Sunday, February 28, 2016

Details and the Story

Remember where I cued in on "separating the precious from the vile" in the last post?

I've been adding details to memories. The more I think about why this and how come that, the more data points I have for figuring out how I ended up here and not there.  Today, I strung together and wrote down how a particularly vexing series of facts add up to some very ugly truths that won't ever make it to this blog. Although my mother is dead, a fair few of my family are still living, and although no one should know anything about this blog, I don't want to say anything so painful that it would hurt them beyond reason. Just the same, I look at some things and am absolutely horrified. 

As I wrote some of my assessments in a journal today, I believe them to be true facts. The things described really did happen and the outcome of it all is really that mucky (as in a pile of filth and excrement), nevertheless, there is a problem in viewing it in sum. 

The details are facts, but they are not the true story God is wanting to tell. 

While the editorial board of the Amplified Version of the Bible may feel that "separating the precious from the vile" has to do with doubting God, I think He is pointing out to me that it's time for me to start setting aside the vile parts of my life from what is precious and should be honored and kept. It's valid to know and understand what the vile is, but I can't muck around in it too much longer. I've got to rake it up, contain it, and set it aside to work anew on creating what is precious and alive.

God is ready to write the next chapter in my story, and the vile things can't come with me anymore. People are too flippant with change, and preachers are too often delusional about forgiveness. It's not good enough to forgive, forget, and then repeat, like I've always done. I need to deliberately pull apart, set aside, and lock up the vile like you would an unrepentant criminal. 

All of this isn't about the vile, that's not what my story is, it's about protecting what is precious. That's what God wants, to come in and protect and care for the precious - in me. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

I'm a little teapot

Did you know shopping could be a form of meditation? It is if you think about why you are doing it compulsively.  I keep getting obsessed with teapots, and having Etsy and Ebay always at hand night and day doesn't help much. There are thousands to choose from.

I bought this one above yesterday after keeping the search results up on Etsy for almost two weeks. I like the shade of blue and the crocheted rim effect, it's really lovely, but I've also been scanning sets (teapot, sugar, creamer) and even been distracted this morning by some beautiful cup sets in a completely different color and pattern style. Why am I doing this? How much tea do I drink anyway? Who am I going to show these pots to and why would they care? What does it matter????

I don't know what it means - yet. There's the obvious link to getting tea sets to play with as a child. My grandparents would take us to 

Kuhn's 5 and 10
on our first summer visit every year and we could pick out one toy. (That's it, youngsters, one toy gift that wasn't part of Christmas or a birthday. Wild, huh? That's just how we rolled in the Mesozoic Era.) I always wanted a tea party set, at least for about three years that I could remember. I guess that's just the age I was at back when playing was still fun. Maybe my growth was stunted back there and I'm trying to work all that out and begin growing again.

I also know that playing lady and tea time is part of a little girl's life when what you want to be when you grow up is purely imaginary and external. You dress up and act out scenarios that are hopelessly different than anything you could ever be. Princess, nun, genie, dancer, horse jockey, penthouse sophisticate millionairess - all roles I would play, but were obviously not connected to my real inclinations and capabilites. They were just pretend games, and no one was ever coming to a tea party that I would never give.  But it was fun to pretend, childhood is for imagination and games.

So what about now? I don't know, but I need to get out of the house before I start buying more things online. So I'm going down to the big antique mall and wander around down there. Something about having the actual item in front of me usually makes it less desirable, it has real flaws and an immediate cash price, not like the imagined beauty of a photo online. Like being a princess or a nun, the real thing isn't really what I want, it's what it represents. Here's to ...

I was going to say "separating the precious from the vile," which is a scripture reference. So I went looking for it hoping there was one more analogy in there a little closer to the mark of separating a vain imagination from a satisfying, good reality. You ever wonder how God talks to us out of the scriptures? Well, this is a real time example of how it happens.

First, I'll give you the full relevant passage out of the New King James Version (has the old, familiar "precious and the vile" quote that I was hearing,) and then the Amplified Bible version, which is a little blown out with explanation so you can understand it better.

Jeremiah 15:15-21 NKJV

"O Lord, You know;
 Remember me and visit me,

And take vengeance for me on my persecutors.

In Your enduring patience, do not take me away.

Know that for Your sake I have suffered rebuke.

16 Your words were found, and I ate them,

And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;

For I am called by Your name, 
O Lord God of hosts.

17 I did not sit in the assembly of the mockers,

Nor did I rejoice;

I sat alone because of Your hand,

For You have filled me with indignation.

18 Why is my pain perpetual

And my wound incurable,

Which refuses to be healed?

Will You surely be to me like an unreliable stream,

As waters that fail?

19 Therefore thus says the Lord:
“If you return,
Then I will bring you back;

You shall stand before Me;

If you take out the precious from the vile,

You shall be as My mouth.

Let them return to you,

But you must not return to them.

20 And I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall;

And they will fight against you,

But they shall not prevail against you;

For I am with you to save you

And deliver you,” says the Lord.

21 “I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked,

And I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible.”

Jeremiah 15:15-21 Amplified

O Lord, You know and understand;
Remember me [thoughtfully], take notice of me,
take vengeance for me on my persecutors.
Do not, in view of Your patience, take me away;
Know that for Your sake I endure [continual] rebuke and dishonor.
Your words were found and I ate them,
And Your words became a joy to me and the delight of my heart;
For I have been called by Your name,
O Lord God of hosts.
I did not sit with the group of those who celebrate,
Nor did I rejoice;
I sat alone because Your [powerful] hand was upon me,
For You had filled me with indignation [at their sin].
Why has my pain been perpetual
And my wound incurable, refusing to be healed?
Will you indeed be to me like a deceptive brook
With water that is unreliable?

Therefore, thus says the Lord [to Jeremiah],
“If you repent [and give up this mistaken attitude of despair and self-pity], then I will restore you [to a state of inner peace]So that you may stand before Me [as My obedient representative];
And if you separate the precious from the worthless [examining yourself and cleansing your heart from unwarranted doubt concerning My faithfulness],
You will become My spokesman.

Let the people turn to you [and learn to value My values]—
But you, you must not turn to them [with regard for their idolatry and wickedness].
“And I will make you to this people
A fortified wall of bronze;
They will fight against you,
But they will not prevail over you,
For I am with you [always] to save you
And deliver you,” says the Lord.
“So I will rescue you out of the hand of the wicked,
And I will redeem you from the [grasping] palm of the terrible and ruthless [tyrant].”

(I went ahead and highlighted with bold the words that are talking to me.)

Why is my pain perpetual
And my wound incurable,

Which refuses to be healed?

Will You surely be to me like an unreliable stream,

As waters that fail?

Why am I ever stuck in one place, playing out the same painful scenarios over and over again? I've searched and searched and tried and tried, yet I've never gotten and stayed free from repeating the same script over and over again. I don't like this role, I don't want to do it again in real life and I don't want to hear it playing in my head any more, either! I've asked God for help, I've screamed and carried on, but I'm not truly free yet at all. What's to become of me? Time is flying past, so much so that any claim to freedom is flying with it and the grave could catch me any day. Being a hostage for life is Not God's promise, yet here I remain. C-PTSD, codependency, lies, abuse, whatever we are calling this mess that has kept me in chains and always beaten me into submission again just when I thought I was getting free is a twisted, ruthless tyrant in every way.

"For I am with you [always] to save you
And deliver you,” says the Lord. 
“So I will rescue you out of the hand of the wicked,
And I will redeem you from the [grasping] palm of the terrible and ruthless [tyrant].”

The Word of the Lord and my way of escape. My job now is to hold these words like a lit candle as I continue to investigate teapots and time and who I really am.

Now, out of the house and to acres of antiques. The Lord is with me, we'll be talking and walking the entire time, there's no telling what we'll uncover.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

My id is talking

I read a great little article about psychosis this week. The author has some sort of illness that causes psychotic breaks sometimes - hearing voices, seeing things that aren't really there, whatever it is that makes you have to practice not trusting your own brain.  That mathematician guy had issues with it, he thought he was going crazy until he learned to ignore the people he kept seeing that shouldn’t really be there.  I don’t have open visions or hear voices, it would seem that most of my troublesome thoughts work themselves into my dreams where they do indeed have their way with whatever they want to say or demonstrate. 

I wake up so clear with what I’ve seen or heard in a dream. My real struggle is to remember what I’ve learned or remember what I should set aside because it isn’t who I really am in this wide awake world.  This morning finished off in dreams that lasted about two hours.  I began frustrated in a bar in Gatlinburg. All these people were in the darkness trying to make themselves out as cool, and if they couldn’t get what they wanted, they would pair up with someone else and sell themselves all over again. Pimps and johns and whores and wait staff barely making themselves heard above the pounding music and clinking glassware.  I was so angry because I just wanted to enjoy dinner with my friends, but they were caught up in the business of scoring, and it grieved me so that I woke up crying, pleading, and still dreaming at the same time. 

“Don’t you understand! It’s not about laws or sin or right or wrong, this is not who you were created to be!  God wanted you to be all bright and lit up from a living fire inside of you, He wants you to see things out of the eyes He made only for you and then show that to the world, He created you to be a Defender of Widows and Orphans, He wants beautiful music to flow out of you the world would rejoice to hear, He wants joy and laughter  to bubble up out of you at every opportunity, He wants you to l-o-v-e your loved ones and never be afraid to gain a new friend because you’ll have the love to love them, too. 

But you’re all hiding in here. In the dark. Where no one can see you, just hoping that the law and no accuser can find you in here. At least for tonight.

That’s not what He wanted. It’s not what He wants.”

After tossing and turning and transitioning thru more dreams, I ended up in still in the same hotel, but the next morning. Somehow Mother had found me again, still shuffling along in her jammies and chenille bed jacket, wanting breakfast but not wanting to get out of the car to come in and get it. So, trying to get her in gear, I hollered at her from the door of the restaurant to come in or starve and went thru the line trying to find something I could carry out to her.  Somehow I ended up at the receiving desk for the Alzheimer’s unit again, trying to explain how, yes, she had indeed died, but now she was back again and I needed her admitted again. (These conversations are always awkward, but, you know.)

Both of these dreams carry the theme of grief and unfinished business.  I think the mother in my dreams is the perfect archetype for grief and unsorted, unfinished business. We were an officer’s family, always moving every two to three years, and Mother never kept a good house. We were never fully unpacked, and when the movers arrived again, they would throw everything in a new set of boxes and haul it off to the next duty station.  No decisions were ever made about old toys or clothes, no photo albums ever made, no correspondence kept with old friends, the house was never ready to receive new friends or guests, no dishes, furniture, or keepsakes were ever deliberately thrown out because we decided we didn’t want them. Everything and everyone that couldn’t or wouldn’t be hauled to the next place was just left behind at the last one. 

For me, especially as the youngest and most confused and helpless, I lived my life with people and things just disappearing, move by move, year after year, season by season in my life. No regard was ever made then for what I really needed to happen in my life and, of course, no one ever asked if what they were doing was alright. They were the adults and they just did what they thought they should do. From the sixth grade onwards, I was raising myself, my parents were very busy doing what they wanted to do. Family was over, their memories of their families were good enough for me to remember, too, no point in making any more.

[That last sentence is a whopper of a revelation. Filing that away for the Entourage post later.]

I bought a book on grief at the beginning of this week by accident. I wanted to go thrift shopping, but there isn’t a thing I need and I’ve been wanting to follow my intuition on purpose more because it’s a guide that really doesn’t fail me like my intellect so often does, sooooooo, the only green light I could get on the inside for thrifting was the cheapest mega-thrift-store in town on Monday. You won’t find much there unless it just then came in the back door, they keep things moving! $1 for a paperback, I got three, and one was The Courage To Grieve, by Judy Tatelbaum.  It’s been a long time since I’ve read on grief. It occurred to me that the big reason I keep too much stuff is I’m grieving what all that stuff is - pieces of my family, dreams that never came true, ways I used to be but I don’t know what else to be now. I went and read some reviews of the book and the part that made people angry about it was her goal is to be “finished” with grieving, and that’s my goal, too. 

February is a big grieving anniversary month for me, my sister committed suicide early in a February. I grieved her dreadfully for decades, I moved here in a late February to get away from my parents when I realized I had lived longer without my sister than I had with her, yet my life was not progressing.  My mother died in the month of January, so now I can add that to the deep winter grieving schedule, plus there’s always the longing for new growth and a fresh start once those new gardening catalogs start arriving. I want desperately to drive a stake thru the heart of the sorrows that haunt me, but I don’t know how and I’ve never known how. “Finished” with grief is a desire I’ve had for a long, long time.

I think all these things are my id talking to me. <—I knew that was the point of this post when I sat down to write it, but I haven’t actually re-read what “id” is yet. I think it’s the deepest part of your personality, the part that is most intrinsically you, but you can’t see it for looking for it. It must just hide down there until you get quiet enough for it to get a word in edgewise.  In any case, I’m wanting very much to let Id out. 

I’ve gathered up things I’ve bought (not hand me downs) and will get rid of this week, having decided that they aren’t really the direction I want to go in anymore. 
I bought a little needlepoint kit this week, after 27 years since the last project, and have much enjoyed the stitching so far. (It’s so hyper focused, my ADD loves it!)  
When I’m not standing directly in the presence of my book collection, I want to give the whole thing away. 
(When I’m looking at it,  I still think, “oh, no, this is too precious to just give away! What if they don’t think it’s precious, too!”) 
I stood up for myself at work on Friday, refusing to be dissed yet again as an old woman in a sea of vain and very brutal men. 

I am trying to be, even if letting what is roll me over again is ever so familiar.

I must be hatched or go bad.

Speak to me in the light of the dawn
 Mercy comes with the morning 
I will sigh, and with all creation groan, as I wait for home to come for me.

 Am I lost, or just less found? 
On the straight or on the roundabout or the wrong way? 
Is this same soul that stirs in me, is it breaking free, wanting to come alive? 
'Cause my comfort would prefer for me to be numb 
And avoid the impending birth of who I was born to become.