Friday, June 20, 2014

...Now I just sit in silence....

There's a song on the radio by a group called 21 Pilots called "Car Radio".  It's basically the thoughts of a young man with a lot of quiet in his vehicle now that someone has stolen his car stereo.  "...And now I just sit in Silence..." is repeated over and over.

As a child, silence was my enemy.  Church was excruciating, because I knew that as soon as I entered the silence, it wouldn't be silent for long.  I had a hard time being still and quiet.  It just wasn't part of my genetic make-up.  Even when I tried so hard, my mind would bounce from this thought to that thought, and before I knew it I was being shushed again.  Apparently my thoughts leaked out in the form of humming, whistling, and in some cases, full out singing and dancing.  What's a kid to do?

When I was old enough to drive, my 1972 Cadillac didn't have a car stereo.  My friend Terri and I didn't mind, since we were usually bubbling over with the REALLY IMPORTANT conversations of two teen girls full of an intense love of life (and teenage boys).  Boys were discussed for hours, and girls were discussed without mercy.  I remember once on a Late Night Taco Bell Run when we just sat in silence.  Terri's feet were out the window on a warm summer night, and it was quite calm and comfortable.  Until a bat hit our windshield on Terri's side of the car, causing her to scream at the top of her lungs, yanking her feet into the car, and nearly giving me a heart attack!   The silence was over for that night!  E-gads!

It wasn't until I was much older that I started to feel comfortable in the silence. The silence of holding my babies and watching them sleep in my arms is the most wonderful kind of feeling.  It feels the most like Heaven.  In fact...

The most profound silence I've ever experienced happened in a room full of rush and hurry and panic.  I was blissfully unaware of the chaotic fight for my life going on around me.  I, however, was enjoying that kind of quiet when the baby is fed and bathed and sweetly sleeping.I was held in the arms of my Creator. It was a silence so deep, so perfect that even my heart stood still.  I didn't even break the silence with my breath.  I just sat in silence.  I wasn't alone, and it wasn't scary.  My thoughts stopped, except for the knowledge that I was being that silence.

I'm back from that silence.  My life is full of sounds and things to do and people to love.  My home is full of music and laughter and silliness, and people who are happy I'm here, and that I treasure in return. I have parties to throw and celebrations to attend! I have so much of life still to live!

  But there are times when I just sit in silence.  Remembering.   Being loved.  Loving.

How do you sit in silence?

"I ponder of something terrifying
'Cause this time there's no sound to hide behind
I find over the course of our human existence
One thing consists of consistence
And it's that we're all battling fear
Oh dear, I don't know if we know why we're here
Oh my, too deep, please stop thinking
I liked it better when my car had sound"

21 Pilots Car Radio


Friday, June 6, 2014

The day YOU became a Heart Sister...

There was a day when everything changed abruptly.

All of a sudden, out of the blue, everything you knew changed in an instant.  You were told that your body was insufficient at doing what it is supposed to do to sustain your life.  If it hasn't already killed you, it most certainly could at any time.

So you wait.

Thankful for every passing moment of existence, you check and recheck your pulse.  You measure your life, first in heartbeats, then in minutes.  Eventually you can go a whole hour without feeling for the throbbing beats in your neck, indicating that yes, in fact, your heart is still beating.  Even though you don't want to know the answer, you ask yourself, ask your Maker, "Is this my last heartbeat? How about THIS one? This?"

You make it through a whole day, then fall to your knees, thanking God for the gift of one more smile from your husband.  One more "I love you" from the kids.  One more hug.  Just one more chance. You relish it, and cherish it, and treasure it in your heart.

But still you wait.  Because lurking in the dark quiet of your mind is the reality of your mortality.  Your pulse feels more like a ticking time bomb some days than a reassurance of good health. Your doctor already told you that the one organ that's been beating since you were just a wee speck in your mother's womb is failing.  It can't be trusted, and this is the hardest thing to make peace with.  Your own body has betrayed you!

Doctors can explain how and why your heart malfunctions the way it does, but unless they have felt the fear and abandonment of having their own heart fail them, they can't truly understand.

That's what Heart Sisters do.

I can't fathom 42 million women living with heart disease.  (Although it is true.)  What I CAN fathom is Carrie and Wanda and Erica and Georgia.  I think of Stephanie, Eileen and Sherry.  I remember sharing what a Sudden Cardiac Arrest felt like with Sue, and I remember discussing AICD shocks with a different Sue, and Julie.  I am saddened by the fear in Carol's eyes, Vicki's eyes, and the eyes of every new sister.  I appreciate what these ladies go through.  I know that the story above is their story. With a few modifications, it's all of our story.

Heart Sisters are women living with heart disease.  We are women living beyond the fear and doubt and emptiness of a "body gone bad".  We hold each other up.  We cry together, and pray with and for each other.  We help each other find a new normal.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

The thing about my son's graduation is....

Isaac just graduated from high school, and I feel a certain kind of way about that.  However, I can't really pinpoint what way it is that I feel.  Mostly I feel inadequate.

Don't get me wrong, I try to be a good Mom.  I strive to be a great Mom on occasion, but I still feel like my parenting is unfinished, lacking, and incomplete.  It becomes painfully clear HOW many ways I am failing when it comes to my child graduating.

I remember being pregnant with Isaac, and giving birth to him.  He's my 3rd son, so I knew how to care for a baby.  I was completely capable of changing his diapers and singing to him, feeding him and reading to him.  I just loved him (still do!)  And it wasn't too long before he got a little sister, then another, and a brother, and another sister. I wasn't really thinking too hard about raising my toddlers, I just tried to help them become kind and compassionate people.  No hitting, don't spit, don't pee on other people's stuff, you know, the basics.

From the moment of his birth, Isaac has been busy! He moved fast!  To this day, he thinks fast, he writes long detailed scenarios in his mind then plays them out with swords and sticks and heroes and bad guys. He remembers EVERYTHING he reads.  He's a big hugger, and doesn't stop hugging until he hears bones crack. (Which really helps his wrestling career.)  His childhood was a whirlwind of stories and stitches and amazing adventures! He is a fantastic guy who works hard to overcome life's challenges, and to make the world around him a more loving place.  He's the guy that makes others feel welcome and safe.

And I am his inadequate mother.

It happens every time one of mine gets ready to go off into the big wide world.  The questions arise.  Did I teach him all he needs to know?  I meant to teach him how to iron. Have I been too soft on him?  Too hard?  He's so caring and so trusting!  Have I made him an easy mark?  Should I have prepared him better for a cruel world? Is it my shortcoming to let him believe in people and trust them?  The realization that I can't protect him is overwhelming! Have I taught him how to demand that his dates treat him with respect?  Would he know what to do if she doesn't?  Will he be taken advantage of? Did we ever talk about how to handle money?  Will his heart get broken?  Will he always be my little baby?  Will I always be able to see that little boy in the Super Isaac Man costume in his eyes?  Will he be okay without me?

He will.

I can't stop him from making mistakes and bad judgements. I can't go everywhere with him and make him do his homework and be responsible and turn in his time sheet and brush his teeth.  I can only be here for him and love him.  I can nag him and be his Mom, like I always have, and be supportive.  Since I truly love him, I can let him fail.  And when he does, it will hurt, but I can wait by patiently, praying like a monk in a monastery, waiting for him to come around.  I may be inadequate, but I can pray.  

I can pray he won't make monumentally bad life-destroying choices.  I can pray he won't enjoy drinking so much that he spends his life locked in a bottle. I can pray that he gets so busy enjoying life that he doesn't have time to discover the pain of addiction.  I can pray and pray and pray that in all of those ways that I have been completely inadequate at meeting his needs JESUS will be there to fill in the gap.  I can pray that he will seek his Creator's input in the choices he makes and the directions he goes.  I'll also pray that I can accept whatever that path may be, and that it's not MY path to choose for him.  It never was!  I can pray that he be filled with the Holy Spirit, and that he never loses his trust in people, even when a few let him down.  I pray that he will always be exactly who he is.  Nothing less than God's very own child!

I pray he knows this.

If I have taught him this, he has everything he needs.