Friday, January 31, 2014

I saw God today

A church in town has a great sign, "You saw God today in line at the food bank.  How did you react?" Being a person that works in the realm of social services, and a christian, I smile when I drive by.

My philosophy on Christianity is just that; how we treat others, especially the marginalized, is how we treat God.  When this philosophy is spread across my life, and is enacted with each person I meet, it puts me at odds with mainstream Christianity. It puts me at odds with people I've known my entire life. It puts me at odds with the congregation in the church I attend. I cannot read a Christian newspaper or blog without becoming upset with what people are saying. I do know that there are christians like me, but they are not the people surrounding me. That disconnect leaves me with questions.

Lately, I've questioned whether I really am a christian. Not that I question Christ's death and resurrection and my baptism. No, I've questioned whether there is a current relationship, because I'm so different. But yesterday, God let me know that He's still with me.

Last year, at Project Homeless Connect, I gave a hiking pack to a very grateful man. He was so excited to have it, so I was shocked when 30 minutes to an hour later, he came back into the donation area, with a young woman. He saw me and said, "she needed it more than me." Yes, even if you are homeless, someone else has it worse than you.  I was so touched that I gave him my card, told him to come by the office, and I would make sure we had another pack for him. I asked on Facebook if anyone had one to donate (the one I gave away had been my parents' hiking packs.) A friend messaged me that it was an opportunity from God for him, and had a new backpack shipped to my office.

The man never came in to the office. I haven't seen him about either. I wasn't sure if he left town, or is one of the homeless in our city that died last year. Shortly after the even, a fire in an abandoned house killed and injured homeless people. I took the pack with me yesterday, hoping he'd come in to Project Homeless Connect again. A few people asked about the pack while we were giving out donations, and each time I explained it was for a specific person. Then a young guy came up, and asked if he could trade his smaller pack, for that nice one. I told him it was for someone, but if that person didn't come in, I would give it to him. I don't know why I told him that, and not anyone else. Maybe it was because he was willing to trade, so that someone else could have his backpack, and he didn't want to just have 2. Whatever the reason, I had committed to it.

Almost 2 hours went by, and no sight of the man from last year. The young man came by to check with me, and I told him I wanted to give the guy a bit more time, but it would be his if I didn't see him. Once he left, I started thinking that I could give the young man the pack, and if the other guy came through, I would find him a new pack, just as I had the year before. That thought soon became conviction, and I caught the eye of the young man, who was sitting at a table with some companions. As I handed him a brand new hiking pack, he said "thank you." I had expected that. I heard thank you all day from those we were helping. It was what he said next that hit me, as if God was saying those words straight to me. He said, "I have been praying for a backpack. This is an answer to prayer." I smiled, but couldn't speak. What could I say?

I saw God yesterday. I will continue to see him as I reach out to those that others avoid.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

See You Later Crocodile

Sure the line normally is See you later alligator, after while crocodile. But since when have we ever done anything normal in our home? .... um... well with the exception of me finding some sense of normal recently, the answer is never!

The twins love the alligator/crocodile good byes, but they like to do their own version.  Their version is much more fun too.  This morning, as Bryce told me goodbye and shut the door, he said, "See you later Robot." So I responded, "Bye Bye Alligator."

And since the twins can't read yet, I can share a few things with you.  Recently the boys discovered My Little Ponies.  We watch them nearly every day on Netflix, and they LOVE them.  Each boy has his favorite horses.  Bryce loves Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash. I think it is fitting as both are leaders on the show, as is Bryce.  One is a leader for her mind and the other her athleticism. Brendon absolutely loves Pinkie Pie. She loves sweets, and is often found entertaining herself with her pet alligator. He also likes Fluttershy, who has pets of all kinds. Nen is my sweets hound, and he is the one that can play and ignore everything else around him. With this new found love, I'm sure you can guess what they are getting for Christmas! We cannot wait to see their faces when they open them.

The sad thing is, I know so many dads would not allow their boys to get pink and purple ponies as a gift. I'm so thankful it's a non-issue in our house. I know my boys are growing up better adjusted than some because they don't have a family forcing gender stereotypes on them.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Stereotypes

I keep hearing how you can't be country if you don't... or you aren't stylish if you do... And I wonder, what would I be?

I wear cowboy boots with my Vigoss jeans, but I can also walk flawlessly in 4 inch heels with a dress.

I can shoot a gun, catch a frog, and play in the mud just as well as I can run a meeting or plan and execute an event.

I go to church, and I believe in Jesus, but I also believe in the right to choose, gay marriage, and affordable health care for all people.

I refuse to fit into one of society's boxes.  I'd rather stand alone on what I believe in, than stand with others for something I don't.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Consequences

I learned something new on August 9th. Breaking bones doesn't hurt. I felt nothing unusual when I hit the floor that day. The bone breaking doesn't hurt, but the effect of the broken bone hurts. By the time I got my first dose of morphine, I knew a new kind of sharp, excruciating pain, which was a stark contrast from the fall that broke the bone.

Being in a manic state doesn't feel bad. It's quite the opposite. Even though there are negative voices in your head telling you that you aren't good enough or worthy of love and attention, you live on a high of hormones and energy that make you feel invincible. But like the broken bone, afterward, there is hell to pay. There are apologies to make, relationships to mend, and hardest of them all; forgiving yourself for actions you were aware of at the time, but had little control over.

I haven't forgiven myself yet, but I now live every day realizing that what I do will have consequences. I'm trying to live so that those consequences aren't something that make life hard for me or those I love later. It never hurts during the act, whether saying an unkind word or giving a compliment, but there will be a consequence in the end. Make it a good one.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Modern Day Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a girl.  Not a girl so much, but a young woman, recently married and keeping home for the first time.  She didn't know why, but things that were simple to others around her were impossible to her.  She was frustrated that she couldn't do basic tasks like dishes, but resigned herself to the fact that she was different.

That girl soon had a child, and while her little one was just a baby, things felt hopeless.  That hopelessness stuck around, until her next child was on the way.  After that child was born she was finally put on anti-depressants.  Those meds helped, but they didn't help enough.  She would go off and on them.  When off her temper was awful, and she often felt like she was a bystander watching her own life.

Many years later, after having twins, she slipped and fell on water they spilled.  Immediately she saw her leg was broken.  Home alone with three boys, she sent the oldest out to find a neighbor. Soon an ambulance took her away, with lots of drugs to ease the pain.  Emergency surgery left a rod and pins in one bone, and another bone left to heal in the splint.  The next week was spent sleeping, but by week two, she began to get stir crazy.  The energy she had felt building in her prior to her slip was back.  The heightened emotions and euphoria that were matched with a sense of worthlessness and doubt, were back.

By the third week, she was batshit crazy. She went back to work, but couldn't focus.  She felt like a battery was sending charges through her, and demons were climbing through her chest.  She couldn't sleep, and couldn't sit still.  She couldn't get enough attention, and made life miserable for all around her. When she saw the psychiatrist she was desperate for help.  And help her, he did.  The very next day she was diagnosed as Bipolar, and he put her on Lithium three times a day, and within a few weeks she started a new anti-depressant.  And she saw him often to track her progress.

Soon she was doing dishes by hand every night, where before she couldn't even fill the dishwasher. Her kitchen began to stay clean.  She could sweep the floors. Sleep was no longer elusive.  And before she even realized what was happening 22 pounds fell right off of her.  She no longer binged on food and drink.  And she quickly realized that what she was experiencing was what most people called "normal." She kind of liked normal.  Normal had a nice rhythm to it.

Maybe that rhythm will include more writing again.  Or at least more sharing of photos.  Normal won't include Family Baseball League though, as I will not be in any shape to run.  And I finish my story, it's not really an ending, my story is the beginning of a new and happier "normal" life.