Wednesday, December 7, 2016

It Is Well

It's been a year. Well, more than a year, but you get the idea.

It's amazing how much can change in a year. Or a day, really.

September 1st, 2015 changed a lot of things for my husband and I. It was our first day back to work after our two weeks off for our wedding and honeymoon. After having a great two weeks off, we expected the first day back to be a little stressful and difficult, but I don't think either of us expected it to be what it was. The first half  hour revealed that we were the recipients of some very unwelcomed and unexpected manipulation and cruelty at the hand of someone we'd once called a friend. While this person failed to get my husband fired, they did succeed in getting his entire department dissolved while we were gone, and painted some very untrue pictures of my husbands character in the process.

In the weeks and months that followed, as we watched the effects of this cruelty play out, my job was undergoing some serious changes as well. Through a series of events, what was once a department of 3 people, was now just me.
I remember waking up in the middle of the night feeling sick, and then being terrified about not being able to go into work if I was sick. "Oh my God....who will do my job if I'm not there?" No one else knew how to do payroll, or a lot of the different parts of my job for that matter. Hell, I was still stumbling along learning how to do payroll myself. I'd never been so stressed in my life.

And then I started not feeling well. A lot. Every day I felt sick to my stomach, and exhausted, and emotional. I'd been feeling sick for years off and on, but this consistency was new. At first I thought maybe it was all the stress, but as my new 3 person job became the norm, I wasn't so stressed out about it anymore, but I still felt terrible. So after a while I figured it was my birth control. I saw a doctor to see if there was anything I could do to help it. It became very obvious within the first few minutes that while I was describing how sick I'd been feeling, all my doctor was focusing on was the small piece of information I'd offered about life the last few months.
Before I knew it, I was being told that I needed to take an anti-depressant.

If I hadn't been stressed before, now I was thru the roof. As I read the long list of side effects for the particular pill she wanted me to take, my panic grew. All of the likely side effects of this medication were the very symptoms I had gone to see the doctor for in the first place. And now I need to take a pill that could very likely make all of this things worse?

The thing that panicked me even more was the idea of having to take an anti-depressant in the first place. I grew up going to the pharmacy with my mom to pick up her prescriptions for years. Seeing her have to take a whole host of pills everyday just to manage her illness (s). The thought of ending up like my mom in that way scared me beyond belief. "I'm only can this be happening..."

I'd never had a panic attack before, but I was about to have several of them. You know the sad character in the movies that has an emotional breakdown in the shower? Sobbing under the water, asking God why, begging for help. Yeah. I've been that person more times in the last year than I care to admit. I tried the pills for a few days, and sure enough, they made me sicker. I finally told my doctor I didn't want my IUD anymore, and despite the many warnings I got, I had it removed. Within hours I felt better in a multitude of ways. I thought I was in the clear.

Fast-forward to now. A little over a year since my first visit in a long line of doctors and medical bills. I've gotten sicker. I've had lots of tests done. Some embarrassing, some scary, and some just expensive. I've been told more times than I care to remember that "even though you seem very calm and collected, you probably just have an anxiety disorder", (as if an anxiety disorder is so insignificant) and in so many words, "Its all in your head."

I've been angry. I've been depressed. I've been apathetic. I've lived in a false sense of acceptance, only to get even angrier once I realized how fake my acceptance of my circumstances had been. I've tried just about everything to be healthy again, only to find myself no better off, and in lots of ways, even worse. I've wanted to punch people in the throat for telling me to persevere. Have faith, God is in control, look at the bright side, and a whole host of other clich├ęs and useless platitudes. My constant response has been, "Yeah. I know God's in control. I know He can heal me. That's precisely why I'm pissed at him. Because I've been begging him to for years now, and I've only gotten worse, so the only conclusion is that He won't. And not just that he won't, but that it seems like he's actively involved in making everything worse!"

Few knew how to respond to so much pain and hurt, masked in the intense anger and bitterness I chose, because somehow that felt safer than admitting how broken hearted and scared I felt.
Those who did know how to respond though, responded well. Often times it was as simple as "I know it sucks, and I'm so sorry." from a friend who would cry alongside me, that would help to get me through.

And then one night not too long ago I picked up a copy of C.S. Lewis' The Problem of Pain. I stumbled through the first few chapters, trying to absorb the meaning of his words, but getting frustrated because his writing is so hard to understand sometimes. And then I read this:

“We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art, something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character. Here again we come up against what I have called the “intolerable compliment.” Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble: he may be content to let it go even though it is not exactly as he meant it to be. But over the great picture of his life—the work which he loves, though in a different fashion, as intensely as a man loves a woman or a mother a child—he will take endless trouble—and would doubtless, thereby give endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient. One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and re-commenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were only a thumb-nail sketch whose making was over in a minute. In the same way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.”  

An intolerable compliment. That's what this season has been. An intolerable, gut wrenching, painful compliment. And by asking God to take it all away, and make everything better, I've been asking not for more love from him, but for less. Much less. By asking God to remove all of my pain and sickness and hurt, and then being so angry with him when he wouldn't, I've been missing all of the grace and kindness he's given me in the midst of it. My incredible husband, who has been by my side doing everything under the sun to help me. My family, who has consistently gone out of their way to help me feel less alone and isolated with get-togethers by having food that I can eat.
My friends, who've been so faithful and good to me. The common grace of ginger and other remedies for nausea and stomach pain.

I don't think I've been completely oblivious to these things, I think I just appreciated them less because I couldn't reconcile them to a God who seemed so cruel and unfeeling. And I'll admit, I still don't know how to focus on the good when you feel immense sickness, but I'm learning how to be thankful for the storm in the moments after it's passed; when I can think again.

For a while now my plea to God has been to give me hope beyond hope, because mine has been so broken for so long now. To help me to get my eyes up off of me, and onto his glory and grace. And honestly? I can say that I have a hope now that I haven't had in a long time. And it's not just an eternal hope that one day He'll return and everything will be perfect again (although that is no small hope either), but a hope that He will answer my cries for health and healing one day, and that maybe, just maybe, that day is sooner than I dare to hope yet.

But even if he doesn't....
It is well.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Am I old enough for this?

I remember riding in the back seat of the family car when my brother was learning to drive. He’s 7 years older than me, so I’ve watched him go through lots of life’s different stages a few years before myself, all the while making lots of mental notes if those same events ever happened in my life.I didn’t think I’d ever be old enough to drive. I don’t think that’s because I thought I wouldn’t live that long, but for some reason I’ve always had a difficult time imagining myself doing things that I perceive to be “adult activities.” However, as I got closer to being old enough for my permit, it seemed more and more imaginable to me that soon, I’d be transported into this magical adult world where driving was not only something I could do, but something I would need to do, that would transport me even further into this new world.

After that it was my first real job that made me feel like I was actually starting to grow up. I had a checking account, a car, roommates, and a cellphone. When did all this happen? “I’m not old enough for this.”

Then this real job turned into something I both loved and hated simultaneously. My car was breaking down, my roommates were irritating, and my cell phone was expensive. When did this happen? 
Wasn't I just a little kid the other day, feeling alone and nervous that I wasn't old enough for any of these responsibilities? And now I’m searching for another job?  Another car? Other roommates? Unfortunately I'm in a stupid contract for this phone.... “I’m definitely not old enough for this.”

“His name is Mike, here’s his card. He’s looking to hire someone for an administrative position at his company, and I told him about you. You should call him this week.” We were car shopping for a new car for my mom when my dad told me about his friend Mike, who was a manager at a local software company. “I don't know the first thing about office work…did you tell him that?” “Yes, and he’d like to hear from you.”

A day or so later I stepped outside of my
not so real job making salsa, to call this Mike person. He said a lot of things I didn’t understand, and I told him I could do them all. I asked him if he’d like to see my very unimpressive resume, and he said yes, so I made plans to drive out to “the gray unmarked hanger at the Bend Airport with the red truck parked out front.”

“There’s no way. 
I'm not qualified in any way for this job. I'm a homeschool dropout who failed my GED and makes salsa and works at Shopko. Who even knew it was possible to be a homeschool drop out anyway? I bet you I'm the first.” I was talking to my best friend who had a job interview for another company in town the same day that I would be dropping my resume off. I fully expected to drop it off and never hear a word. I wasn't qualified, and he'd see that clearly on my resume, so I didn't see the point in being too nervous about it. I had nothing to lose.

“As you can see, I have absolutely no experience in any of the areas you're looking for.” I handed him my resume and sat down as his desk in this unmarked gray hanger at the Bend Airport. He didn't have an office, he was surrounded by other desks and people on computers and phones. I could feel their stares as I timidly walked in and sat down, all of them wondering who I was and if he’d be hiring me. “That’s okay, he said, I'm not looking for someone with experience, I'm looking for someone who’s willing to learn what I want to teach them.”

And just like that, I immediately realized I had a shot at getting this job, and I was terrified. I hadn't prepared for this. Did I look okay? I covered my tattoo, right? Okay good. Oh crap…now it matters what I say. What if I say the wrong thing? I told him I was capable of doing all those things he explained to me that I still don't understand…oh hell. I'm screwed. I have something to lose now...

don't remember anything else he said to me. He got up from his desk and walked me around this very odd makeshift office building, introducing me to people as we passed by.
“Here’s where your desk will be, next to David. He’s the head of our training department.”

…Did he just say, “Where my desk
will be?” Have I not ruined this yet? Am I getting this job? This Dave guy looks nice,  I don't think I'd be too nervous around him...I’m feeling calmer already. Oh thank God, he has tattoos. I’m not alone! Oh crap, he’s talking to me..

Mike introduced me to a few other people and then told me to put in my two weeks’ notice at Shopko, because I had a new job working for him.

“Am I old enough for this?”

That was 3 years ago.

It turns out that I really could do all those things he explained to me that I 
didn't understand, and more. It turns out I could be a lot more than I thought I could at this job in the odd hanger at the Bend Airport. And now, 3 years later, in a real office building, sitting at my real desk, I can see how God was working through all of those events and lots more, and I'm humbled and amazed.

Turns out, that David guy was really nice. In fact, he’s the nicest man I've ever met. More selfless than anyone I've ever known, patient, gracious, funny, kind, handsome, generous. The list goes on and on.

3 years ago I had no idea that God was not only leading me to this new job that I needed so badly, but  more importantly, to the man I'd want to spend the rest of my life with. The man who is without doubt, God's greatest gift to me outside of my salvation.

3 Years ago, I had no idea that God was drawing this man to me, but most importantly, to Himself. 

Going back to those “Adult things”, I'm now 80 days away from marrying my best friend. 
And let me tell you, I'm definitely not old enough for this, but I couldn't be more excited. I never thought I'd get married. I hoped I would, but I never really thought much about it, or imagined it would actually happen. But here I sit, waiting very impatiently for August 15th, when I'll get to promise to spend the rest of my life with this incredible man that I don't even come close to deserving.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My dear friend

I don't know where we went wrong. I don't know how we got off on the wrong foot again. In retrospect it seems like we hadn't been on the right foot, in such a long time, that maybe we were just carefully balancing on the edge of the wrong one, and thinking that we were doing okay. I found some old papers the other night. Papers detailing for my past intern supervisor what I filled my time with during that most difficult and unhappy chapter of my life. To my amazement, my schedule was more filled with your name than I thought it had been. Because in my memory it seems like I never saw you. In my memory it seems like that time was the beginning of the end. Which leads me to a terrible conclusion:

That I wasn't fully there with you in those times. That I was so wrapped up in my own struggles, and my new friends, that I wasn't really your friend, anymore. That I was too afraid of losing you during your struggles, that I didn't love you very well.

And I'm so sorry.

To be quite honest I have no idea what I expected when I wrote to you the last time. I can't say that I expected things to get better. But I also can't say that I expected it to be the end either. Your reply of "I don't know what to tell you", was all the answer I needed. In not knowing what to tell me, you told me everything I thought I needed to know. In not knowing what to say to me, I didn't know what else to say to you. There was nothing left that could be said it seemed. But maybe I was wrong. The funny thing about time and separation, is that the two always seem to come hand in hand with doubt and uncertainty.

I read an interesting definition of the word "Ego" today. A man wrote his son a letter, and in it he describes what an ego is to him. He says, "Your ego is the part of you that protects your heart." He then goes on to say that over time your ego grows stronger because of the hurt that other people around you inflict upon your heart. "..You're mind begins to build a wall around your heart - it keeps us safe from invaders who might want to get in and attack it...At first, we only use the ego-wall to keep people out. But eventually, as we grow up, we get tired of hiding fearfully and we decide the best defense is a good offense. We put cannons on our ego-wall and we start firing. For some people that looks like anger. For other people, it looks like gossip and judgment and divisiveness. One of my favorite ego-cannons is to pretend everyone on the outside of my wall is wrong. It makes me feel right and righteous, but really it just keeps me safe inside of my ideas." *

I used to drive by your parents house on my way to work every morning. At first when I drove by I'd try not to think about everything that happened between us. Then after a while I would scoff, and try to convince myself that I had been right and you were wrong. That I was the one who had the right to be angry with you, not the other way around. And then I began to feel compelled to drive by there. But this time I didn't try to hide behind my "Ego Wall", or scoff and be angry. No, this time I began to pray that I hadn't hurt you too deeply (But this is assuming I had way more of an effect on your life than I probably actually did). That you were doing good. That you were living well, and that hopefully you were getting some of the questions concerning God that we'd spoken about, answered.

I don't drive by there much anymore. Not because I choose not to, just because I don't have much need to go that direction these days. But the interesting thing is, now that I don't drive by very much, I have dreams all the time where we end up seeing each other in random places, and sorting out our past and kind of picking up right where we left off so long ago.

I wish we could finally go get that beer we always talked about when we were 17 year old kids who could hardly afford to buy $5 dollar pizzas. I wish we could sit at the pub and I could tell you all about this last year. About it's ups and downs. About how much it taught me. How much it hurt. How it brought so many of the flaws that were deep inside of me, right to the surface for so many to see. I think you would get a really good laugh out of some of it honestly.
I wish I could have the privilege of hearing about your life once again. About how you're doing. Where you're at with God, with your boyfriend, with your family.
I wish I could get to know you again, and you me.

My old friend (if you'll let me still call you that), I'm deeply sorry that I didn't love you well. If love really does do everything Paul said it does, then indeed I failed to really show you genuine love. I've come to understand that love doesn't hide behind the fear of "what if they get mad at me", it confronts, and lays it's pride down for those whom it has deep affection for. It takes the risk, because they're worth it. I should have taken that risk a lot sooner than I did. But instead I was scared, and I hid behind my fear. I let things get to a point between us that I never should have. I hope you'll be able to forgive me for this, even if that doesn't look like everything being all bright and sunshiny between us in the end.

I won't be that preachy advice giving person (since I really don't have any room to talk, this is an apology letter after all). I'll simply say that I really do hope that you're doing well. I think of you often, and miss being able to spend time with you.

Please know that I still love you to death.

*Taken from this blog post.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Fade and Then Return

Do you ever feel like sometimes an emotion can be so deep inside of you that words can’t fully describe how you feel? That sounds terribly dramatic, but it’s just a thought.
I’m about to be 21, and while I’m really excited for it, I’m also reminded of how much things change with time. How some friends turn into acquaintances, while others fall off the map completely. And others still remain your best friends, but from a long distance. And I can’t decide which is harder to deal with honestly.

You know that saying, “He who ceases to be a friend never was one”? I don’t like, or agree with that statement. I think when you cease to be friends with someone, it’s because one of you is different than you were at first. It doesn’t matter if you or they changed for better or worse, all that matters is that someone is different. Maybe you’re both different people now than you were then. The thing that’s hard about this one is that it seems to hurt for a long time, but usually comes to a head and then the worst is over and you can move on. Sure, the pain can fluctuate until the time when you deal with it once and for all, but ultimately, this one has more of an expiration date. The friend who becomes an acquaintance? Well, that’s a different story. And I’m not sure if it can be summed up as easily, or if the acquaintance and the “fall off the map” friend aren’t actually one in the same.

I personally however, feel that the people who continue to try to be in your life, but ultimately can only be involved in the once a week phone calls, are the more painful of the three. Because in this situation you’re continually fighting to stay as close as possible, but the harder you try the more you realize just how limited your role in their life is, and how limited their role is in yours. And with every phone call you forget all the things that you would normally tell them, because you don’t know if you have 5 minutes, or 15, and you need to get the important things out of the way while you have time to do so. When every missed phone call feels like a missed opportunity and every inside joke is forgotten over time, while you each go on with your lives making new memories and inside jokes with other people. It’s a constant reminder of how much life changes, and how unprepared you are to deal with it.

I guess I’m just being stupid because tomorrow is arguably the biggest birthday I’ll ever have, and all I want is for my best friend to be here for it, and I know that that’s not possible. And while I have so many other amazing people in my life to spend my time with, your best friends aren't replaceable, no matter how much I sometimes wish they were.

“I think the reason people hold onto memories so tight is because memories are the only things that don't change when everything and everyone else does.”

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

So this is 2013

So much has changed since I last posted anything on here. I was going through some of my old posts last night and then some of the things I've written but never posted. I'm blown away by how much different my life is now than it ever has been before. Time has a funny way of doing that. As a result of these things, this post is probably going to be ridiculously long (yes, that's what she said), just btdubs.

This time last year I was miserable. I hated my life. I was getting up for work at 2:45 in the morning, working till noon and then trying to get what little sleep I could before going back to work at midnight. Never before had I felt so used and undervalued. Being run into the ground for minimum wage and then working another job on top of it because I still didn't have enough money to pay rent. Getting sick all the time and feeling more alone than I ever had before. Towards the end of 2011 I had said goodbye to 3 of my closest friends. Two of them moving across the country, and one leaving it entirely for a 3 month trip to New Zealand. It was during that time that I wrote this:

This week I said goodbye to two of my closest friends. Tuesday I went to PDX with my friend LeeAnne, her boyfriend Trevor, and her parents. We went to the airport and said, see you in three months; hugged, said more see you later's and hugged some more, and then I stood by her parents as they watched their only daughter board a plane to New Zealand....Well, LAX, but then New Zealand...whatever, same thing.

Yesterday I drove to Redmond to say goodbye to my friend Anna, who left today for South Carolina because her husband got a job at a university there. I kind of had a feeling that they would be moving, but I didn't know it would be so soon. They found out last week that they were going and began the crazy busy process of packing and selling everything they own and so I only got about an hour to see her yesterday before we had to say goodbye.

And just a few months ago I said goodbye to my best friend who moved to New York...

Call me whatever you want, disagree with me even, but I've always prided myself on the fact that I'm not an overly emotional person. That more often than not, I try not to let too many things get to me, and when they do, I tend to get over them quickly and not be a weepy emotional pile.
But in all honesty, all I've really been doing is priding myself on the fact that I don't cry or get depressed very often. That I don't tend to get very sad over too many things, and when I do, I deal with it and move on. And some of that's true, I don't cry or become depressed very often...
I just get angry. Sometimes I don't even know who I'm angry with, or why. I just am. Some days I wake up that way. The thing though, is that if I have a choice between being angry or being sad, I'll always choose anger. Anger and I aren't new to each other. Anger doesn't scare me the way sadness does, because I know how to deal with anger better than most other things. Anger goes away quicker than most other emotions. In fact, I think the only emotion that flees quicker than anger, is happiness.

But lately....I seem to go back and forth between both almost everyday.

I miss my friends. It's not true that over time missing people gets easier. It's just that over time you get more used to it than you were at first, and the times where you miss them so much it hurts, grow further and farther between. But in those moments when all you want is to sit and talk with them and you can't, it still hurts just as much as it did at first.

For a while after they left I didn't want to do anything, or really be anyone. I didn't know what I wanted, I just knew it wasn't this. I realize that sounds very dramatic and Good Charlotte-esque, but so be it, it's how I felt. Don't judge me.
One minute I'd be all sad and lonely, and the next I'd be happy and content with where I was, and then back to being depressed and lonely 15 minutes later.
For some reason whenever I go to work I'm reminded of just how alone I am most of the time. It's not that I don't spend time with the few friends that are here, it's that even when I do, I don't feel like talking about anything, and I don't know if it's because I feel like they don't want to hear anything I have to say, or if it's because I don't."

Now it's three months into 2013, and 2011 seems like it was so long ago. Even most of 2012 seems like forever ago. I feel so differently about so many things now than I did then. Do I still miss my friends? Absolutely. Desperately at times even. But I've found some of the most amazing people to cheer me up and become some of my new best friends. I've gotten a new job that doesn't run me into the ground and make me feel like I'm nothing to them. I work wonderful hours with amazing people and feel so blessed and humbled by God's grace on my life. I spend most of my time with my new friends who encourage me and make me feel confident in myself. We spend hours and hours playing halo, taking our dogs for walks, playing music and sitting at O'Kanes smoking cigars and eating good food. Late dinners and movies, and early morning breakfasts. And we have great conversations no matter what we end up doing. I do most of the talking, but that seems to suite them just fine.

As I look back over the last few years, I'm amazed with what I see. I went from being Ben's little sister and the salsa girl, to my own person. In some ways I feel like I haven't changed a bit, but in most respects I can feel how different I am now than I used to be. Some of these changes have been amazing and beneficial, while others have been costly and arguably not for the best, but I think that's just a part of growing up.

See, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I really started to question not only the things I’d been raised to believe, but the God I’d grown up believing was real. My questions, much like many others, grew out of a dark and deepening bitterness towards the church. Sure, I’d had my heart broken by the church before, but it wasn’t until I did an internship with the church that had for so many years been my home, that I grew to really resent Christians and the God they claimed to serve. I grew tired of everyone pretending that everything was okay even though it clearly wasn’t. Of people pretending to be happy and acting as if nothing was wrong when you could see right through the forced smile and fake words. Mostly though, I grew weary of being used and uncared about by those around me who I thought would be there to encourage and help me through the rough time I was about to go through. It’s funny looking back actually. I've never felt more confused or abandoned by God and the church than while I was serving in one. I began wondering if God was even real. Actually, it would be closer to the truth to say I still believed there was a God, I just started wondering how much he really cared anymore…Or if He ever had.

I won't go into anymore than that on here, at least not today. But I will say that I think it was one of the most amazing, painful, and most necessary times in my life so far.
I’m realizing now how much God’s been working in my life even while I’ve been wondering where He’s been and what on earth He’s been doing

It’s easy to look back on different, seemingly separate events in our lives and feel like they weren’t connected. But now that I’m starting to reflect on things, I’m realizing how interconnected and woven together these events have been, in only a way that an all knowing God could possibly be big enough to do. It seems to me that only someone who is big enough to see the whole picture from beginning to end would be able to weave such an intricate pattern. After all, isn’t it only the writer who knows how the story ends, while the characters who can’t see the whole picture, wonder what their role is in the story and when and how it will end? I don’t know. Perhaps that’s not the case and I’m mistaken. It makes sense in my head though.

All of this to say, life is very different than I ever thought it would be. I'm not who I thought I was, but I think I'm exactly who I need to be for right now. And while some of the changes in my life make me sad, the rest give me hope for the future that God has in store for my life, and an expectant joy for what lies ahead.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I get angry with my mom a lot. I have for a long time now. It doesn't take much...the same question asked too many times, not having enough money for things, losing the dog every three weeks, the list goes on. That sounds I'm trying to cast her in an unfair light that makes her look irresponsible or incapable. That's not my intention. I have no intention or desire to cast her in any light other than the bright, loving, beautiful one she deserves to be seen in.
It's myself that I intend to cast such a dim light over.
Because I'm the one at fault. I'm the selfish immature child who throws a fit when something I don't like is said or done.
I get angry with her over simple, stupid things that she doesn't deserve to have me get angry with her about. I don't talk to her about things because I don't want to hear what she'll have to say about them. I don't invite her places with me because I never know what kind of state she'll be in because of her pain and the medication she has to take for it. I get angry and say things like, "Why do you have a phone if you never answer it!?" when she's lost her phone, or simply didn't hear it ring. I get annoyed when she asks for help with her computer, phone, facebook, ect. I'm impatient with her, even when I know she's trying so hard to understand the things I'm feeling, or trying to tell her. And she doesn't deserve that.

The problem is, I don't know how to change those things.

Because it's not my mom that I'm so angry with...

It's her fibromyalgia.

Her rheumatoid arthritis.

The medicine she has to take that replaces the real her, with the only half there, foggy version of herself that's left.
It's the medicine that eats away at her heart, kidneys, and every other vital organ needed for survival.
It's the 16 pills a day that she has to take in order to not be in crippling, unbearable pain 24 hours a day.
It's the medicine that takes her from one misery, to a completely different, more frightening one. Sometimes I think that if they could talk they would say something like, "Here, I'll trade you...pain for a heart attack. Or liver or kidney failure. Cancer. You're going to be miserable either way, so why not delay it for as long as possible?"

I know she's never going to be okay. I know it's only a matter of time until things get worse. I'm reminded of it every time she asks me the same question four times in one conversation, or can't come see me because she can't get out of bed. Or when my dad forgets to pick up her pills and her body starts going into withdrawal. But mostly I'm reminded of it when she spends time doing the things she loves most, like playing with my nephews and nieces, or scrapbooking the weekend away, and then her fibromyalgia flares up and she can't do anything but pray for sleep until it passes a day or two later.

I hate her disease. I hate the medicine. I hate them both for what they're doing to her. For what they've always done to her. I hate them for slowly killing her. I hate them for taking so much of her away from me before I was even old enough to get to know her for who she really was. Who she used to be. And I hate them for taking her away from me still. For slowly, day by day, sucking the life out of her. Leaving behind a small frail version of herself that tries to hard to be strong. To be what her kids needed her to be. To be what her grandkids need her to be. To be the employee her bosses need her to be.

That's why I get so angry. So impatient. So shut down. Because it's easier to shut her out and distance myself from her than it is to admit how scared I am of losing her. To come to grips with the fact that she might not get to be at my wedding someday. Or even get to meet the poor guy and embarrass me with whatever it is that Mom's always seem to embarrass their daughters with upon meeting their boyfriends.

My mom was 42 when I was born. She calls me her gift from God because she found out she was pregnant with me a few months after my Grandma died of lung cancer. It's been 20 years since my Grandma died. My mom's 61 now, and still talks about how much she misses her mom and then begins to cry. And then she tells me the same story about how my Grandma accepted Christ before she died, and then she smiles and changes the subject.

I don't want my mom to be sick. I never have. When I was little I used to think that if I prayed hard enough she would get better. That if I was good enough than I would never lose her. That maybe, just maybe God would spare me that pain.

But now I'm not so sure. Of course now I know that my mom's sickness isn't dependent on my good behavior. But I also know that she's not getting any better. That she's not going to. she knows it. she knows how upset it makes me when she talks about it too, so she doesn't do that very often. But she did it tonight when she took me out for coffee. She said her plan is to try to make it to 67 so she can retire, and then hopefully, if she's really lucky, live to be 70.

When my mom is 70, I'll only be 28.

A few months ago I came across this quote from C.S. Lewis that I loved so much I wrote it on a piece of paper I ripped out of a surfing magazine and taped it to the wall next to my bed.
Now I wish I had never seen it. Much less put it on my wall where it hangs, staring a hole into the side of my head. Because it's true. He's absolutely right. I should just accept it and move on. After all, can I lessen the pain I'm bound to feel by telling myself that it's not true? That I'll be the exception to the rule? That I'll be the one who goes unscathed and without the pain death brings to all who live this life? No...I don't think I can. I think to convince myself of such a thing would only make it that much more painful when my delusion of safety were to come crashing down.

"I had yet to learn that all human relationships end in pain-it is the price that our imperfection has allowed Satan to exact from us for the privilege to love."
-C.S. Lewis

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dear diary;)

I always wanted to go to New York. I remember seeing it in all the movies and listening to people talk about it and how busy it is there, and thinking it sounded like such a great place. It was always one of those places that I hoped I would get to see someday, but figured that I probably never would. I just always figured that I would never have the money to go, or anyone to go with.

Last year one of my best friends got an acceptance letter from New York University. The first thing she said to me was, "You have to come see New York and help me move all my crap there!"
And just like that, I decided I was going to New York. I got a second job and started saving for a plane ticket, and before I knew it, the end of August was here and it was time to move my friend across the country...

As with all defining life moments, it turned out that getting to New York hadn't been the hard part after all, it was coming home. It was getting on the plane alone and looking out the window and watching the city disappear.
And with it, my best friend.

I can't explain why it hurt so much. Perhaps that's just the way it feels when someone you care about moves far away. Knowing that you can't call them up and hangout with them anymore, or receive texts saying "What are you doing RIGHT NOW?" or "That's okay! Wal-Mart's open til 11! I need you to take me there:)" And the worst part, knowing that in those moments when you miss them the most, there's almost 3,000 miles in-between your home, and theirs.

I don't remember when I realized it. Maybe it was when I found out that my two best friends were leaving Bend all within the same 2 months. One moving to the other side of the country, and one leaving it all together. Maybe I realized it when I actually started pursuing my relationship with God again. Or maybe I knew it all along, but was never able to grasp it until recently. This thing I realized: There's a time for everything. I know that's not a deeply moving or profound thought. And yes, I know that that's one of the main points of Ecclesiastes and if you've grown up in church you've heard it a thousand times. But hearing something over and over and over again, and then finally realizing it's true, are two different things.

It's funny how at different times in our lives we'll either hate change and beg God to let things stay the way they are, or hate where we are and beg God to change something. Anything. Just as long as when you wake up tomorrow, it's not to the same exact thing you woke up to yesterday.

This thing I realized about everything having a season, was that my time to grow up was coming...and it was coming fast. My adventure isn't going to be the same as my friends though. I don't know exactly what it's going to be, but I think that God has something a little bit different in-store for me.
It's easy to get discouraged and feel like you're not worth very much when almost everywhere you go people are asking you what you're doing with your life and you don't have an answer for them. I was at work the other day and got lectured by a customer for 20 minutes about how I need to get back in school and be like his daughter who is making a crap-ton of money and getting ten thousand dollar raises every year. He went on to tell me that his daughter is happy because she loves her job, and the reason she loves her job is because she went to school for it. That's fair. I can totally understand that. I can even be happy for his daughter. That's awesome. But then he said this, "Unless you get your ass back in school and get a good career, you won't be happy. People who work at meaningless jobs like this, are never happy." Those weren't his exact words, but he got his point across loud and clear. For 20 minutes. No joke.

Have you ever been to New Zealand? I haven't, but one of my best friends is leaving in October to go there until the beginning of next year, at which point who knows how long she'll be back here before she either goes back to New Zealand, or goes somewhere else. She's wanted to go there as long as I've known her, and a long time before that too. I've always seen it as one of those passions God puts in someone from a super early age. Now that I really think about it, I'm not sure if there's ever been a time when we've hung out and haven't talked about New Zealand in one way or another...We've been friends for 6 years...We've talked about it a lot,
so earlier this year when she told me she was going there, I was really happy for her.

This year has seen me go through a lot of mood swings. I never thought I was the moody type, but I'm beginning to think I might be...but then again, I feel like I've been sitting around waiting for my life to start, and now I realize that that has a way of making a person a little emotionally unstable. ;)
You know how some years seem to go by really fast, while others just drag on by? Or those years that seem to do both? Yeah, this year falls into that last category for me. On the one hand, I didn't want September to come, because that meant going to New York and saying goodbye to one of my best friends.
But on the other hand, I had this strange certainty that life was going to start when I got home. While I wasn't exactly thrilled to do so, I could hear that still small voice telling me to take heart, because God was about to do something new...

It's funny how God works sometimes. How He'll lead us to places in our lives where we feel like there's no way we can make it. Where we're so consumed by our needs for tomorrow, that we can't see today. My personal favorite is when He leads you to the places you've been asking for, but as soon as he does, it's like the world starts the agonizingly slow process of caving in around you. The funny thing about caving in, is that the ground always seems to collapse everywhere except for where you're standing first, so that you can be terrified as you watch it coming for you.

There was this one night a few weeks ago in New York, I was sitting in my friends dorm room thinking about the night before we left. I had come home from work that night to find my dad waiting for me outside. That's never a good sign. He picked a fight with me as soon as I got out of the car. The conversation ended with me saying that maybe if he was really lucky, I would die in a plane crash on my way home and he would never have to deal with me again. To which he responded, "Ha, yeah if I'm lucky." I hadn't been expecting that. Though now that I think about it, I don't know why.

I had known he was going to be yelling at me when I got home that night. My mom had called to let me know pretty early on. When I was getting ready to leave work my boss said this to me, "Don't worry to much, he can't break you anymore than he already has."
I wish that was true. But even when you've stopped loving someone, they still find ways to break your heart into smaller pieces than the last time. Even when you think you've given up all hope that things could ever be different, they seem to find a way of shattering the hope you didn't know you had.

I never realized until this trip why I love playing the piano so much. Why when I go a long time without playing it, I feel like a piece of me is drying up, and I long to play it, in the hope that I can preserve that piece of me and stop it from leaving. See, it's not just that I like the piano. It's not just that it sounds incredibly beautiful with played the right way. It's that when I sit down at the piano, I can express exactly what I'm feeling without saying a word. I never realized until this trip just how much playing the piano is a form of prayer for me. A way of pouring my heart out to God when I can't find the words to say how broken and messed up I feel, and just how much I need him.

That night in New York when I was thinking about my dad, and coming home, I couldn't shake the feeling that everything was going to be okay. That God has a plan for my life and will be with me every step of the way, no matter what. It's been two weeks now, and I still can't shake it. The thing that convinces me that it's God, and that its not all in my head, is that even on bad days, days when I feel like everything is impossible, I know that it's not. I know that God has a plan, and that plan doesn't include abandoning me and leaving me to figure life out on my own.

One of my favorite things about God: He's bigger than my problems. He has a way of making everything work together for good, even when everything seems impossible.

The thing I love about his promises: They're not dependent upon my emotions. They're faithful whether I am or not, and they're there even when I can't understand why.

I feel like I've learned more in the last month than I have all year. It's funny how that happens sometimes.

I don't know what exactly God's going to be doing in my life, and I don't know how he's going to do it, but I know he's going to.

And for now, that's all I need.