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Articles on this Page
- 09/14/18--12:14: _Packing
- 09/16/18--18:30: _Thanks Be To Thee
- 09/18/18--14:59: _Home Again
- 09/20/18--15:43: _Alaska and Other Mi...
- 09/22/18--12:54: _Getting My Act Toge...
- 09/23/18--01:30: _Lord of All
- 09/24/18--11:45: _Trouble, My Friend,...
- 09/14/18--12:14: Packing
- 09/16/18--18:30: Thanks Be To Thee
- 09/18/18--14:59: Home Again
- 09/20/18--15:43: Alaska and Other Miracles
- 09/22/18--12:54: Getting My Act Together
- 09/23/18--01:30: Lord of All
- 09/24/18--11:45: Trouble, My Friend, Big, Big Trouble
I am not big on packing. I put it off and then shove too much stuff in the suitcase. I am never sure what i will need. And I want too much. I really like my own pillow. Have you tried fitting one into the suitcase? (I have an itty bitty one that I take.)
It is easier to pack for familiar trips than new adventures. I know now what I should have taken to Oklahoma and Kansas overLabor Day weekend. But I won't be going back there for a while. I know what to pack when I go to the Lake for the conference twice a year. But, starting on a new adventure in a completely new setting it is hard to say what I will need, what I wish I had with me.
I am getting older though and I am getting a little smarter. Pack light, less than I think I will need, because I will have to lift it and haul it and repack it to come home. So, I am not big on packing. But, i had better get started because I have an adventure awaiting me.
I am home. I took a little cruise to Alaska. I saw whales, glaciers, native Americans, Canada, and ocean. Despite 11 foot swells, I did not get seasick the first day out at sea. I attended Mass on the ocean almost every day.
It was a great trip for me. It helped me to clear out my head of junk and feelings of unworthiness. Somewhere on this voyage I was able to see and accept, really accept, God’s endless, gracious love for me. I found myself, the person I was made to be. Spending time staring at the sea helped me with that. It was so beautiful.
If I were 23 again, I would go live in Alaska, at least for the summer. There is something about the wilderness that draws me there. I might have to visit Alaska again someday. I don’t feel finished with that place. It is like a magnet.
I recently returned from an Alaskan cruise. It was fantastic. I loved it. It is a memory for a lifetime. I really needed that cruise. And I would say that God provided that, just when I needed it. I have become aware that I need to be more concerned about my ability, willingness, volunteering to take on things to help other people, neglecting my own health and mental and emotional needs. By doing the over helping, I open up my soul to the devil who plays upon my needy self and makes me feel sad and desperate and far from God's grace and mercy. I hear all the bad things that have been said to me and about me and I remember none of the good things.
So, this cruise came up and I decided to go, but I felt really embarrassed about it. I went to the Holy Land in January, after all. Am I just a chick after endless leisure and travel to exotic places? I asked myself, what would Mother Theresa do? And the answer is not that. But, I don't have the same call as she had. I have a different call.
One of the unavoidable calls I have is to care for my aging mother. At 97, she lives in assisted living, but that doesn't mean that there are not a lot of things that need to be done for her. And I don't live close, really. I live about an hour away, but I live closest. And whenever I pray about wanting to care for the poor or have a call to mission in my life, it comes back to Mom. I would rather care for the poor and unfortunate, but I am the one who needs to take care of my mom. Caring for her is a burden, we have a problematic relationship even today. But, I am the one with greater control, so I am learning to exert it and be calm and patient with her.
I prospered from a week on the ocean, seeing whales, and breathing salt air, and Alaska, glaciers calving, ice chunks in the water, a quilt shop in Skagway, Alaska that I loved and other pleasures and joys. It was all amazing. I think I could get on a ship and sail around the world if I had the money and the time. There is something about the floating on the ocean and looking out to sea that is such a miracle of creation, such a grace of God. And when I saw a rainbow the first night as we headed out for Alaska from Seattle, I knew that God was smiling and it was a miracle.
I went down a 35 year rabbit hole in which I tried to make someone else happy or contented or not angry most of the time. During those 35 years I tried to manipulate and control the situation so that he would be happy and would love me, I thought. Climbing out of the rabbit hole I have come to understand that happiness lies within me and love that is worth anything at all is not conditional. I can be loved just for me. So far and probably never has anyone lined up for that job, but it doesn't matter. I am learning to love myself, even though I am not perfect, that I make lots of mistakes and sometimes feel crabby and sometimes unloveable. Christ loves me the way that I am, fat or thin, old or young, smart or stupid, He made me that way, so, of course, He loves me the way I am.
After such a long free fall of life, I have a lot of learning to do to figure out who I am and what my call is. At first I just hurt. I asked myself a lot of useless questions, like, how could someone who loved me treat me that way? And the correct answer is--I don't know and I won't ever really know. And it doesn't matter, it is over and I jumped free. I washed up on shore. I have to pick up the wreck that I am and move on. And for a while I was in survival mode. I had a lot of proving to do to myself that I could handle things and that I wasn't a bad person. I wondered who I was. A lot of the time I hurt.
As I begin to walk away from the pain and the hurt and the survival mode of my past life, I have more and more found ways to nurture myself, to thrive. I went to Jerusalem and saw the Holy land. I had a grand baby and survived the disappointment of him not being a nursed baby. And he is the cutest baby ever. I took a cruise to Alaska and saw whales and native dancing. I have handled a million large and small problems of life and home ownership, and it hasn't been easy, but it hasn't been bad either. I don't have an extraordinary call, at least not yet. I feel that the call in my life is to live the ordinary and live with love.
But, lately, I have stepped out of survival mode. I am working to become the person I want to be, the person I am inside. That person is a little thinner and moves a little better. That person is mindful and happy and interested in others. That person has boundaries and defenses against the cruelty or curiosity of other people. And that one is really big. I am not good at setting or maintaining boundaries. Or at least I didn't used to be. I am growing and changing. I am starting to get my act together. Prayer has changed things, trust in God has changed things, and hope in Christ has bought me through to this day.
(And someday there will be pictures of Alaska.)
You created such a varied and congruous world. The hawks that fly far above, the whales that sing far below, all things are within Your imaginings. Thank You for all things. Hold my hand and walk with me through the trials and missteps, through my doubt and forgetting, help me. I put my trust in You. Amen
I just came back from PT for my knee and my mom's doctor's nurse called with results from her labs. Mom has diabetes again and may have a UTI which may partially explain her rapid decline lately and may change our plans to move her to memory care instead of another assisted living. But, the diabetes, I don't know how I will manage that one. And my lawn service went out of business last week and the grass just keeps on growing. And the chairs I ordered online last week and guaranteed one day shipping have not shipped. And I think I signed up for the wrong Medicare policy thing. And I am sure there are other things, but that is all I can handle at the moment. (Do I sound a little panicky?)
Sometimes life has a way of plunging me into panic. So many problems, such a tangle of solutions. It is like a tangled piece of yarn. The only way to straighten it out is take one rat's nest of a tangle at a time. So, I called my old lawn service and they are happy to take me on again. One problem solved. I am awaiting calls about Mom from the doctor and the facility where she currently lives. I called about the chairs and they are just delayed a bit. I called Medicare and then the supplement company I no longer want and though that problem hasn't been tackled completely, it is resolving. But around the corner there still could be big, big trouble. But, with so many problems on their way to being handled, how can I dread the future?
I came away from a life where each problem was treated like a full on emergency. Often there was blame or shame assigned to the problem as well. Each mistake was a disaster and life was often paralyzing in the vast array of difficulties that can present themselves within an ordinary day. Over time I adopted that as my mode of living. In the past I dreaded the problems of life.
Now I am trying to do things differently. As the tears came to my eyes when the nurse was telling me about Mom's problems, I began to pray. I continued to pray even though as I finished the conversation it seemed to me that there was no solution. How was prayer even going to help? Despite all the evidence in my life through repeated experiences of God's love and protection, I am still sometimes uncertain in the moment that prayer will help me. I think it is all on me to fix things. At least that is my panic mode thought. But, as I prayed today, I began to remember that God didn't just throw me off a cliff and let me handle it. He is here. He has a way. He provides help. Because in this world there are troubles, but He has conquered the world, I will hold onto Him. Amen.