Thursday, March 25, 2010

Who Are You to Someone Else?

God gives us all kinds of people in our lives to fulfill different needs. Some make us laugh uncontrollably, some make us think deeper than we necessarily would otherwise, some give us hope, others give us strength . . . and I could go on and on. The point is, everyone we know lends something important to our journey and is there for us at different times, depending on what our needs our. And the same is true on the flip side - we are exactly what someone else in our life needs at some point, for some reason.

So you're in a pit - a deep one - for whatever reason. It happens to us all. I work visually, so this is how it feels to me.

You are literally in a deep, narrow pit. All by yourself sitting there, and the sun seems so far up above you that it is only a speck - way up - where the entrance to this pit is. You've tried 10 different ways to climb out, but you just keep slipping back down. You can't seem to get a grip on the sides; it's slippery, or maybe so dry and rocky that it just crumbles when you try to dig in somewhere to go up.

You're tired of trying, so you slump back down and think, "Maybe tomorrow I can do it."

In the meantime, plenty of people stop by. You know all of them. There are those who have busy, chaotic lives of their own who genuinely care about you, but really can't help you. They do care enough to check in, make sure you are okay, and perhaps lend an encouraging word or two. It feels good to see them, to hear from them; but you're still down here and they are still up there, looking in.

There are those who recognize the pit you are in, but their decision is to yell at you from up there, outside the pit, to try and get you to come on out, already. This is their style, they think they are helping. But really, they don't get it and probably don't really want to. "Come on! You have to get out of there now. People depend on you. GET. UP. Get on your feet and CLIMB. Just do it!" They do not understand how hard you have been trying. They have not felt the walls of this pit - how impossible they are to navigate. They just see that you are not where you are supposed to be and you need to get out. Now. They almost always play the devil's advocate role. Sometimes this works. Other times it just makes you want to run from them.

There are those who stop by, it seems, just to make sure you are still there. They sort of wander by, look down at you in the pit, "Hey, just wanted to confirm you are still there! Take care!" and are gone again. Okay. They aren't meaning any harm, they are just not the people God intends to use to help you.

There are those who recognize the struggle you are having, really really want to be able to do something, but haven't a clue where to start. Their concern is genuine; and they will sit at the edge of the pit, dangle their feet over the side, and listen to every word you have to say. They will ask you over and over what they can do to help get you out of there. I like to think that God puts these people there to lend you an ear, make you feel loved - even if only for an hour or so- and, honestly, just to get the chance to feel a sense of "thank goodness I'm not her." No, I'm not joking. I truly think that we are sometimes put into someone else's life to give the other person some perspective.

Then there are these people. These very special people God has chosen this time to make a whopping difference. You know who they are.

It's the person whose voice you hear at the opening of the pit, waaaaay up there who rolls up his or her sleeves, grabs whatever they can for the journey and simply says, "I'm coming down there." They don't wait for your response, don't expect an answer. They don't know what they're getting into and have no idea how they, themselves, will get back out; but it doesn't matter to them. What matters is getting into it with you because if you are there, they want to be there, too.

It's the person who, in the face of your trying to hold back the tears, looks you dead in the eye and says, "I'm here. And I'm getting right in this with you." I'm. Coming. Down. There. They may have all these ideas of advice, of what they think you should be doing, visions of shaking you to bring you to reality. But what they do is simply get into the pit with you to be able to give you a boost from there. And sit and listen for as long as you need to until you are even ready to try once again to make the climb.

On the day we were leaving our home in Houston, Texas, I was in about the worst emotional shape I'd ever been in up to that point in my life. I had spent four years making the best friends of my life - friends who'd become my family in the absence of my actual family. On this last day, during these last hours, my very special friend across the street was gone for the day at an important class. We had said our tearful, ugly-cry goodbye the night before, knowing that Sean and I would be gone before she returned home the next day.

However, much like things often happen, we'd been delayed in leaving for several reasons - the very last one being the fact that, when we pulled up the rug we'd had in our foyer in front of the door - the two-sided tape we'd used to keep it in place was now on the tile like super glue. No big deal, right?

Well, in my crazy, emotionally-frazzled state, this tape had to come off. We couldn't leave it for the new owners to deal with. We tried everything to get this stuff off to no avail. We'd planned on getting on the road by a certain time and it was hours past that. The next thing I knew, here was my girlfriend, walking in the door, having seen our van still in the driveway, wondering what in the world we were still here for.

And when she saw what we were doing and why we were still there, she could have done a million different things. She could have been excited that we were still there and suggested that we go to lunch one more time before we left for good. She could have suggested that we go back to her house, forget this stupid tape, and spend time together before we took off. She could have told me how crazy I am, and pulled me up and tried to shake some sense into me - this TAPE DOESN'T MATTER. GO.

But no. She knew me, she knew how I was feeling, and she did what God had sent her to do.

Still in her nice clothes after spending the day in an intense class learning about how to teach dyslexic kids a certain type of way, she rolled up her sleeves, kicked off her shoes, got on her knees and started scraping away at this tape with me. Tears from both of our eyes coming down and laughing at how we were spending our last moments together, we scraped and scraped at that tile until all of that glue was gone.

I'm coming down there. 

So right now, in my pit, my husband has been rolling up his sleeves and climbing into the pit with me. He lets me come undone without judgment, without telling me all that I'm feeling is foolish or wrong. He hugs me, lets me cry so hard that my eyes hurt, admits he has no idea how to fix it, but will do everything he can to make it not so hard on me, and loves loves loves me. And that's really all I need right now. No advice. No one to try and turn me around and make me feel that what I'm feeling is wrong or something that I shouldn't be feeling. Just let me feel it and then we'll go from there.

I hope God puts me in a position so I can be this for someone else at some point. Because it's awesome when you've got it when you need it.

photo by Caetano Lacerda

Keeping Up With the Andersons

This is my blog, and I can do with it what I please. It is all within my decision to write about weird things, things that go through my mind that make sense only to me, emotional journeys, mental breakdowns, issues I am struggling with, etc. This is all fine because it is my blog and these are my experiences.

However, when it comes to my experiences that happen to intertwine with someone else's journey, I am more hesitant to pour it out here. That is not my call to make. Yes, I talk about my children here, but less so as they get older and more and more in a broad sense. This is to protect them and not sell them out. But I also have relationships with other people that mean very much to me that also take me down paths that I'd love to talk about here, but do not feel I have the right to. So that being said - if you find me talking vaguely about something or something seems as if it has a story behind it, well, it probably does. And this is why you may not hear it.

Now let's carry on, shall we?

I want to talk about something very briefly that disturbed me yesterday as I laid in bed trying to make my body heal my open wounds.

Okay - let me preface this by saying that odd things happen when I am told to rest and do nothing. I watch reality TV. Stupid daytime reality TV. I have no idea why this only appeals to me when I'm sick or on pain meds or otherwise told to sit and do nothing. During my normal life, I don't really watch tv except what I have DVR'd - and even those stack up like crazy (I have 21 episodes of Lost to be watched right now).

I don't watch American Idol. I don't watch anything about any bachelors or survivors or racers. (Okay slap me now ...) I don't even watch anything about home makeovers, extreme or otherwise. We do watch Deadliest Catch, and have since the first episode, and have oddly deep knowledge now of king and opilio crab fishing - like what it means to place a "string of pots" and and how many crabs in a pot is a good number, etc. Oh dear.

So when I'm grounded, apparently my brain cell count decreases exponentially with my energy level; because I sit and watch episode after episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians. But it must be something in my DNA, because my sister does the same thing. HA! See what I did there? I just got through saying I wouldn't talk about my relationships with other people, and then I went and threw my sister under the bus!

So now along with the 8.5 trillion other things my sister and I have to talk about every time we ring each other up, we talk about when Scott got so drunk that he ruined Kim's birthday dinner, and when Bruce and Khloe and Kourtney took Kris's dress hostage and got Bruce's dignity back, or when Rob was given Viagra accidentally by Kris (it was meant for Bruce). Ahhh - now that's quality reality television right there, y'all.

So upon watching the Kardashians yesterday, I inadvertently stumbled upon another, equally time-wasting reality series called, Pretty Wild about a former model who is raising her three daughters in Hollywood. The disturbing part is this. During the show, she says that she homeschools all three girls (who range in age, I think, from 15 to 17), and has based her entire curriculum on the movie, The Secret.

I am not even kidding you, chills ran down my spine and I instantly felt completely lucid and out of my pain meds. That is about 48 different ways of disturbing, people. They are taking this crap and basing their lives on it.

I was so immediately grateful that I am raising my family based on the word of God, and insanely grateful that my mother raised me that way. Because, and you've all heard it before, if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. And my mother wanted us to stand for the truth, and that is what Sean and I want for our boys.

It was a sobering moment. Thank you God, for my grandmother and my mother, who are responsible for raising me with my beliefs, and who are now responsible for us raising our boys with their love of God.

Now, if God could only help me not watch the Kardashians today, I'll be one step closer to sane.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I Think I'm Lazy. Until I'm Made To Be.

So it turns out that it's not in the best interest of anyone in the family that I have open wounds that are being stubborn in healing. I'm dragging them all with me.

It's been 5.5 weeks since my surgery and things were going along great until I began experiencing wound separation at some of the incision areas, which has turned into a gigantic mess. Well, comparatively, anyhow. Comparatively in that - anywhere there is open flesh on my body constitutes a mess of any proportion. And when there are several places, and it means my body needs to expend energy doing nothing but trying to heal, well this constitutes as gigantic.

This encompasses my house, my body, my hair, my mental and emotional state, and what I am allowed to do with my time. All a mess.

gigantic: physically or metaphorically of great magnitude
mess: dirty, untidy, disordered condition; a state of embarrassing confusion

So yes, a metaphorically as well as physically dirty, untidy, disordered state of embarrassing confusion. Well said,, for putting into perfect prose what my existence has boiled down to until I heal. Bravo!

It must have become obvious by now that I'm not taking this so well today. I have eaten Thin Mints and Doritos. I have watched episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm from the first season. I have Stumbled the internet finding interesting and downright weird sites. I have researched tropical vacation destinations that I will mostly likely never set foot upon. I have used a Crest Whitestrip. Now do you see how desperate this has become?

And what will I do tomorrow?

I am dreaming of miraculous healing, of sons who long to clean for their mother, of the day Starbucks offers delivery.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

HELP! I'm Grounded and I Can't Get Up!

My house is a mess. And not that cute new catchphrase - beautiful mess - that everyone is using. No. Just your plain, old, run-of-the-mill mess. Well, run-of-the-mill if you happen to have three boys who view nothing as trash, two dogs who insist on acting like dogs, and one husband who tries his best to keep up when mama's been grounded from most physical activity.

I have a new Dyson vacuum. New. I need to show it around. I need to make it feel welcome. I need to introduce it to all the nooks and crannies in our home that collect all kinds of sinister things. I neeeeeed to.

I need to do laundry, which I cannot carry downstairs to the laundry room. I need to, I need to, I need to ...

I need to dust. HA! That I can do!

You get the picture. I am trying incredibly hard to steer my body into healing several wound separations from my breast reduction surgery a month ago. (Go Google it.) And my surgeon grounded me.

So I have two different, lovely friends coming over today at different times; and they will both want to do things for me. And I will not let them, because I have an unbelievably hard time doing that. It makes me feel awful. And I hate even more when I have to ask for help. I absolutely love, love, love doing things for others; but when it comes to needing help myself, I'm a bit stubborn unless backed into a corner.

So when a time comes when I am less than up-to-par, I tend to just disappear - try to fade away - until I'm me again.

So now I must go fade for awhile; and ignore, as best I can until the shakes begin, the monumental mess I am having to try and "rest" in the middle of.

This will be fun.