Thursday, November 15, 2018

Morning gymnastics


In my last post, I said that even though I am broken, I am filled with joy. That may have led you to believe that I am a happy person. Especially if you look at my social media photos. But that's not the whole story. 

Today, I'm daring myself to be transparent. My ego is furious. I'm feeling vulnerable. 
I had a bad night. Pain does not sleep. Self-pity does not rest. My mind wants to list all of the ways I am uncomfortable, my tally of losses, and how angry I am that my current circumstances render me useless.
It's not pretty. 
I try to reason with myself. I am safe and warm. I am loved. My brain still functions some of the time.
I think of those who are homeless, hungry, lost, and without hope. Their suffering is so much greater.
Right? Who am I to complain?
Depression and anxiety are so loud.  No matter how good I felt yesterday, somehow in the night I am thrown back into the abyss.
It's another morning of making the climb out of the pit. It's time for my morning gymnastics.

 
Music helps. One of my favorite Sting songs (Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot) says it well:
When the doctors failed to heal you
When no medicine chest can make you well
When no counsel leads to comfort
When there are no more lies they can tell
No more useless information
And the compass spins
The compass spins between heaven and hell
Let your soul be your pilot
Let your soul guide you
He'll guide you well

I read. Oswald Chambers dares me to take up my cross. Jesus Calling reminds me that God does not ask me to do anything more than he has already done for me. I study and meditate.

"Here we indeed groan, and long to put on our heavenly dwelling, so that by putting it 
on we may not be found naked. For while we are sill in this tent, we sign with anxiety;... 
He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, 
who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee."
2 Corinthians 5:2-5

I pray. A lot. For everyone and everything. Scanning the psychic energy fields to connect, to send love and light and healing. To listen for direction.

Then, I work with my body. I stretch with gentle exercise to help with the pain. Some days it is grueling just to touch my toes. But I do it anyway. I'd rather feel the good pain than be held hostage by the bad pain. 

Most days, that is my morning routine.

It's taken years to get here. So much has happened that altered my course and shook up my etch a sketch. Most of the time, I am truly baffled. I just don't get it. 
As I have spent my life coaching others on how to 'make it' - what I do with me now is my ultimate test. My daughter says we need to talk about failure - how to fail, what it looks like to lose everything even when doing all the right things. I guess this is the start of that. After a lifetime of journaling in private, I'm taking a leap to journal in public. I'm not sure I can do it. Since posting yesterday, I've already considered deleting everything and going back to being invisible. We'll see. One day at a time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Broken hearts and happiness

If I were an artist and could paint a picture of my heart, it would be chipped and cracked and look like pottery that has been broken a million ways, put back together with gold. For every mar would be jeweled, sealed with the finest, softest, hottest liquid amber.
Can you imagine that picture?

I read a piece on grief the other day. The writer spoke of her unbearable suffering in loss of a loved one. She described in painful detail the darkest hours of her life. But in the end, she told the readers that if they too suffered as she had, that there was hope, that one day again they would be happy. She encouraged them to believe that life is a happiness journey.

I'm not sure I agree.

I think happy is like deciding what color shirt to wear. It's the external face. It's good and helpful to know how to be happy - sometimes a song will turn it on, sometimes a baby, sometimes a joke or piece of good news. But happy is an ongoing decision or reaction in the conscious mind. It's temporary.  It's vulnerable. If we depend on being happy to be happy, we may miss the journey.

Image result for a journey

Joy on the other hand is a spiritual infusion, a promise to claim. It is impervious to circumstance.
We feel joy when we are spiritually connected to God or people.

"Count it all joy, when you meet various trials, 
for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-4

My distinction - happiness is a feeling, joy is our inheritance. Happiness is linked to our perceptions of how things are. Joy is linked to the truth of who we are.

"Blessed is the one who endures trial, for when he has stood the test 
he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him." 
James 1:12

Is it possible to be broken and smashed to pieces and also be radiant, filled with joy?
Yes. I am proof of that.
I guess that is ultimately my message; in spite of how one feels, or the trials we face, it is our true nature to be caught up in the joy that comes from knowing Divine love.
That is the gold that keeps our hearts whole.



Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, 
and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. 
Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 
Nehemiah 8:10 NIV

Side note - it will be impossible for me to write without including scripture. The Bible is as much a part of me as any other words that may come. I'm not certain that my writing exercises now are necessarily ordained, but I do hope you will be blessed. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The measure of a good life


The measure of a good life? 
No childhood traumas, or giant student loan debts. Married to a soul mate. No skeletons in the closet. No recycling in the trash. Polished shoes. Good Health. Happy families and nice cars. 

Where is the line that says "we've done well"?

We might agree that everyone has been broken at some time on some level. 
Life on this planet is just hard.
And unfair. Skewed even to appear that meanness and madness reign.
Precious humanity teetering at the abyss of delusion and disappointment. 


Image result for cartoon person teetering on a cliff


We try desperately to survive it. Our existence consumed by the need to live. To feel we've lived. 
To check off the boxes on our bucket list of dreams and ambition. To face the conversations of what do we do with pride and satisfaction. To master the art of hiding what we cannot reveal. 

If we are fortunate, we are given the knowledge that where there is faith, there is hope. The light that shines in what might otherwise be darkness. 

We gather the necessities we need. Some wear masks. Some wear it on their sleeves. Some step aside. Or, like me, some become a chameleon. 

Image result for 1 Corinthians 9:22
A favorite Buddha quote says: " I am not who you think I am. You are who you think I am."

As an intentional spiritual human, I offer up my life to the will of God. 
As a mere mortal, I am subject to the flesh.  
I'm aware of choices that may have had certain unavoidable outcome. 
However, I believe my life has been messy on purpose to teach me about compassion and living in faith. 
To give me the story to tell. Maybe that is the Divine Order of the plan. 

"We know that all things 'work together for good',
then no matter what happens, the alchemy of God's providence
transfigures the ideal faith into actual reality." Oswold Chambers

This intricate relationship requires daily my willingness to subdue my ego, and let go of the notion of self-sufficiency. To release myself from the measuring sticks. To accept God's gift of grace and live like one who has been forgiven. To empty myself of all need to prove my worth. And to risk appearing terribly foolish. 

When all else fails, does my faith feed me and clothe me and comfort me? 

Yes, in fact it does. 

And that is my story. My life 'well-lived'.

Most autobiographies are written after the crisis has passed and restoration is either begun or established. This is not that.
As I am directed to put words in a row, right now I am still in the the wilderness.    
I don't know what is going to happen next or even if my idea of restoration is on the Divine agenda.

The point of view from here comes with a promise;
If I tell you anything about pain or suffering, I will also tell you about wondrous blessings and great love. 
My intention is to start writing here on my blog, and then at some point, put it all together in a book. 
If you would like to encourage me; follow me, comment, and share. 


Friday, October 26, 2018

Angels

A year ago today I was in the hospital having a little near death experience.

On the physical plane, the circumstances leading up to this seemed very messy.
For two years I had been desperately sick with extreme pain, but no test or Dr could determine the cause. When I finally collapsed and was rushed to emergency, I was told had I not come then, I surely would have died.
Had my issue been found and diagnosed earlier, the problems could have been resolved with simple out-patient surgery and fully covered by insurance. Because it was not, the experience has had life changing impact on levels I could not have imagined.

Very inconvenient in the flesh. Magnificent in the Spirit.

Though I was nearly unconscious as I left for the hospital, I took off my glasses and grabbed my Bible. Funny what our priorities are in the moment of truth.
Over the next few days I teetered on the edge of this life and the next. As the pain and poison raged, my spirit soared. I saw and felt the Angels attending me. I was given visions of the beginning and the end. Every Nurse, Doctor and loved one who came into my room were the sweetest beings. I was in a state of bliss. Without my glasses, I couldn't see, but without my glasses, I could see.
A layer of the veil was lifted.
Two surgeries later, I was out of danger and sent home to heal.
The Angels came with me.

I didn't know that at first. What I did know was that I never wanted to forget the sweetness.
The 'real' world is often not so sweet and fallout from hospital bills and long term health issues threatened to sour my vision of life and this journey. Not to mention all the 'stuff' that seems to be the major issues of our time. But, I tell you, God is faithful.
"I sought the Lord and he answered me"  Psalm 34:4


It was early this spring when my first feather appeared. It stirred a funny feeling. Something heavenly. I didn't let myself think much about it, not wanting to put my imagination into play on things that may or may not be 'real'. But, something kept pricking my mind about it, so I started doing some research. I discovered there are many writings about feathers being signs from Angels. One note said that if you ever find multiple feathers at once, you are surrounded by Angels. Being a fairly conservative 'Jesus freak' I was hesitant to embrace anything that was too woo woo and mostly let it go.
A few weeks later working in the garden, I looked to the ground and at my feet were literally dozens of feathers. Different sizes and colors so I knew they weren't from a cat/bird encounter. I was overcome with dizziness and I thought I was in an Angel portal and perhaps going to be lifted up right then!
It was surreal and stunning. The message was getting through.

Over the months, feathers started showing up frequently. Especially when I've been praying for a loved one. I even found several on my desk one day... just lying there... reminding me that I am not alone. We are not alone.

Last week, when our dear friend Ned passed, I prayed for his safe transition. I asked that he send me a sign when he arrived. Maybe he could send me a feather. For several days I thought about walking the yard to look for a feather - but didn't. On Wednesday, he sent his message; a feather in the clouds. Beautiful, distinctive and specific. I wept with gratitude and joy.

This past year has been a remarkable journey of challenge, healing, and love. Probably something worthy of a book...but I'm not quite there yet. I don't know what my future will hold. I'm not even sure exactly why I lived when so many don't. But I do know that this experience has deepened my faith.

This life can appear to be off the rails as trials and suffering and outright bad stuff seem to be the reality to focus on. So today, I encourage you to look to the unseen. Listen for the still small voice. Love one another. Pray without ceasing. Watch for Angels.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith." Hebrews 12:1