Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Stop And Stare

(I began but did not finish this on 05/31/14.  Much, much has changed but it's going to take me at least as long to record that bit of history.)


I made all these notes on a page yesterday that were supposed to become this.

This post, this explanation, this clearing-house.

I'm here now and can only hear


A post is missing.  I've been supposed to (by my own instruction) write one that's somewhat about being the mother of an addict.  It wouldn't be a novel post, no world-changing words.  I'm just swinging on that hinge between my recovery and my daughter's descent and needing some place to go with it.  Maybe I'll get to write that out.  Maybe it'll stay here with me.

All of it's so heavy and feeling so necessary to disclose but there's always, always that "other people's business" thing.  That's been a big part of the battle ~ to say or not to say.

But this is my business too.  This is my life and I've settled on saying, 1) because I know there are others in similar circumstances; and, 2) this stuff has to go somewhere.  So who's the lucky reader?!

I am raising my kid's kid*.  I've had him for a few months now, but after a very long and stressful year of fighting it - of trying to force an alternative.  [(That's code for trying to make my kid straighten up and fly right.)  (I do not have the power to make my kid do anything.  We can talk about that whole paradigm later on.)]

You know, I'm not really old by most standards.  Women my age are having their own babies so this should not intimidate me ... not as far as ability, endurance, skill, etc.  In many ways, I should expect to be better at parenting this time around.  But I catch myself wondering, "Do I really think I can do this again?!  Raise a kid from scratch again?" and a little "#*!! no!" crosses my mind.  But that's really just a joke I tell myself.

To note, big and bold, I am not doing this by myself, of course.  My husband ... I can't even go there right now.  Can the compassionate people just imagine what this kind of thing does to a marriage?  We are solid but also being tested daily.

There are places to go for encouragement.  I have my man, as stated, and very good friends who are supportive and patient with me as I'm an even lesser friend than before.  Meditation and prayer, communion with Jesus ... this should go without saying, but, as many of you know, having a toddler impacts EveryThing.

Everything.

I still have favorite bloggers.  (They say that blogging is already dying out but I refuse to accept that.)  There are women my age who are writing ~ about watching their kids graduate from high school, a normal expectation, I think, for someone my age.  There are women who are writing as they have kids the age of my grandson ~ but they, themselves, are half my age.  I am inspired by their stories:  "I played Uno with my daughter."  "I cleared the stack of books from the dining room table."  But I am not really rising up as I'd hoped.

Instead, I just post a lot of pictures.  And those prompt friends to ask things like,
"Does that boy even have a shirt?!"
"Could it be that he eats too many crackers?"
"Do you always have a camera ready?"
(And y'all, please never stop asking these kinds of questions!)

There are other things I could or should be doing besides posting pictures.  I'd like to be writing.  Or reading.  Or making better on my commitments.  But again, everything has changed.

Picture-posting is just about my only viable creative outlet.  And there, my thousand words can usually be found.

Yes, the boy eats too many crackers.  Too many everything.  Honey calls me on it though he really doesn't need to.

Yes, he has shirts.  And it's turned out that dressing a boy is not so durn awful as I thought it might be.

But Lord, he is a boy and that's a whole other thing.




Wednesday, June 4, 2014

For The Zombie Mommas

I’ve pondered writing this for a long time but have a host of reasons for having not. I’m doing it now for this reason: I am not one to look back with regret; rather, I look forward and wonder what I’m going to regret.

That said,

I care little for the zombie culture.  For me, it’s just one more manifestation of a desensitized society.  (But you go ahead!)

I’ve had this really weird theory about the coming zombie apocalypse and how drug addiction will be its genesis.  Turns out, this is not one of my less plausible theories if you have a look at some of the latest drug trends.  Which I don’t actually recommend doing.

But I’m beating around the bush.

I’ve re-written this paragraph forty hundred times, trying to decide what to say, how to say it, whether I have a right to say it, whether it’s a good idea to say it. Finally, I’ve decided to say simply:  It seems I’m losing one of my girls to drugs.



That’s a sentence I’ve put off writing for a long, long time, thinking that I’m breaking some kind of hipa law, or at the very least, I’m disrespecting my girl by telling her business.

But.

She came through me.  I raised her (right or short-coming-like), and fought for her for all her years (realized or short-coming-like).

She is my girl, my daughter, my child.

And it seems that I am losing her.

It seems that we are all losing.

That’s all I wanted to say.

And needed to say.

Because I have no idea what else to say.
Or what to do.
And I know there are other zombie mommas out there, also not knowing.

So I’m raising this like a banner and a prayer for us all.

Monday, June 2, 2014

can we just call this poetry?

the incessant barking
that morning i walked to your place
two days before you would be gone to who-knows-where
to check on you for what may or may not be the last time 
(may or may not is always the thing with you) 
could not pray
could not concentrate
could only hear the dogs barking
and wonder
if i would remember that sound two days from now

Thursday, May 15, 2014

In Defense Of Heroine

Yes.

That is the Dumbest Title of Anything that I have ever written; however, try as I might, I could not write another.

Let's move on.

Remember when Philip Seymour Hoffman died of a heroine overdose a couple of months ago?  I'll be truthful:  I didn't cry or have a prayer vigil or even spend long periods of time in meditation over his particular story - though his story does make me sad and I feel that any life deserves to be seen.

He was certainly not the first person to die of an overdose or even the first famous person ~ which I'm pointing out as famous people tend to receive more coverage ~ but something about his death kept it very much on my mind in those first days, and still, it comes back from time-to-time.

It wasn't that I would miss seeing him, though I did somewhat enjoy his work.  It wasn't that he left behind three kids.  Or even the general sense of shock and grief for the rate at which drugs are wiping people out.

What got me most of all, what wore me down was the vitriol with which people discussed this man's death.

"Stupid, loser a**h*** deserved to die."

I saw so many variations of that sentence.
What is wrong with people?
And I don't mean the drug users.

I also see people debating:


CHOICE <<<<<<< or >>>>>>>ILLNESS


It's both.

And, yes.  I do know.

Thank God in heaven that my patterns of addiction never took me down such a path as intro-venous drug use but I've used in other ways.  And I know people, very personally, who've not been so fortunate to avoid such a path.

Call them "stupid, loser a**h***" to my face, please.  Living with addiction and mental illness in any capacity is ... well, to say it's merely frustrating is absurd.  Not having any other ultimate solution, I sometimes think a good a**-whooping would do the trick.  

But seriously, we're in a state of decline:  morale, healthcare, community, compassion.  We can debate, call names, kick butt, change policy and law - all with the best or most un-thinking intentions, but people are still dying everyday.   Before you claim to know it all or have moral supremacy, consider that you may know someone who's dealing personally on this front.  There may be something more or better that can be done to help stop this plague.

I, personally, just don't know what it is.  I, personally, feel rather helpless.

For the record, I still internet shop and eat entire bags of candy when the pressure's really on.   For the most part, though, I have maintained my recovery.  I must responsibly note that Mr. Hoffman was clean for 23 years before his relapse.  How sobering a realization is that.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

In Defense Of Happy

I have about forty-seven drafts going right now, all of which will be great posts (for me, at least), but only about three of them have even begun to be put to paper.

It's been a rough few months now.  This whole past year, in fact.  Wait!  The past two years...shoot!  If I put our tests and trials down on paper, then we haven't really seen calm seas since......

.....

Anyhow!  This last year really has been especially trying and we (the man and I) are currently in the thick of some major life changes.  Specifics may be found scattered throughout those forty-seven other drafts.  Surely, they'll turn themselves out eventually so you just hang in there.

What I'll tell you now is that I've run the gamut of negative emotion:  anger, depression, bitterness, fear, anxiety.  A point came that I knew I was in over my head and so I did a round of Prozac.  My round ended recently but not so much on purpose as my need and remembrance for it just drifted away.  Thank you, God, for your presence throughout!

I've experienced plenty of good emotion* too:  elation, peace, satisfaction, bliss. There are plenty of days, though, when I am just plain old happy.  And in light of all that we've been and are going through, I am particularly grateful for happy.  And I try to be more of that and to share more about that than about any of the other stuff because I have this great hope for more people to have happy.

There are moments, though, when I feel nearly a tinge of what can only be called guilt...


That's my oldest granddaughter watching - for the first time - Pharrell Williams's 24-hour music video.  I smile every time I pull it up and she was smiling gleefully while watching it this morning and that made me smile until I nearly cried.  I posted this to Facebook and, within minutes, I was thinking about all the folks who might not know what their happiness is - at least not in this moment.

I am praying for so many friends with so many needs and hurts and causes of sadness.  I see things, hear things, know things, read things between the lines.  Not everybody out there can clap along as if "happiness is the truth."  Not everybody will be enthused by my hopeful, happy tune.

I could say or quote one hundred things right here about happiness being a choice but I'm betting you've already seen at least most of it (possibly from me.)  The thing that underlines all of this really is not about happiness, but joy.  It is because I have joy that I can be happy.  Because I am joyful, I can survive all of the not-so-happy stuff.  You've surely heard this one:  The joy of the Lord is my strength. (Psalm 28:7)

And so I'll keep at it - not because I have no thought or heart for your hurts or unhappiness but because I care very much.  I genuinely hope either to light your presently darkened path or possibly the way toward a joy you've not yet known ~ the true and everlasting joy of knowing Him.



*All emotion, certainly, is affected by synthetic drugs.  This topic is also for another of the forty-seven drafts.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

FLAWED

"I think some people are in denial of their true character. I don't mean trying to overcome their character flaws; I mean hiding behind a computer pretending to be transparent when in fact, they choose who they are depending on who they're with. I want to be remembered as real, regardless of all my flaws." 

It's funny (but not funny, haha.)  I'd actually spent the morning contemplating my "true character", my identity, when the above comment rolled through my newsfeed.  I didn't write it, of course, but it's certainly written about me (though not explicity, I'm sure.)  In fact, I recently told a friend - one of my very closest, smallest-circle friends - that I am guilty of this very thing:  presenting only the best of myself via the social network.*


It's all true, though not at all times.  I would like very much to deny my true character.  My mind, my heart:  deceitful, desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9.)  I have not the capacity to recognize just how deeply my motives are flawed.  Having the desire to examine myself, to see my flaws, to air them out on my front lawn - even harder to muster.

That's why, however, I have a "very closest, smallest circle" of friends.  These are the folks I can be my most honest, real-est self with, free of condemnation, and know that we'll still be friends tomorrow.

Am I choosing to behave differently with different people?  Absolutely!

As Paul said, "Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life." 1 Corinthians 9:21-22 (MSG)

Do I always get that right?  Absolutely not.

Do I share with everyone, all the time about the times I get it wrong?  Of course not. I do, however, try very hard to be as open and honest as I can muster the courage to do within my small groups ~ those gatherings of like-minded, equally flawed believers who are also doing the best they can.

* "Presenting only the best of myself via the social network."  Even this is all true, though not at all times.  I'm not inclined to [intentionally] draw negative attention to myself.  I had enough negative attention in high school to pretty much get me through.  However, I've tried to be transparent with some of my deeper, darker stuff via this very blog.

Bad Teacher, for instance.
I Am His Beloved?, probably the first really hard thing I shared.
Loose Lips Sink Ships.  I'd do my own self some good to re-read my own stuff.
Live Free Or Die.  Here are a few of my bad habits.
You Can't Write If You Can't Relate still embarrasses me somewhat.
Share Much? because I know I share too much sometimes.
Alleluia because sometimes that's all that I have.
Public Hearing because I've been here already.  More than once.
This Is The What Is The Happening.  Just trying to keep it real.
Betwixt My Lines.  Sometimes that's very, very hard to do.
A Picture's Worth.  Sometimes there just aren't enough words.

Have I shared everything?  Do you know exactly who I am?

Nope.  Some things are just between me and Him.

And I cling to that, knowing that however flawed I may be, He still loves me beyond measure and has made me a promise.

Several, in fact.

"I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart." Ezekiel 36:26 (NLT)

"I am sure that God, who began this good work in [me], will carry it on until it is finished on the Day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6 (GNT)

"I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live I live by believing in God’s Son, who loved me and took the punishment for my sins." Galatians 2:20 (GW)

My identity, my character, my 'all that I am' is rooted in my relationship with Jesus Christ and God, the Father.

I want very much to be remembered as real , transparent, and flawed.

"Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at." 2 Corinthians 4:5-9 (MSG)

I hope that somehow - through my flaws, in fact - you'll see Him.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Small Matters

I've heard some folks say that God's not in the small things, that He doesn't care about the details, that because He is GOD, He only has time for the big prayers, the big miracles, the big stuff.

I'll make two assumptions about folks who believe this way: 1) you acknowledge God exists; 2) you believe He created what you see (skipping any debate about the means by which He did it.)

And so I ask:  if the small things aren't important, why create the cell, the molecule, the subatomic particle? Why don't we human folks - and all living creatures, for that matter - exist as solid blobs? How come the human eye is so durn complex? Why so many colors (and more that we can't even see yet?) Why a dandelion? Why does every species of bird have its own song?

I propose that to believe God does not care about small matters is a reversal of image, a transference of personality. Perhaps we have trouble seeing, focusing on, or caring about [what we may consider] trivial matters. Or maybe we don't always believe or sense that it's possible for anyone to care about the small things of our lives.

I assure you, however, that God does care about every single enormous and tiny part of His creation. Including you. You matter.  And you're no small matter to Him.

“What’s the price of two or three pet canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one. And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries." Luke 12:6-7 (MSG)

I pray that today and every day, you'll sense just how much you matter to Him.