The Era of My Life

Ticktock goes my life,

and  I worry in syncopation,

“This?”

“That?”

“Now?”

“When?”

“Here?”

“There?”

“Yes?”

“No?”

The moments turn into hours

and the clock continues on in blissful infinity.

But I question my allotment,

as if I have any control over a period, let alone an eternity.

I rush and rant;

looking forward and then looking back while I miss this moment completely.

And the clock on the wall silently nods.


 

RDS (c) April 20, 2020

My Illness

My malady is a breakdown of spirit

when all that is in me cries out to my God

that I am nothing more than my disability,

nothing less than my recovery.

In my relapse I cry, “Please forgive me!”,

but I know my affliction is a life sentence.

My ailment is humanity.

My convalescence comes only upon my reliance

on the physician of mercy, Jesus Christ.


poetry/photo RDS (c) 10/30/19

Anxiety is an Animal

Anxiety is a creature

with a tail of fire

that twitches in anticipation,

feral in it’s rawness,

wild in it’s relentlessness.

It grieves the heart like a predator;

a mammal of heat

yet cold and frozen through with dread.

Anxiety calls

untamed,

forgotten,

hungry to devour the peace of your soul,

it’s fur ruffled

by sincere concern.

It waits.

It waits.

And no man

without prayer

can tame the beast.


Poetry and photo by RDS (c) 3/1/2020

Society Virus

This virus

is not an epidemic of health

but of heart.

It is the manifestation of the opinion;

the media of populism.

There is no progress,

no reprieve, no cure,

until we take responsibility for our outcast;

in flesh

or in our own souls.

The trend of stocking up to avoid lack

only feeds the fear fashion.

We are all afraid of being found without,

wanting,

destitute,

but it is not material

it is spiritual.

This is the alone-a-virus.


DS (c) 03/16/20

Casting All Your Cares

I have often dropped to my knees to ask, “Why?” I have poured out my heart pleading with God to change the outcome, fix the problem, correct the other person, make the pain go away. I am a child begging my daddy to fix the boo-boo!

But sometimes I am quite comfortable with my spiritual infancy and I know my Father in Heaven does not think that’s a bad thing. We are told often in scriptures of His concern for us.  He tells us to, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you,” and that, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.”

However, over time I have learned that it helps if I approach every heartache prayer with a different agenda.  If I ask, not that God change the outcome that He already, in perfect wisdom, thoroughly understands but that He intervene in my own limited perception and inability to process, my relationship with God changes dramatically. I stop treating every situation as another example of God’s lack of concern for me personally and, instead, I see Him for the Father and loving partner that He is!

Acknowledging my Father’s ability to see a future I can never dream of, the heart of someone I will never know, the direction of both my bad choices and my good, or the perfectness of something I can’t fathom as acceptable is the first step in my infancy and in my spiritual adulthood. Only by acknowledging his divinity will I be able to stop crying out, “God, why don’t you care about what’s happening?”

Instead I can say, “Father, help me to see your hand in this and deal appropriately with it.  Help me to know what to pray for!”

 

Scriptures used:

1 Peter 5:7 , Psalm 103:13

Photo by Timur Romanov on Unsplash

Esau’s Regret

I’ve had many regrets in my life (haven’t we all?) so stumbling across this scripture in Hebrews caught my eye. But it wasn’t just the regret part that made me stop, reread it, and write it down. It was the question in my heart that said, “Have I ever been close to Esau’s regret?”

If you don’t know the story, it’s from Genesis in the Old Testament. The story is that Jacob and Esau were twins but Esau was born first so he was the heir of his father’s inheritance. Cool right?

Well, Esau (his father’s favorite by the way) became a great hunter and Jacob, (momma’s boy) content to stay at home among the tents, evidently made a pretty  mean stew. So, one day Esau comes home from hunting and hungry, asks Jacob for some stew. “I’m famished!” he says. And compassionate brother that he is, Jacob says,
“First sell me your birthright.”

Not even wondering what’s up Esau says something brilliant, “Look, I am about to die. What good is the birthright to me?

There…right there…did you see yourself? I did. I saw every time I ever thought I was going to die if I didn’t get what I thought I needed. I saw every time I denied my birthright, as a daughter of a King, because something else got in the way and I could not control my appetites.

I knew this story.  Evidently so did the first Christians.  In Hebrews 12:16-17 Paul tells them, “See that no one is…godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.

And here was what made me swallow hard, “Even though he sought the blessing with tears he could not change what he had done.

Prayer: Oh my Father, let me not ever have Esau’s regret! In Jesus’ name may I never value anything I want over my inheritance in your kingdom so that my tears are also for nothing! Amen

When Did I become a Loser?

I’ve never been one of those majorly popular girls but I did get chosen for the Homecoming Junior class princess in High School. I had a few really awesome close friends and a large group of kids I felt were good acquaintances back then. Once I got married I made friends pretty easily at church, with my children’s parents and with those I met at school functions. I’ve never really suffered from terribly low self-esteem even though I know my limitations, both physically and socially. At least until my two youngest girls became young adults.

What is up with the whole eye-rolling thing anyway? Why is it that anything I say now is either socially inept, boring, or only marginally factual? At what point did I get foot-in-mouth and OMG-Mom disease without knowing I even had the symptoms? Is it contagious? Did I get it from my own mother? Will it ever go away? Does it have any direct relation to my sudden realization that I’m suddenly gross sexually, can’t be trusted with secrets and can’t pull off anything that remotely hints at cleavage anymore?

I’m not in the least bit concerned that my own mom says things like “that’s cool” as she hits 78 but I remember being slightly embarrassed by it when she was 38 so I’m assuming this is their problem and not mine. Still I do find myself teary after a tongue-lashing of “Puh…leazzz…mom” and “Do you always have to talk for me?” (I talk for everyone, why should they be any different?) I try to chalk it up to peri-menopause but it’s really just a realization that I’m that loser mom that all teens create at some point in their lives.
The younger of these two girls turns 22 soon. Thank God my oldest is now 37. She’s no longer seeing me this way (as often) and is experiencing her own grief-stricken rejection as she kisses her boys in public. I wonder how my mother ever put up with us growing up.

Recently I bemoaned the fact to my mother that I couldn’t believe I had a child who was 37. She said, “You know what’s worse than having a daughter that’s 37?”
“No, Mom. What?”
“…Being the mother of a daughter who has a child that’s 37.”

Got me there.

Pain and Promises

We call 2014 – The Year of Pain.  It is also the year we decided to be baptized. Isn’t everything supposed to be glorious when you decide to come back to God? I never expected death and devastation, trauma and pain to be a part of my pathway back. Yet there it was overwhelming me with pain and promising everything in return.

We started attending in December 2012. By December of the next year we were ready to move toward solidifying our relationship with God within a church community.  We had been attending regularly and had just joined a small group that I was asked to lead.  It was a privilege and an honor to be asked but we were told that since it was a couple’s group we were both required to be baptized and my husband had not been at an age of understanding.  We were ready for this and looked forward to it. Then the year changed to 2014 and the world began collapsing.

In January one of my daughters, then 22, had to be hospitalized for something that can only be explained as a nervous breakdown. In February my sister, only 48 years old (two years younger than I am), passed away unexpectedly. In March our 23 year old son (my step-son), a recovering addict, began stealing and pawning valuables from our home and cashing thousands of dollars on our stolen checks. Our business took a nosedive and it was then I began grappling with depression.

My husband began to be absorbed by his son’s day-to-day life and that took it’s toll on us.  In April we started writing our baptism script; the words that tell those baptizing you that you understand what you are doing and for what reason. I realized then that I was not completely over my frustrations with Christianity. It may have been due to the bouts of depression. As my husband finished his script I began arguing with someone about my own. By May I had decided to wait to be baptized, thus causing my husband to pull back, and we turned over the small group to someone else. Probably a wise decision in retrospect.

Holidays were horrible that year.  Each one more uncomfortable than the last. On Fathers Day our son nodded off in addiction, in the middle of his dinner plate and I watched my husband go pale. This was destroying the family.  I was in a major confusion funk. I doubted my life purpose, my ability to be a good parent, a solid wife, a practicing Christian, and an inspired business owner. I was expected to help others suffering with horrible life-choices but all I could see were the ones in my own home now.

My oldest son decided to marry his sweetheart that month.  They lived on the other side of the states from us so travel would not be easy. The truth is I couldn’t do it; financially or emotionally.  I thought my oldest son, always so understanding, and his fiance would understand.  They did not. My son took it as a sign that I didn’t approve of his decision and they became bitter.

In July my step-son finally entered rehab but quickly came home when he was able.  Much too quickly.  He started up again almost immediately. At that point I wasn’t sure how much more the marriage could take either. In September he asked to spend the night.  The next morning we found him on the bathroom floor. After performing CPR, following him to the hospital and sitting with him for 2 days he passed away and my depression became full blown.

All I could wonder is if people younger than me could die what in the world was the use of the rest of my life? Then I began to doubt how much of it I had left and determined there wasn’t enough time to care about anything anymore. My husband, dealing with his own sorrow and grief, struggled for normalcy. Our business, which had started to thrive, suddenly became difficult to keep up with. We were both exhausted, both trying to recover, and we both began making dumb mistakes and bad decisions.

I was not emotionally ready for either the news in October that ISIS was killing children or that I had a long-lost brother who insisted on getting to know me.  It was a tight-rope every day. Breaking up dog fights between our huge German Shepherd and our son’s Pitt-Bull was also not an event we needed.

Needless to say, ending the year with the holidays, minus two very important people you love, has got to be the hardest way to say goodbye to the most difficult year of our lives.  It felt like all the promises had been forgotten and only pain remained.

And yet, reviewing this horrible year I noted a very important thing; God had not forgotten us.

If it were not for the small group we joined, regardless of the direction it took, we would not have had the support we needed through the most turbulent year anyone could imagine.  With our son’s tragedy came clarity in dealing with clients we could never have otherwise understood. His death unexpectedly brought our family closer too. We began to hold tightly to those things we appreciated about each other and to be more patient with the grief of loss we recognized.

And what about my questions and frustrations with Christianity? I am convinced that it was a very necessary part of my own personal growth. I believe if I had not been dealing with so many other things I might have glossed over this discomfort and pain and missed the very things that would bring me comfort and strengthen my faith at the end of that year.

God is good even when life is bad and He has a plan.  Always easier to see in retrospect, we must learn to focus our eyes on the Father rather than on the events and people around us. We must first have faith that He can do all things, and then we must believe that he will do what is best for us.

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