Saturday, September 30, 2017

Where the Darkness Lurks, the Light will find a way






I feel, at times, like a fraud, a hypocrite of the worst sort. I talk a good talk, all the while hiding a secret. A deep seated sadness and despair. I am here, fighting depression with everything I have. Prayer. Prayer and determination.
When my husband was alive he needed and expected at least one of us to be available at any given time. He knew that I couldn’t answer the phone at work (its a lose your job offense) but I called him every break to make sure everything was going well. At home, that phone would probably and most likely ring every five minutes. There was almost always some major- never minor- disaster going on. Some either I or James could find a way to fix, others were up to his dispatcher, there were a couple of times we did have to call on the big guns but that was rare. Because of this, I lost friends, and have misplaced the ability to make friends, or in the least, enjoy the company of others as I am so accustomed to being here, waiting on that phone to ring. I’ve lost the ability to create small talk, to simply have a good time with others.
Its dark here alone.
That may be one of the reasons for all of the solar lights, and the battery operated candles that are in the windows and on the shelves. To combat the dark.
Sitting here, within the walls of this house, where it is safe, I have misplaced my courage. I go to work and back. I go to church. I go to Walmart for groceries. Then I come home and hide. There are radios in this house that play nonstop. It fills the quiet. It helps make me feel less alone.
 I rarely walk any more. I need to, but the dark here, holds me tightly and I don’t go. Its hunting season now, I have my blaze orange, but a part of me asks, why bother?  Back in 2008, when I was diagnosed with cancer, I walked every day. There was always something different waiting to be seen. There was a comforting, healing peace in those walks. My husband was here though, if he wasn't at home making sure I wasn't gone too long, he was calling on the phone, lecturing me about being out as darkness fell.  He was always concerned about my being safe. The darkness has somehow convinced me that there is no healing to be found out there now. The darkness is a sticky stretch of misleading thoughts, over active imagination, and exaggerated emotions. The darkness lies and does it well.
The darkness, is a cancer of the spirit, slowly eating away at life and living.
The darkness, feeds the fear. It feeds the feeling of loneliness. It multiplies the feelings of being forgotten. It lies, but it lies in a believable way. The darkness, dares you to speak out. To express any needs. The darkness tells you that no one wants to hear, no one is even listening to begin with. The darkness tells you, that you are all on your own and will forever on be that way. Alone. The darkness dares you to cry, dares you to express any emotions. The darkness tells you that any feelings, any requests for anything at all, are a sign of weakness.
The darkness is a monster, A dragon that breathes a fire of darkness and expels smoke of sadness.
But I will fight, I refuse to give in to this. I refuse to believe the lies of the dark and seek the light. There is a Light of Hope. There is Light of Faith. There is a Light that washes away the darkness. To that Light I run. To that Light I cling. To that Light, I whisper the words that dark demands I hide, I fear being alone. I fear the future. I am envious of those who just get up and go. I miss the part of me that I lost somewhere, the one who was brave enough to just get up and go. I whisper my fears of the dark, to the Light and I know, that I am not alone. That this battle will make me stronger, as long as I take the hand of the Light and listen for the words.
The dark, will lose, will fade, will disappear eventually. Even in this, there is a reason, a purpose, a plan. I will cling, I will pray, I will wait. For the Light will come.








Saturday, September 23, 2017

All I wanna do (a blobophilia write)






All that I want to do, I can’t. I want to go back to that morning, no further back than that. I want to go to the beginning of the weekend when you said that you were feeling bad, that you thought you had the flu, and tell you to come home. You said that maybe you would feel better if you rested for the weekend. That rest didn’t help. You asked your dispatcher to find you a run home so you could go see your doctor. That part I didn’t know until later. I called you that morning as I always did. I couldn’t understand what you were saying, I thought we had a bad connection or some such so I disconnected and called you back. When you answered, I asked how you were. You, being you, being ill, were abrupt and asked me ‘how do you think?” Before I could respond, you told me to ‘let me go’. Instead of telling you that I loved you, I merely disconnected the call and went back to work.
I tried every break after that to reach you. I let that phone ring until its a wonder the battery didn’t go. I found out just before quitting time, that I would never reach you again in this life.
William Wordsworth said that “Life is divided into three terms, that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the presence and from the presence, to live better in the future.”
Every since that day, what was, has played over and again in my head and heart. Every vacation or day trip that we took. Every concert or fair or theme park that we visited, floats through my memory. I recall your laugh and your exaggerated yawns. How you so loved this crazy dog and those greasy slices of pizza from the local warehouse store. I recall the things that you said to me, from your complaints to your plans. What was, what we had, was not always smooth, but it was ours and it was special.
What is, at times frightens me. I stand and see someone who I am not sure I recognize. It is a person who is alone, who sometimes feels abandoned, not so much by you, but yes, by you. Also by so many of those others who promised to be there, who said we will do this or that, go here or there and suddenly they have vanished. That’s okay though, I realize that people have their own lives and families and responsibilities. I can’t expect them to baby sit me. I am working on learning and gaining new strengths and the ability to stand on and go on my own. What is, apparently is the new normal that I never wanted to face, but must. I am growing, slowly. I am learning to respect myself and the things I’m learning to handle. I’m learning to stand up for me, to believe in me, to look to the what will be in a new feeling of excitement.
William Wordsworth also said, “to begin, begin.” And so I will. The temperatures should start to lower some since it is now fall of the year. You wouldn’t know that today, but I know its coming. I should be able to get out more and do things I haven’t done during the summer. I want to climb Crowder’s Mountain with Bella. I want to go to the Kings Mountain Battleground. I want to find these greenways around here and hike and photograph. That won’t happen until I begin.
I recall growing up here, pretending to be an adventurer, pretending to be an explorer who was out discovering amazing things. I was finding water for a thirsting village. I was finding lost civilizations, wild animals. I was a secret agent saving the world. I was anything I imagined myself to be. Now, adult that I profess and pretend to be, I can actually do more than just pretend. I can take up my camera, my backpack and my walking stick, attach the leash to this crazy dog and begin.
Margaret Cavendish put it this way, “I would rather die in the adventure of noble achievements, than live in obscure and sluggish security.”
So maybe, since I can’t do what I wanna do as far as going back and changing what was, I can hold you close in my heart and cherish your memory, and carry it with me forward into the future and the adventures that await.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Into the Lion's Den

Every morning at work, starting up the machinery is a bit of a chore. Between management and the customer they have come up with an odd way to start up and shut down the machinery. But, it is what the customer wants, so it is what the customer gets. It just means that it takes longer to get everything up and running. When the technician doesn’t come in at six, that slows it down even more. The machine operators have various levels of experience, but most are easy to work with and quick to get things done. There is one however that makes things a bit difficult.
I’m sure that at every job, there is that one person, who is not the easiest to work with. There is that one person who may have just came to work there, but thinks they know everything- or give the impression they do- that has to do with the job. They’ve done this or that for x amount of years so they know how to do the job. They think they know, even though every job has its different way of doing things. Most of us at least, have dealt with someone like that so I won’t give a descriptive listing of offenses.
I was reminded recently that everything we do, no matter what it is, we should do as that we were doping it for the Lord. Everything that we do, we should do in a way that brings glory to the Lord. It doesn’t matter if its our home life, our public life, our jobs, our private actions, all should be done as if being done for the Lord. That we should first remove the log from our own eye, before we so much as considered discussing the splinter in a brother’s eye. This and the above, are he main reasons that I have been praying for guidance in my actions around the one who knows it all at work. I get along with everyone at work, I’ll get along with this one, one way or another.
This one was moved to a different machine today. This machine was set up to run a material that she had not ran before, one that was so far different than what she had been running that it might as well have come from another world. The technician had said that it was ready to start up. This machine was bottom on the list of priorities, so it was last to start. She waited near the machine while we got everything else up and running. I knew she was waiting. I had put off going back there. Then, it reached the moment when I had no choice.
I started across the room thinking, here I go, into the lion’s den. Immediately I thought of Daniel and his being tossed to the lions (Daniel: 1-23) Daniel was betrayed and thrown to the lions, but he was strong in faith and was protected through the night. I knew, that I was not literally going into a lion’s den, but it seemed like a good proverbial comparison. I had not been set up or betrayed, but it still seemed almost like going to the lions to deal with one who doesn’t listen. Then it dawned on me. I wasn’t listening either. Daniel was literally thrown to the lions, but he was protected. I was just going to deal with a person. Different scenarios, but the premise was similar, but more important was the realization of one fact. Daniel was not alone in that den of lions and I would not be alone in mine.
I finished walking across the room with a different attitude. I made it to the machine and with the operator we began to get it started. The technician finally made it over to where we were and began to help. The machine was not as ready as he had proclaimed. Together we worked, slowly getting one end after another up and running. I managed to get the operator to listen to what I was trying to explain, I also put signs up all over the machine. Before we had it all running I had to leave the technician with the operator as I had other responsibilities waiting. Walking away I thought, that wasn’t so bad. I didn’t yell, I didn’t lose my patience, I worked with the lion and walked away unscathed. Because I wasn’t alone.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

When God Works







After my husband passed away, people kept asking me, “Is there anything you need?” and “What can I/we, do for you?” While there were a lot of things I needed (and still do), all I asked for, were prayers for discernment. Prayers that my steps and actions would be the right ones, as I walked this new path and dealt with all these things alone.
Then, the roof started giving me problems. I know, most if not all of us have heard the horror stories of people getting ripped off by unscrupulous people claiming to be something they aren’t. We’ve heard of those who offered to do the work only to take money and run or only do part of the job and do it poorly. I was standing, looking at the bucket in my living room determined not to be another victim. I asked only people I trusted for referrals. I was given a name of someone a contractor used. A contractor I knew to be respected and trusted. Calling this person he told me that if I were home, he could come by and take a look. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t the man who got out of the truck that pulled into my driveway. While the contractor dressed the part of a business owner, this man was definitely a working man. His manner though quickly put me at ease.
I explained what I was dealing with, he took a ladder from his truck and went up on the roof. He told me the same things that a man from my church had told me a few days earlier. He took measurements of the roof in all directions making notes as he went. Climbing back down his ladder he told me that he would work up an estimate for me and get back with me in a couple of days.
All the while I’m praying “God, please let me make the right choice.”
After a couple of days, I called him. He had tried to get an estimate from his supplier but had not been able to that first day, then got busy and forgot. He promised to get me an estimate and call back the next day.
Then Irma made an appearance. I was keeping up with the storm as best as anyone could with a storm that had no idea where she wanted to pass through. Because of Irma, I was in no hurry to get anything done. Why replace a roof only to have a storm destroy it? Once all threat had passed I called him again. He had been out of town, he had the estimate, but it was at the office, he call me in a bit. The next day I called him again, he was headed to the office, at that moment he was dealing with Charlotte traffic, he would call me.
Weird things go through your mind when you are trying to do something that one, you really didn’t want to have to do to begin with, and two, you’re walking on that foreign ground and trying to find the right footing. I begin to think, well maybe since its a small job, he doesn’t want to do it. maybe, he’s got other jobs more important...that was when I went on a social media sight and asked for recommendations. I received a private message telling me to call a man, and they gave me his number. I called, it turned out to be the father-in-law to the person who had been out. He told me, to let him call his son-in-law. He said that usually when he refers someone it gets done. Within minutes he was calling me. He told me about what it would cost, that it really depended on how much wood needed replacing. He said that he could do it toward the end of the coming week.
My parents live next door to me. I have a small vegetable garden near their house. My dad had been forbidden to harvest anything else for me due to his falling. I went down on Sunday evening and even though I really dislike doing things on Sunday, I cut the okra. I called mom this morning from work to let her know that I had so dad could quit worrying about it. She asked me what we were going to do about my dog when the roofers came. I told her that we’d just leave her in the house and James could let her out for a bathroom break when he came in for lunch.
They came today. Today, was my son’s day off. They began around 8:30 in the morning and were finished before I got home. The job came in two thousand dollars less than what I had feared. They cleaned up everything, there was nothing that even remotely looked like roofing material anywhere. The stuff that used, blended well with what was there.
When God works, there is no doubt.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Guilty as Charged

Yesterday and this morning I was grumbling somewhat over my aged stove and its apparent approaching death. I was (and still am) hoping that I can get out of having to purchase a new kitchen stove, or range if you prefer. I made my comments, then logging out of my social media account I noticed a headline on my home page. I only scanned the headlines as I didn’t have time to read the articles. Closing everything down I gathered my things and went in to work. I had not been at work long when I was hit and hit hard with the realization that I had been very .. well.. wrong. That deep seated, hit you in the gut, heart and mind, with the realization that I had been very self-centered in my comments. I was only worried about my little bubble while outside of that, horrible things were going on.
Wide areas are dealing with the aftermath of hurricanes. Wide areas are dealing with current hurricanes. There has been wide spread damage, and there has been loss of life. Mexico, Japan and I understand parts of California are enduring earthquakes even though the worst reports I’ve read so far are from Mexico. Over two hundred people have lost their life and many are still missing. Families have been broken in the loss of members. There is no age discrimination, from the elderly to the very young have died. Building after building has fallen or washed away. Power outages are everywhere. The cries of the suffering should be reaching us. Our hearts should be touched and our wallets opened. Those who can, should reach out and assist in any way they are able.
I’ve watched videos of what is going on. I’ve read articles, about the actual and the potential. I’ve seen, where many have lost every, single, thing, they owned. They’ve lost loved ones.
I was complaining about a stove. I was being very selfish and self-centered. I was being blind and petty. I’m guilty as charged and I ask forgiveness. I will be watching for opportunities to help in any way that I am able. Because even though I am only one, my difference may seem small, but think of the boy tossing star fish back into the sea, if I can make a difference for one, it matters and it counts.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Retire? Who, me? Never.







I asked the question earlier on a social media site about when could I retire. There were several responses, many which dragged me out of my tired funk and got me to thinking.
I really doubt that I will ever retire. Oh I may change jobs at some point. Once I'm in a better shape financially to where I can make it on less, or if I find a job that is one of those wonder where its been all my life wonderful. Maybe some miracle could happen and I could manage to actually be an author that sells books. I don't have my beloved interruption now, so I could actually concentrate on what I was trying to accomplish.
Here I am, fast approaching 60. I was really working up some interesting plans to celebrate, only, all that has changed. I shelved, boxed up, trashed, gave away all of those plans. I'll come up with something else instead. Don't get me wrong here, I'm not feeling sorry for myself. It is what it is. He didn't plan to leave the way he did and I didn't plan on losing him. But he was called home and I'm here. There is a reason, one way or the other I will find that reason, I'll find (or I may even already be living that purpose) and I'll do the best job I can of fulfilling that. There will be days I'm sure that I'm lonely, exhausted, frustrated, but I'll pick myself up and I'll soldier on.
The fact that I've worked since I got my first work permit at 16 yrs old and have worked doing something ever since means that it would be down right difficult for me to just stop. I need something to do. I know that there is a lot of things needing done around here, but most of that I can take care of on days when it is a tad bit cooler than broil.
I know there are places to go, things to see, but I have to screw my courage up and learn to stand on my own. I haven't had to go anywhere much but Walmart on my own so actually getting in the car and going somewhere to do something by myself is going to take more courage than I have right now. That has nothing (well maybe it does) have to do with my loss, but at some point I will be able to pick up and go for a drive to the mountains, or TN, or Fl, or where ever.
I like my job, it pays the bills and keeps me busy, but I really could do with a little less busy. Or maybe I could work at trying to get a little more sleep, I'm sure that would help. Unfortunately my body shuts down by my mind wants to wander about poking into memories and things that keep me awake.
But anyway, forgive me for earlier, it was tired me typing away without forethought. Retire? Nah, I'm way too young for that, or too stubborn, or something or other..
Thank you my friends, for bearing with me.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Up and Coming What was Can't be, But what Can Be, will






                                            Right after my birthday last year, I began writing a near daily count down to 60 blog. I haven't added to that thread of thought for quite some time. Everything obviously got a bit side railed. I really had big plans for that day. Big thoughts and hopes floated about in my head, simply because that is considered a milestone birthday. Now, I'm not so sure I even want to acknowledge it. How can I celebrate that day, without the one who I had hoped to share it with?
                                             I'm not really feeling sorry for myself, I'm still trying to find my way in a new normal that I didn't ask for, didn't want, and don't like. I don't care how many times I was angry with my husband, how many times he frustrated me or annoyed me, he was still my husband and I still loved him. Being human, we all have our own failings and quirks that could annoy others. Sometimes we do it deliberately, sometimes accidentally. My husband was no different, I am no different. There were things that I did and do, that would drive him crazy. And yes, sometimes I did them on purpose. Nothing that would get anyone hurt, usually it was driving a route that he didn't understand.
                                             I've spent the last four months writing about his loss and didn't realize that my birthday is just weeks away. In August, I will turn the biological clock up another notch as I reach 60. After some of the stuff I have dealt with, I'm still a tad surprised I've got this far, but I have. Now I have to figure out how to get through the fast approaching day without falling apart. I believe, that day will be one of the most difficult to face so far. We made it through  Easter, Memorial Day, his birthday, Father's Day, Independence Day and the week that I have had off from work. I've stayed busy, I've gotten things accomplished, I've managed to do things that I never thought I would be able to and yet I did. Someone said that grief shows us how strong we can be. I agree.
                                               Still yet, there is my birthday. I was hoping for a big shebang with family. I was hoping for silly signs and age related jokes. I was hoping that he would pull something embarrassing and yet loving. All of that, depended on him being here, and he isn't.
                                                I have put some thought into it, and no, I'm not giving myself a party. I'm going to work on my flower garden area and turn it not only into a wildlife sanctuary for the bees and butterfly, but also into a memorial garden of remembrance for him. I'm not sure the stores are still selling much in the way of plants, but I can check and see if there is anything that will be good for butterfly, bees and hummingbird. I can only do a little at a time, but that's fine. He isn't here to complain about time now. I have already been called.. in good natured teasing, a flower hoarder, they haven't seen anything yet. It may take a long time to get it done the way I would like, but I will get it done. I want nearly that entire area filled with plants, flowers, shrubbery that will benefit our pollinators. I want to have a rock path through the garden, past the flowers, the light post, the statue and over to where the table, chairs and swing await. I want it to be filled with so much color that a rainbow will be proud. I hope to have so much that the leprechaun in lucky charms would be envious and looking for a place to dance. I want, if my husband is looking down on us, watching us, that he would see this garden and think, "Wow, that's for me?"
                                            So, if anyone has flowers that they would consider donating.. and no, I'm not asking for more from those dear, kindhearted, generous people who have already given much to add to my gardens. But if there is anyone else with something that they are wanting to get rid of, I don't turn down flowers- ever.
                                             My birthday is coming up. I will be facing it without the love of my life. But, face it I will. Get through it, I will. Miss him? Most definitely. Love him? Always.