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Too many feelings

33572afbc6659890d6628f81a19ab2bc--miss-you-daddy-i-miss-uAs anyone whose spent much time in my Blog know this is a place I come to talk about many things, especially feelings, and try and quiet my mind.  Also, as many know I lost my father in January.  It’s been a rough year…hell it’s been a rough couple of years going back to his being sick and on through his death and the processing of that.

I’ve thought a lot about the process of losing a loved one this year.  I’m not sure, hell I know, that I haven’t done this well and certainly haven’t done this gracefully.  I miss my father so much, and as the holidays approach (and pass as this has been the growing feeling since Halloween), as the anniversary of his death comes near I feel like I am failing at my life.  I am so on edge emotionally, I feel like I am going to break to pieces on a daily basis.  I have to hold myself together…people tell me it’s ok, it’s ok to feel it, to be kind to myself, to be gentle with myself, but I don’t know how.  I don’t know how to do all that has to be done and allow myself to fall apart at the sometime.  I have to hold on, I have to push through…put I’m not doing that well.  The smile is breaking, the façade is crumbling, the mask is gone and all that’s left is me and my sorrow and my pain.  Holding back the tears with the broken strands that are left…and more and more are breaking through.

I’m failing at faking it…I’m failing at a lot of things right now.   So if you have to deal with my in the real world give me a little bit of grace cause I really am trying…trying so very hard.

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A little over a month ago I asked the Priest-in-Charge at my church if I could talk to the congregation about the importance of children in our church and the need for people to work with them.  His response was that he wanted me to give a sermon…I figured he’d finally lost his mind.  Some weeks later I got an email from our associate priest about a Sermon class she was offering.  I signed up.  What follows is the sermon I wound up writing.  My goal was a sermon about the importance of children but what was impressed upon my heart as I wrote was the importance of God’s love for ALL humankind and how we adults need to see that love with the purity, innocence, and awe of childhood.


Christ children4

Mark 10:13-16

13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

Have you ever told a small child that God or Jesus loves them?  Have you watched their face as they take in these words?  Their reaction, is truly enchanting.  One might think that this would be true of telling them that anyone loves them but it’s not the same when they are told that their families love them or that their teachers, or friends love them.  There’s almost this sense of ‘well no duh’ from most of them at these revelations.  But when you tell them that GOD LOVES them the joy and amazement is almost palpable.

At the school where I teach we have chapel every Wednesday morning where we talk about our school’s virtues and about God and Jesus.   My co-teacher and I continue these themes throughout our days learning.  We read stories about God’s love, talk about our school virtues which are the fruits of the spirit, and sing songs like Jesus loves me.  At the end of our circle time we go around the room telling each child individually that Jesus LOVES them.  As well as their mommies and daddies, brothers and sisters, teachers and friends, that God loves EVERYONE.  The first few times we do this the look of amazement on their faces is touching.  That amazement turns to an effervescent Joy as the year progresses…but it is always there.   No matter how many times we tell them that Jesus or God LOVES them there is an expression and feeling of awe, wonder, amazement, and utter joy in their faces and countenance.

In the book of Mark, Mark writes of Jesus saying “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”  I was thinking about this sense of Awe that the children seem to have when told that God and Jesus loves them as I read this scripture the other day.

The church seems to use this scripture a lot for advocating the presence of children in church.  Having them in the service, having education ministries for them, having faith based activities for them so that they can ‘come’ and so on.  Children are important!  Let me say that again CHILDREN ARE IMPORTANT!  Having ministries for them and ways for them to be present and part of the church is important.  Ways for them to learn about, and come to know and love God and Christ are vitally important to them and us as adults but I wonder if that was truly what Jesus was saying.

Again, I think of the innocence and the awe at which my students take the information that they are loved by God.  That they are LOVED by Jesus.  They don’t try and quantify it, they don’t try and negotiate it … they don’t say God will love me if I such and such happens … or if I do blah  … they just accept it with the innocence that comes with Childhood.  With the raw faith and acceptance that comes with being a child.  In the scripture Jesus says “Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it”.

I remember in my youth having a conversation with someone who was convinced that this meant that you could only enter the kingdom if you came to God as a child, that you could only be a true Christian, you could only go to Heaven if you came to believe when you were a child. Taking the words exactly as written, word for word but not as I think they were intended.   I remember thinking that that made no sense whatsoever and certainly did not jive with the loving God that I had always been taught about.

Part of the joy of being adults is having greater an understanding of things but sometimes, that deeper understanding, that desire to know more, and question things makes it harder to just accept.  We need to take in the knowledge and love of God as a child would.  Not try and argue it, not try and quantify or qualify it, just accept it.  Feel it as a child would.  Know it and see the awe in it.  Accept that we are beloved by God no matter who we are, no matter where we are in our life or our walk with Him, and no matter our faults and flaws.

Jesus loves you.  Take that in… God loves you …don’t think about it feel the childlike joy of knowing that you are truly and utterly loved.

You ever wonder why it is so hard for people to be honest?  Honest with themselves, honest with others…just all around honest?  We lie through half-truths, through ‘little white lies’, we tell ourselves it is for the better, but is it?  Does it ever truly make things better?

Why do we lie to those we love, those we hate, those we don’t even know?  Why do boys and girls (or girls and girls, boys and boys, whatever) who like each other lie to each other?  Why do we lie about our feelings?  Why do we lead people on?  Why do we pretend that people mean more or less to us than they do?  Why?

What are we trying to achieve through these types of lies?  Why do we lead people on, saying we don’t know when we do?  Saying we don’t care when we do?  Saying we do care when we don’t? Do we think that it’s better this way…and if so for who?  For us?  For them?  Who is it really better for? 

I think no one.  I think we lie because we are scared.  We lie because we are unsure.  We lie to not damage a friendship…because that always works so well <sarcasm>.  We lie to not loose someone.  We lie cause it’s ‘easier’…but is it?  Lies come out.  The truth wins and in the case of lies the truth may win but everyone else loses.  Friendships are damaged…friendships are lost.  Relationships are ruined…or damned from the beginning because they started with a lie.   

It’s hard but wouldn’t it just be better to be honest to say hey I like you or not.  To say we’re confused.  To say yup I messed up and I’m sorry.  To say let’s move on, to not drag something that’s broken on because you don’t want to let go, because you don’t want to be truthful.

How do we know when somethings a lie?  How do we know when it’s a lie versus us just miss reading the situation?  How do we know the truth?  What is the truth?  They say that two people witnessing the same scenario will see it differently…does that mean one is lying and one is being honest?  How do we know what is real?  What is true?  What makes a lie a lie?  What makes the truth the truth? 

So many questions in this world and so few answers.  So few absolutes. 

This is another one of those things I’ve contemplated writing a couple of times over the past few years.  Started, stopped, and deleted more times than I can count.  It’s another one of those things that the fear of reactions and stigma keeps me from doing.

Many of the people in my life know that I have Meniere’s disease; many do not for fear of misunderstanding of what it means.  When you tell people you struggle with balance they either laugh and make a crack about being drunk or worry about how safe you are doing what you love.  They also look at me and out come the ‘you don’t look sick’ thoughts, when you say you have a chronic illness they expect you not to be able to do things.  I work a full schedule, heck I work around 50 hours a week, I volunteer, and recently returned to school.  7 years ago I could barely get out of bed.  I thought my world, my dreams, my ‘everything’ was over.  I was 29 years old and I thought I would never live a ‘normal’ life again.

As I’ve watched my Facebook memories be inundated with the beginning of my journey with Meniere’s I’ve marveled at how much things have changed.

At this time seven years ago I didn’t know what was wrong with me other than yet another ear infection that seemed to be causing sever vertigo and dizziness and that I was quickly losing my hearing in my left ear.   If it hadn’t been for the hearing loss I would have been sent home with a ‘yup, being dizzy sucks but it’ll get better. It may take weeks though’.  I was basically told this but when I commented again on the feeling that I couldn’t hear anything out of my left ear hearing test happened, one after another as my hearing got worse and worse, going from an 8% loss to an 80% loss in a couple weeks.  A loss that has never returned, it occasionally fluctuates to slightly better and slightly worse but has not and will not return.  I spent the next few months of my life getting tests.  The original thought was a tumor…when my MRI and CT scans were all normal we talked with my doctor.  The first words out of my families mouth was “is this Meniere’s, Grandma has Meniere’s”.  The problem with Meniere’s is it’s usually a diagnosis of elimination.  They test for EVERYTHING else first, but luckily these words led to testing and a diagnosis, a diagnosis that takes most years only took me months.

Of course knowing what was wrong didn’t make it all better.  It meant medications to help manage but it also meant constant light dizziness and at least weekly ‘teacup moments’ as I began to internal refer to the days that felt like a teacup ride.  There’s nothing like nearly falling over cause the room is spinning so fast around you as you just stand there.  I’ll always remember my bosses kindness at first that turned to frustration, my co-workers disgust as I have to leave early, again, clinging to my mom and just praying to get to the car, my room, and my bed…praying that I don’t puke or pass out in the process.  Some of the people I worked with were amazing, compassionate and caring; most thought I was faking it because in general I didn’t look sick or they didn’t understand the idea of chronic illness.  I fought so hard to hide it, for normalcy, but also Meniere’s doesn’t always look like clinging to someone desperately as I pray the room will stop spinning.  Often it looks like a steadying hand on a wall, a slower movement, stiffer body as I strive to move my head as little as possible not wanting to wake the lightly sleeping dragon that can destroy the world.  This was my life seven years ago and for many years after.

I woke every morning terrified about what would happen when I sat up, when I opened my eyes.  I lived in fear of the dizziness and in utter terror of the vertigo (there are totally different things!)  I was positive that my ability to work with kids was over, that my life was over, and that at 29 I was done.  I spent a lot of time curled up in my bed waiting for the world to stop spinning, laying in the dark in tears as my life passed me by.  But things got better.  Meds that worked were figured out, I figured out what movements were ok and which would power up the tilt-a-whirl.  You will never see me spinning around, or lying on the ground looking up at the sky, you won’t find me looking up period, not looking down from a height.  I close my eyes a lot when watching movies, especially in the theatre, now a days as the popular rapid movements are my undoing.  Flashing lights, especially strobes, are EVIL!  I know these things and I avoid them but unlike seven years ago they don’t send me into an immediate tail spin anymore.

The thing is I still have a chronic illness, there are still days where I wake up and the room is spinning around me.  I take appropriate meds and when I can curl up until it goes away.  I occasionally have to back out on extra activities but have not had it affect my ability to go to work, to do my job in YEARS now.  There are those times when the people who know me and have gone through this journey with me watch as my hand slides along the wall and they check in but usually I’m ok, I’m struggling for a straight line but that’s unusually all.  All of this has made me think about what it means to have a chronic illness.  I will forever have Meniere’s, unless a miracle cure is developed but since they still aren’t 100% sure what causes it I don’t see this happening in my life time, I will forever have off days, and will forever have things that I can’t do, or at least have to think about like when I went on the rides at Disney with my niece and nephew or showed a little girl how to do a pirouette.  It will always be a part of my life but it won’t end my life.  It won’t take away my ability to do what I love, and what I do well.  I refuse to live in fear of the bad days; I refuse to live in fear of what might happen.  I may have Meniere’s but I am fighting for it not to have me.

PS: As so often happens this went in a different direction than originally planned.  This whole things came to mind again of the FB memories but also because of another blog I read about being Chronically ill entitled “Too functional to be Chronically ill but too sick to be healthy”.  It made me start thinking about my own illness and how much things have changed over the past few years.  I’m not 100% healthy and there are things that I am limited on but at the same time I’m doing pretty stinkin’ awesome most days.  I have jobs that I love and am living my life but I also have days when I need a down day.  I need a day where I’m not expected to do anything and times when I need to remind myself to not overdue it.

I have spent a lot of time over the past couple of years considering writing this and due to the realities of our world I don’t. I feel the fear that comes with the stigmatization of mental health. I started fighting that fear a few years ago. I finally accepted my own anxiety issues and began admitting them not only to the outside world but more importantly to myself.
You see for a large part of my life as I was growing up my dad tried to get me to admit and seek help. This always caused a battle between us, as my words often offended him as his offended and scared me. He’d label me as depressed, or manic, or he didn’t know what but he saw the struggles. He saw his child who hid from people in a large setting, saw his child who was up and down emotionally, who had a temper that was explosive and got her in trouble. I don’t think he saw the child who was just hurting because of the words she heard from the people in her world.
He didn’t see the child who was effected negatively by always being the new kid. By being the one who didn’t fit in and who was teased mercilessly by the other kids. Whose own friends occasionally got in on the action because that’s the life of a teenager. 
As I was growing I heard, accepted, and internalized the wicked and hurtful things that were said to and about me. Those voices, those words became my internal voice. Nearly a two decade after those evil words have mostly stopped I still hear them. I hear them in every unanswered text or message. I hear them in the seemingly ignored posts. I hear them when spending time with friends…thinking thinking thinking, second guessing everything I say and do. Wondering if they really want me around or if they’re just pitying me.
Even when being told that I am amazing, that I am loved…I hear the voices telling me this can’t be true. That those saying that just want something from me. A part knows that’s not true but the voices from the past can be so much louder than the ones in the present. 
Those voice cause me to be anxious in a crowd. They cause me to be anxious whenever doing anything new. They make me afraid of new people, and old friends, afraid of what they are truly thinking.
They cause issues of depression. They cause me to think that I am worthless and unloved. They cause me to feel like everyone would be better off with out me (a piece of my brain always kicks in right here screaming that the voices lie, it’s quiet a battle between the heart and the head). When I make mistakes it’s like I’ve ruined everything and made things 100 times worse than even humanly possible. 
I am learning to love myself, I am learning to ignore the voices of my past, the voices that LIE to me. I know that in the moments that the voices are screaming myself doubt becomes trying, but know that I am trying. I am fighting it with all that I have and am and I will win.

Grief is illogical 

Grief isn’t logical. Yesterday was three months since my dad passed, yesterday was also Good Friday. My uncle died, 5? years ago, on Good Friday. Jesus died on Good Friday and came back to life. I’ve been teaching my class about this great miracle all week, repeating the words Jesus loved us so much that he died for us but then God brought him back. He spent time with his friends and then went to heaven.


There’s this voice in the back of my head that says it’s not fair. Why can’t my Dad come back so I can hug him one more time, tell him I love him one more time. Why can’t my uncle come back so we can say all the things that we’re left unsaid.

As I said grief is illogical. I know these thoughts are silly and don’t make sense. I know that comparing the situations is dumb but your brain does it’s thing in and in my grief I just want that moment more with the people I love and miss so much.

I thought I understood grief after loosing all my grandparents, even after loosing my uncle with unfinished business but I knew nothing. My dad and I have nothing left unfinished except that he’s my dad and I wasn’t and am not ready for him to leave me yet. There are things he supposed to be here for, little moments like silly conversations and big moments, life moments.

Grief is illogical and it sucks!

This is a topic I’ve thought a great deal about over the last few years. It’s interesting how this term has seemed to change since I was in school. I was wicked picked on but at the time would never have considered myself bullied because bullying was only seen as physical when I was in school. Looking back today I would apply it and would say that how we treat people has a lifelong, lasting effect on how a person grows and who they become.
Growing up I was perpetually the new kid. I went to five elementary schools from kindergarten through 5th grade moving mid-year in first and third grade. I was lucky to attend only one junior high but went to five high schools. Again moving midyear in my freshman, sophomore, and senior years. As a kid and teen I was heavy, wore glasses, had braces for a number of years and was just as much an introvert then as now. I also had a temper and wore my heart on my sleeve so I was fun to pick on. It was easy to get me to react and even when I tried not to it only lasted so long before the explosion was even more glorious than before. I went home many a night feeling like I was useless, stupid, and hated by all. Like there was no point in my existing in the world if my only purpose was to be a punching bag. I learned to slink into the shadows and do everything in my power to be as invisible as possible. I was angry and distrustful of people’s actions. I could go into details of friends mooing at me, people saying things just cause they knew it would hurt me or piss me off, of the teasing and tears but that’s not the point. So what is?
A few months ago I saw a meme, sadly I can’t seem to find it again, talking about how we all need to just pull up our big kid pants and realize that bullying was just part of life and not that big a deal. I’ve been unable to get this idea and how wrong it is out of my mind.
A few weeks ago I was at a company event and at the end all my co-workers were dancing and having a grand old time I sat back smiling and enjoying watching. Wanting to join in but also fighting the terror of what people would think if I did, fighting the terror of drawing attention to myself. One of my coworkers came over and pulled me out, I made numerous excuses and fought against that tugging hand. At the same time I appreciated it. I appreciated being allowed to be part of the group and realizing that it was ok.
As I thought about this and my reaction I wondered if I would be the socially anxious and scared person I am.  Always afraid of what people will think, saying the wrong thing, and what will happen if I’m brought to others attention.  I am fighting to break out of the protective box I created for myself but it’s hard work.  I don’t want any child, any human being to feel the way I felt growing up.  To struggle to find their own self worth.