecognizable. Something that seems unredeemable.

It’s all too much to write about for now. Maybe one day.

It’s hard enough to be someone’s caregiver, or to see someone you love struggle with sickness and poor health. But then when someone asks you how things are going and the truth is that not only is someone severely ill, but they’re also a broken person, you stop knowing how to answer the question. Because you don’t know where to start, and because they are also surrounded by broken people who have no idea how to handle all of this. 

I always thought that when your life was going to be shattered, it didn’t take years. And every time I have thought that this was it, this is rock bottom and it can’t possibly get any scarier or any worse, I have been so, so wrong.

I’m probably wrong now even. There is always a way for the bottom to drop out further.

We take our own autonomy for granted so easily. It’s without question that air will flow into our lungs without much effort when we take a breath. That our bones and skin can handle an innocuous stumble, or brushing against the corner of the counter top without injury. 

There are so many things that I take for granted, and yet I have watched someone lose pieces of themselves, year after year. 

Every time I can’t get over what it must be like to lose every part of your physical self, I feel the truth rush to me: we are more than these bodies. 

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

 

And every time you come to a portion of the bridge that has given way, and you think you cannot pass, is when you have to trust more than any other time. 

It becomes the oxygen you need, the strength to your bones, the binding on your wounds. 

It sounds like magic. It sounds so easy. It isn’t easy. 

Sometimes, when I think that things are the worst that they have ever been, and I start looking upward for some sort of sign that I am doing this whole “faith” thing right, I always am puzzled. Is this what it feels like to trust?

This emptiness? Because that is all that I feel. 

Or is it in the empty places that faith fills in? Are we supposed to trust the emptying and the wounds?  

Our bodies may be decaying or unsubstantial, but on the inside, when troubles assail the waters we are supposed to sail on, that we are supposed to walk on in faith, it is the condition of our hearts that the Lord is secretly working to His glory. 

In the emptying, when we realize that we cannot trust in the way that things are, we learn the way that they are supposed to be. When faith fills the darkest places of us that have been emptied of ourselves, we taste the way that it is supposed to be. 

We are more than these bodies. And so, our hope should be in something greater. 

It sounds so easy. So, so easy. But when you sit in the wooden pews at church, and you see the hands of the saints around you raised in worship, but you don’t really know what you’re doing there anywhere?

That’s right where God wants you. 

He wants you to know that you’ve been doing it wrong all this time. 

And even as life ticks by, and we think that we are learning, that we are growing, that we are different than the person we were a year ago, we come to yet another bedrock of truth. Where we find out just how much we really never knew to begin with. 

I’m not sure about any of this, really.

But the God in heaven is the one who scatters, and the one who draws near. 

And He will surely not allow us to be sown without allowing for us to collected.

Just sometimes, that takes time. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m sick.

So moms really do get sick days.

We just need to practically be at death’s door in order for it to happen.

Maybe I’m exaggerating ever-so-slightly.

Being sick on a weekend also helps. That way, your amazing husband can pick up the slack and fend off the children while you lie in bed and stare listlessly at the ceiling.

My two youngest kiddos have RSV and ear infections. Go big or go home, right?

Which means that for the past week, I have been in survival mode. Everyone was up at some point or another during the night, EVERY night, and my days were filled with nebulizer treatments and, understandably though regrettably, whiney children.

I can think of better things to do with myself rather than hold a mask up to my infant’s face in a futile attempt to get her to inhale her medicine.

What doesn’t kill us, right?

Sleep deprivation left me in prime position to be picked off by whatever nasty bug is going around. That and the fact that I am getting old.

Usually, I fare relatively well. But since I’ve been existing off of carbs and ginger ale and whatever else I could get my hands on in a hurry, and running on a sleep deficit, I don’t think my body was ready to fight off the germs.

The result? Bronchitis and an ear infection.

So, it’s my husband who is the last one standing at the moment. He’s been incredible, and very understanding of the fact that I sound like a 600 pound gorilla when I cough and that I leave a trail of tissues in my wake where ever I go.

Ladies – I may choose to write more on this subject later, but let me just say that a man who is willing to pick up your used tissues and take them to the trash, and to shine a flashlight down your throat to check for strep is a man worth keeping and a man worth waiting for. He is worth more than all the jewels of the Nile. Got it?

I laid in bed on Sunday, wishing that I could instead be consoling myself by binge watching The Good Wife or Downton Abbey. Instead, I got to prop myself up with pillows and stare at my phone until it felt like my eyes were going to pop out of my skull.

I am terrible at making myself take a nap, even when I’m sick. I’m just not good at it.

While I was laying there, I couldn’t help but think about all of the things that I take for granted. The ability to breathe out of both nostrils and to smell the crown of my baby’s noggin, for instance. As I navigated the various stages of grief over the clogged feeling in both ears, I realized that I should be taking a larger bite out of life.

(It’s helpful to note that I do this almost every time I get sick. I wonder what this world has come to.)

I vow to throw my phone into the bay and to look up and do all of the things. I vow that when I get better, I will go hang-gliding or mountain climbing. I will get up early every day, and become a morning person. I will learn how to sew and knit and crochet. I will clean the house from top to bottom. I will go scuba diving and take cooking classes.

I will be a success at everything!!

Annnd then I get well again. And I forget. Until the next time that I am bed ridden.

And that’s kind of sad.

I’ll lay there, lost in my thoughts and to do list, nursing a cold cup of coffee and listening to rain on my tin roof.

 

Sigh.

Thoughts on a sick day

Just kidding.

Moms really don’t get sick days. Parents don’t really get sick days. Unless we check into a motel.

Ladies, your husband can be as helpful as all get out, like mine is, but if your children KNOW that you’re in the house they’ll wonder what you’re up to. They cannot stay away. They just can’t help themselves. And they will find you.

Eventually their curiosity will get the better of them and they will need to confirm or deny their suspicions. For all they know, you could be hiding upstairs, playing with toys and eating copious amounts of chocolate. This is what they envision we do when we shuffle them off to bed in a hurry or drop them at the grandparent’s house for a few hours to ourselves.

Eat junk food and play with toys.

Because what else is more interesting than chocolate and toys? Surely not sleep. Sleep just isn’t interesting. Don’t worry, they’ll find out one day. And then they’ll want nap time back, just like we do.

Only one minor complication. See, they aren’t supposed to go check on mom. Cus dad says so. This is where having siblings is actually quite useful. For conspiracy.

One distracts daddy with requests for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or help wiping their bottom while the other one climbs the stairs. Little feet, toddling upward.

Then they reach your door and come right on in because why exactly would you ever think they would gently knock again?? They practically own the joint. Schucks, they were wrong. No chocolate. Just mom. Sleeping. Ew.

You were asleep, snoring like the dickens because you can’t breathe out of your nose. By this point, you’ve covered your face with a pillow because THIS CANNOT BE (and because maybe you want to put yourself out of your misery.)

 There cannot be a tiny person wearing Cars pajamas standing in your doorway going, “mommy?? what are you DOING?” This must be an all too vivid dream brought on by the fever or the meds.

You should probably check the box to make sure you didn’t get a hold of medicinal marijuana or something. You know you must look bad when even your child looks like they are judging you. Kids eat dirt and think Spongebob is funny. Their standards are low. So when they ask what you are doing and they wrinkle their nose just a tiny bit….you must be in a sad state.

Whelp, since they’re already there, they may as well ask mom for more juice or to help them build an intricate Lego model. It’s safest to just go ahead and get this out-of-the-way before they’re caught by daddy.

Eventually your husband does come in and shuffle them out. Until next time. They wave goodbye, but when daddy isn’t looking, they do that whole Robert DeNiro eye thing…

little_fockers_movie_posters_stiller_de_niro_slice_01

And round and round we go.

 
So, anyway, the other day I spent my lunch time sitting in one of those convenient/quick care doctor’s offices. One of those places that people drag themselves into like zombies because they couldn’t get up in time to make it to the doctors because FLU or they’re like me and forget who their primary care doctor even is.
The type of clinics that do basic health assessments, X-Rays, stitches, car repairs, food delivery, laundry services, movie rentals and tire changes? Yea, that’s the one.
The husband took time off of work to manage the children while I waded through a sea of sick people to plead for meds for my burning throat. While I waited, I surreptitiously drained my cellphone battery.
 

While thinking:

I like the paint colors in here. It’s like that beachy blue/green and tan combo that’s so popular right now? Wonder if this is Benjamin Moore. And if this is Benjamin Moore…I need to check out Pinterest…and if I check out Pinterest…*creates 24 new boards*

I wonder if the other folks in here had the chance to notice and appreciate the colors in between hacking up a lung or having a fish-hook removed from their hand…?

If I wasn’t already sick, I’m in for it now. I’m pretty sure that my sitting amongst no less than a dozen other sick people means I’ve almost certainly contracted Ebola.

Why is there a piece of art work with a rhombus on it?….This place almost had me convinced that it was reputable until that.
 
I wonder if I can sneak pictures of the paint palette and the rhombus….
photo 1-2
photo 2-3

BAM! Done….

Now how about a selfie…careful, now. Don’t wanna end up looking like these guys

This one looks pensive enough...#contemplative

This one looks pensive enough…#contemplative

Just kidding, don’t care as much as I thought I did…

photo 2-1

Might as well do duck lips…

photo 5-1

Upon closer inspection…I’m worried that I have a lazy eye. What do you guys think….

photo 3-1

Do I?

photo 4 DO I?!!

Maybe I should read the book I bought. I feel like that’s a sure-fire sign that one has officially reached adulthood. Bringing a book with you to read at places you know you’ll be stuck at is a sign of possessing the maturity to truly be prepared. The MVA. Doctors visits. Sitting in traffic…
 
I don’t understand why I’m waiting. These people don’t look so sick…
 
..Pretty sure someone just went in the bathroom and puked. Quick thinking on her part to run water in the sink while she was. It’s totally worked. Didn’t hear a thing.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Turns out I have strep. Or had. Yay for modern medicine. 
Happy Thursday, folks!