Thursday, October 30, 2014

A shake and a wave goodbye

A long planned for miracle got off without a hitch yesterday. No weddings, just a big pickup of household items by Habitat Restore. I get a tax write off and a bunch of people are going to find some Great furniture for sale this weekend. In the haul were two gorgeous cherry bookcases I had built when I finally started to have enough money to decorate, four Couristan and Karistan rugs that Mother always swore were my inheritance and she just LOVED, and a little white metal porch table of my sister's.

That little table was the Only personal item left in her room after she died. She had gotten rid of everything else she could, literally wiping herself out before she killed herself. I could tell you tales for hours about the histories and meanings of some of the things that have gone out of my house, but the point is that they are going out of me as well. There have been car loads of books to Friends of the Library, dozens of large plastic storage boxes to charities all over the city, so many office and art supplies donated to a school that the office lady had fear in her eyes that I was bringing in yet another cart full, and there will be more given yet. 

I only give good, useful things, the trash is thrown away. Sometimes, for some of us, the most difficult thing is distinguishing between the use of the things for others and how it's used in us. We blink at all that stuff with our fuzzy blue eyes and see how that's really a fine carpet and how maybe we could taking up sewing with some of those twenty five crates of fabric, and with the same glance we are consciously and determinedly Not looking at how those things are not a part of who we are or where we want to be. The illusion of value coats every surface, after all, look at how much it cost and we may never have the chance to own something like that again. But, grief and lost affections are the intoxicating perfume they release, every whiff a trigger of memory and a flashback of what could have been. With every load that I've given away, I've felt - physically sensed - the things being lifted out and carried away from me. 

Now, I'm not so foolish as to think that I can alter who I am by refining my possessions, but when I woke up this morning my back felt like it had been to the chiropractor. Knots and tension released all the way to my tailbone and the stress in my muscles properly aligned so I could carry my own weight lightly once again.  Happy fall mornings call for happy dance music, so I dialed up a bunch of music to bake by, especially my new theme song Shake It Off.



 
I decided I was not a whole wheat person, even tho I'm supposed to like it, so I've thrown out the whole wheat bread I made last weak and have my soft buttermilk bread in the oven. There is much to be done and it's a glorious, colorful, sunshiny day to do it in. 

Up in the music queue came For Good

Although I would have loved to be haunted by my sister after she died, there never was a moment where I felt her presence again. She and I were battle buddies in the trench war that was our family, and I was devastated at losing her.
Somehow though, as I sang in the kitchen this morning, she was personally, tangibly present with me again - and we were singing this song to each other. It was only a moment, completely unexpected and never to be longed for again, but we were two friends once more, with only joy and love and peace and pride at having been sisters. No burdens to carry anymore.


For Good


I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you...

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes the sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
Because I knew you
(Both):
I have been changed for good

And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the things I've done you blame me for
But then, I guess we know
There's blame to share
(Both)
And none of it seems to matter anymore

Because I knew you...
I have been changed for good...
 



Sunday, October 12, 2014

Last time on this road

"Gonna burn my map, I'm tired of travelin', I've been more miles than I know..."




I've been plowing thru Pia Mellody, thankful I was excited enough to order CDs of lectures she did some years ago about codependence and various things that it screws up. She's much more interesting to listen to that way, she is livelier and younger and has some funny stories to tell that help me relate. Six down, ordered eight more, that should be enough to meditate on for a few weeks.

Have you ever noticed how getting free is exhilarating AND exhausting? I mean, I learn some new stuff, discover things I had no idea were happening, get relieved that now I know what foolishness I've been caught up in - and then I have to take a nap and just black out for a couple of hours. It's not unlike the healing process my leg is doing - I get a little progress and discover I have a bit more strength, walk a little longer and a little farther for a couple of days, then my leg says, "Nope. We sittin' this one out." And it's swelling and pain for a day or two, then... "Hey, let's do Walmart AND go walk the track this morning!" 

Nothing is happening according to plan, but it is progressing. That's why I enjoyed finding that song above by accident yesterday. I'm a big time map reader and route planner. I've always got a list and and a plan about how things are going to work, if I just work it hard enough, if I can just catch myself and the universe at the right moment and make it all work out until I get where I want to go! Well, not only has that never actually worked more than a few months at a time, but the methodology itself is a symptom of codependence and maybe an addiction or two. 

"Seen a lot of days at a highway's pace, and they take their toll on me.
There's a lot of things I've left behind I might have never seen.
Gonna burn my map, I'm tired of traveling,
I've been more miles than I know.
I'm feeling happy and I'm feeling sad
It's my last time on the road."

At the beginning of this past week I heard this song from the Booth Brothers bubbling up in my spirit as I woke one morning. I didn't know the song well enough to know what the lyrics were and I had to search thru the songs I had to find which one it was, but when I did I was almost frightened me that I already had a song hidden away that spoke to recovery. I can't stress this enough - the more I require relief and salvation from the Lord, the more He gives it. That's His name, it is the very thing He wants to be known for all over the world - Jesus, Yeshua, God is my salvation. 



WHEN YOU BOW AT JESUS' FEET

Jim Brady

We’ve all done things that we’re not proud of
Made mistakes along the way
Walked the path of least resistance
Traveled roads that led to shame
But there’s no need to be held captive
Beneath the weight that blame can bring
Just pour your heart out to the Savior
He alone can break the chains

There is freedom and forgiveness
There is peace and sweet relief
Grace and mercy now are waiting
When you bow at Jesus’ feet

So bring your cares and every burden
Lay them down and walk away
Say “Goodbye” to all that haunts you
Leave your guilt to yesterday
Hope will dawn with each tomorrow
The grip of fear will lose its hold
Defined no longer by your failures
You’ll find strength in letting go

There is freedom and forgiveness
There is peace and sweet relief
Grace and mercy now are waiting
When you bow at Jesus’ feet


(h/t christiansongoftheday.blogspot.com)

WHEN YOU BOW AT JESUS' FEET

Jim Brady

We’ve all done things that we’re not proud of
Made mistakes along the way
Walked the path of least resistance
Traveled roads that led to shame
But there’s no need to be held captive
Beneath the weight that blame can bring
Just pour your heart out to the Savior
He alone can break the chains

There is freedom and forgiveness
There is peace and sweet relief
Grace and mercy now are waiting
When you bow at Jesus’ feet

So bring your cares and every burden
Lay them down and walk away
Say “Goodbye” to all that haunts you
Leave your guilt to yesterday
Hope will dawn with each tomorrow
The grip of fear will lose its hold
Defined no longer by your failures
You’ll find strength in letting go

There is freedom and forgiveness
There is peace and sweet relief
Grace and mercy now are waiting
When you bow at Jesus’ feet
- See more at: http://christiansongoftheday.blogspot.com/2012/05/when-you-bow-at-jesus-feet.html#sthash.NeKJpkew.dpuf


So, in the spirit of happy and freedom, here's a link to a concert the Nashville Bluegrass Band did Durham, NC in 1996. It's high quality and it will make your body move in that strange rhythm and light that is mountain bluegrass music, just let it shoot thru your veins and rewire your brain. Ain't nothin' like what those high creeks can brew.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Climbing Jacob's Ladder






"The track passes between the buildings and soon you come to Jacobs Ladder indicated by a National Trust Sign. It derived its name from one Jacob Marshall who farmed in Edale in the 1700s and cut steps in the hillside to make it easier to climb. The steps are now “manicured” stone ones. Climb these."

When the experienced say, "go this way," I've learned to listen, mostly because I'm kinda old and really tired of all the late hours and wasted time I've spent thrashing it out for myself. That doesn't mean it's the easy way, but it's the way that'll get me there for certain. My time keeps getting shorter, I want to get there before my time is gone.


"There’s a line from an old spiritual which says, Sometimes I up, sometimes I’m down, sometimes I’m almost on the ground…..but see what the end shall be.  And this is what the Lord is doing here: he is showing us what the end shall be. There is a cross to get through, but there is glory on the other side.

The text (Matthew 17) says – Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.  Now we often pass over this fact, that they had to climb that mountain. And the climb was no easy task. Any one who has been to the sight of Tabor knows what high mountain it is. The climb was almost 2000 feet, high and steep. It may have taken the better part of a day and probably had its dangers. Once at the top it is like looking from an airplane window out on the Jezreel Valley."


I thought I'd throw in a shot of Mt Tabor in spring, just to show it ain't all tears and woe.


I broke my leg six weeks ago. Enforced bed rest and confinement at home has let my ADD brain follow it's complicated process thru to completion on a number of things. I haven't been off from work for this length of time in about 35 years, and although the leg issues have taken up quite a bit of my attention, it is a blessing to finish up question after question that usually gets lost in the busyness that is normal work and home daily life. If ever you've seen a piled up, cluttered desk top, then you know what the inside of my head feels like. I put something down to come back to it, then I can't see it when I come back, so I don't finish dealing with it, I just go with whatever shows up next. The mess just never ends. 

In any case,  I've settled into a routine where I dig into the resources until I hit that "oh, my God" moment of identification and have to stop until I've reviewed all the memories, experienced all the emotions again in the light of the truth, and talked to my self and talked to God about it several times. It takes all that before I can settle down and place that element back into history, making it the past again. I'd like to put some sort of geo-fencing on the types and behaviours for the future, something that would light up in my mental Google glasses and trigger Siri to say, "Warning! Do you want to go down this road again?" 

This morning I came across some vintage Pia Mellody here and here. In the first, she mentions briefly the difficulty codependents have in knowing who they are. We are so attuned to taking care of others and conforming to someone else's needs and expectations that we just draw a blank when someone asks, "What do you want? What are you passionate about?" It's true, and I can't explain to you how it's true. So much of what is on my list of things to do are what I should do, not what makes me happy. Her solution for discovering what makes us happy, and by inference who we are, is so simple and easy and obvious - to people who grew up experiencing it, not so much to some of the rest of us.

Her great idea? Try things you are drawn to, see if you actually like it, and if you don't, do something else. I don't want to go into the details or history of how that didn't happen in our house growing up, but hearing her say that somehow frees something in me to not worry about choosing the perfect, acceptable outcome from the very beginning. I can try one thing, and if I don't like it all that much, I can do something else. 

Sounds too simple and how can anyone be that dumb, eh, smartypants?

Here's a long quote from someone who didn't understand codependents until she learned it from the inside. 

"I saw people who were hostile; they had felt so much hurt that hostility was their only defense against being crushed again. They were that angry because anyone who had tolerated what they had would be that angry.
   They were controlling because everything around and inside them was out of control. Always, the dam of their lives and the lives of those around them threatened to burst and spew harmful consequences on everyone. And nobody but them seemed to notice or care.
   I saw people who manipulated because manipulation appeared to be the only way to get anything done. I worked with people who were indirect because the systems they lived in seemed incapable of tolerating honesty.
   I worked with people who thought they were going crazy because they had believed so many lies they didn't know what reality was.
   I saw people who had gotten so absorbed in other people's problems they didn't have time to identify or solve their own. These were people who had cared so deeply, and often destructively, about other people that they had forgotten how to care about themselves. The codependents felt responsible for so much because the people around them felt responsible for so little; they were just taking up the slack.
   I saw hurting, confused people who needed comfort, understanding, and information. ... I saw victims struggling desperately to gain some kind of power over their perpetrators. They learned from me, and I learned from them.
   Soon, I began to subscribe to some new beliefs about codependency. Codependents aren't crazier or sicker than alcoholics. But, they hurt as much or more. They haven't cornered the market on agony, but they have gone through their pain without the anesthetizing effects of alcohol or other drugs, or the other high states achieved by people with compulsive disorders. And the pain that comes from loving someone who's in trouble can be profound.
   "The chemically dependent partner numbs the feelings and the non-abuser is doubled over in pain - relieved only by anger and occasional fantasies, " wrote Janet Geringer Woititz in an article from the book Co-Dependency, An Emerging Issue.
   Codependents are that way sober because they went through what they did sober.
   No wonder codependents are so crazy. Who wouldn't be, after living with the people they've lived with?"

I've been walking, well, hobbling for a whole week now, still flat footed, still fighting sensitivity, heat, and constant agitation along the bone where I'm the proud new owner of a steel plate and nine screws. I wanted to be walking laps by now, but it's either wait for my leg to tell me what it's ready for or try to force it and be forced back into bed rest until the pain retreats. It's like that healing a wounded soul as well. I can tell a little difference day by day, I get a little stronger and my expectations change. I may always walk having been wounded, but I'm getting better all the time.

 Romans 8:12-14 So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!
15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are.
We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!

18-21 That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.


22-25 All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.


26-28 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.


29-30 God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.


31-39 So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:


They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.


We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.