Mortality, Humanness, Spirituality, Love…

Ray October 2015

This man was 81 years old when he entered my life four years ago. Not because  he asked for my help, but because someone told him he could no longer take care of himself. From that point on, all life’s decisions would be made for him.

I watch the cruelty of your condition rob you of your memory and in your ability to be present for your life. In the beginning it didn’t seem to bother you, to have a constant parade of young ladies come and go. throughout your days. I suppose it would be most men’s dream, but not likely given these circumstances. 

Mostly your days have been filled with laughter, song, dance and stories from long ago. Every meal prepared and served before you. All the domestic chores and shopping handled while you carry on thriving daily in familiar surroundings. You keep us on our toes, learning to not turn our back in case the over-exuberant you surfaces to be extra playful in the moment. Your vulgarity makes us giggle, advance attempts are harmless we’ve learned and in your nature, while your gentility warms our hearts. 

It saddens me more now, your inability to be concise in communicating your ailments which ultimately have become your demise. It took the logical thinker to tell this emotional girl the right thing to do was to take you back to the hospital. This is your third time there now and they tell us it will be your last. The option to take you home to provide you with comfort care through the end of your life is going to be the final big choice made for you in the morning. 

I left you there in capable hands for one more night. As I drove out to make sure your cat was fed and your property ready to receive your return where it will keep you for your final days, the personal sadness washed over me. I’ve learned through sudden tragedy what devastation can bring and also the fragility and value of life, but to be an assistant to God’s divine plan is uncomfortable  in the very least. 

Decisions on your behalf to be made next as we walked through the glass doors to the world outside. So much traffic busting at the seams as the hustle and bustle of last minute shoppers congest every road and I am desperate to make my escape. 

At last I pulled over along the roadside of a massive hill overlooking our pretty little town. There I sat writing these words and watching the sun go down on this day. Its starting to turn colder as the storm begins to move in. I picture you lying in that hospital room, highly sedated, feeling no pain and now sleeping so soundly. I couldn’t help but think how alone you truly are and have been for so long. We have become your family, the only faces you have known, to love and to trust in these last year’s of your earthly walk. My thoughts, they turned to my own life as they often do during times like these, but somehow things feel different for me. Not sorrow for what lies ahead for you my dear friend, but sadness perhaps from the void that erupts when I go inside my head. 

My heart has softened so over the years as clients come and clients go, but none have been quite as entrenched and made such an imprint as this man has. Maybe because I too can relate to that orphan type mindset. Though he presently can’t comprehend the difference of his current state of being, his heart it does understand. 

I feel blessed having the honor to be an intricate piece and make even the smallest differences in your life. Tonight I asked God to please reveal to me the lesson and message He is showing me through this experience. Because all I feel as I look to the valley below, is alone, empty and blue. I never thought I’d be one of the many who can’t feel the merriment and joy that this holiday season typically brings. The cause is more than this immediate situation. Feelings stirred up from the residue left over

by the past and the fear that is induced through uncertainty.

The prayer is redundant, but God is unfailing, “Lord please fill me full with Your love and lead me down the path You have chosen especially for me. You’ve walked beside me over the mountains and pulled me up from the valleys below. Through You I am strengthened without I am weak. Remind me who I am in You, fearfully and wonderfully made. Amen”

Tomorrow we bring you back to the place you call home. Where you will live out the rest of your days until you lay down for your final rest to be with The Lord. I pray for your transformation of new comfort, exclusion of pain and wholeness you will one day know again.

Good night and God bless You always…

fear is just a lie…

The tears choked back her words, but she managed to get them out. Through the sorrow and pain from a deep, past hurt, she spoke as if thirty years were just yesterday. I sat in absolute silence as I heard my own sadness spewing from her lips. Reminded me again that I am never alone in this life. Whatever my problems, there are always those who have had some of them too.

With her final thoughts through tear soaked cheeks, she gave a deep sigh and thanked everyone for listening and holding her heart. From across the table, I looked deep into her eyes and gave a genuine soft smile full of compassion that said how much I understood. Her grief prompted what came from me next.

The topic was perfection, one of my least favorite subjects to look at because there is truth revealed. The all-consuming state of being that stole my ability to just be me. It robbed me of a higher self-esteem I once possessed as it birthed the fear that would direct my lack of confidence from that day forward.

Inside, my little (baby girl) was tucked deep away where she felt safe and hidden from the world. Inevitably, big was growing up right along with that fear while perfectionism was consuming her life. The deep voice over her shoulder, the constant procession of his cruel words stymied her from rising up to her potential. How long does a person exert such power over another?

As long as I allow it…

Fast forward to my next thirty years, “Why is fear your default place to go to with me?”, he asked me one day. I could not come up with the answer, but it gave me such great pain and anguish from childhood that I chose to look at that. How can you understand me when I can’t even understand myself, I soon would discover. Fear is the go to familiar hiding place that won’t allow judgement to seep in if I remain quiet. I can be invisible if I don’t go to the finish line where no one will tell me, I could have done better.

That is fucked up…

The ironies of three states of being, contradictions in a sense…

fear + perfection = paralysis

FEAR: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

PERFECTION: 1. The condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects. 2.The action or process of improving something until it is faultless or as faultless as possible.

PARALYSIS: the loss of the ability to move (and sometimes to feel anything) in part or most of the body, typically as a result of illness, poison, or injury.

awareness + acceptance + action

AWARENESS: knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.

ACCEPTANCE: the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered.

ACTION: the fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim.

 

Construction underway…

I find it amazing, the core of deceptions that have been taking up space rent free for most of my life without my consent. Yet until now, my eyes have been shut to their existence. Through love and concern, honesty and caring, support and encouragement, that fear is beginning to dissipate. In bringing it to light, my protective glasses removed, at last I embrace you, in order to rid myself of your lies and deceit.

Truth is my friend…

Underneath it all is this incredible human being, capable of all things she chooses. She has legs to stand upon, a spine to keep her straight, the ability to conquer what comes before her, confidence and courage that dictates authenticity, a heart that is filled with honor, a soul abound with mercy and grace, and an abundance of love that carries her through everything.

Walk  beside me…

The road gets narrow, sometimes the path is long, but keep looking ahead, forever onward uncovering and discovering every blessing along the way.

my own ESH (experience, strength, hope) or (extra special help) your choice…

lost

Self abandonment is something I am all too familiar with. We go way back, abandonment and me. For most of my life, I would put myself, needs, wants and desires on the back burner. It may even be safe to say that rarely would I be found on the stove. Growing up in a dys~fuck~tional home of dis~ease and addiction, I often had to find my own means of support, both emotionally and spiritually.

When I was two, my daddy had left us (me) and by the time I was seven, I knew mom had succumbed to her allergy when she became a full-blown alcoholic. Albeit still loving, slowly but surely her dis~ease robbed me of yet another parent. I typically found other means of seeking out comfort that I lacked now from both a mother and a father. A whole new description of abandonment developed.

I quickly learned I had to start growing up and fast. Try as I may to remain a child that I deserved to be, it was clear that I had to start learning to take care of my own needs. That meant that at ten, I babysat for extra cash so no one could tell me what I could or could not spend my money on. At that young age, I didn’t need materialistic things. The bonus was that it got me out of the house and temporarily away from the madness. Mom was a good provider in that our basics needs were met. She wasn’t incapable of sustaining employment. In fact, she was “highly functional” in her state of sickness and successful as a state employee. I did know she loved me, because she told me often.

So where was the lack and neglect? When she remarried I was seven and suddenly all her focus and attention was on this new man she expected to be my replacement daddy. Soon after is when the mental and verbal abuse started. The sting of abandonment, now enhanced. Mom cowered down to this man and never protected me. Her choice was evident who was more important and the burdens of an adult were now placed on this child. Suddenly I was now expected to carry them and take care of mom’s emotional state. I witnessed the demise of this lovely lady whom I once proudly called mom.

By the time I was a mid~teenager, I had been working for nearly six years and had the maturity of a young adult. I had responsibilities placed on me that were never age appropriate, but I lived up to them to the best of my abilities. This is the precise period of my life where I began to lose touch with my own self. It was as though I was forced to abandon my own thoughts, for fear of the ridicule and demeaning attacks that came with making mistakes. The message sent, received and delivered was, YOU are not good enough. Do better and MAYBE you will be loved, but only if you earn it.

Well, fuck. Order the party hats, hang the streamers, blow up the balloons and bring the popcorn, welcome to my lifelong pity party! What a party it was. I remember it starting at about age seventeen and lasting until maybe six years ago. No wonder I am exhausted keeping up those appearances that served me well for a very long time.

Let me back up quite a bit to my late teens where my own dys~fuck~tional relationship patterns were born. As I sought outside myself, seeking in others for my emotional fill-up needs, I was always led to the most unavailable sources because that was all I knew. I was drawn to and gave a free pass to those who would make me work harder for their love and attention. It was the system I witnessed that my mom created and we lived in. It seemed to work for her, it was familiar to me, so how was I to know any better? I continued to endure the verbal abuse and eventually even some physical. By now the pity party was in full force. Remembering often the message, “YOU are not good enough, try harder, be more, then maybe you will be worthy of love”. It was ingrained on my brain. Dance little princess dance.

Alright, I managed to escape my LTR from high school, but only because the next white knight flattered me enough to lure me away from my current abuser. The blood hadn’t even dried on the back of my head that went through the wall when I announced it was over and I was onto the next chapter. More balloons, streamers and cake please. This one is the one I can count on. He rescued me after all. He must love me for me. So he drinks more than I am comfortable with, smokes pot and snorts some white shit “once in a while”. I would never partake in that nor was it allowed at my pity party. However, I was determined that this guy was all I dreamed of and he would not be like the others because he would change for me. I AM that special and powerful, no matter what the old tapes playing in the background keep repeating. That is actually comical as I think of it now.

In the very beginning of this relationship I had lost my mom to a tragic, fatal car accident. I was twenty-two and devastated. She was my mom and despite everything, I loved her. By the mercy and grace of God, whom I had no relationship with, we had been mended with paperclips and scotch tape, but at least we “liked” each other again. That was my first introduction to detachment with love and acceptance. She was a beautiful soul who was caught in the cruelty of a horrific dis~ease. I stopped blaming and forgave her.

A year passed and I married this man after committing myself to complete self abandonment and promises to live in denial of the truth. Eighteen years and three amazing sons later, I filed for divorce after a tumultuous relationship with this alcoholic. The skills I took away from that chunk of my life were those on survival I had fine tuned. I became an expert in control, manipulation, managing, shaming, blaming, overcompensation, perfectionism, and oh yes, the party continued as prescribed by me. Except now, I began taking hostages in order for the celebration to carry on. Since all of my needs failed to be filled by any and all outside sources, my master skills were now serving me well.

The next one was on deck prior to the soon to be ex husband vacating the premises. This new man was simultaneously going through the same motions as I was. A match made in heaven, yes? Oh Lord I prayed this one was my final hero and savior here on earth. By this time I had come to terms with a lot of emotional pain and effects from a lifetime of abuse and neglect. Not only from those who were supposed to love me, but myself included. If I could not treat myself with the love and dignity I deserve and cherish all the blessings bestowed upon me, how could I be worthy of receiving more?

It was at this moment in my life I had found the rooms of recovery. A saving grace that welcomed me with open arms. I stumbled in, broken and shattered, depleted of all my self-worth, value and love. An empty shell that had been emptied over the course of nearly thirty years at that point. Pieces of me now strewn about, so scattered and left behind, hopeless and full of despair, how would I ever be put back together again? Angry that I was in this place where dys~fuck~tion forced me through the iron doors. Confused and frustrated why I was the one in need of changing and fixing. After all, I was not the one with an addiction problem that fucked up the lives of everyone they touched. Or so it seemed.

The newest man I was sure to be Heaven sent, scolded me and said he would not be able to see me as long as that husband was still in the picture and the house. That was enough incentive to light the fire. A few short, but long agonizing weeks later, he was out of the house I was happy to report. Done. Now will you love and cherish me? Five months later, we too were done. Meanwhile, I continued to show up in “those rooms” I was so resentful to have to be in. Little did I know, the message was seeping in my stubborn skull. It leaked in with every word I heard as it sounded like my own story. For every ounce of wisdom I allowed to creep in, I cried a bucket of tears. I knew where I belonged and I never left.

The balloons slowly deflated, streamers and hats disappeared one by one and the candles were finally blown out. A new party was in the works as resentments lessened and gratitude slowly replaced it. At some point I told my pride and ego to take a hike as they were no longer of service to me. I was becoming empowered and equipped as my faith grew and was humbled by the ESH of others. I came in because of them, the sick ones, I stayed for me, the real sick one. That was nearly eleven years ago. I have been asked why do you still go there? My answer is always, my life and emotional sobriety depend upon it.

As I dove head first into this new discovery that was teaching me a better way to live and love. I finally reached a point in my life that I began to make sense to me. I could admit I was a walking wounded, but not beyond repair and certainly worth every bit of work I willingly put into it. I found hope and courage, but more importantly, I established the two most important relationships I never thought possible. One with myself and the other with the God of my understanding.

In February of 2011, my beautiful, once filled with life twenty year old nephew died of a heroin overdose. He was as close to me as my own three sons. I thought my heart would never recover. I was again devastated by another loss. I hit my knees like never before. Lord, how much more are You going to remove from my life? I cannot fucking take one more tragedy. Enough, I yelled to the sky! It was in that depletion from my heartbreak that as I became angry at God, I drew closer to Him. I quit fighting and resisting His comfort and chose to walk with Him. I became devoted and fully trusted Him for the very first time. At that moment I obediently turned my will and my life over to Him. I was saved.

By this time I had suffered enough pain and loss that I was not willing to open my heart for another to come in and risk damaging the repairs that the Lord had mended. I continued to seek Him out in everything and relied on Him solely. My life began to change. The healing was coming from the inside out. I poured myself into the spiritual world of recovery and found balance for the first time in my life. Relationships were also being healed and brought to fruition because I have learned to cultivate them with God’s blessings and my offerings. I prayed for His wisdom and guidance for my life. Then one day shortly after losing my nephew, there was a new brokenness presented in my life. It came in the form of a human man.

I was blind to his presence in the early days as I was in turmoil and grief. My blinders were on, heart guarded and I remained obedient as I waited on the Lord to keep filling me up. At some point, this new man very subtly found his way through a crack in my heart. For the very first time in my new life, I didn’t seek out a man to fill my emptiness. I talked to God often about His intentions and will for me. Did You send this man for a reason? The answers revealed were, yes and I was to pour into him the abundance of love the Lord now fills me with because He has promised me an everlasting supply.

Over the course of our friendship and relationship, I have never given up on the man who God instructed me to encourage, support, lift up and love. He has taken my brokenness from me and undone what has harmed me. He has restored my heart a multitude of times. He never gave up on me and always waited patiently for my cooperation. Because of Him, I am more complete than I ever thought possible. My Heavenly Father made me perfect in His image and it is in Him that I seek forgiveness for disparaging His creation of me. I am the blessed one, granted new mercy and grace every day. 

 rumi 2

 tbc (to be continued)…