Tag Archive | loss

Joel 2:25

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I Am Not Job


When the losses

And the sorrows

The misunderstandings

And the judgments

Keep piling up on me

This year I heard myself

As I cried out,

“God, I am not Job!”

 

Job was like near perfect

He focused on doing what

Pleased God with his life

Satan wanted to devour him

Push Job to deny God

God agreed

He lost everything,

“God, I am not Job!”

 

“I am not Job!”

So I need You

To hold my head

Above the waters

The ones threatening

My very life

I need Your strength

Or I am going under.

 

“I am not Job!”

It will have to be You

Who keeps me

Who encourages me

You will have to

Be Job in me

Because, “Lord,

I am not Job!”

    d.f.a.v. 12/5/14

—Donna

Into the World

Seems like all I have wrestled with the past week are the forced acknowledgements of how uncomfortable I am in the world. Frankly, it drives me nuts. There’s nothing to upset my apple cart more than a trip into the world, no matter how brief, how fun, or how refreshing in the moment for once I’m back home, I find a stale and bitter taste in my mouth.

I have, in my forced exile from the world, come to immensely crave the isolation. A danger I foresaw, for who knows me better than I except God? Herein lies the reason I never willingly sought the status of disabled, why I fought to keep focused on the goal of being in the daily workplace, because I knew I would come to choose to remain isolated and with my own thoughts for company once forced to acknowledge how ill fitted for the world I am.

Recently my husband, our daughter and our niece took a brief and whirlwind three day weekend to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg in Tennessee. Travel is hard for me since the amputation and the spread of the Lymphedema to other areas of my body. But for a few hours on the Saturday afternoon of our trip I enjoyed being part of the tourists crowding the streets of Pigeon Forge. My husband forces my wheelchair into areas the world forgot to allow me access to being capable of lifting me and the chair up over curbs and not timid about asking or just telling people to get out of the way when they block the sidewalk or store aisle. On this Saturday we parked in the Old Mill area of Pigeon Forge and went in and out of overcrowded shops, had our picture made in an old-time photography shop and ate a marvelous lunch at the Old Mill restaurant (even if we did have to wait nearly an hour for a handicap accessible table). I felt much like I imagine a kid set lose in a candy store does during those few hours.

But all too quickly my body started reminding me of how uncomfortable it was and how ill-suited to travel. Our ways of adapting in our home didn’t work in a suppose-to-be-but-isn’t wheelchair accessible hotel room where even the bed was an issue. (It was so tall it came to the top of my hip making “hopping” up on it an adventure and fear of falling off it a possibility.)

So we returned home and I was grateful to be back. Back to where I am more comfortable. Back to where we’ve ironed out far more of the wrinkles in the fabric of being disabled for me and my family.

Only I heard and saw and tasted the message of the world. “Look what you’re missing! Isn’t this fun? See? Feel? Come experience! Come play! Come be us!”

But I can’t. The same world reminds me I can’t.

“No! Keep your wheelchair away from here!”

“No! You can’t eat yet, there are only six tables where we can put your wheelchair and 51 others we can’t so wait.”

“No! We put up rails in the bathroom, wait for someone to help you if you can’t use the standard size accommodations!”

“No! You can’t swim here!”

“No! You can’t! No! No! No!”

So I wrestle with shutting the voice of the world out of my mind. I seek solace in scriptures ancient and true. I seek comfort in the arms of a Heavenly Father who doesn’t reject me. I seek a way to express myself that the world will welcome or at least accept. I turn to the modern world of technology seeking a connection and find a weird sense of being anything but connected. My mind whirls and sleep does not come.

Prayers ooze out of me with a desperate plea about them.

John wrote in I John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

I fear.

I am always human here.

I sin here. I sin in my need to be accepted for superficial appearances and for superficial reasons. I sin and I do so in my inability to accept this twist of life.

But I am on my way home. Truly my home where my body won’t be ravaged by disease. Where the accommodations will be perfect. Where I won’t want to go anywhere or do anything that someone will say “No” to. Home. Home where the perfect love reigns and the message isn’t buried beneath layers of “stuff”. Home where expressing myself isn’t an issue at all because the selfishness that drives my ego of self is silenced by the much stronger need to worship and express my love for God.

If only I could get that down here I would be much more like Paul who wrote in Philippians 4:11-13, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is like to be in need, and I know what it is like to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who give me strength.”

Meanwhile I am more in the mindset of David who wrote in Psalm 40:12, “For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me.”

-Faye

Life Message

Life may have

taken a body part,

broken my heart,

discouraged my

spirit, & tested

my faith but I am

still here. Why?

Because my God
is

stronger, better,

greater,
more

enduring and totally

undefeatable! I am

His daughter, His

hier and after

this life I have

a whole new life

with Him
in eternity!

So LIFE bring

it on, in the end

God wins!

Oops! Jar

A few weeks ago my husband and I discussed some new family guidelines for our three member family. We were trying to find a way that would help all of us remember things to do to help us function sweeter together as a team. We came up with the Oops! Jar. After a family meeting where everyone got to have a say in the guidelines, reasons behind and solutions we implemented our plan.

Whenever one of us forgets to do something, like put dirty clothes in the laundry baskets or wipe the toothpaste off of the sink then we have to put a quarter into the Oops! Jar. Then when we go on a vacation we will use the funds to help pay for something we all want to do.

Since this is still “new” to us I won’t tell you how it’s working, although I will say we need a lot more quarters than usual around the house these days!

If I had an Oops! Jar for myself on this blog I would have quite a tidy sum of quarters jangling around inside. There are some “rules” of blogging I haven’t adhered to very well. So, although I won’t be depositing a physical quarter into fvbf’s
Oops! Jar
I will offer virtual ones to you my readers.

  • Sometimes I drop off the blogging field for days, even weeks at a time.
  • I am no computer whiz and when I had to purchase a new laptop unexpectedly with Windows 8 and upgraded Word products it threw me for quite a loop. Rather than deal with it, I’ve chosen to bury my head under the laptop and try to wish it to work like what I was familiar with.
  • No back-up! Yes, I know I should back-up my computer files and I was once regular at doing so but, I grew neglectful and when my old laptop crashed – yes, you got it, I lost work in process and that made me annoyed with myself so I just didn’t deal with it.
  • When I am blogging regularly I don’t post my blog before 9:00 a.m. like the “suggestive guidelines” tell me.
  • My writing will win me no grammar awards I am sure!
  • I’m sure there are others and ignorance isn’t bliss so for those I also offer an Oops! Jar contribution.

Now, with those Oops! Jar confessions accounted for here are some for the personal blogging guidelines God and I hammered out when I began to publish my blogs that I’ve violated too.

  • I’m not always willing to give my readers “the rest of the story”. Especially since I was forced into taking disability. As a Christian I have wanted to handle it better, allowing God to show grace through me, to forgive and to push on to the rest of my life. I have struggled in ways I have no words to describe these last six months. I have chosen to hide away at home on Sunday’s so I could avoid admitting to my fellow sisters and brothers in Christ that my faith is taking a beating, that I have been asking “Why?” of God and not trusting. Now there are some who may comment that I’ve been way more forthcoming than they have desire to know. I respect that opinion if it is yours.
  • I need to forgive my father and his role he played in leading to my having an amputation AGAIN. That is difficult for me to admit but I’ve allowed resentment and bitterness to interfere and become a stumbling block AGAIN. This is on me, not him, for I am the one who forgives, leaves it at Jesus’ feet and picks it up again.

Finally let me remind myself and you my readers that I am no formally educated person in theology, doctrine, religious beliefs. The views I offer are of a layperson who is a female, a mother, a wife, an amputee with complications, a wrestler with depression and anxiety, a want-to-be writer, artistic painting dabbler and a flawed human being with a relationship with Jesus Christ that is not always what it should be because I can’t “surrender all”. I want this blog to be “real” and sometimes gritty revealing honest emotions, faith struggles and life lessons. Here I hope people read “real” and by doing so, find God to be real as well.

For now it is way past posting time and my coffee grows cold. Until next time dear readers and friends!

Faye

…a time to laugh…

Before reading this please know that if you are dealing with depression, anxiety, grief and any number of other difficulties in life that seeking professional help is not only advisable it is most likely necessary.  I do not advocate EVER using tools such as laughter, praise and prayer alone to help ease the burdens of depression and other such illnesses.  There is NO SHAME in allowing God to use all His resources to help you.

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“…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…” Ecclesiastes 3:4 (N.I.V.)

“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.”  Proverbs 15:30 (N.I.V.)

The dearest friend I could ever have and I have been separated by hundreds of miles since 1998.  During the times we have those “catch up conversations” it is a time of sharing the troubles of our lives but also the joys.  Those reunions are seasoned with love, enduring friendship, caring, understanding, compassion and a healthy sprinkling of laughter.  We giggle (yes, grown women can giggle) and that compassionate laughter of recognizing the challenges of our own growing up (yes, we are all still maturing) and our surviving.

We laugh at our reactions to the events that have occurred in our families.  (Oh the stories our families give us to share!) We laugh at what we were thinking at the time and how it seemed perfectly acceptable then, but which we have to acknowledge now, were impractical or way off base.

Yesterday as we hung up from just such a conversation I realized that one of the things I value and love most about Pattie and the friendship we share, is that we can be so honest with one another and laugh at ourselves through the eyes of the other.  We are both “serious” people (well, most of the time) but together we always manage to find reasons to laugh!

The laughter we shared yesterday was much-needed by me and I don’t have a doubt Pattie as well.  We are both in stages of our lives where our children are rapidly growing up, our husbands are knee-deep in their careers and we are transitioning ourselves into new stages of life, aging (oh the horror of that realization) and new self-realizations.

Laughter sometimes has to be sought in life.  If I allowed myself I could sit and drown in the tears I shed in mourning the loss of the woman I was…mourn the loss of my left leg, my job, my independence…and I confess there are days, sometimes stretches of days, that I do.  I sob.  I hide away.  I MOURN, I grieve and I wrestle with God over the losses, the changes, what I want, who I was and who I am becoming.  But, no matter how hard, I do try to find something positive, I try to allow Abba Father to nurture the flame of hope that my relationship with Him fuels.  Laughter is often a huge part of that.

My challenge to you today dear reader, no matter what you’re going through is to find some reason to laugh!

MC900434743If you need help rediscovering joy then –

  • Spend some time with young children as they play.
  • Call an old friend and catch-up, share your sorrows but try to find some joy to share as well.
  • Put on a CD you love with some upbeat music and dance!
  • Crank up the stereo in the house or car and sing to an audience of one!
  • Entice your child to share some karaoke minutes with you and laugh at both of you as you sing and dance together!
  • Look at some humorous stuff on the internet.
  • Pop in a funny DVD and lose yourself in the comedy.
  • Watch puppies play.
  • Pull out your child’s joke book, the one they read to you and you moan at the bad puns and weak punch lines and read it with the mindset of your child.
  • Sit down with someone for coffee who has a cheerful outlook on life and just bask in their being who they are for they are people we need in this world for just this purpose among others.

Yes, I know it’s hard!  Yes, for some of you I know what I’m asking seems impossible!  Believe me I KNOW!

  • I KNOW life can bring you to a place that you feel as if you are down for the count and just can’t get up again!
  • I KNOW depression, anxiety, fear and a multitude of other feelings and things can immobilize us!  I KNOW my friend, I know.
  • I KNOW depression’s heavy blanket can suffocate!
  • I KNOW addictions, any addiction, erodes your energy, it takes all of you to fight it.
  • I KNOW grief is overwhelming your soul!
  • I KNOW you hear that countdown and giving up would be easier, it would be a relief but DON’T GIVE UP!  Do this, it won’t make all the ugly go away, I know, but it will help your heart, your spirit to survive.
  • Trust me, I KNOW!  It’s not a magical phrase or giggle that will erase whatever it is you’re surviving but IT CAN HELP you cope!

MC900434743

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.”  Proverbs 15:13 (N.I.V.)

-Faye

P.S. I know one more thing, someone is reading this today and tears are pooling in your eyes, grief is tearing at your soul and I want you to know, I pray for you even as I finish up typing this last sentence.  God bless!

Defined in the Last Row

1000318841Happily settled in the first desk of the first row in front of the teacher’s desk, with her permission, on the first day of school I was alive with excitement.  I could barely contain my joy.  That all changed when Cheryl Samson* walked in with her mother and stopped in front of me announcing she wanted my desk.  Mama not only forced me to move to the last desk in the last row in the corner but also to apologize for having taking Cheryl’s seat.  I was defined in this moment as being unworthy to sit up front, I belonged in the far corner. 

A spark of joy returned soon when I was called to the teacher’s desk for her to see how many words or letters of the alphabet I could recognize.  Happily I told her that I already knew how to read, my mother had taught me!  I rattled off the titles of the books I had read already, the majority of the Bobbsey Twin and Donna Parker series as well as Huckleberry Finn.  Not believing me she handed me the Dick and Jane reader and told me to read out loud.  After I read several pages my teacher stopped me. 

“Your mother,” she told me, “has obviously taught you not to read but to memorize books.  You’ll have to learn again.”  Cheryl snickered MC900439405behind me.  “Memorizing the words on the pages doesn’t mean you can actually read!” the teacher said as I quickly went back to my seat.  I had never known Dick and Jane existed until a few minutes ago.  I was defined in these moments as unintelligent, misinformed and as a liar. 

At home, annoyed by my why questions about Cheryl and the desk and having to relearn to read, my mother mumbled as she peeled potatoes. Finally she sent me to my room saying, “People like us aren’t like people like her.”

“People like us”?  Why were we “people like us”?  What did Mama mean?   I was defined now as less important, belonging to some “people like us” that I didn’t understand.

Homecoming at school brought the opportunity to be the First Grade Homecoming Princess.  All I had to do was enter, sell baked goods and juice during recess for three days and collect as much money as possible from my family.  If I collected and earned the most money I could be the Princess.  I earned myself first runner-up.  Cheryl won the Princess title.

MC900432659I was pleased somewhat to be the runner-up.  I would still get to be part of the Homecoming Court and walk out onto the field at the football game half-time.  Only I blew that by trying to mimic Cheryl and failed miserably, embarrassed my family, received a spanking, lecture and hearing the story repeated through the years, the humiliation fresh every time.  I was defined as foolish and bringing shame to my family.  I was defined as a “runner-up” not a winner.

MP900305720

To make everyone happy I learned to pretend.  I pretended not to know how to read and pretended to let the teacher teach me all over again.  I pretended to be less intelligent.  That I didn’t want the very things I wanted the most.  That my home life was just as normal as anyone else’s home life was.  That I deserved to be last in everything, that runner-up was the best I’d ever be.  Through the years I learned to settle for less because I had pretended so long to only want and deserve the least that I didn’t even try.  I was wearing the assigned masks given to me and defined by them regardless of their truth.

MP900382637These three events, all too quickly defined me to myself as what I was given the message I was to be.  I recognized all too soon that what made Cheryl one of “those people” instead of one of the “people like us” were the following things:  Beauty, money, expensive clothes, intelligence, importance, lineage, and social status.  Money, I acknowledged as the years passed, could buy it all.  Or at least buy you the ability to fake it.

Reality was that there were a lot of things that set me apart from other kids.  None of those were any of the reasons my mother had cited, or my teacher insisted upon or that my childish mind connected to.  All that these false definitions of me did were to enable me to hide away.

Redefining who I was would take years.  Slowly it happened. 

I learned I did have the ability to earn A’s by earning them in master level classes.  I learned I could do, at least someMP900432927 algebra, by teaching myself from my daughter’s textbook and the online tutorial lessons to help her.  I learned to be a parent that gives her child wings to fly and roots to let her know she is always loved and always has a home, instead of clipping her wings and binding her with her roots.  It has taken years of on and off therapy to peel away layers of pretense, hurt, shame, wrong definitions and forbidden anger and I’m still redefining myself as one of God’s creations.

1001224892Paul’s words in Romans 8:28 have reminded me “…we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”   And again in I Corinthians 15:10 Paul’s words have given me courage, “But by the grace I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.  No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” 

King Solomon’s words from Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:” repeatedly whisper to me that the bad times will pass and the good will come, all in God’s time.  While Jeremiah in 29:11 has told me, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jesus’ has instructed me of my mission for him in this life in Matthew 28:19-20, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” 

We all have defining moments in our lives…defining scriptures that have awakened us to who we are in Christ…what moments have defined you…what scriptures have awakened you?

Faye

*Name changed for privacy.                                                                                                         All scripture from the N.I.V. translation of the Bible.

…a time to tear down and a time to build…Ecclesiastes 3:3b N.I.V.

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Yesterday my grief and depression teamed up to go to battle with another team within me, grit and determination, before the morning light filtered through the window shades.  Despite my intentions I forfeited to team number one.  By doing so when I picked up our daughter from school I had spent the last five hours either asleep curled up under the covers or silently naming things that began with the letters of the alphabet backwards until sleep would claim me again.  Being awake was too painful.

Yet as I backed out of our garage I managed a genuine smile as the continual promised gray skies have yielded to surprise sunshine, driving the grayness of the outside away.  My smile wasn’t plastered on so our daughter wouldn’t know I was hiding my feelings from her and the ignition of the homework routine wasn’t a battle for me, even the math.  While I didn’t manage to accomplish much on my “to do” list, having given into my despair, it helped.  Though I must promise myself not to allow many days like yesterday.  Grief has to be worked through and I have to be careful not to pity myself into a break with reality.

Today, as I didn’t start on the portion of my list of tasks yesterday, I have only one major task to accomplish:  the farewell steps of leaving my professional career.  It has to be today for I have no other choice now.  I’ve waited for a reprieve and none has arrived.  I’ve prayed for a miracle either a miracle of healing or of changed minds and attitudes but it hasn’t been granted.  Today I will:

  • Pack up 13 years of my professional life.  Give away what I do not want and bring the rest home to either incorporate into our home’s décor or go to a local mission thrift shop tomorrow.
  • Type up and turn in my withheld letter of resignation because I have yet to accept, yes even now, that this is happening.
  • Turn in my “wad of keys”, ID badge, parking decal, Wal-Mart credit card and Sam’s Membership Card to Human Resources.
  • Drive toward home no longer employed, no longer able to identify myself as what I do for a living and tasting the bitterness of knowing I am now a case number with the long term disability insurance company and soon, with Social Security.

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I am struck suddenly, with the realization of how familiar the feelings I am having now mirror the ones I had before my amputation.  Feelings of being herded into a decision I didn’t want to make but had to.  Realizing I’ve used up my last options.  Knowing the hour is fast approaching when I will have those last moments to stop this door from opening and closing behind me.

Really, I could and I feel the urge to do so like I felt the urge to yell, “No, I’ve changed my mind!” when I was being wheeled towards the operating room to have my leg amputated.  Legally my job is mine until the last minute of my F.M.L.A. runs out on January 10.  I could have my doctor fax over a release to return to work and wheel in on the 9th ready to work an eight hour day or a ten hour one.

But I know I won’t.  At least I don’t imagine I will.  Just like I didn’t change my mind about the amputation because the reality is what the reality is for I can’t work four to five eight to twelve hour days anymore.  My body just won’t take the pressure or the stress.  I risk my life to keep working, for the next time the blood clot could kill me.  How many times has God dodged that bullet for me?  Or the next infection which my body doesn’t even fight on its own anymore, will be so out of control by the time I get to help it will have progressed to far to save my life.

The door is opening, my own hand is on the knob and the weight of me and my power chair are propelling it to yield to us…

Behind me are the ruins of a time of my life in which I’ve felt successful, useful, needed, respected…

The time to tear down has for the time being, reached a final phase.  I can’t see what is on the other side of this doorway but I know, “I never walk alone.”

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Cold and Gray

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It’s cold outside and gray.  The sky is the gray of lead and the air is gray with layers of soupy fog.  The weather on television promised no sunshine until next week.  On the short drive to our daughter’s elementary school the car’s heater chugs out streams of warm air, which she cuts off on her side of the car, leaving me a double portion of warmth.  In my mind it too is gray, a fleece blanket of gray heat wrapping itself around me.  Having dropped her off I briefly consider driving eight miles to get a decent cup of coffee but decide not to.   I drive right back home and ready to go into the house.

The garage floor is gray, that fact penetrates my thoughts as I drive my power chair up the ramp into the house.  I close the door on the grayness of the garage floor as I’ve closed it on the grayness of the world outside but I can’t close off the gray thoughts in my mind.

Grief has settled into my heart and seems determined to stay.  It’s been 19 months and I should be past all this, I tell myself, but it does no good.  I recall, in pieces, bits of a dream I had last night, a black and white dream fitting to my gray mood.  My mother and I are talking.  I can see us although I can’t make out what we’re saying.  I dream a lot about her lately.  She’s been in heaven almost 13 years now.  I also dream of my father, not as often, he will be gone four years this coming February, just next month.  In my dreams they are both still alive, still with us and when I wake I want nothing more than to pick up the phone and talk to my mother.  Awake her death seems to hit me all over again but although it hurts, the hurt doesn’t linger like it did when she passed.  Then it was overwhelming, the grief, the pain rocking my world and I remember that first night when I lay exhausted by the grief of that day thinking, “How is the world going on out there when our world stopped today?  Don’t they know nothing is the same?  It will never be the same again.”

Once in the house I want nothing more than to work my way back into bed, burrow beneath the covers and go back to sleep.  My eyes are heavy with the need to just close.  My mind seems detached as it reminds me of things I need to do besides sleep.  The Christmas tree needs to be undecorated.  I’ve got the family pictures to finish arranging and prepare for being hung, along with the last of the frames painted black.  I should be on my way to Birmingham to pack up but I put it off until this afternoon.  The heat is running, I can feel it blowing, but I am chilly.  Again, the bed and the covers call to me.

As I move from my power chair to the bed I can’t help but be reminded of my loss.  In my dreams I haven’t experienced this loss.  I walk, drive, shop, and sing; all the normal activities of my prior life without the aid of anyone. The dependence I have now on someone to go with me to shop angers me.  Though I can drive I can’t get out of the car and go into a place without a wheelchair.  I can’t get a wheelchair out of the car without scratching the car and doing more damage to the wheelchair.  Other things, such as singing in the choir or special music at church are gone, just gone.

Nineteen months.  I want free of this grayness, this renewed depression but it seems to be part of my soul.

I want it back.  I want to go back to those moments when the hospital staff are wheeling me out of the pre-op room and the realization I can still say no comes to my mind.  If I could go back, would I say no?  Yes, but to what avail?  I would need to go further back and fix so many wrongs, remake so many decisions that I can’t unravel the paths of life that brought me to that operation 19 months ago.  I can’t pinpoint the beginning of what resulted in the need for the amputation.  Could I have gone back and turned the tide at any one place would it be enough?  Again I am swept away by the realization regardless, it can’t be done.

Outside it is cold and gray.   Inside, in spite of the electric lights, the heater easing away the cold it is cold and gray too.  In my heart it is cold and gray.  Only cold and gray everywhere…

“…a time to mourn and a time to dance,…” Ecclesiastes 3:4b (N.I.V.)

 (As I am neither a Biblical scholar or in any way knowledgeable concerning the languages used to write the original scriptures I cannot incorporate the scripture into my life based on what I do not know or understand.  That is why as I read and pray about scripture I depend on the Holy Spirit to counsel me and take the English translation as it is written, with the notes in my N.I.V. Study Bible and whatever books I have read on the particular passage.

Having witnessed, in person, the danger of following someone’s instruction or interpretation of the scripture based on an unsound foundation; I would never advocate someone to base their spiritual live on how I believe the scripture reads.  I urge each person to seek their answers for themselves.  Never except for truth what you cannot find solid basis for in the scripture for yourself along with the leadership of the Holy Spirit and the teaching of someone with knowledge of the languages and background of the Bible you may lack.)

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This series of blogs began fermenting last month with a weird and disturbing dream I had.  This is the dream:

I am watching the funeral procession of Abraham Lincoln as it comes down a long brick paved avenue.  The horse-drawn wagon with the flag draped coffin of the President is approaching a circular part of the road and in the center of that circle is a fountain surrounded by flowers.  Then I am in the wagon, holding on for dear life to the coffin containing President Lincoln, fighting against the bumpy road and the jarring of his coffin that seems to be about to cause the coffin to end up in the road.  Suddenly the axle or wheel breaks on the “rear passenger side” of the wagon as it hits an unseen pothole in the roadway.  The wagon falls.  Now I am attempting against an even greater pull of gravity and laws of nature, to keep Lincoln’s coffin from sliding to the ground and perhaps his body tumbling out.

I can feel my muscles straining, feel the coffin slipping from my hand holds and I go from thinking, “I can’t let this happen!” to thinking, “Wait this isn’t really happening!”  It occurs to me that what I am taking part of has any basis in the history I’ve read about.  People are yelling at me, no one is helping me, and I am now too yelling, “This isn’t real, right?  This can’t be real!”

Then I woke up, just as I am sure Lincoln’s body tumbles from the coffin but whether Lincoln’s coffin and/or his body falls out of the wagon I do not know although had I stayed asleep long enough I am certain both would have.  It was disturbing and rather creepy.  I posted the dream on my Facebook page.

A few days later an old friend of mine from high school who is now a minister told me he was no dream interpreter but that he had seen a lot of symbolism in my dream.  Having caused my interest to peak I asked him about it and privately he emailed me what he felt was an interpretation of my dream given to him by our God.  My friend, Fred*, wasn’t sure I’d accept what he had to say as a message inspired by God.  He was also unsure whether I would be offended or whether I was in a place to hear what he had to say.

But I was ready, for the first uneasiness caused by my dream had passed and all the wise cracks about what food I had eaten or changes in my medication had occurred.  What Fred didn’t know was what God would remind and show to me when I took what Fred had said and God and I “talked it over” during my quiet time with Him.  When it all came together I was left having to acknowledge that my dream was filled with symbolism of my life now.

Fred went on to tell me, in the love of God and of old and tried friendship, what I needed to do to move on with my life.  I haven’t embraced that revelation as willingly as I have the interpretation of my dream itself.  Fred told me to do so much I knew had to be done and that I so DON’T WANT TO DO.

As the year 2012 drew to a close and 2013 began I found myself acknowledging many things.  The post I made at midnight New Year’s Day spoke of winter being for me, an odd time to celebrate new life for things are dormant instead of bursting with new life.  But winter affords us the time to PREPARE for new life.  It is the time we stay closer to home and hearth and family.  It is the time farmers repair equipment, merchants plan the stocking of new wares for spring, heartier soups and stews are prepared, the sun rises later and fades sooner, past times of reading, studying and crossword puzzles seem perfect activities.  It is a when one has time to think.  It is often a time when travel is more risky and one has to think of how to deal with ice, sleet, snow, wind and low temperatures.

It is not a time I am accustom to taking a vacation or journey.  Yet here I am on this journey.  I am straining against reality.  I am fighting to uphold a way of life I held dear and against the loss of it for it means dependence on others that my earlier life taught me was dangerous.  I’ve known this day was coming; I just never could stomach the realities of it.  Now, I have no choice.  Without a doubt the axle/wheel is broken for my left leg is gone from above the knee down and in trying to keep “what was” on the wagon on it there has been a tremendous physical strain on me.  I cannot accept on my deepest levels, that what is happening is happening, that it is real.  I am as much confused by my own thoughts and feelings as I am by those outside of me yelling at me so loudly I cannot hear what they are saying.

I am entering the “winter” of this time for me, both by the calendar and in my life.  I have to take the time to prepare for new life, sort through what needs to be mended or let go of, do the mending or the cleaning out and readying for spring.  Part of that is going to be rejoicing as the new spring arrives and part of that is going to be mourning what is dead and of no longer use to me.

I’m not sure how one “mourns” the loss of a limb or observes the end of one way of life while readying for the start of another.  I am sure of this though, it is going to be painful and it is going to be challenging.  It is going to be exciting and it is going to be an affirmation of life.  It is going to be covered with the fingerprints of God.

It is also my hope that others who are in a time of mourning for whatever loss in this winter season will find a light to help them find the pathway through.  It doesn’t matter if where you are it is 101 or -31 degrees outside for this winter season is here for you as it is for me regardless of what the calendar reads.  The time of mourning arrives with the death of what we will mourn.

Will you join me in whatever way you can during this winter of my life?

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