Amnesia

There’s an an amnesia that occurs when you first wake up that happens to everybody, yet we never talk about it. After someone dies, I’m sure this is what we notice the most, but it happens every day. You wake up. Things seem ok. Then your life starts to pour back to you “Oh my gosh, he’s dead. He’s gone, he’ll never be back.” It happens all the time, every morning.

With alcoholics it’s pronounced. You wake up, you are innocent. All of a sudden the memories come back to you. Last night, oh my God, I drank. Heaven help me, what did I say. What did I do?

It’s inevitable. This amnesia. I think it occurs to protect us from ourselves. Granted, I’m not drinking, it’s been a while since I worried about what I did the night before, but still it floods back…yes, my daughter isn’t speaking to me. Yes, my son is angry with me. I wish it were not so. I’m grateful for the moments I forget. Why is this necessary? I do not know, but I know it’s a way to perform my reentry into the world, and I do have a lot I regret, but I am grateful for all the bad things, all the horrible things, who have made me into the person I am today. I forgive myself….but I have to forgive myself daily, after I’ve awoken, after I have remembered. And that’s ok…..because I’m stronger. Every day I’m stronger and better. So, yes, I hate that stuff, but I have deep gratitude. Thank you Jesus.

Amnesia

It’s Not My Fault

In my former family, the one I had with my former husband, fault was a huge deal. Fault was assigned on a regular basis, and it was usually assigned to me. Blame was important, and it was important to defect it from yourself as much as possible.

The house I left in 2013 was a mess. Laundry everywhere. Clothes that fit or didn’t fit….clothes that had holes in them but could possibly be used as rags. Useless crap piled up everywhere in a huge mess. A floor covered with dog hair and stuff that was useless and had no home. It was horrible.

I thought when I left that it was my fault. I didn’t do my part. The family was better off without me.

My eyes were opened when I took my ex-husband to his home from the hospital. My daughter lives there, and my oldest son during the summer. My youngest son lives with me and he is supposed to spend weekends with his father, but he never does.

When I went into the home, I thought I’d do a little light cleaning just to help my ex-husband out. He’s in really poor health and has no strength to do the simplest tasks. It was like walking into a time capsule. The same crap piled up everywhere. Filth. The smell of dirty laundry was pungent. I don’t even have that great of a sense of smell. I Immediately felt like going to work, cleaning and organizing. The washer and dryer don’t even seem to be working very well. It was nasty. And I could see that it wasn’t ultimately MY FAULT. My daughter is 21. She has the ability to clean her bathroom and do her laundry and she chooses not to. That’s on her. She can blame me, but blame doesn’t improve the quality of her living conditions. Getting up and doing what she should do, is her task. It’s what she should do. It has nothing to do with me.

That is very freeing for me. I’m sorry I wasn’t a better mother, but today my clothes are clean. My husband’s clothes are clean. So are my son’s. I vacuum, I dust, and I clean the bathrooms.  That’s the real me. Yes, I am messy, but it all gets done. My house doesn’t smell. I show my love to my husband and my son through the care I give them. And I know they feel it.

It’s Not My Fault

Walking the Dog

I learn a lot about life from walking my dog. We moved into an apartment just over a year ago, and she hasn’t had the same type of access to a backyard the way she used to. I know she misses it.

When we would take our walks, initially she was fine. Soon she realized that going out wasn’t going to be quite the long adventure she hoped for. She began tugging on the leash. As time went on, she became more adamant about being outside. She would spread her forelegs and brace herself in an attempt to not go in. She would do that if she even thought we were heading back toward the house.

Tory is an older dog. She’s been with us since she was 5 months old, and she’s 12 now. She’s in pretty good shape for a dog her age, except for some breathing issues.

I realized that she longed to be outside. She has a real need to do a certain amount of sniffing. There are quite a few dogs in our neighborhood, so sniffing is something she demands when she’s outside. She would sniff all day if she could. I, on the other hand, don’t want to walk at a snails pace all day long.

At first I was impatient. Then I realized that when you love someone you want them to be happy. I do love her. So I implemented a plan.

I started to walk her in the same route every day. I let her sniff as much as she wanted. I do get impatient. I want to yank her along the route. I don’t do that. Instead I practice being patient and loving.

When she tries to pull the leash in directions that aren’t on the route, I don’t give in. I also don’t let her yank me off the pavement. We aren’t going on traipses through the grass. But on our established route, she can sniff as much as she wants. I always say “no, we’re going this way.”

I started to realize she recognizes the phrase “we’re going this way.” She began to believe that we were, in fact, going this way no matter what she did to try to lead us in other directions. I walk her in about a quarter of a mile, 3 times a day. It’s enough sniffing.

Once I had thoroughly established our route, she stopped pulling. She will stop suddenly to sniff on our route, but all I have to do is say “we’re going this way,” and she comes without complaint.

The power of habit. I’ve long recognized that having habits is a useful tool. As I’ve implemented this tool in my life, things go along more pleasantly and more predictably. It takes time and effort to develop this tool, but it’s been well worth the effort.

Walking the Dog

David and Uriah

I was just reading about David and Uriah. It’s a story I love. I was thinking about how struck I am by this story and why.

The why is that David did a horrible thing and he was still God’s beloved. I’ve done some horrible things and I am still beloved by God. That’s the message I get from this story.

The gist of the story is that David had relations with another man’s wife and she got pregnant. In order to avoid consequences, David tried to get the husband, Uriah, who was a soldier, to have relations with his wife. When that didn’t work out, David put the man on the front lines of battle, and had the army withdraw in order that Uriah would be killed. That is going pretty far to avoid consequences.

We are all capable of horrible things. What I have learned from my life is that under the right circumstances, anybody would do anything. We are basically sinners out for ourselves.

I had dinner with a friend last week. She was talking about when I was going through my divorce and how I blamed myself for everything. That’s funny to me because I thought I was taking responsibility for my part. I definitely had a part. Her point of view was that the things I did were in response to an over controlling, bully of a husband who spent years knocking me down. That’s true. But I am responsible for my choices, and I chose very self destructive ways of dealing with it. Regardless, the dynamics of that relationship were such that it never could have worked out. Ending it was the best thing for me personally.

Yesterday was my one year anniversary with my husband. It went so fast! And I’m so happy, and he’s happy also. We have a very nurturing relationship. Very intimate and romantic. We’re great friends too. I am blessed beyond belief. It’s been a great experience. I’m very grateful. I don’t take it for granted.

David and Uriah

Learning My Lesson

I now know what it’s like to be poor. Over the past year, since my marriage, we have struggled financially. I haven’t been able to get a full time job, I’ve been going to school, and we have bills and things….fallout from the divorces…..it’s been rough.

We did ok at first, but then things started to go wrong. My laptop died, we couldn’t replace it…..my husbands car started acting up, my car’s air condition died, my dog got sick. I got a ticket….it seemed everything was happening at once. When I talked to my parents about it, I thought they might help us out, but I think they have their own financial things going on right now and it’s tough for them. I started losing sleep over it.

Bill collectors have been calling, and they can get pretty nasty. I never had any experience with that before. It’s hard to ignore phone calls and it’s hard to take the phone calls.

At the end of the month, we have had to plan strategically to make sure we had gas in our cars to get to work. I literally have counted out change at a gas station to get enough gas to get home.

I would buy my son’s food first. I haven’t wanted him to stress out about not having what he needs.  I hate telling him no about things, but I’ve had to say no. But I put his things first.

I did the right things. I spoke with my husband about my feelings and I reached out for help. My health plan gave me some free visits with a therapist. That helped.

Finally, my dad told me I could take out money for my classes from my retirement plan without a tax penalty. So I called, and it turns out I can take out money from my plan. I pay a small penalty and taxes on it, but I can get enough to fix the cars and pay for my classes. It’s a blessing. I know it’s not good to tap into that money, but if it gets us through until I finish my school and get a job, then that’s a good use of it. What a relief.

I think it’s a good lesson though…..there aren’t guarantees in life, and it’s important to have a safety net. I know now, how it is to be scared, and that gives me compassion and empathy. I hope I remember, so I can help others, and I think I will always be a little more prudent in the future. Lesson learned.

 

Learning My Lesson

100%

I took a job at a community college several months ago. I’m doing administrative work in the reception area of a small campus. It has a very warm, family feel about the place. I work closely with 2 other ladies, and it’s been actually a lot of fun.

One of the ladies I work with is a pastor’s wife. She takes her faith very seriously and talks about it openly. She has 3 daughters, and she’s a very hands-on mother. She adores her girls.

She’s also very bound up in fear. Her first reaction to any kind of problem is to be afraid. Once I realized that’s how she responds to things, I could predict her response to any situation. If there’s nothing happening, she seems to dream up things to be afraid of.

I have to confess it has been annoying at times. I want to point out to her that she doesn’t come across as having a heck of a lot of faith in God. But I remember how bound up in fear I used to be. I can remember that just leaving the house to go on a walk was difficult for me. I can remember how fearful I felt in church or in a public place.

It seems to me that the main way God helps us to get past our fears is to give us situations where we are fearful and then to be faithful to us in the midst of those situations and to see us through to the other side. There’s always an other side, God is always there.

I have been a finalist for a full time programming position at a local community college for the past month. I think I have a good shot at getting a job offer, but they have been having trouble getting in touch with my references. They are mainly retired, and have been on vacation. One of my references wasn’t even in the country for the past week. So, I’ve been waiting on pins and needles.

Yesterday while I was praying for the phone to ring, I realized that my anxiety about hearing about this position was a lot like my coworker’s fear. It was a lack of a trust in God that everything is going to work out perfectly according to His plan 100%. I either got the job or I didn’t. Either way, I know His plan is good, and I trust Him.

100%

Being Misunderstood

I think one of my biggest frustrations is that what people get from me isn’t what I intend. I know there’s something different about me. When I was a child I was painfully shy. I was scared when I went into new situations and met new people. I think I was rather serious as a kid. Stoic. Hard to relate to others. It has haunted me my entire life.

I go into social situations nervously. I try to smile. My seventh grade English teacher told me I always looked somber. When I worked at Harris Teeter, they wrote ‘smile more’ on my evaluations. I felt like I was trying to smile all the time.

When I owned Curves, I heard often that people thought I was unfriendly. It’s not unfriendliness…..it’s fear. It’s not knowing what to say. It’s feeling like a misfit.

The parties I’ve been to where there’s drinking and everybody is having a great time and I’m standing by myself feeling horrible, trying to look comfortable, knowing I don’t, and praying for the night to be over.

Going to church week after week, standing in the lobby, alone, watching people talk to one another and wondering how they do it, what they talk about, how they make friends. Wondering why nobody is talking to me….is it my face? Am I crazy? Do I look insane? What’s wrong with me? I can’t wait to get out of here, I can’t wait to get to the safety of my car. I can’t do that again.

Even in AA, it’s been hard for me. I have such a hard time sharing. I feel like the things I say are stupid. I judge myself. I judge myself harshly. So I go to meetings and sit quietly because I have nothing intelligible to contribute. And I seem unfriendly.

I was struck once again by the theme of relationship in “The Shack,” the movie that I watched this past weekend. Relationship. God is in a loving, harmonious relationship within the persons of the Trinity. God wants relationship with me. And I guess he wants me to have it with other people. Trust is hard for me though, and I do keep trying. I do.  In fact, next Sunday I’m trying out a new church. Bleck!

I’m very fortunate, very blessed to have a husband who thinks I hung the moon. He doesn’t see the weirdness…..or what he does see, he finds attractive….we get each other. It’s amazing, and wonderful… It restores my faith in the power of relationship. I know….deep down, that God sent this man into my life to help heal my heart. And I’m grateful and glad.

Being Misunderstood