May 31, 2010
Memorial Day Blessings
To be free to fly the flag one of our blessings. Pear Tree Cottage Bella Vista AR
I am blessed beyond words and sometimes I fear that things cannot go on this way... I feel amazed.
The dark moments I sometimes have are the grief that has been pent up for years. I cry and move on the day is brighter and I am happy much of the time. I am so thankful to God for this.
I have had contact from my nephew Dave and his wife Ashleigh, through Facebook, that my brother Steve has been ill and in a medically induced coma. He has wakened, is lucid and talking. I dont know the hows and whys of this but I am thrilled that they tried to contact me. I have let them know that I am available to communicate at any level that he chooses. I pray that this is soon.
I count my blessings daily...
My faith and the ability to receive my Lord Body Blood Soul and Divinity in His church
My continuing involvement with the BVUMC and my many friends there
For the contact with my family, for their health and well being and for Gods protection and providing for Woody in his circumstances
For my work, my vocation and avocations, for the provision my job has provided so I have peace and bread in my house and the gift of time so I might begin the healing process of a life times worth of pain.
And there is much more...but I cannot list it all...you my readers are a blessing to me too. Thank you for your love and encouragement
Labels: Faith, Personal Growth, Prayers
May 20, 2010
The Prodigal Returns
Woody in his native place, Seal Beach CA 2008
The Prodigal Returns
A little meditation on the word forgive can throw some rather surprising light on our understanding of the word.
We are asked to forgive those who have injured us. Unless we have first judged and condemned them for what they did, there would be no reason for us to forgive them. Rather we would have to forgive ourselves for judging
Scripture says: “Judge not that ye be not judged” If we do not judge-no matter how great the injury or how pre meditated- we are at fault. Following this train of thought to its logical conclusion, we can see that we can forgive only ourselves. In doing so, we also forgive the person whose action we have resented
“thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” tells me I must first make peace with myself before I can learn to love others. I must remind myself constantly that I can never know any other person’s motives and conditioning. I must for my own sake, accept them as they are a large ingredient of that acceptance is loving tolerance.
Father, forgive them for they know not what they do…Luke
And forgive me for judging and retaliating. Help me to forgive myself . I know this is the first step toward spiritual security
From One Day At A Time in Alanon April 29th reading
I find myself fearful that these good times wont last…I have not had an extended period of peace and happiness in my life in decades There has always been something to come along and mar the beauty of a moment. People think I am overly negative… Im just reporting the news
I talk to my therapist about this. I talk to my “Moms” these are two ladies near to my mother’s age that I have adopted as my surrogate mothers. One is a retired social worker with a gift for listening and asking penetrating questions that spur me to greater efforts in my recovery and life. She is wonderfully supportive with phone calls notes and little outings. The other lady is a neighbor. She is a witty, worldly wise woman, 5 times married (twice to husband number 3) and is not afraid to say what needs to be said to me. Both ladies love Abigail, and will walk her when needed. I have used all of their support these past few weeks as I have confronted the past and tried to integrate my new outlook on life with a reality that I knew would finally come to pass.
. Just when I thought that things were going to settle… I had a phone call from Woody a month ago . Out of money, out of friends, out of people’s good graces, he was given some money and told to be gone. So much for the childhood friendships of a lifetime…. These were the friends that he wanted to emulate, that I believe deep in his soul he longed to be a true brother, a part of their family…
Those friends that he put ahead of me so many times...When I think about the past and those people it burns me up… Every Saturday, it was them, every birthday weekend, “ Oh the boys are going for the opening of Del Mar…” I was never included in their gatherings and many of them never bothered to be introduced. When he was with them he spent money like the big money people they are… I don’t know what to think of them, but I do know that once Woody didn’t have money anymore they didn’t want Woody.
I wonder how that must have felt. These men were a part of his life that he cherished. He wanted to belong to this family to this group all of his life . To have them treat him like that…yet, they all know that he spent his money and hasn’t worked. They know what happened here with me. Perhaps there just wasn’t any sympathy left for him.
So he comes back here to NW Arkansas. It is cheaper here, and people are more accepting I think. I have certainly found it so. But that doesn’t mean its easy here. This is, as one friend put it a, “right to starve “ state. Very little in the way of public services, no general relief, and I was never able to qualify for any public assistance. I am not unsympathetic. Woodys situation is sad and scary to me. He is nearly 60. His hair is nearly white, pretty though, but he has aged poorly, is unsteady on his feet, and not well. He has high blood pressure and diabetes that is not well controlled… He has no family left, certainly none here and no prospects for a job. He has now gone through his little bit of cash and as soon as he gets kicked out of the little camping cabin hes renting for 100.00 a week, he will be back to living where he was living when he first came back here, in the parking lot of the Walmart Super Center , Pleasant Grove.
He is in good company, there are a dozen families living there, camping in the evenings. I know the staff there at the super center, as that is where I have done my after work, after midnight shopping for several years. A few nights ago I was there and as I parked I saw a old style van pull up from the back of the parking lot and out piled a woman and five small children… they walked in and went straight to the bathroom, to the shaking of heads of the associates… I told them that Woody was my former husband, and they remembered him and said they would look out for him if he came back there, and that it was a shame that a vet is homeless after serving our country like he has…
I don’t know what to think about this situation… Alanon and my program stresses detachement . This is not my problem I didn’t cause it I cant cure it and I cant control it. All things I have had to learn this past year. Woody made this happen How many times did I ask him to get work and not to spend his retirement his savings on crap that had no value. I have said what I can and now it is time to leave it. I don’t own any of this, and will not take it on as baggage
But I cant really, because he didn’t look back when he left me last summer, down to my last dime. Frightened, alone in many ways, the people around me not sure what to do or how to help me…if they should help me… or do we have to help her just because we are related… Thank God and a few brave, trusting, friends that believed in me, that I too didn’t end up sleeping in the Walmart parking lot. One snowy afternoon I was with Abigail in my van and I was watching the snow fall… I had been working about a month and said out loud to my sweet Abi how wonderful it was to have a warm bed, and a safe place to sleep and to live. I will never, never, never, forget how close I was to homelessness, and to those who choose to look down on the less fortunate I am here to tell you that most people cant help it that they are in this situation. Even Woody, who I believe is ill and not mentally capable to manage his affairs, this is not all his fault. Yes he could have done differently, but he has yet to discuss this with me, I don’t understand his thinking and perhaps never will. I don’t have to but perhaps there would be closure… I don’t know.
Woody is not moving in with me. I have an agreement to not take a room mate as my landlord doesn’t want to deal with subletting issues. I don’t blame him. I have been firm about how much contact I want…and even that sometimes is difficult for me. I see him and am reminded of the rejection and the pain I suffered while being married to him. Woody will never admit he is to blame for a lot of our issues, hey I have my issues as well, but the truth is I was reacting to him, for that I am sorry but he was doing stuff to make our life abnormal and impossible. For his sake, his not working and going through that money was a horrible mistake, the pain and heartache that caused me, as I worried about it I have often thought that he did it just to watch me suffer, a control issue. I know that I did a lot of things based on his behavior that were hurtful. I’m sorry for that as well.
And so it goes. An impoverished old age is my future which scares the heck out of me, and Woody, I don’t know what life will bring him already it is sad, pathetic even. He says things to me when he comes to the house… like my being there and having what I have is a surprise to him and that some how magically I have all of this…my home and my dog and my life… DAMN IT I WORKED SO HARD TO KEEP WHAT I HAVE AND NEVER GAVE UP, THAT’S WHAT… hed have a life too if he had fought just a little to keep what we had, if he’d taken the lead in our home and family and done the right thing…now… it was because he didn’t give two cents about me about himself or anything else. He cares now, but that’s because it is pretty awful to go without bathing and living in your stolen car…yes stolen because hes not made a 700.00 a month car payment in many months. I don’t know what will happen when his loan people catch up with him and turn him out of his home… I have a number of friends that think it is ironic that he is living in his car, since it was a car that started the incredible downhill slide that has lead to the events of the last year
It’s a long way from the Mauna Lani to this place we find ourselves in, I feel at a loss many times… just lost. Its bewildering.
But I press on
My friends, Barbara and Diane both tell me that I need to somehow move on from my feelings about this situation, Move forward…but its really hard when I am looking at the past… looking him right in the face and cant say what I feel. I look at him and can feel love towards him but I also feel the pain… the word “rejected” burning in my forehead once more… When he came to see me the first time I felt like a plant that had just begun to bloom in the early spring only to have winter come back and freezing the tender leaves, turning them black and ugly…The ugly are the wounds that hatred and rage burned into my inner being, that have only recently started to heal. I found that I couldn’t write, even letters or in my journal, let alone on line, I couldn’t hardly talk to my therapist about it, I have all of these feeling stuffed deep down inside of me. Feelings that want to come out, that need to be let out. My therapist gave me a project… to read the book of Job, and write about seeing myself in the book and how God dealt with me. That wallowing in the past only made me more depressed. I have given up that track and now am reading and trying to see how God is dealing with me in the present moment and that is going a lot better. It turns on the Gratitude meter , and I find more joy in the daily journey.
I have the opportunity at intervals to talk to him. I sometimes stop by Pleasant Grove on my way home from work. As we talk over trivia, I am pretty much frustrated at Woody’s lack of understanding and willingness to talk about the issues of the past. I want to let it go but I am confronted by the past every time I see him. There has never been closure or resolution at all… The conflicting feelings of anger and angst, my concern that he will be spending a very long time in a parking lot because I have my doubts about his employability, and my desire to not be involved and the feeling that as a Christian I have a responsibility to help, after all one can get divorced, but one can never become unmarried to someone. All of this leaves me baffled and confused. I reach for my Conference Approved Literature
and read about detachment and affirmations of self worth… I say Diane’s mantra over and over “I am worthwhile…I am worthwhile…” that seems to undo the predations of enduring Woody’s destructive behavior.
The darkness cycles. I see him, I do his laundry, the laundry of a homeless man with issues that make it a penitential act to do this. I think about how Jesus touched lepers, and cared for those people that others rejected. Woody is no longer feeling like a well loved child of privilege. I wonder how he feels. I have always hoped that I underestimate his level of feeling but much of the time it appears that he isn’t the feeler or thinker that I am. I fold the clean clothing and place it in a trash bag, and deliver it to a dark parking lot and ask God to help all of this make sense to me. I believe with all of my heart that He has a plan for each of us. We just need to have the will to pray for the will to carry it out
Labels: AA, Family History, Personal Growth, Relationships, Woody
May 10, 2010
All of the News
A Dogwood Cloud Bella Vista AR
Again one thousand pardons for the long silence. My life is full Full Full Full and that is a very good thing. I also chose to take a sort of fast on all things computer including Facebook and blogging, and realize just how much time I have been investing in these past times… I also haven’t been watching as much tv either preferring to read and crochet in my spare time….But… All is well in 100 Acre Wood, and I will try to catch you all up on all of the news…
First I have posted some back posts on my Reception into the Catholic Church. I feel very different. When I think about the emptiness in my heart I try to remember that God not only resides within me spiritually but now physically in the form of the Blessed Sacrament. There are still some very hard times…as you will read but there are so many more good times that I just cant begin to count and I am so very grateful to God for this change in my life. I still have dark moments times when I feel like there is this oppressive darkness overshadowing me. I realize that I have to have time to do the grieving of a lifetime. It just takes time
Just before Easter I had a physical challenge unlike anything I have experienced in my life. As you might remember my teeth are really my great physical weakness. I am always having issues with them and with not having insurance it makes it very difficult to deal with. My dentist has been very kind, often seeing me for no charge or a very reduced fee. Two years ago before I left for Louisville I had a bunch of dental work done, one tooth was decayed up into the roots, the dentist cleaned it out and filled it and all seemed well with it, until it started bothering me around Christmas time. I went to see the dentist and we didn’t see anything.
Well the rotten tooth reared its ugly head and roared! I woke up one morning to the worst pain I have ever felt in my life… a screaming twisting pain that came in waves and left me feeling like I was going to have a heart attack. I got to the dentist that day. By the time I got into the dentist to see him I was swollen up from the top of my scalp clear down my left side of my face to my shoulders. My temperature was 103. The x rays showed the decay was back and that the whole tooth was infected, as was my jaw and all of the glands in the region. I was very very ill,… falling down ill for the first day or so. He prescribed antibiotics and Vicodin for the pain. He wanted me to stay home in bed, However I dragged myself to work every night, dosed myself on heavy drugs and kept on. The Antibiotics did their work and I had the tooth pulled a week later. It couldn’t be done any sooner because disturbing it would have sent infection up into my brain. My brain was already infected and had I had insurance I would have been hospitalized. My head was throbbing constantly and eating was impossible without feeling like I was going to just cave from the pain…
Finally I called in and arranged to have the surgery done. I had been on antibiotics for 5 days and the dentist thought that it would be ok to go ahead and pull it. He numbed me up but it still felt like my face exploded when he pulled it out. After the initial shock of it all, I was amazed at how much relief I felt once the tooth was pulled out, there was copious bleeding, but that let up in a few hours and the swelling and pain subsided right away. After months of discomfort and at times downright misery the relief was a Godsend. Its been good to be able to eat hot and cold things again and my diet is improving now. Cold fruits and salads no longer kill me, and hopefully my weight will start to drop again.
Work has been going very well. I still have a lot to learn but the managers are very kind and they praise me for my diligence and attention… The drivers love me and call in sometimes just to talk. I feel for these men and women. They are the backbone of this country and the most forgotten necessary workers we have in our economy. Like our soldiers, they are away from home for long periods of time. They are lonely sad and tired. Many have chosen this life as a last resort. I know two men who came to this occupation from homelessness. The truck provided work and a place to sleep at night. My heart goes out to them, when they say how they need to get home…their wives and children need to see them. I agree, but this is a trucker’s lot. I treat them like the soldiers that they are. I remind them that they chose this life and I try to find out where they are from. And quickly look up the unemployment figures for their town. Of ten just the reminder of the horrible job market where they came from is enough to get them to count their blessings and go forward. It certainly is enough for me, this small daily reminder. I count my blessings every day thanking God and my employer for my job.
I have finalized a lot of things. I had my court appearance for my Bankruptcy and it was approved. The Trustee had a few questions about my business and my timeshares in Florida that I am giving back to the Owners Association. All was well and he was satisfied with the presentation. I still have to take the on line finance course and it will discharge in July. It’s a relief to have this off of my back.
With my confirmation I am looking for ways to integrate with my new church. I go to Mass on Saturday evenings, and on Sunday mornings if I work the day before…My Saturday shift is once every four weeks and is grueling, so often I don’t even get up to get to Mass. Its excused as often I am so weary I am wobbling from fatigue. I keep the Sabbath and stay home with Abigail. Monsignor Scott is very supportive and is just glad that I seem to be so happy about my decision and I am.
He has a project that he wants me to work on and that is to prepare to tell my conversion story to the next RCIA class. Because they meet at night and I work at night we have thought about doing this by video recording in the talk show news magazine style a la The Journey Home, a show that runs on EWTN weekly that tells conversion stories with a call in question and answer format. We wont have an audience but I can trust that Msgr will have some good questions. I don’t know when I will do this but I thought that I would start working on the scripting as I can
I have also injected a creative venue into my life that is very new and a great opportunity. I have wanted to learn to crochet. I have wanted to do this for a long time, but never really just taken the plunge and tried it. So in January I bought some yarn and a book and gave it a whirl. Not so hot… Well on my way to the lawyers office I saw this place called the Crafty Cottage
. They offer all sorts of crafts, knitting, crocheting, leather and pottery work, sewing and quilting. I called and got set up with a private instructor, a wonderful young mother named Tammy, who is patient and sweet and great at showing me the basics and allowing me the chance to make mistakes and learn. Its taking me time to learn. I missed a few weeks and found that I had forgotten much of what I had learned. She said “never mind!” and we started up again. Its my hope that we will get to a place where I can follow a pattern and make things for the holidays. I started by making a not quite round bright yellow ball for Abi which she loves… she also loves the balls of yarn and enjoys watching me crochet and wants to “help”. She really likes to sneek into my bag and fish out the spare balls of practice yarn and run about with them . This studio has all sorts of opportunities for me to try new things and I intend to take advantage as I have time.
Speaking of Abigail she has had some changes too. She was having lots of issues with her skin and coat, her pretty hair matting into a tease that my big hair girl friends would envy. She looked fat from the knots, and was becoming afraid of me, because when I would pet her I would try to pick at least one knot out. I was brushing, trimming, spraying no tangle stuff on her to no avail. Finally I had her shaved…to the skin. Just her pretty tail and top knot are left….Once she was freed from the mass of hair she was…tiny…maybe even underweight, and she became an even more outgoing, cuddly, loving dog. Everyone around me has noticed the change in her. She enjoys her walks more and I think is not so hot from trapped body heat. Its been almost 6 weeks since her “makeover” and the new growth is curly so she looks and feels like a little lamb, very soft and sweet…I will let the fur grow longer in the winter but I will likely not keep her in full coat again. Its just so time consuming to keep her grooming up that way and my little “wash and wear” doggie is a delight. I no longer worry if she wants to get in the mud, or if its wet out we just go walking and we go further and have more fun. If shes too dirty I take her in the shower with me once we get home from our walking trip…easy… She seems pleased with the change, though I got the distinct impression that she felt “nekked” for the first few days.
The beauty of this spring time has made my evening drives to work pleasant. Flowers and flowering trees are blooming everywhere. I have gotten the urge to plant things and have a few flower pots in my front yard. My drives to work and church are lovely pastoral journeys, that make me calm and only add to the feeling that life is very good. I have repaired my van, and when I have the time later on this summer, I hope to take road trips around the area and see things that I haven’t seen yet…
There is a fullness, a contentedness that I have not had before and I love this time I have for myself It is bliss and I am so happy about it .
Was it worth the long wait as I was job hunting?…yes. Like my pastor friend said “ When God closes one door He opens another…its just hell in the hallway…” and yes it was…But the worse days are behind me, the gentle successes is easing the lines off of my face and the soreness out of my heart. Life is good, very good at Peartree Cottage. Thank you for your prayers… they have been answered
Labels: Abigail, Bella Vista, working