32B's Blog

…where I write my words

Spirits & Faith

The little girl, not yet 2 years old, walked up to her grandmother and said, “grandma, can you open the door for Mommy and the blue angels?”  The little girl’s grandmother stood there frozen looking into the innocent eyes of her grandchild before slowly looking up towards her closed front door.  Her daughter, the little girl’s mother, had died no more than 24 hours ago.  Hours later, the little girl’s dad came by to pick up his daughter.  “Daddy, mommy came to tell me good-bye”….that is what daddy remembers years later while her daughter does not remember ever saying such a thing and struggles with her own acceptance of the Christian faith because some things just do not “add up”.  Daddy is a co-worker of mine.  His wife died in a car accident.  Could his wife have possibly told their young daughter good-bye hours after they had gotten the news? 

I have always believed in spirits – the good and the bad ones.  I cannot remember when I knew this for sure but I think it was the first thing in life I was ever sure about.  I have countless stories of spirits.  The story above was shared from my co-worker during our lunch hour this past Friday.  This co-worker had his own personal story about his grandfather passing away and coming to tell him good-bye before the family got word he had passed.  Another co-worker also had a story about her aunt coming to say good-bye before her family got word she had also passed away.  Why were we even discussing this at work?  It started with a conversation I walked in on about the mark of the beast. 

I made chilli at home and brought it in for lunch.  Heated it in the microwave and carried it into our “lunchroom” where two other Christian co-workers were discussing the mark of the beast as if it was the latest reality TV show.  I listened having no idea what the hell they were talking about.  They discussed how those who were marked would show such a mark on the backs of their hands and foreheads.  Those marked would not be unable to do simply tasks such as buy groceries thus unable to participate in many activities with those living unmarked.  I am no stranger to asking stupid questions so I said, “what are you two talking about?”  Revelations.  The story about those persons being marked and whether or not the separation would happen first or the marking or both simultaneously.  A co-worker asked if I had ever read Revelations because, in all honesty, how can you be a Christian and not know what your faith believes in or know what will eventually happen concerning those of that faith?  My answer:  I read Revelations years ago and only because I was told I would receive a blessing after reading it.  I should probably read it again, huh?

Revelations is confusing to me to say the least.  Most believe that the stories of what shall happen may be more so metaphorical than literal.  Most believe majority of the Bible is written in this way.  Then, we began to discuss which denomination we each belong to.  One is Pentecostal, another Catholic I think, the third Presbyterian, and I am…..I don’t know.  I told of how I grew up Baptist as did one other co-worker in the room but now I just desire to be a label-less Christian although non-denominational carries a label anyways. 

Law School and I talked about religion, faith, prayer, and our different views on things relating to this.  The most uncomfortable conversation ever because I had to admit I have questions, went through a period of doubt, and am now right where I started from knowing more than I knew 3 or 4 years ago but not sure if the more I learn truly leads to more certainty.  He asked if I fear God.  Silence.  Uncomfortable silence.  I asked, “what do you mean?” not really to get him to explain such a simple question but to give myself time to word my answer carefully.  Yes, always a victim of impressing man.  “Do you have fear of God punishing you, fear you have to live a certain way, or fear that He does have the power to do what He says?”  I explained how my fear comes when I think death is near, when I think someone I love is in danger, when I feel I am walking quickly down the wrong path and time might not allow me to get my repentance in in time.  I do have a healthy dose of fear that I reap what I sow, that I know He knows I know right from wrong even when I knowingly chose wrong over right more times than not, and I have this fear that I will die before I fully come clean in a sense. 

Then I was asked about faith.  I gave my textbook answer which satisfied the person asking but not myself.  Anything textbook is common knowledge and, just because I can recite what it is does not mean I have it.  Then we discussed prayer and I realized I may be the most selfish person when it comes to prayer.  I explained how I talk mostly rather than ask for anything.  I hardly ever ask for anything because my life, at this point, is good.  I literally want for nothing that I feel I cannot live without.  Do I pray for others?  My family?  My friends?  The world?  Those starving?  Dying in war?  Living without knowing God?  No, I do not.  I give thanks for them but pray asking they remain in continued safety.  Am I out of touch with the world?  I might be.  Here I was the Queen of Q&A being interrogated by someone who made me feel like I was doing a piss poor job as a Christian.  No blame was played but I felt it internally because I knew I could do better, do more, and for others.  I did voluntarily let him in on the psycho overly analytical Devil’s Advocate mess that is sometimes me telling him if I ever die I would be hurt if someone wrote in my obituary that I accepted Christ at an early age.  I did not.  I only knew what I was accepting 3 or 4 years ago and, even then, I went into it as I do now….with an abundance of questions and concerns.  God probably accepted me at birth but I denied Him fervently until I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt while shrouded in doubt that I am willing to die for what I believe in.  If you had asked me that years ago I would have said “yes” because that answer is expected as I fooled man easily.  Ask me now and I say “yes” while man doubts me. 

It is almost 2am on Sunday morning.  I fell asleep at about 10pm but now I am wide awake just thinking.  It’s times like this when I wish I had someone to roll over and talk to about all the random things floating around in my head.  Until I find that person to wake up and piss off at 2am with my nonstop chatter, this blog will just have to do.

November 14, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , | Leave a comment

My Sons’ Burden

Co-worker #1 always has a funny story about her elderly dad who lives with her & her husband.  Her dad doesn’t like the dogs depending on the day, he doesn’t open the door for anyone because everyone might be a terrorist, he refuses to eat certain foods, he is very vocal, has created hundreds of dollars of damage to their bathroom toilet because he tried to flush his Depends, and can be quite a headache for co-worker #1.  Co-worker #1 has hired help during the day for her father.  This person baths him, cooks his meals, takes him outside (weather permitting) for walks and/or to get ice cream, cleans him if he has an “accident”, and spends time with him if he wants to play a game or something.  Not sure how old her dad is but she has mentioned from time to time the extras he requires (hired help, walkers, medication, etc) never without any compliant so I assume she can afford these things easily.

Co-worker #2 just lost her dad last month.  They were expecting it so when she got the call to come to the hospital/home they knew it was time.  He was a World War II veteran so he received a free education from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL & his health/medical bills were covered….as long as he remained under the VA care.  Apparently, the VA does not have nursing homes which her dad required since he was suffering from dementia & could no longer take care of his self.  He, like most parents, often told their kids not to put them in a “home” but she said if she hadn’t it bordered on elderly abuse because she knew he was incapable of caring for his self and she did not have the work schedule or money to do so either.  We were sitting at lunch when she started talking about the hassle of settling his estate, having to mail the Death Certificate to creditors, asking them to forgive debts that his estate can’t cover, and barely having enough to pay his funeral expenses let alone his medical bills.  We discussed his Power of Attorney.  We discussed his small life insurance policy which was about $12,000 while his burial expenses (she itemized everything including the ridiculous fee for a car to take the body to the cemetery and the $140 to have the tombstone place in the ground) where almost $9,000 and they couldn’t embalm him because it was too expensive so they had to have a closed casket. 

I listened while eating intrigued because, honestly, I have no idea how much funerals cost and I have no idea how much money it requires to care for an elderly parent whether your parent or your spouse’s parent.  Then co-worker #2 said, “this has taught me a lot so I won’t do this to my children” so I raised my hand (as if I was in class) and asked her what would she change right now to lessen the burden on her kids.  Number one: she’d get more life insurance.   Her dads estate was not worth enough to go to probate so that was good but he still had debt to settle but they couldn’t pay it all.  There just wasn’t enough money left over.  Number two: she’d make sure her legal and financial documents are in order.  We went around the room asking who had even a Will written up, life insurance, or had chosen someone to care for their kids in the event both parents die.  I haven’t gotten my Power of Attorney and my Durable something signed (one of those includes the resuscitation clause) but I have one which still does me no good without a notarized signature. 

While I listened and greatly appreciated both co-workers sharing their stories, I wondered what I’d do if my mom needed care later in life.  Her finances suck!  She will have no money to help take care of her and I already know she hates “homes” never sending her mom to one but having hospice care for her until grandma died.  After our discussion at lunch, I wonder if term life insurance really is the best bet.  Yes, my kids should be self-sufficient by the expiration date of the policy and I should be in a better financial position than I am right now esp with investments, savings, increased income, lowered debt, etc.  But there is always that unplanned occurence that I didn’t anticipate or plan for.  What if my medical expenses are more than I expected?  What if I suffer from an illness that requires daily medication?  What if Medicare is a memory by that time?  What will a funeral, Home, or medical cost by that time?  What if I have only put a small dent in my student loan debt rather than a huge hole as I now plan to do by the time I’m 50+ years old?  Will whole life insurance insure my kids financial future for now and my medical expenses later so when I do die, they won’t have to scramble to pay for mom’s bills, settle her estate, and barely have money to get my body embalmed?  Birth and death are the most expensive things in this life.  You pay whatever is necessary to ensure life is brought into this world and they pay whatever is necessary to ensure that same life remains here as long as possible.  Sure, I can plan ahead and throw money into an account set aside for my future medical expenses (if I live long enough to become an elder) but no one can accurately predict inflation rates by then.  I just don’t want to become a burden to my sons as they try to carry me through my old age (Lord willing), keep me alive, and then bury me well.

April 7, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Death by Sugar

My sister was in the hospital for the last couple of days having just been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.  My mom called me Tuesday leaving a voicemail message.  I called the house but she wasn’t there so my other sister told me my mom wanted to know if our dad, who passed away about 5 years ago (I’m not sure when), had diabetes as well.  I wasn’t completely sure if he had although I remember my grandma (dad’s mom) saying he had a diabetic stroke right before his car hit a pole while driving.  My mom says diabetes does not run in her family so this is why I called my grandmother this morning to ask her.  It doesn’t run in her family either but it does in the paternal line since my grandfather (dad’s dad) had “sugar”, my dad had “sugar”, and my uncle has it now.  My grandma and most older folks call diabetes “sugar”.  She said all 3 weren’t insulin dependent but instead took pills to control it and altered their diet I assume.  During the happier times of my parents’ marriage, my dad ate any and everything because he wasn’t diagnosed with diabetes until later in life…..more like his 40s. 

When I pregnant with baby #2, I had gestational diabetes.  As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I threw caution to the wind and ate whatever I wanted to esp my to-die-for Pepsi.  Then, during a routine doctor check-up, I had to drink that sugary liquid and sit there for hours just for them to tell me to come back and do it all over again because my results were high.  I came back starving (because I had to fast for a certain number of hours), to find out I did indeed have gestational diabetes and if I wanted no complications & a normal sized baby I’d have to adhere to a strict diet and check my blood sugar often.  At the time, I was working as a phlebotomist at a blood center so I was surrounded by medically trained folks who made sure I checked my sugar often, they monitored everything I ate, and made sure I did eat when I was hungry.  My sugar was absolutely perfect from that doctor appointment until delivery.  Apparently, since I was diabetic and baby #2 had no intentions of ever coming out of his oasis, my doctor had to closely monitor the baby’s progress.  Baby #2 was bigger than baby #1 by almost 2 lbs which is a lot on my petite frame (5’3″ and about 125 lbs).  I was getting dangerously close to my due date without any real or fake contractions.  And, according to my doctor, most babies born to diabetic mothers have a lower chance of surviving in womb the longer they stay inside so we scheduled to induce my labor the next morning (she was going on vacation after that and I didn’t want a new strange doctor) so I can attempt a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).  She checked my cervix that night which started my contractions but my VBAC was a failed attempt so baby #2 was born via c-section at almost 9 lbs.

Long story short, I run and exercise and take good care of my physical body so it kinda sucks to know I still have the chance to die from something I have no control over which makes some of my preventative measures a load of bullshyt.  My doctor checked my sugar thereafter for the next weeks and it regulated itself again but I was warned it could result into full blown diabetes if I’m not careful and should request a blood sugar test as apart of my regular physicals/checkups from here on out.  My sister has to check her blood sugar every 4-5 hours and give her self insulin injections twice a day.  She is also learning that health insurance covers nothing and medication can be quite expensive (she’s only 23).  For the pre-measured contained shots of insulin, it costs about $200 for a 10 day supply which will run you about $600/month.  If she selects the vial and syringes and measures out her own dose it will cost her about $100 for a 10 day supply and run her $300/month but she was able to find the same medicine for $40 10 day supply at Target which is good!  She hasn’t mentioned how she truly feels other than “this sucks” or “I gotta do all this everyday”.  I’m talking about those feelings we really don’t want to admit to ourselves such as; fear, confusion, depression, hopelessness, anger, pessimism, etc. 

I can’t think of having to do this routine everyday for the rest of my life knowing that all I read tells me my condition and preventative measures and costly medication will only delay the inevitable instead of prevent them outright.  Nothing guarantees that the best sugar level control that will impress your doctor will prevent death from a diabetic complication.  It’s wise to stay rooted in reality and know that things happen beyond our control and that is it.  It angers me.  It baffles me.  My sister loves food eating at any and all of the finest Chicago restaurants, going out for those sugary girly drinks with her friends, and cooking things that will send her sugar through the roof.  We weren’t raised on veggies and a healthy lifestyle so it will be a change.  I am athletic as hell but I don’t think I’ve ever dieted a day in my life or watched what I ate.  Only for the sake of my unborn child which was for 5 months maximum but nothing for an entire lifetime.  My outlook will get rosy eventually and I will dabble in fantasy and wishful thinking but I need to dwell in reality for a second (since I found out this morning which Type she has).  It saddens me to think that she has an increased chances of dying from sugar whether prematurely or destined because either way you flip the damn coin it’s still not a fuckin dollar!

March 19, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Here Now Gone Tomorrow

There is always something I’m working on so right now that is getting my house in order in case I die sooner rather than later.  My goal lately has been to pay off my debts, raise my FICO score, establish good credit history, & buy a house one day.  Yeah, that has taken a slight shift because I had great goals outlined but I missed something vitally important…my spiritual house needs a good dusting & what if I die while I’m paying things off? I am in search for an estate planning attorney hoping the attorney who did my divorce is specialized in that area but I highly doubt it.  My first goal before I pay another creditor is to establish a trust so I can secure my assets (hardly any) & secure my finances for my kids’ sake.  This will take some time but I will hit the ground running tomorrow certain my time could come at any moment.  My main concern is making sure my kids get a hefty check I’m to inherit in the year 2036 (I’ll be 56 if I see that day).  My current beneficiaries were set in 2006 which includes my ex-husband who is set to receive 1/3 of the money which is waaaaay too much for him to even look at so I think I will change my beneficiaries to only include my kids until my trust is set up and then I will make the necessary changes.  Gotta pick the best of the worst case scenarios here but I am 100% sure I cannot rely on anyone’s financial know-how in my family. 

After that is taken care of I must then select someone to care for my kids in my absence.  Obviously, care will go to their dad but I would not want him to have control over any money I leave them because a) Best Buy will be a direct benefactor b) his brain cannot comprehend longterm planning so everything will be a “live in the moment” splurge & c) he holds the record for the largest amount of money blown on crap in the shortest amount of time which will live my kids with nothing and leave him asking for hand outs!!  It’s sad to think I will have to appoint someone in control of the money but it is what it is.  If my ex and I die before the kids are 18?  Well, no one in my family is stable enough to care for them and that is pretty sad.  I’d want them to remain within my family but I’m just not sure how that’ll work so I’m praying I live a long life….for their sake at least.  After these decisions are finalized and all legal documents (3 in total) are complete, then I can start on my debt & doing what I need to do to get my house in order.  My spiritual house?  I have not finished Exodus.  Why?  Because I got upset at God or at least for what was written about how God purposefully hardened Pharoah’s heart so he would not listen.  Why?  To boast and show yourself mighty & strong?  To purposefully harm people and blame it on Pharoah’s ignorance & arrogance?  If it would have been easy to let Pharoah release God’s people then why doesn’t He?  Why does it mention at least twice that God hardened his heart so he would not listen?  Read literally, this makes no sense and my brain refused to comprehend it.  Along with this, I have found I think way too much.  I was talking to a friend of mine who is a Church of Christ believer.  She says any non-Church of Christ folks must be “converted” and she was when she realized all the lies even saying how the Bible makes it plain.  I told her I don’t believe wholeheartedly in everything written in the Bible.  She gasped on the phone and asked if it is because of the many translations over the centuries.  Of course that has something to do with it.  She suggested I read a Greek version with the help of a Greek dictionary.  She then talked about how she would argue with folks over religion before she uncovered the “lies”.

I listened to all this and grew tired realizing that some things do not require additional knowledge.  There was a time, and that time still exists, when I felt things that I couldn’t explain.  Some call it intuition.  I don’t care what label it carries but I was more at ease with my beliefs than I am now.  Knowledge is power in some areas but in this one knowledge is crippling.  Each stone I overturn leads to another one and then another one until I’ve turned over every single rock and there are no more answers for my questions which will lead me to disbelief and uncertainty in what I’m dying for and what I proclaim to have faith in.  I’m not saying it’s wrong to question because anything that stifles your inquisitive instincts is reason to be alarmed.  What I am saying is that I know when it’s becoming too much and I know when there’s no combination of answers that will quiet my curiosity.  Of course I’d like to know more and that will never change but the only thing that can’t quantify an explanation is that statement heard on a petal of air that no one else hears, that tugging that jars me that no else feels, or that rebuke that leaves me somber when no one else knows I did wrong.  That’s something a book can’t explain and that is something I need to hold onto.

Other minor updates: Malcolm said I kissed him back so he shouldn’t be at fault for all the blame.  I told him it wasn’t the kiss but his hands roaming.  Then he said I should have stopped him.  I replied that I did when his hand grazed my crotch.  He said “ok”.  I assume that means case closed.  A penis seems to always give you room for error while a vagina gives reason to be lynched with blame.  Work is going well.  I am weighing another career opportunity but, like all things I’ve ever weighed, it may be a faint memory by next week.  Haven’t done my genealogy in weeks.  Haven’t ran in weeks.  Been reading investments books like I’m dehydrated for knowledge.  Have been kinda floating along with most things giving some little thought and playing others by ear.  Right now, and for the longest time so far, I have ran when I felt restricted & screamed when I felt threatened…..figuratively speaking.  So, I don’t do anything I used to do.  I find it hard to explain why other than “I don’t want to” although I’m pretty sure the people asking would prefer a more concrete answer.  In the meantime, I shall continue getting my house together & preserving what I have accomplished thus far so if I shall die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take (and my revocable living trust to carry out my wishes in my absence). Amen.

February 21, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Not Created Equal

This post is about a friend of mine.  We were talking on the phone one evening when she said, “you all into the Bible and stuff, I wanna ask you something”.  I said ok and she said the issue is this: her boyfriend attends a church that she has attended for the last 2 Sunday services.  We only got on this subject because I asked if she was going to the same church because, when I go down to Indy this weekend, I wanna go see my old Pastor.  Anywho, her boyfriend’s church is fine on all levels until the Pastor starts preaching.  The Pastor was preaching about sin and death saying that the two were related to each other.  Last Sunday was part I then the recent Sunday was part II.  She felt uncomfortable about what he was saying so she asked for my opinion on the matter.  I don’t have a Theology or Divinity degree but I do know what I know and I know, based on that, what is flat-out wrong or questionable.  The Pastor was standing in the pulpit saying that he will be doing a lot of funerals in 2010 because a lot of people are not “fruitful” so God will eventually have to cut (kill) them from the tree.  This pastor also said that anyone who is not doing as God instructed them will die and, for this reason alon, he anticipates many funerals this year.

We were talking via phone but I raised my hand quickly to say something as if she could see me – what?!  Ok, this whole tree or vine story I have heard before and I have read it for myself.  I understand what he is trying to say but I do not understand what he is actually saying.  God cutting off dead unfruitful branches may very well mean God taking life from someone who is not producing fruit.  My problem lies in the way he spoke so convincingly that sin and death are always related so if someone dies it was because they have sinned in God’s eyes and no other reason.  If someone dies it is because they weren’t “fruitful”.  It’s as if he has spoken to God about this and God has revealed this as truth to only him….no one else.  So, what about those who are just ready to go home?  Those who are fruitful and have finished the assignment they were sent here to do?  If no one dies then that means we are all fruitfully living and walking with God?  So, we’d all live forever….right?  No one should die….basically?  I understand that was the original desire of God, for no one to die, but that hasn’t been the case in a looooooong time so explain that part to me and my friend!

My response to my friend: bullshyt!  Not only does it not make sense but it does not explain the questions above.  The pastor said if folks die without sinning it is because they have exhausted their “fruit” or have reached their max fruit potential, so to speak.    How can you know who has and who hasn’t sinned?  How do you know for sure that is the reason they are dying?  A lot of assumptions based on nothing.  So, if I die in 2010 it wasn’t because it was my time to go or because I’d possibly did what I was sent here to do.  According to the main message, I have died because I sinned and God was tired of lil ole me sapping energy from the overall tree.  Now, I can see how God may kill people based on this argument but you must not say that from the pulpit.  Why?  Because you are teaching one angle and not the other.  He never mentioned pruning, grace, mercy, forgiveness, or any of these things I thought and was taught God is all about.  The pastor never mentioned anything about saying connected to the vine or in relationship with fellow Christians so you won’t stray too far.  All he mentions is the result if you do bad things, turn away from God, and live your life sinfully without regard to what God commands of you.

My friend then said she asked her boyfriend: “what about babies who die? Are they punished without having lived life to sin?”  Her boyfriend says: “babies who die before they really live do so because of their parents’ sins”.  I kid you not I was floored!  I told her not to listen to him or this pastor.  If this is the way her boyfriend believes and if this is the way his pastor believes then fine….I pray for you both.  But, don’t believe it!  You seek the truth on your own and don’t take any and everything spoken from the pulpit as truth.  I’d like to say that this pastor must be held accountable for what he preaches from God’s church but if he is not working under God’s authority (I hope not) then is it really God’s church?  To not offer a solution, a way back, a means to atone for anything anyone may be sorry for or about is just evil.  To only send fear into folks so they will stop sinning because they don’t want to die although we will all die is crazy.  To not be able to point at any obituary and tell your congregation who died because they were too sinful and who died because they were too fruitful isn’t helping the argument either.  She should leave her boyfriend right where she found this crazy tail & go back to her own church.

As many times as I’ve strayed and came back, did wrong and came back, said every cuss word and did everything in a karma sutra book and came back….how can you say God will kill off branches no matter how small of a percentage is rooted in fact??  It’s misleading, not edifying in any way, and gives new meaning to “the fear of God”.  AND, since he knows so much about why God decides to take one life and not the other, he does not even give a gauge as far as what is “too much sin” (since we are all sinful by nature) and what is “too much fruit”.  Be careful whose leadership you are under because not all are under God’s leadership & authority and not all are created equal.

January 26, 2010 Posted by | Christian, God | , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

A Message?

El_sordo__by_xKatsI’m not sure how to begin this post because I’m not sure what I am writing about.  I know what I heard and saw but I can’t remember if I was awake or asleep.  I have spent the last couple of days going back through the last week or two trying to recall where this situation happened but I can’t.  I have gone through each day, tried to remember any faces from my memory, tried to place things I saw in the room, tried to place anything that will tell me if I dreamt it or if I was awake in an actual room somewhere but I can’t remember it anymore.  Both scenarios are weird because there is nothing I don’t remember and I always remember dreams once I wake up in such detail I can blog or tell someone about it.  Neither holds true now and I find that….weird. 

At my church, there has been a member who has been battling cancer for some time now.  Not sure how long but I’m certain it’s at least a year but no more than three years maybe.  She is doing fine right now and, when she makes it to church, she has no sick look or defeated attitude at all.  She is an inspiration.  Another member of my church asked me to ask the Prayer Ministry to pray for her a few weeks ago but I told her I at least needed to know about what in particular we were praying for without her having to go into detail.  For example, a financial blessing, health, family, your kids, a new career, a new car, that new purse, etc.  She told me she had gotten some bad health news and left it at that so I did too.  As the weeks went on, she told me she was going for a 2nd opinion before she began any treatment.  I asked if it was cancer.  She said the docs told her it’s benign but they wanna cut anyways to remove it.  At a meeting recently, someone else close to me reminded us all of her brother who was going through chemo or radiation (I can’t remember which) and how he is doing fine and is very strong.  She had mentioned it before but it wasn’t until now that it grabbed my attention because cancer, if not death in general, has been a running topic around me.

I was standing in a room with a lot of people I do not know.  I know I didn’t know them because I couldn’t recognize their faces but I know I came with people I knew.  Maybe 2 or 3 people.  Who these 2 or 3 people were?  No clue.  The strange thing is that some parts I know with complete certainty such as my being there with a couple people I know and knowing I was in a room of strangers.  I recall complaining about something minor.  I don’t remember what it was but let’s just assume I was talking about being single since I complain about that often.  So, here I am in this room full of people with 2 or 3 people standing near me that I actually knew when someone overhears me complaining and they enter my conversation politely.  Not intruding but just to often some tidbits of advice when the person who intruded into my conversation decided to tell me someone close to her was dying.  When I say someone close to her I mean someone such as her mom.  Then someone else overheard our conversation and let everyone know their son was dying.  Then someone said their dad was dying.  Then someone said their sister was dying and it continued like that for a few minutes and all I could do was look to the left, to the right, ahead of me and constantly see these strangers tell me that someone they know is dying and all I could do was stand there in complete shock wanting to cry and cover my ears.  I wanted to cover my ears because I felt death in that room, I smelled death in that room, all those people were expecting death to come but hoping they were wrong, everyone in that room was in danger of losing someone close to them and they all were telling me as if I asked, “who is losing a loved one”.  Not a neighbor or someone they know through someone else who they went to school with years ago….someone who they have grown up with. 

I didn’t cover my ears but I stood there and listened all the while thinking, “death comes to us all”.  I wasn’t afraid but I was saddened.  I do remember that and I try to recall how I felt at the time at my core.  It was not fear for me but sadness for those people in that room who shared that information with me because here I was complaining about something trivial when they ALL were going through something I could never imagine.  And going through it collectively.  I don’t remember the reasons why some of the loved ones were dying but I definitely heard cancer at least once in the room.  Why did I immediately get sad?  Because death is not a joyful thing where you congratulate someone.  These people didn’t seem pained from what I recalled, they didn’t seem angry at me, they didn’t even seem stressed or anything.  They seemed normal and I felt sad they had to go through that.  Why did I think, “death comes to us all”?  Because it’s a line from my fav movie Braveheart and I always remembered that line because when the character said those words she was pained emotionally but strong knowing, in a way, that there was nothing she could do about the situation but she was going to triumph over it. 

And that is it.  I still don’t know if I dreamt it or if it actually happened and I just can’t recall where, when, or why right now.  If I do eventually, then I will blog about it.  Just wanted to get this out because my dreams usually cease when I tell someone involved or when I write it when I’m not sure who is involved.  Since I don’t know who is involved in this present situation, then I guess I am trying to release it so I can take my hands down from my ears.  Yes, we will all die eventually but no one wants to hear about it.  Know it’s waiting on your doorstep.  Or see a multitude of people whom you don’t know going through it at the same time and there is nothing you can do.  Why they told me?  Because I was complaining about something trivial.  This is one of those moments when I wish I could remember but, at the same time, it’s probably a blessing that I can’t so I write about it and point out little things that I do recall hoping it will shield some light once I read it for myself.  I’m worrying about something minor when there is a bigger issue….ahead? In life? Coming?  In general?  I don’t know.

July 24, 2009 Posted by | Life | , , , , | Leave a comment

Bittersweet Memorial Day

I_will_always_be_in_your_heart_by_Mentos18The year was 1994 and we were doing what we do every barbecu’in holiday….we would go out and find small sticks for my daddy to put at the bottom of the grill with the charcoals.  I don’t know why or what difference those sticks made but we, my sisters and I, scavenged the alley behind our house looking for them and loving the time we spent during it.  My parents weren’t home yet.  They’d left in the middle of the night two days ago to take my sister back to the hospital.  I know because my mom woke me up to comb her.  Her thinning hair.  You see, she always had a fine grade of hair.  The kind that couldn’t hold a curl no matter how hot the curlers were or how much spritz you sprayed on it.  The kind that was never black but an ashy caramel color.  The kind that was so naturally straight the hot comb glided through it and it laid too flat against her head.  In the middle of the night, as I ran the comb through it, I didn’t need a Ph.D. or a medical textbook beside me to know it wasn’t the same.  It was always thin but it was thinner.  It was always a shade of light brown but I could see her scalp through it.  Brushed it into a ponytail and that was that. 

The next day, from church, we got the news that she wasn’t doing any better.  Sunday morning.  Church as usual.  Dad took the girls home and him and my mom went back to the hospital.  I was thirteen years old at the time.  The year was 1994.  She, my big sis, was fifteen at the time.  She would have been thirty one this year.  She never reached her sixteenth birthday and I still remember the jacket she wore with the number 15 1/2 written on the inside tag.  She was eagerly waiting to reaching her Sweet Sixteenth.  That was fifteen years ago.  On Memorial Day.  When we came inside with our hands full of small sticks and were told that our big sister would never come home from the hospital again.  Told that she had passed away that morning.  While we went searching for sticks for another barbecue as planned a wrench was thrown in our plans and that was the first time I personally had someone to remember on Memorial Day. 

For Easter just a couple months earlier, we had all worn matching cream colored suits.  The brady bunch sisters.  For her funeral, she was buried in her suit and we all wore ours to match.  Unlike Easter Sunday, we were all sitting on the same pew in church except one of us was lying in an intricately decorated box heavily covered in makeup looking like someone other than the person I used to know.  I looked at her obituary in my hand and turned it over to read the poem I had written for her on the back.  Today, I don’t remember what it said or what words I wrote…I am sure my mom still has a copy of it though.  All I remember reading is, “…she accepted God at an early age.”  Bullshit!  Why do we always write that in the obituary?  My sister and I went to church but we hardly knew what accepting God meant.  We followed the church routine and protocol but we weren’t as bad as other kids though.  She didn’t know any better so I am sure His grace was sufficient during that time but, for me, when I die….I don’t want anyone to say I accepted God at an early age.  I accepted Him during that time and not a second sooner.  Thirteen years old.  He didn’t seem real to me until He took one of mine.  So that I could survive I had to lean on Him and I tried Him because everyone else was in their own grief so, in my heart, I put Him to the test.  If you are who you say you are then I need you to get me through this.  You took my sister so dammit….get me through or take me too. 

Memorial Day has never been the same.  Memorial Day will never be the same.  We shared a bedroom from the time I can remember.  I don’t know about you but I believe in spirits and she came back to where she felt at home….our room.  How do I know?  You feel it.  It’s like I knew her spirit.  Her aura.  Her scent.  I knew and it made the hairs stand on the back of my neck.  Scared me so much that I said my first real prayer in that moment.  I asked her to leave me alone because she was scaring me even saying “no offense” and I asked God to take her away.  My grandma said she’d come back after the funeral because that is what spirits do sometimes.  She said to just ask her to leave and she will.  She did.  Now she only visits me in my dreams.  It’s not scary then because it’s like nothing ever happened.  In my dreams she’s still 15 1/2, she never left, my hurt is gone, and I am content.  Time heals all pain?  I say you just get better at managing it.  This Memorial Day I remember my big sis.  One day I’ll meet you in our room….this time I won’t ask you to leave.

May 25, 2009 Posted by | Life, Spiritual | , , , | 2 Comments

Talk To Me

he11It’s Monday night and I have written this post so many times because I know what I want to say but I don’t know how to say it so I keep typing and deleting and typing all over again trying to correct my grammar when they aren’t even the person I am directing this to.  I guess I feel lost.  I lost my way somewhere along the way and I don’t know where I am.  As soon as I get a glimmer of it it leaves me as quickly as it came.  I know I should be asleep right now but I can’t sleep.  My mind is thinking.  I used to feel you but now I don’t know what I have done wrong.  I used to know where I was going but I don’t anymore.  Or maybe I was going the route everyone else was traveling and realized that that dream we were all running towards wasn’t even my freaking dream!  I just started running and now I have stopped.  All around me is chaos and mayhem.  Things have been worse I know but I need to know you are still up there.  I go to church.  I even go regularly now.  I stopped caring what those people who claimed you called them have to say.  I go because I want to go.  When have you heard someone say that?  Actually wanting to go?!  My Sunday school class is about holding your tongue and controlling words that come from our mouth as Christians.  I curse sometime.  I even type a curse word or two in my blogs (don’t read my other blog….it’s kinda racy).  I am learning and finding my way again slowly but surely. 

Sometimes, amongst people of the same faith, I still feel lost.  I know they wear the crosses, they are nice, they are hospitable, but sometimes I don’t feel like I belong there.  Not all the time just some of the time.  Outside of you….there is no one here to talk to and this is suppsoed to be your church.  I need a wedding ring to get my time to vent.  I need a husband AND kids to get a group membership.  I am not old enough to join the Mother Board.  I am not trained to join the Deacons.  I am not a preacher to join them.  I am a pew person.  Yeah, the Prayer Ministry but you wanna know what we talk about all the time…..prayer.  That used to excite me but now it doesn’t because my own personal prayer life is lacking so who cares how many I hold hands with I still don’t know where you are or if you can still see me down here.  You see.  I wasn’t like this before.  What about single women?  What about us?  Where is our ministry?  Do I need to drag a man in there to get some time to talk?  They don’t understand what we go through.  They say “don’t” but it’s hard not to “do”.  You even say “don’t” when you see I fail all the time cause I “do”.  Sex has lived in my head for so long I should be charging it rent.  I try to think about something else but it only works so long.  I have been going a while now without it but I need some help.  I close my eyes and bow my head and just start talking but I don’t know if you hear me.  So I stop bowing my head and closing my eyes and just yell out loud at the sky to see if then you’ll hear me.  My life sucks!  It is boring and it sucks!

Not tryna come off as ungrateful but this sucks!  What am I here for?  You gotta help me out because all these freakin classes, Sunday morning services where they tell you to raise your hands and praise God.  Clap your hands if He did something for you.  Dance in your seat if you glad He woke you up this morning.  Reach into your pocketbook and show how much He has blessed you.  I’d give all my money, savings, everything I own if you’d tell me why I’m here so my life can have some purpose and meaning.  I’d give both my kids back to you if you’d tell me why I’m here.  Why do I care to know so badly?  Because each day I wake up to go to this mundane job, read these mundane books, hear this crap on the news about everything in the world, check my 401k, type away at my desk, make my phone calls, eat my lunch, socialize and make small talk about something I could care less about, go back to typing at my desk, leave work, study my book for school, pick the kids up from daycare just to do it all over again tomorrow…..this routine routinely brings me to the line labeled Death that so many people run from.  This is the life you woke me up to live?  This is the life I am supposed to shout hallelujah and jump up for joy about?  Forgive me but I don’t get it.  The pastor said someone didn’t wake up this morning.  That you called that person home but we are blessed to live to see another day.  But I was sitting there in pew #3 thinking…..am I really blessed or am I the one cursed?  Is waking up such a joy that the dead cry on their way to Heaven?  If so, then why are we anxiously waiting to get there?  If everyday on this freakin boring earth is a blessing then please define “blessing” because I had a totally different meaning all this time. 

There must be something more to life than this.  I need to know.  I am not rushing you.  I am coming to you open and honest with everything out on the table so you will never have to guess how I feel.  Like little children, remember.  Not fearful of making you upset esp if I really come with an honest heart.  Am I too blunt.  Too honest?  I am blessed.  I love my boys.  I love the city I live in.  I just feel stagnant and like life is passing me by.  Where do I go from here?  If this is life at it’s best from what you  have to offer then that person who didn’t wake up to see Sunday morning is one lucky bastard!  Talk to me.  Please!  I am stupid.  I don’t get signs.  I don’t get hints.  I don’t get none of that.  I need blatant actions.  Knock my butt down off my feet so I know it’s you.  I am not asking for you to reduce me to nothing to get my attention or so I can hear you.  Just talk to me.  You are up there and I keep telling people you are.  I have faith.  I believe.  I am not perfect but I honestly try my best.  My hardest.  I surely repent when I do wrong because I know you won’t hear me if I don’t.  I know I want things my way sometimes and I want it when I want it.  I can be impatient and whiny.  I just lost my motivation.  I lost my purpose if I ever knew it at all.  This rat race called life sucks!  No offense but it really does.  I don’t hold anything before you.  I don’t get close to anyone just in case you take them I won’t be too heartbroken.  I’ll cry but I’ll get over it.  I don’t wanna read this book.  Listen to this speaker.  Hear this sermon.  Watch this video.  Join this committee.  Cut out the middle man.  I am waiting for the gentle breeze or soft subtle sound of your voice….the Bible said something like that.  I wanna live this life and come home.   This world is not my home….that is what the song says.  I’m just passing by…..that’s the next line.  Death doesn’t scare me.  Living life all these years without your direction does.  How about we meet up in the next hour or so.  You know where to find me.  I’m the big mouth one looking right up at the sky.  Remember, correct me in love and not anger lest you reduce me to nothing….but we really need to talk.

May 5, 2009 Posted by | God, Life, Spiritual | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Misguided Faith

aussietownThis has been bothering me for the last couple of days so I thought I’d write something from my perspective on it.  As Christians, or any religion for that matter, we have faith that our God is the supreme being and what He has said will indeed happen or has already.  Faith is mentioned in the Bible quite a few times and it’s importance is emphasised from everything related to wisdom and prayer to having complete power and authority in Jesus’ name.  Faith to move mountains….I always heard that line but wondered what that could possibly mean.  If you have faith you can tell this mountain to move and it will.  Faith that what you ask for in Jesus’ name you shall have.  I do not disagree but I think it can be misleading or, in my opinion, some people have greater expectations than they should.  I think some people cross the line of asking God to demanding of God simply because they are Christians but when God does not come through as they expected they curse His very name….ok, maybe that not extreme but I am tryna make a point here. 

A friend of mine lost his mom about five years ago.  I do not know all the details but I recall his mentioning the word cancer.  He also mentioned, in conversation and his lyrics, that his faith was almost crushed because he left in faith knowing that his mom would be ok but she was not.  When she passed he said he either was or dabbled with being an atheist for some time because he didn’t know if God was real anymore.  This past week someone I know from my church, her mom was diagnosised with cancer that has now spread.  Not sure of the complete diagnosis but I can understand that it is pretty serious and something surgery can delay but probably not prevent.  During church Sunday morning, I was told that she spoke to the congregation to say that people have been visiting as if it’s the end but she knows that God still has a great work for her mom to do and that He will pull her through.

I heard this, I diverted my eyes, I bowed my head, and I exhaled as I wondered why we immediately think and assume that the negatives of our life are somehow not apart of God’s plan.  I wonder why we think first that death comes to everyone else but not to our own family.  I wonder why we refuse to see God as a supplier of our needs but still not the final say in what those needs are.  I am not saying do not have faith.  What I am saying is we have misguided faith.  Misguided to the point where you yell for this mountain to move out of your way because God said you can and it’s right here in Book blah blah blah chapter so-and-so verse whatchamacallit but we always fail to see that maybe God’s hand at the peak of said mountain is preventing the mountain from moving….just maybe.

God is a great God.  A just God.  We like to blame Him for things out of our control when most things are naturally out of our control.  I have never lost a mother so I don’t know the emotional burden one undergoes during this time and forgive me if I seem to not understand or empathize.  All I have lost is a sister (I am downplaying this for those who have lost a parent) whom I grew up with and that is as close to spitting in God’s face I have ever come.  I never lost my faith.  I did get closer to Him which is odd.  Odd because I went to church only because I like sitting on my butt instead of easing into a chair and sitting on my hip so He was forced on me but I didn’t know Him until afterwards.  I wondered why my sister but I didn’t expect Him to make special provisions for me.  Realistically, I waddle in realism all day every day and I can’t seem to help it.  Cancer caught in late stages is near fatal.  Cancer in a last stage that has spread is near fatal.  Degenerative symptoms and side effects and inoperable are all signs that the end may be near.  

Maybe it’s because I don’t like bullshit and don’t want anyone to sugar-coat the truth for me….I need all the facts to bring to God to make my plea.  I plea just like the rest….yes.  Do I hold God to some expectation as if He owes me?  No.  I plead, I ask, I beg, I cry, I even make negotiations just in case…but there is always that “if He does not” that keeps me in check.  Gives me my perspective.  Retains my focus on who still has control.  He took my sister and I was pissed the fuck off but He took her for a reason.  I still haven’t figured out the entire reason but I know I got closer to Him because of that and I know not to hate or leave Him for taking her.  Would it have better for someone else’s sister to die in place of mine?  Honestly, whether asked then or now, I’d say no because I’d never want someone else to experience that for the sake of my own selfish needs.  You never get used to death and everyone handles it differently when you hear or think it is knocking at the door…God does work miracles but you (or we) can’t expect Him to pull one from his arsenal when we tell Him to.  My fav story related to this is below, always have a “if He does not” mindset because he is God not because of who you are, what you think, or how your life is….He is simply because He is and your belief in Him should not be conditional because His love for you isn’t.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. (Daniel 3:16-18)

I just feel bad when we expect something that just may not be behind door number two.  Expect it but know that, if he does not, things will still be ok.

March 10, 2009 Posted by | Spiritual | , , , | Leave a comment

Recent Dreams

deathEvery single day it never fails … I always have something to write about.  Today it is about dreams … more specifically, dreams about death.  These have always resulted in fear because, in the past, I have had dreams about people dying and they later died.  So, to read some stuff on-line about interpreting dreams gives me little comfort but I will seriously change my thoughts and focus on the more favorable on-line explanation than my own from experience. 

Last night, I had a dream that my oldest child died.  This is the second time I have dreamt him dying and each time I wake up scared but the interesting part is what my mind tells me as soon as I grasp it was just a dream.  When I wake up, meaning when I realized it was nothing more than a dream whether I have opened my eyes or not, I started praying that God would cover my child and protect him.  I did it last night … I did it the last time of the dream … I will continue to.  This is what one website said about a child dying and the coincidence is that my child is actually seven yrs old:

If you dream of seeing a child’s coffin or you hear of a young child’s death in a dream, ask yourself how old you felt the child was. For example, if you felt the child was aged seven, then ask yourself what you might have ended seven years ago or what ended for you when you were seven. Dreams often are quite accurate with numbers but less literal in other areas. So the seven-year-old dead child may also represent something that ended for you seven weeks ago, or when you were in grade seven or when you lived at house number seven.”

Another dream I had maybe two weeks ago was about a male friend of mine.  In this dream, like the last one about my child, there were no details of a death or how the death happens or why … I am simply told they have died and I feel the pain as if it is real.  I feel time stand still.  I feel my heart racing.  I feel my mind drifting to their face.  I see our times together flash before my eyes.  Everything I have ever felt when I learned a loved one has died is exactly what I felt in my dreams.  The difference between my child and this friend of mine is that I cried uncontrollably for him but not for my own child.  I was seriously doing the ugly cry so hard in my dream that I woke up and was still crying.  I had to force myself to stop crying way after I realized it was just a dream … but I never shed a tear for my own child.

I prayed for my child … I did not for my friend.  I was struck with fear when I learned about my child passing … but not for my friend.  I reacted by running and kneeling at God’s throne for my child … but I just sat there and cried alone for my friend.  I felt confident that God had things in His control for my child … for my friend I was still clueless the next day.  At first, I took it as if I did not love my child as I do my friend but that is far from the truth after I analyzed the differences that took place thereafter in how I reacted.  I gave my child to God, handed over control for his life into His hands and that keeps me sane as a parent because I would serious kill myself by sheer worry.  Is control the issue?  Have I yet to release something?  Although I did not outright plead with God to spare my child’s life I did make it clear that Him taking him was not something I wanted.  I fought in a way.  I did not fight for my friend.  I sat there and consoled myself with my tears.   This is what some websites said about this dream concerning my friend:

If the dead person in the dream is actually a living person – and esp if that person is your partner or parent or sibling – the dream may be expressing unconscious resentment towards that person, or a desire to be independent of that person.  Feelings toward someone close are often ambivalent (conflicting): love or respect mixed with fear or hatred or resentment or jealousy.  Death is a symbol of a new beginning and a time to let go of past or old things for this rebirth.  For years in our family it has meant that someone in the family would soon be wed and the wedding would be beautiful.   In some circles it means a birth, the opposite of death.”

Lastly, I did have a dream some time ago where my father and sister were present both of whom have passed on.  While I was looking up death I read this about dreams where loved ones are present who have already gone on home. 

To talk to a dead relative is a sign of great good luck.  Does the dream contain a dead person you actually knew?  If so, the dream may mean you should take notice of what he or she said or did, or of what happened to him or her.  The dead person is ‘coming back’, not to haunt you but to advise and help you (the dead person actually represents parts of your unconscious self that is wiser than your waking ego).”

Well, that is all for today.  Dreams about things I never want to dream about but, if this on-line information is anywhere close to being true, then I would rather dream about death than weddings because apparently they mean the exact opposite of what they stand for in reality.

January 18, 2009 Posted by | Me | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment