Are you looking for me and LuLu? Well, I'm here to remind you that we've moved. You can find us at: www.debcleveland.org, my new website. Come on over, we'd love to see you again...
Thursday, September 24, 2015
THE LULU CHRONICLES
After my husband died, I wrote down everything I felt, with the occasional input from my pink bike, LuLu. Pedaling alone through the countryside helped prep my heart and soul for the lessons they each needed to learn. For one year and six months I put it all out there—every ugly word, every sorrowful moan, every fear, every brief glimmer of hope, every faith struggle, and every poke I received from God. I shared it all. Then one day, I simply ran out of words.
When Gary first died, I did my best to open myself up to you, to myself, and to God. I feared that if I didn’t I would shut down completely. I was afraid that if I didn’t keep forcing myself to process, to feel, and to share the journey, the journey would be lost on me. I lived in fear I would miss the point and purpose of what was happening to me and I would go through all of this horribleness for naught. So, I captured as much of the sorrow, pain, fear, loss, sadness, and mourning as I could. I let you peek in at my faith journey on the good days and the bad. I believed then and I still believe that those emotions and the expressing of them saved me; Owning them, examining them and giving myself permission to feel them, as ugly, difficult, and heart-wrenching as they were, absolutely saved me. And, I hope they were somehow beneficial to you as well.
But, these last six months of silence have also been a lifesaver. I’ve come to realize that the heart is more than a pump. It is the Yoda of the soul. It carries its own wisdom, has its own timetable, and has a direct connection to our Master Designer. Eventually the broken heart, if given its reign, takes us to a place words cannot go. Silence has its own lessons to teach. So, I stopped writing and decided it was time to be still. I allowed silence to surround me and coax me into a place where I could utter, groan, and express myself without the chatter, all within its protection.
Some things cannot be shared, ever. Yet, the experience of them is vital to the healing. Only God and I know what has happened to me in these last six months. Only we know what I felt, what I learned, and what I gleaned from the groaning. Only God and I know what conversations needed to be had, and they were for our ears only. I had no more hurtful layers to peel. All pretence was gone and all false bravado exposed. I was alone in the garden naked, as God walked among the trees.
Am I done? Is it over? Can I tear off my shroud and my widow’s clothes? Is it time to dance again? My heart isn’t saying. It seems content to just let me be. For now, that is enough.
A note from Deb:
The LuLu Chronicles has a new home! From now on, you will find us on my new webpage at: www.debcleveland.org. The webpage gives a sneak-peak of my latest manuscript, free sample chapters from my first two books, thoughts on the writing life, and of course, LuLu. Please join me there. I’d love to hear from you.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
I’m back in the saddle again, LuLu’s saddle that is. It’s been a while; a long winter, a long period of mourning and a long, long, period of simply not being motivated. I’m trying to find my way, find a path that works for me, and figure out what all belongs in this new life I’m forced to create. Well, LuLu, my pink bike, is one of those things that belong. She was a gift from my late husband, a birthday present. When I’m peddling down the road, I’m happy. She’s good for me physically and emotionally. And, while riding this pink bike I find I am more receptive to new thought, clearer thinking, and possibilities, lots of possibilities. Like the other morning it dawned on me that if I wanted to, I could move to Ireland; Or, that I actually now have the time to read War and Peace. I don’t want to, but I could. It’s a possibility.
The trouble and blessing of trying to build a new life after the loss of someone you love, is deciding stuff. The what now questions are endless. Fortunately, I do not have to decide anything before its time, but eventually, I must.
LuLu reminded me that I am now in Act Three of my adult life’s journey. Act One was the college years, the inaugural plunge into adulthood. Big questions, Big answers, life changing consequences. It’s an extremely important Act, but it’s relatively short.
Act Two was the married, raising family years. My Act Two lasted forty-two years. Three kids, nine grandchildren, several careers, and one husband later the run comes to a close. Of course, the kids and grandkids are sliding into Act Three quite comfortably, but the days of partnership, shared vision and two-by-two are over. My anchor has been pulled and the drift has begun.
Act Three is now. I’m surrounded by people who love me, yet I am alone. And for a gal who went from her childhood home, to a dorm full of girls, and then directly to a marriage and then children, aloneness is a whole other animal. I have never eaten alone, gone to the movies alone, or traveled alone, until now. In the past, my choices formed who I was. I’m sure they still will, but they are not as clearly presented as they were in Act Two. Today’s possibilities are foreign to me when I walk them alone; they are something I read in a book, or admired in others, or scare the hound out of me if I think about them for too long.
Act Three. Oh, boy. Just thinking about it the other day on LuLu made me peddle faster. LuLu must have thought a bee stung me. However, in her pink bike way, she eventually made me slow it down, catch my breath, and allow the present to rule over the future, or the past. She spoke in her own way and said, “Peddle steady, keep your eyes on the road, and you need more padding in your shorts.” I translated that as—take it slow, don’t look back, and be prepared.
Act Three is full of possibilities, scary, exciting, breath-taking, terror-filled possibilities. The choices are all mine. Ireland or Madison, WI? Tolstoy or Harper Lee? Make lampshades or write a book? Find a job or NOT! Pink bike or . . .
“God, I don’t want to be here. I do not want to be anywhere. I don’t want to do this. It is such a battle to keep my eyes forward. I’m disappointed You didn’t give me what I wanted. Still, I find myself constantly looking to You for direction, affirmation, and for healing. You are not Santa Claus. You are Father, THE Father, the one who knows best. The one who loves me beyond measure. I know this. I trust this. Yet, I am afraid to be so alone with myself. Show me how. Please, show me how.” Amen.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
THE LULU CHRONICLES
Meet Atticus Cleveland, the Houdini of Labradoodles. Atticus lives with me on a lovely three- acre plot with a pond and about a hundred trees. A dog’s dream, right? But where is this canine’s Promise Land? It’s the next field over smeared in fertilizer. He has bitten through rope, leash and steel cables to get to this smelly field of liquid cow dung. Rolling on his back and burying his head into the mushy goo is what he lives for. It’s an obsession, a calling.
Last summer my son installed an invisible fence around most of the acreage. I wanted my brilliant hound to be able to run free without fear of being run over by the mailman or getting lost in a hostile world. I love him this much. How does he repay me? He figured out how to rub up against the garage, a tree stump or anything else handy to unlatch his collar, his jail keeper. The collar carries the transmitter that beeps wildly if he gets too close to the perimeter of the fence. If he ignores the beeps, there is a price to pay. However, I’ve lost count how many times now I’ve had to walk around these three acres to find that stupid collar. The dog is nothing if not persistent. He is relentless when it comes to his passion. There is no ditch deep enough or voltage high enough to keep him from the call of rich, smelly earth.
I envy him.
I encounter roadblocks to my dreams and quit. Not Atticus. I get disheartened when things don’t go my way and feel defeated. Not Atticus. I want to crawl back into bed, pull the covers up and moan when someone or something puts the skids under my plans, But not Atticus. He sees the roadblock and figures out how to circumvent it. He feels the backward tug of limitations and chews his way through them. You put him in a box and he’ll kick the sides out.
My life is extremely difficult right now. Nobody would want to walk in my shoes. I couldn’t trade lives with anyone, even if I paid them. People feel sorry for me. I feel sorry for me. My life is full of limits, boundaries and obstacles. A collar is around my neck and threatens to knock the curl right out of my tail if I get too close to freedom. I yelp for help and all it gets me is a tighter collar.
What to do? “Watch Atticus,” a quiet inner voice prods. I look for him. He’s not in the yard. I spy the collar lying on the ground by the evergreens, blinking at me, mocking me. I call for my dog, clap my hands, as is our way, and he finally comes running, ears flapping, paws caked in what I desperately hope is just mud and he leaps onto the deck and sits at my feet. He smells like rich, gooey, fertilized God-given earth. This boy knows how it’s done.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
THE LULU CHRONICLES
I just want to take some time to thank you, my readers and friends, for sticking with me. I know the things I’ve been writing about for the past year or so aren’t ‘feel good’ pieces. They are raw, uncensored, and about as truthful as I can stand to be. I am a woman trying not only to survive the loss of her husband of forty-two years, but also a woman who is determined to give this tremendous loss, its due. It means something. It’s a land full of discovery, a place where pain cleanses and welds the heart and makes it stronger, better, more prepared to continue on. So, thank you for listening, responding with kind words, and for your prayers. I have treasured and cherished you more than you know.
Unfortunately, I find this foreign country expanding with surprising twists and valleys. Today, I fed my dad two of his meals. As he sat up in his bed, holding my hand, I guess I could have been anybody. But it is my hope that he knew it was I, his daughter. Alzheimer’s is a horribly cruel disease and as my dad slowly fades from us I am once again experiencing this End of Life stuff. I am painfully aware that it is not done with me yet. So, I figure I still must have lots to learn about love, forgiveness, tenderness, sacrifice, and sorrow and probably a whole slew of other life lessons that the holy ground of the deathbed has to teach.
End of Life stuff. Wow! Who knew how excruciatingly rich and holy loss could be? I certainly didn’t. I wish it on no one, yet never have I felt as ‘chosen’ or ‘favored’ as I have in this last year. It is not anything someone looks forward to or envies another who experiences it. However, those of us who have lost loved ones or who are in the process of losing someone they love, a brotherhood and sisterhood forms. The secret handshake is revealed. A nod or look communicates to another volumes that one who hasn’t lost doesn’t quite get. A ‘knowing’ happens and this knowing brings you within an angel’s breath of God himself.
Of course, that’s not a given. If you don’t believe in God, or know God, or trust God, or like God, or respect God, of course loss will be a totally different experience for you. I know nothing about that. Sorry, I can’t help you.
I choose God. I choose Him not out of weakness or fear or desperation. I choose Him out of awe. He is the only explanation that makes sense while still being a mystery. The soft wisps of a newborn’s head. The heart that does not become bitter. The sight of a lion in the wild. The migration of a bird. The sun. The moon. The stars. The crippled hands that still reach out. A broken heart that heals. The last breath. God comes so close at times you can almost smell Him.
I think I smelled Him this afternoon in my dad’s room. I have so much to learn about being a Created Being and what I am suppose to do with that. Loss is just one teacher. There are others. And, we all sit at their feet eventually. It’s the way of God.
So, thank you for allowing me to ramble and stumble upon what I need to do, say, and be, to survive and hopefully, thrive in the years to come. You have been the soft grass under my feet and the shade tree over my head. Thank you.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
THE LULU CHRONICLES
I’m still in the winter season of Memphis. Tonight, the world stopped spinning around here because an inch of snow fell to the ground. Schools are all closed tomorrow, churches all cancelled their mid-week services, and all the white bread is gone off the grocery shelves. I’m sure if you threw in mama, a pick-up truck and a cheating heart, someone in these southern parts could write a country song about this.
I can make fun because I was born and raised in the south. These are my people. No matter that I’ve lived the last thirty-nine years in Wisconsin. I only have to pass the Mason/Dixon line and my twang comes back all on its own. But since I’m sporting Wisconsin plates I do have to drive extra careful cuz if someone’s going to be stopped it’s going to be the ‘Yankee’.
I’m here in Memphis to see family and to take care of my parents. Dad’s in the nursing home with end-stage Alzheimer’s and Mom has recently had a stroke. She’s okay for now, feisty, argumentative, and still telling me to get my hair out of my eyes. I’m glad I’m here. I was needed and I came running. That’s what daughters do... if they know what’s good for them.
The winter season, that just about sums up my life right now. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful or complaining. It’s just the truth. The sun has a hard time shining around me. I’m hurting still. My footsteps are unsure and hesitant. My anchor threatens to shift. And, I can’t get my bones warm.
The good news is that in my entire life, whether I was living in the south or the north, spring has never failed to follow winter. Never! I’m counting on it how. I’m staking my heart on it. The sun will come out. My bones will thaw. My path will be illuminated. My steps will once again be sure. And my anchor will hold.
Are you having a hard time believing there’s good coming while the snow still swirls overhead? In the north we have what we call Thundersnow, a very rare occurrence that usually takes place only in late winter. It’s a perfect winter storm consisting of snow, thunder, and lightning. It’s scary. The boom, the crack of lightning and fat, icy flakes converge and try to convince you that your world is coming to an end. But it isn’t. In its own quirky way, a Thundersnow is spring’s calling card. It’s a reminder that beauty and promise are up ahead.
God is so creative don’t you think? Nobody but He could give us such a show and tell and such a steadfast promise.
“When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous has an everlasting foundation.” ~ Proverbs 10:25
Monday, February 16, 2015
THE LULU CHRONICLES
I’m visiting my family in Memphis and this morning I woke to sleet, a tiny bit of snow, and icy roads, windshields and tree branches that looked like popsicles. I left Wisconsin for this? However, I have heard that at one point last night the North Country recorded a -30 wind chill. Makes Memphis seem quite balmy in comparison.
I’ve come south to help take care of my parents. Dad is in the nursing home and Mom was admitted to the hospital on Sunday. For 87-year-olds, they’ve been pretty healthy until recently, strong, and spry with a little kick in their steps. Unfortunately, the hounds of aging catch up with all of us eventually. My brother and I are trying to honor our parents with care and patience. As for me, I feel I’m useless at times. While it has been sixteen month since I lost my husband to cancer, I fear grieving has taken its toll. I find it hard to ‘muster’. I tire quickly and my coping skills are spotty at best. I think I’m doing all right then Boom! Something happens and I’m back at Day One trying to navigate the turbulent emotions of loss. This time the trigger was being in a hospital room again. The last three years of my husband’s life hospital stays were a huge part of the landscape. One whiff of that sanitized air and the post-traumatic stress kicked in big time.
Benjamin Scott Allen who lost his wife and two sons to HIV says in his book, Out of the Ashes- Healing in the AfterLoss, “No matter how far I go I still had to live with where I’ve been.” As the loss scabs over and I think I’ve beaten it or at least moved far enough along to not feel so raw and edgy, the truth is I carry it with me always. The loss is now a part of my fabric. The stress of watching my husband die for three years could not be more conspicuous than if I had grown an extra limb over those three years. It takes very little to send me back there—a smell, a breeze, the feel of certain fabrics.
With that said, I do believe I’m better. I have made strides. I am healing. I’m still learning what my new normal should look like. I’m more willing to admit my limits. I’m learning how to live alone and not be held captive by loneliness. It’s hard to separate the two but I must. Living alone won’t kill me, but loneliness can.
So here I am. Freezing in the South. Keeping the roads hot from nursing home to hospital and back again, and trying to be useful, supportive and as good of a daughter as my own loss will allow. If I am to be honest, there are times when I lay my head down at night and I wonder where God is in all of this. What does God want me to see, hear, and do? I ask, but the insulation in the room seems to soak up my words.
I haven’t turned the corner yet. The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t. But, I will get there. I’m further than I once was. A tiny light has sparked within. On cold nights, I can feel the promise of its warmth. Maybe that’s what mercy feels like?
Wishing you extra blankets and another log on the fire.
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
THE LULU CHRONICLES
"Are you a princess? I said & she said I'm much more than a princess, but you don't have a name for it yet here on earth."
~ Story People by Brian Andreas
Last weekend I got to hang with three of my grandchildren. It was a pleasant experience full of giggles and battles. Giggles, because they are so darn cute. Battles, because two/thirds of these particular grandchildren are boys. Everything is about battles—zombie war battles, monster chasing battles, dragon training battles, and small pretend woodland creatures that can suddenly sprout teeth and claws and turn on you in an instant. I came home with a cadre of new bruises. Who knew that playing hide-n-seek could be so physical? These darlin’ boys squeal, wrestle, and sword fight as their father and uncles before them. It was a trip down memory land. I was in my element.
But, it is their two-year-old sister who became the heroine of the day. As her three-year-old brother morphed into a killer gopher with a growl that could turn a heart to stone, it was she, this curly-top, dimpled-cheek, fairy-like Braveheart who protectively covered her MeMe’s head with her pudgy, little hands and declared, “I save you!” And she did. Every time.
“I save you, MeMe.” Her sweet hands would cradle me with a tenderness that took my breath away. Her unselfish, sacrificial willingness to protect me against the evils of Make-Believe Land restored my soul. I couldn’t wait for the next ambush, because I knew that Nellie Rose would rescue me and hold me in her precious arms.
“I save you.” I’ve heard those words before. In fact, during this last year, I’ve heard them lots. In the middle of the night when loneliness was about to devour me, a whispered war cry could be heard through the dark, “I save you!” And, peaceful sleep would return. When I wept so long and so loud in the middle of the day, standing in front of the kitchen sink, a small voice rumbled up through my heart and shouted, “I save you!” And the tears would stop. And just today, when I ran across an old email I’d kept from two years ago from my Beloved, a note that simply said, “I love you, Chickenblossom!” I thought my heart would burst from the pain and longing those few words evoked. I wept. I begged. I pleaded for mercy. And, just when I thought I could no longer bear the sorrow, I heard, “I save you.” And, He did... once more.
God is mysterious, and His care for us is confusing and miraculous and at times too wonderful to understand. But I’m here to bear witness to this: God saves and sometimes He employs the unlikeliest of rescuers. For me, it is a two-year old little girl. She boldly stands between me and the gnarly devastation of loss and in a tiny voice proclaims, “I save you, MeMe. I save you.”
And she does, by the grace of our God, she does.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
THE LULU CHRONICLES
The other day I shot my bow. We are in our January thaw here in Wisconsin, so I took advantage of it. It felt good to pull back the string, relax my breathing and let go. It’s my new happy place. I was surprised how natural I now feel with the bow in my hands. For some unknown reason, I have an instinct for this. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m any good at it. But, it feels right. I draw the bow string, inhale, aim, release. My heart slows as my breathing cleanses my nerves, body and mind of its clutter. And, oh, how I love the thwack!
Thwack? Yes, the thwack. It’s the sound the tip of the arrow makes when it connects with the target. I know where on the target my arrow has hit just by the sound. It’s louder around the edges, but the closer I get to the center, the sweet spot, the thwack is solid, fluid and reminds me of the sound and splash a diver makes when she hits the water at just the right angle.
I had had a couple of days of blinding sorrow, sideswiped by grief and longing. Unfortunately, I have discovered that year two of mourning the loss of my husband is no less painful than the first year. It just manifests itself differently. I had been made painfully aware in the last few days that this life I now live is permanent. Gary really isn’t coming back. Of course, my head has known this all along, but somewhere hidden behind my heart was this hope, this unrealistic, fantasy-type hope that he would. We did the hard stuff, now we get to move on with our life together, right? Sadly, no. The right side of my bed is still empty. And, every morning when I open my eyes, it all begins again. Where am I and what has happened to my life? I spend the rest of the day trying to figure that out.
But, the other day, when I released that first arrow and heard the thwack, the bull’s eye thwack, the perfect thwack, something inside of me broke loose. I stood very still with the bow at my side, my quiver full of arrows and my left shoulder still in position toward the target. Then, it dawned on me what it was. For the first time in fifteen months I felt alive.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to cry some more, long some more, and wish him back, but it won’t kill me. And one day after I’ve shot a thousand arrows or more, my heart may hurt just a little less.
God still keeps watch.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
THE LULU CHRONICLES
There are days I’ve got nothing. No insights. No words of wisdom. No perspectives. No feelings. No stories. No dreams. No goals. Nothing. I’m a blank page.
I thank God for those days.
It is in those times I cocoon and shut out all the voices, and God, the Father, the Protector, The Prince of Peace takes over. He stands over me with a baseball bat and slugs away at all the sorrow, sadness, decisions, anxiety, fearfulness, loneliness, and longing.
And, I get to rest.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures...
Monday, January 12, 2015
THE LULU CHRONICLES
I miss my husband in many ways. I miss hearing him sing. I miss the way he placed his hand gently on my back as he ushered me through a doorway. I miss hearing him breathe in the middle of the night. Oh, the list goes on. I also miss the thousand things he did for me to save me the trouble and frustration, not to mention that I didn’t know how to do them anyway. For example, finding a stud in the wall, re-wiring a lamp, or changing a flat tire on LuLu, my pink bike.
Also, there were things he did that just made my life easier; that made me feel like a princess. Like, changing the light bulbs in all lamps, porch lights, and ceiling fans. Gary was also the battery-master around here. Changing batteries in all remotes, flashlights, and the scale in the bathroom among other battery-operated gizmos. If something broke, he fixed it. If I was in need of a picture being hung, or a hole being dug, or a bush being re-located, he hopped on it without complaint. He hung my porch swing, moved my iron gate all around the yard until I found the perfect spot for it, and built the rose arbor I wanted. My wish was his command, most of the time. I was the princess whose hands bore no calluses and he was the hard-working prince/handyman who was always digging a splinter out of his finger or the palm of his hand.
Well, those days are over. Just this week two boards fell from the basement ceiling for no apparent reason, my garage door fell off its hinges, and I got my snowblower in a bad fix. Oh, and there was this smell in the house that I couldn’t track down. These days, there’s not a good prince/handyman when I need one. He’s gone to live with Jesus so I’m on my own.
The ceiling boards weren’t too hard to deal with. I know my way around a hammer and a nail. Of course, hammering over my head was tricky. The snowblower problem was a bear. While blowing snow off of my sidewalk, I accidently ran over the corner of the tarp that was covering my woodpile. It was hidden under the snow and I just didn’t see it. It took thirty minutes of hacking and chopping to get the shredded tarp pieces untangled from the snowblower blade. Did I mention that it was 4 degrees outside?
As for the garage door, it’s true what they say. You can fix anything with Duct Tape. It ain’t pretty, but it got the job done. As for that strange smell? Turns out it was gases being back up from the mound system caused by the extreme cold air and wind chill, and the odor was being pushed up through the shower drain. Solution: Water in an ice cream bucket placed over the shower drain. Who knew?!
I’m not a princess anymore. I’ve traded my tiara in for a Carhartt ball cap with earflaps and a pair of Gary’s old work gloves. I shutter to think about what’s going to happen next. But, something will. I’m preparing for Armageddon by stockpiling Duct Tape.
When the snowblower got tangled up, the garage door had already run off its track and was hanging there half up and half down. I had boards lying on my basement floor, and my house smelled like one big toot. The snowblower incident was the last straw. Tears started boiling up behind my eyes, but then I just got mad. I refused to cry over stupid stuff. What I did was start praying the loudest prayer I’d ever prayed. My tone was a little harsh, but my heart was in the right place. “God, help me! It’s the least You can do!”
The Hubs always took good care of me. This former princess had it good for a long time. I will always be thankful for my tiara time, but it’s a new day. Gary made sure I was not left helpless. After all, it was his Duct tape. I miss him in more ways than I have words. But, he taught me well. I will get the hang of this.
Thursday, January 8, 2015
THE LULU CHRONICLES
What is it about new beginnings that instantly turn our attention to the weight loss and good health aspect of new starts? A page in my book has turned, a very important one. I am now a single woman who has lost her husband and feel it’s time to take steps toward a new life. Once I knew I was there, I started contemplating what my new health routines were going to be. I don’t think this is a bad thing, but it’s curious how often weight loss and healthy eating attach themselves to new beginnings.
Of course, my thoughts go to LuLu, my pink bike. As I write this, I am upstairs in my writing room looking out over our three acres. Three acres of snow. The snow is blowing sideways. Not a good day to ride a bike. It’s not a good day to even peek my nose out the door. But I know she sits out in the garage in all her pink glory waiting, waiting for me to get my *cowgirl in gear. If you’re a follower of this blog, you know that it was LuLu, the pink bike, who got me started on this blog journey. My husband gave her to me on my sixtieth birthday. I began chronicling lessons learned on the road with LuLu. Three years later, my great love, my Hubs, is gone and LuLu waits for me. My period of mourning cause periods lethargic and sporadic behavior when it came to bike riding or any other exercise for that matter. As a matter of fact, lethargic just about sums up this whole last year as I was forced to adjusted to the trauma of loss. Everything in my life became hit and miss. For some people, a trauma like this pushes them to obsess and overdosing on exercise and other pain numbing activities. For folks like me who have always used food as an emotional painkiller, homemade bread with real butter melting over its crust became my drug of choice. Both extremes can harm the psyche.
Well, my knees, back and other muscles and joints have had enough, not to even mention my blood sugars. They have all sent up an S.O.S. My Fibromyalgia is also squeezing my muscles and nerves and will soon crush them if I don’t get moving soon. The Grade C miracle in all this is that I haven’t gained any weight, in fact, I’ve lost weight. The harm to my health isn’t about weight as much as deterioration.
Enough of this talk. It’s time to pull out Belle, the exercise Ball, Hildegard, the elliptical, and Rusty II, the stationary bike. Loss. Trauma. Mourning and Lamenting has taken its toll. It’s time to beat them all over the head with some free-weights. Who’s with me?
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” I Cor. 6:19.
*cowgirl code for: rear, butt, bum,
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
THE LULU CHRONICLES
|Is she ready?|
So here we are, a brand new year spread out before us. What to do? What to do? Repeat? Or change? Isn’t that the million-dollar question at the beginning of every new year? I, for one, do not want to repeat anything from last year, but am I ready for a change? Which is a silly question because change will come whether I want it to or not. Change has already come. So, will I embrace it and take control, or go kicking and screaming the rest of the way?
If the truth were told, I’ve done a little bit of both. But now, in this fresh new day, I’m ready for my own terms. I’m ready to step out and discover instead of just letting what will happen happen. I’ve had a whole year of that. Honestly, I didn’t have much strength for anything else. I lost my husband to a deadly, hideous disease. I’ve mourned and lamented for a year. I probably will mourn the loss of his presence till the end of my days. But I’m ready to accept the fact that God expects more from me than sackcloth and ashes. That season had to be. But this widow’s clothes no longer become her.
You don’t have to lose a spouse to know loss, or to feel like it’s time to either break from or build upon your past. For me, its time to build upon the foundation of what I’ve been given. I’ve been loved by someone very special. I’ve had the privilege of loving a rock star (at least he was to me). It’s time to embrace what that love has given and what it has prepared me for.
How about you? Is it time to move forward? Is it time to embrace change or be the one responsible for change? What will it take? What will it cost you?
For me, I need to sell my house, move to a new town, and build a new home. I don’t mean bricks and mortar ‘build’; I mean awaken my dreams and goals. Brush off my gifts and discover new talents... also pick out new curtains. I also have to fight the guilt that moving forward brings. For those of us who’ve lost someone, moving forward can feel like a betrayal. How dare I be happy without my loved one? Bad wife! How can I enjoy myself even a smidgeon, won’t that mean I’m dishonoring his memory? What will people think? What will they say? Bad wife!
No, I must still the inner doubts, the inner critic and take that first step. And so should you. Easier said than done, I know. No one knows that better than me. But step out we must.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”(Phil 4:13) I choose to believe that’s true. So... here goes!