Monthly Archives: October 2015

God’s Wake-up Call

Someone reminded me today that our pains are God’s way to awake us from slumber, inactivity.

Pain from illness can be one of the biggest wake-up calls. Pain is our wake-up call to awaken, to look deeper into ourselves, to adjust the course of our life. I believe God tries to be as gentle as possible, and only if we ignore the call does the pain get stronger. So, my pain is unbearable at times. I hide myself from the world. I know I need to try harder not to hide, disappear, hibernate. I know I need to find my smile each and every day, lighten up, eat better, and yes even exercise (yikes). But who can do any of this when we are in pain?

I came across this quote and it also serves as a reminder of a much needed wake-up call:

“Pain is a spiritual wake-up call showing you that there are oceans you have not yet explored. Step beyond the world you know. Reach for heights that you never thought possible. Go to places you have deemed off limits. This is the time to take off the shell of your past and step into the rich possibilities of your future. God does not give us dreams that we cannot fulfill. If you want to do something great with your life-whether it’s to fall madly in love, become a teacher, be a great parent-if you aspire to do something beyond what you are doing now, this is the time to begin. Trust yourself.” ― Debbie Ford, Spiritual Divorce: Divorce as a Catalyst for an Extraordinary Life

One of my favorite actors, Anthony Hopkins portrays one of my favorite writers, C. S. Lewis in the movie ‘Shadowlands’, and in more than one scene we hear “Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world”. Lewis’ full quote:

“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

I know God has a purpose for our pain, a reason for our struggles and a reward for our faithfulness. So with grace in our steps, hope in our hearts – let’s not give up!

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Give it to God …

We hear this a lot – ‘Give it to God’. But this story brought it home for me and gives me a too real perspective. Life is short.

The below link will take you to a blog post by the country duo, Joey & Rory.

Excerpt: “We came home, Not to die. But to live.To bask in the glory of the beautiful life He’s blessed us with, and try not to question why we can’t have more of it together. And why He is allowing this to happen. So we don’t have forever. We’ve got right now.”

http://thislifeilive.com/enough/

Be inspired. Pray for all – since we are going through something. Live your life to the fullest … with grace in our steps, hope in our hearts.


Reminder

Came across some of Rachel C.Lewis’ writing and had to share … resonates …

Tell The People You Love That You Love Them

“I love being horribly straightforward. I love sending reckless text messages (because how reckless can a form of digitized communication be?) and telling people I love them and telling people they are absolutely magical humans and I cannot believe they really exist. I love saying, “Kiss me harder,” and “You’re a good person,” and, “You brighten my day.” I live my life as straight-forward as possible.

Because one day, I might get hit by a bus.

I could be walking down the street one day, blasting Rihanna or Fleetwood Mac, jamming so hard that I don’t see the bus coming. I could be walking with a book in my hand, reading until the very end. I could be paying total and complete attention, imagine the impact before it arrives.

And I’d really, really rather not die with some confusing statement I said sitting in the phone or the thoughts or the memory of someone I know, care about, need.

I know how it is — we all want to be mysterious. None of us want to get hurt. None of us want to look desperate. So we wait to respond to texts, phone calls, emails, Facebook messages, Tweets. So we communicate our emotions in how we end our messages (no period this time? Really gonna get them.). So we say vague, half-statements and expect people to read our minds.

But what if we died?

Maybe it’s weird. Maybe it’s scary. Maybe it seems downright impossible to just be—to just let people know you want them, need them, feel like, in this very moment, you will die if you do not see them, hold them, touch them in some way whether its your feet on their thighs on the couch or your tongue in their mouth or your heart in their hands.

But there is nothing more beautiful than being desperate.

And there is nothing more risky than pretending not to care.

We are young and we are human and we are beautiful and we are not as in control as we think we are. We never know who needs us back. We never know the magic that can arise between ourselves and other humans.

We never know when the bus is coming.”

― Rachel C. Lewis


Sad Beautiful Tragic

Sometimes you wake up and memories flood back with little provocation …then this song starts to play, and I listen to the words …yes sometimes words, how little they mean, when you’re a little too late …

Long handwritten note, deep in your pocket
Words, how little they mean, when you’re a little too late
I stood right by the tracks, your face in a locket
Good girls, hopeful they’ll be and long they will wait

We had a beautiful magic love there
What a sad beautiful tragic love affair

In dreams, I meet you in warm conversation
We both wake in lonely beds in different cities
And time, is taking its sweet time erasing you
And you’ve got your demons, and darling they all look like me

‘Cause we had a beautiful magic love there
What a sad beautiful tragic love affair

Distance, timing, breakdown, fighting
Silence, this train runs off its tracks
Kiss me, try to fix it, could you just try to listen?
Hang up, give up, for the life of us we can’t get back

A beautiful magic love there
What a sad beautiful tragic, beautiful tragic, beautiful

What we had, a beautiful magic love there
What a sad beautiful tragic love affair

We had a beautiful magic love there
What a sad beautiful tragic love affair …


No More Silence ….

My Texan friend was walking the Grapevine Trails in Texas the other day and ran into a video shoot in the making. He shares the story of how he met the beautiful two women who make up the Nashville duo of Mersi Stone. They were shooting the video for their song Push Me – how very exciting. SO of course, I had to look them up and WOW I came across this powerfully beautiful song and video.

And with October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month – made this song more forceful and compelling. Take a listen – spread awareness. Take a Stand Against Domestic Violence. Domestic Violence Needs To Stop!

#TakeAStandAgainstDomesticViolence
#TakeAStand
#StopDomesticAbuse


In My Veins

Watching episodes of Sons of Anarchy and all I can say about Jax and Tara’s relationship is WOW.

“We don’t know who we are until we’re connected to someone else. We’re just better human beings when we’re with the person we’re supposed to be with. I wasn’t supposed to leave. I belong here.”
―Tara to Jax

Nothing goes as planned
Everything will break
People say goodbye
In their own special way
All that you rely on
And all that you can fake
Will leave you in the morning
But find you in the day

Oh, you’re in my veins
And I cannot get you out
Oh, you’re all I taste
At night inside of my mouth
Oh, you run away
‘Cause I am not what you found
Oh, you’re in my veins
And I cannot get you out

Everything will change
Nothing stays the same
Nobody here’s perfect
Oh, but everyone’s to blame
Oh, all that you rely on
And all that you can save
Will leave you in the morning
And find you in the day

Oh, you’re in my veins
And I cannot get you out
Oh, you’re all I taste
At night inside of my mouth
Oh, you run away
‘Cause I am not what you found
Oh, you’re in my veins
And I cannot get you out

(No, I cannot get you out)
(No, I cannot get you)
(Oh no, I cannot get you out)
(No, I cannot get you)

Everything is dark
It’s more than you can take
But you catch a glimpse of sun light
Shining, shining down on your face
Your face
Oh your face

Oh, you’re in my veins
And I cannot get you out
Oh, you’re all I taste
At night inside of my mouth
Oh, you run away
‘Cause I am not what you found
Oh, you’re in my veins
And I cannot get you out
(No)

No, I cannot get you out
(Oh, you’re in my veins)
No, I cannot get you out
Oh no, I cannot get you


Grief At Odd Hours …

When I can’t sleep I find myself reading, writing, combination of both … picked up Dean Koontz’s book, Odd Hours.

And this quote just jumped out on me. So many people do an amazing job expressing exactly what I feel. Strong words resonate.

“Grief can destroy you –or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone. OR you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn’t allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it. But when it’s over and you’re alone, you begin to see that it wasn’t just a movie and a dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing a floor or washing dishes together or worrying over a high electric bill. It was everything, it was the why of life, every event and precious moment of it. The answer to the mystery of existence is the love you shared sometimes so imperfectly, and when the loss wakes you to the deeper beauty of it, to the sanctity of it, you can’t get off your knees for a long time, you’re driven to your knees not by the weight of the loss but by gratitude for what preceded the loss. And the ache is always there, but one day not the emptiness, because to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of life.”

― Dean Koontz, Odd Hours


Share not Sacrifice …

I tend to get so upset with people, especially my family, when they only seem to remember me when they need me. A very wise person told me that I should feel privileged that I am like a beacon of light that comes to their minds when there is darkness in their lives. Easier said than done. But I am going to try to re-adjust my attitude. I am still keeping my distance since I still need respect. There may be times when you just have to love people from a distance. The same wise person reminded me that everyone can’t be in your front row. Its become quite obvious to me that my family no longer needs me – my sisters kids are all grown up. I guess they loved me enough to set me free as well. At least this is a healthier way of viewing things, accepting all to move forward. For a long time, I felt my connection to my family was tenuous at best, strained. And most of the effort was coming from me, one-sided – I see clearly now that I tend to have more vested emotionally in most relationships. Working on this.

I like it when people ask me to help them; often it means that they respect me and my opinion enough to request it, and I appreciate that. Who doesn’t want to feel needed? But when is the relationship is always one-sided – that no longer works for me. I have had to toughen up and learn to be more selfish and set boundaries. I am always willing to help anyone, if I am capable of it, and certainly don’t do something because of what I may get ‘in return’ but there does need to be some element of reciprocity and respect. I used to drop everything instantly to help my family and friends. I have learned that inadvertently I may have caused people to think less of me. When you always say ‘Yes’ without hesitation, they respect you less. Sadly strange I know but learning it’s true. Many may also get the impression that you’ll do anything for them and that they don’t have to do anything for you. It sets up a very unbalanced relationship.

I think there are two kinds of people, those who give and take and those who just want to take. I no longer allow opportunistic acquaintances in my life.

I think the following quote sums up, for me, what friendship means: “I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar.” – Robert Brault

I get lost too easily in the thought of being kind; of turning the other cheek. Too many times, my forgiving heart, my kindness was mistaken for weakness – even I am guilty of doing this to myself. Learning how to find balance and happiness within boundaries and limitations. Learning how to share, give of myself without sacrificing myself. Or losing myself and letting resentment control me.

It’s surprising how much healthier you can feel when you let go, or at least minimize your time with draining, negative, incompatible, not-going-anywhere relationships, friendships, and family … with grace in our steps and hope in our hearts.


The pitter patter of my tears ….

I sit here and just about everything makes me want to cry today – yet again. I so desperately need to feel connected…to something, someone, some cause, some reason …

I don’t need pity as much as I need understanding and acceptance.

I have been estranged from my immediate family for a while. I have no real idea what is going on in my sister’s lives nor they in mine. The real difference is that I ask our Mom to call them check in, I stalk them on social media. I pray for them daily. I know they don’t do the same for me. I am painfully, slowly accepting that.

I don’t have much in my life – no material wealth, no exciting career, no handsome, devoted partner, no close knit family, not even my health – but I have my forgiving, open heart and the unconditional love from my dog and some wonderfully compassionate friends – and most days I know I am blessed. And I embrace it.

Today is just not one of those days. Fever aches keeping me in bed with too much time and too many thoughts.

I want to text, write, even call some people but I can’t. I can’t keep chasing people who obviously don’t want me in their lives, nor should I be the one always making an effort. I get it. I do.

I usually feel this complete emptiness on certain days – like Mother’s day. But I am definitely feeling it today.

I think it has to be because I saw my sisters yesterday at my niece’s wedding and they were surrounded by their own children and it was hard for me to be excluded … always looking in from the outside. I am sure not one of them ever thought of my life and how alone I must feel most times. I was never blessed with children. My first bout with cancer took that away from me at an early age. And most times, I have accepted my life and do not dwell on my unfilled maternal wish. I volunteer with children, I used to try to spend time with my nieces and nephew growing up doing all sorts of fun, silly things. I always made myself available for babysitting, picking them up from school, helping with homework, etc. But the fractured relationships with my sisters has made that so much harder than it needed it to be.

I always supported my sisters’ aspirations toward a family, even though I thought they should value their education, self worth even more than it appeared they did. I know they feel that children are everything. Our mother, even grandmother, instilled this in us at a very young age. I think that if they weren’t a mother, they would feel that they had nothing. It’s overwhelmingly sad to me that they think this of me, they think less of me because of this – whether they are conscious of it or not. Through the years, I have heard some difficult comments from my mom and sisters – “real women have children”, “you don’t understand, you don’t have children”, “I can’t because I am too busy with my children” … the insinuation always there on the surface – their time was more valuable than mine = their lives more important than mine. At least this is how I felt. I strongly believe, there is this pervasive attitude, one that I think is usually not openly expressed, or if it is, hastily: If you are not a mother, you have nothing.

Well, I may have nothing, but I have all I need. And I know I am blessed – just differently. I see this clearly now even through my tears. Sure yesterday was harder than I thought, and harder than it needed to be – but I couldn’t change it, I did the best I could. I wish my estranged family did all they could.

Please know that I, in no way, shape or sentiment, hate my sisters for having children and would never wish this hurt I feel on my worst enemy. But there’s no use in denying it … being childless always gives me a small tinge of jealousy, still, of women with children, including my family and friends. Yesterday brought that all to surface for me again – I saw the connection, the love, and the amazing bond that my sisters have with their children – even after all the bad parenting, the disappointments, the compromises. I am in awe at the sheer level of forgiveness and acceptance they have for one another and yet I sadly sit here wondering why that doesn’t carry over to me. I see the joy that children bring to their lives each and every day, despite the disappointments and hardships; and how I wish I had a fraction of that for myself. I would have given up everything for it, spent my last dime to get it, and die to know what it’s like. Yet, I am not mad that they are happy, I just want some of that happiness too. I just wish my sisters knew how deep my hurt is and how big the hole in my heart remains. But I digress because I know how I can’t change people, and I can’t make them like me nor really truly ‘see’ me.

Most days, I hide and cope with my emotional and physical pain – but I am constantly hurting. I’m sure that sounds like an overstatement to someone who hasn’t been in my shoes. So many things the average person would never think about add to my hurt every day. Something as simple as a commercial about diapers with a baby crawling across the floor, seeing a pregnant woman, just walking by the baby clothes in Target are all daily reminders of what I am missing. I used to try to attend my nieces’ dance recitals, as they got older school performances. It was always hard for me to get there since I never got a license, but I tried so hard not to miss many. I would try to catch my nephew’s baseball games, my grand niece’s soccer games – but when my sisters don’t invite me, I always felt like I was intruding if I just showed up. It has been hard. It feels like a huge knife is stuck in my heart and every time I am reminded of that emptiness – the knife gets pushed deeper and deeper. The pain never fully goes away.

The estrangement continues now especially since I have decided I can no longer try to forge a relationship with them since its not reciprocated. So I write, I vent, I cry. I need to put my feelings down and out of my head…and move forward …with grace in my step and hope in my heart.


Giving myself permission …

I feel like an orphan but it beats being the black sheep, the victim, the scapegoat, the whipping boy – well girl. Giving myself permission to walk away, stay away, limit my interaction with my dysfunctional family.

Today was my niece’s wedding and she looked beautiful. I used to think it was a shame that I didn’t really have a real, warm nor loving relationship with her. But she is 30 years old. Not a child. And she has made no real attempt at being connected with me. I have three older sisters who have always made me feel excluded, different, unloved. And sadly that just spilled into their children.

I debated for months to attend the wedding or not. But I chose to attend. But after learning where my assigned seat was, and being there for an hour and no one really spoke to me, cared if I was there or not – I left. I have also decided I am done. I no longer feel the need to attend any more family gatherings out of obligation, guilt, etc. I am done being ostracized, ignored, blamed for their own lack of awareness and insecurities.

For the past 40 years, it has been extremely painful for me trying so hard to fit into this dysfunctional family I was born into. I have always been the sickly, nerdy, introverted one. I feel like I have spent a lifetime trying to win their love and approval, but my efforts have consistently been met with indifference, coldness and even disapproval. I have spent years sacrificing my physical, mental and emotional health in toxic relationships under the notion that we have to because these people were my family – but no more. Yes, it’s time to terminate these relationships when the only contact I have with them is really just negative, strained. This contact only serves to bring me down, makes me feel I am not good enough, or I haven’t done enough for them. No more.

I am learning to accept that when my family members exclude me, it has very little to do with me personally. It’s all about them, who they are, their past experiences, their unmet needs, their inability to communicate in healthy ways, their fears, etc.

Rationally, logically – I get it. But I am so sad, hurt, lost, alone … yet I know I have to just find a way to calmly let it roll off my back. It hurts a lot to disengage fully but I know I need to. I have tried repeatedly in the past, but I am done. I need to be done. I deserve to be happy. My pain and wounds run deep. But my wanting, trying and failing at having a real relationship with my family leaves me feeling more alone. And then if I tried anymore, it would just bring out the worst in me, regardless of how evolved and self-aware I know I am. And the stress wreaks havoc on my health – which right now is too precarious to further compromise.

As I got older, I couldn’t understand why there was such a disconnect between us and why our relationships were so superficial. They have rarely shown me any willingness or ability to improve the relationship and all my past efforts to improve it, left me feeling worse. I used to sit, think, make myself sicker with anxiety and question all. Was it low emotional intelligence, poor self-esteem, bad upbringing, jealousy, or narcissistic personality … I am beginning to accept I will never fully know. I am so tired of my confusion, my grief and angst. Tired of my expectations not being met.

My heart is forever broken – I wholeheartedly thought my family was supposed to love me unconditionally and support, encourage me in good times and bad. But throughout most of my lows and highs in my life, they have not been there, they have shown very little interest in me, and sadly I don’t think they even know who I am. I know they don’t know who I am – impatient, sensitive, thoughtful, wistful, quirky, quick-tempered, brutally honest, super smart, socially awkward, brave, scared, lonely, tired, dying slow death…I know they don’t know how I feel too much, think too much and wish too much to be normal, physically healthy, and just fit in.

It’s my time again to be selfish, keep to myself. I will forever love them, but from a distance. I can no longer put myself in situations where I feel more estranged, alone. I don’t deserve it. I will continue to keep my heart open, with understanding even compassion but for myself as well. We will all have to learn how to cope with our own bitterness and regret, and continue to find the emotional strength and motivation to create positive change in our lives.

Today was hard. But it will prove to be beneficial to me in the long run, since it makes me aware of my deepest fears, wounds, and longings. I have the courage to look in the mirror and use what I see to work on my own growth … with grace in my step and hope in my heart.


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