Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Battleground

"Give ear to my words, O LORD,
consider my sighing,
Listen to my cry for help,
my King and my God
For to you I pray
In the morning, O LORD,
you hear my voice
In the morning I lay my requests
before you
and wait in expectation."
Psalm 5:1-3

LORD, help!
My heart is heavy
Mind all boggled with
Endless thoughts, ideas, aspirations, fears
I am so heavy laden.
I feel so bursting full

I do see beauty more than I ever have before
But I feel I've never been more
Overwhelmed
By thoughts, opinions,
That encourage, break down, accuse, question
Harrass, excite, enlighten, enrage, calm...

I can't get away from my racing brain
Just exacerbates any physical ailment
I have
And seems to be both the cause and
Result of my
Jumbling emotions.
I've always had anxiety-but never before-like this
The good turned bad
All these thoughts have gotten me
Excited passionate about things
But at the same time I feel
Eaten alive by scorpions
Stuck in a box with little air
They're crawling everywhere
I'm suffocating in my good ideas (and bad)
Because I don't know what to do
With them all

There is so much pain in the world
I feel lately I've tried to take it all on
I've been not only passionate to stop it but
Totally incapacitated because of my
Utter bewilderment as to what to do
And the realization of my total
Inability to make a difference

When my depression was severe
I could fully feel my own sorrow
And when presented with others' suffering
My choices were
To totally deny it
Or to add their pain to my badge of suffering
Therefore deepening my already gapened wounds
And rendering me even more pitiful
And helpless

Now, a new increasingly whole person,
I recognize the danger in
Suffering without action
But yet I am so weak
Daily presented with stats of rises in Swine Flu deaths
And percentages of those starving across the world

I refuse to let this news
Stick itself to my consciousness
And plague me with unwarranted
Selfishness and guilt
My heart has now flopped to my stomach
And I am raging inside
At injustice

Wondering why I am sitting
Inside a nice warm house
Belly full, hot coffee next to me
On my way to a well-paying job
And, I try to remember
To thank you,
But I am so dry.

Lord, hear my plea for freedom
I'll never go back to where I was
but I've entered a new Battleground

Sunday, October 25, 2009

God Does Not Intend for Us to Suffer

I have been reading this blog of a family with a child with Down's Syndrome and on one post she asked the question to her readers,

If there was a way to take away the extra chromosome away from your child and make them "typical" would you do it?

And why?

At least a dozen people responded and I was struck with the variety of answers. Many said, "no" they couldn't imagine their child a different way, and mentioned the joy he or she had brought in their life. Some who answered no in this way admitted they were being selfish, which I admired. A few answered, "yes" in a heart beat because of the pain and struggles their child had gone through. Of all the answers this one really aggravated me:


"For me this is an easy one! I would not take away Erin's extra 21st anymore than I would take away any other genetic trait that she has, as that is a piece of her that God created. I trust He knows what He is doing
Smile. I would also not wish for my other kids to have T21 because that is not what God intended for them. I want what God wants. Over the past 22 months, my hubby and I have felt incredibly blessed to have our little Erin, as we believe she is a gift not only for us but for the world. Yes, our kids are hidden treasures! We sure have grown to love that little something extra!"

Okay, while I do believe God created this beautiful person and in his eyes she is perfect, the fact that this parent thinks God intended for her to have this disability is appalling. I would have agreed with this person (with some reservations) before I read the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner, but now I can see that God INTENDED for no pain or suffering for any of us. And to say "I want what God wants" is great, but does he WANT this little one to suffer with Down's? When he created her did he think, I want her to suffer. As Kushner says in his book, does God go around joyfully doling out depression, cancer, or MS diagnoses. Hell, no! Because as much as we gain from children with Down's aren't we being selfish and heartless to say "If I were to give son/daughter with Down's freedom, I would choose not to." Here is another post where I have similar thoughts.

I don't know because I have often thought of that with my depression, would I want to be TOTALLY free? My depression is NOT me but it is a PART of me. It has truly influenced every ounce of my being and brought me to an incredible understanding of people and life and faith. So, maybe God did intend me to have it; or could we say, he forsaw (is this a word) my life with depression and my life without...and then did he just choose to allow the former. Anyway, I guess, in essence, I am torn because I understand people who say "My ____ (insert, cancer, e.g.) is the best thing that ever happened to me" but then I still don't believe God wanted them to be struck with it...More on this later.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Crazy Night at Work

Last night I felt very accomplished during a crazy night at the group home. One man began getting sick and was soon vomitting on and off for like 2 hours. In between wiping his face, rubbing his back and taking his temp I was running back and forth calling the nurse, who, upon discovering he had a fever, said we needed to put the H1N1 protocol in place. That required me to call the supervisor who came up and made me sign this paper that said I would wear a mask within 6 feet of the man among other things. Anyway, it was a bit insane because the 2nd staff was in the bathroom with another resident, a 3rd resident was hollering via his Dynavox (he is non verbal so he types with his head on this machine) that he needed something, and the 4th man, well, he was getting neglected. Luckily, we had a 3rd staff but she was out shopping. She comes home to the puking and everyone running around. Then my supervisor was there too. I was like, Oh great. I am probably infecting everything. So in between gags and pukes and writing in his book, taking vitals, and doing dishes, I was sanitizing the entire house. By that time, the other two staff had cleaned up dinner and gotten the other guys to bed. A 2nd resident was also beginning to show symptoms. So...

I feel pretty accomplished after that shift because I was able to hold it together while having worked 15 plus hours (I had sub taught that morning) and as I am not good with puke. My supervisor said make sure to go home and throw everything in the wash. (Which I typically do after each shift anyway!) The over night staff had to follow up on the sick man...but luckily between all of us, I was still able to leave at 10 pm.

Today I go to my PCA job. I had called the family and informed them that I may have been exposed to the H1N1 but could I still come to work. And my client's mom said that was fine, but the brother had been sick too...Anyway, I am ready for a nice relaxing day...And feeling fine, so far. Just tired.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tumid Mind

I went to thesaurus.com and found a lot of synonyms for the word "packed." So here are some good words/phrases to describe my mind:

awash, brimful, brimming, bundled, chock, chock-full, compact, compressed, congested, consigned, crammed, crowded filled, full to the gills, jam-packed, jammed, loaded mobbed, overflowing, overloaded, serried, stuffed, swarming, to the roof, tumid.

I especially liked "tumid" whose synonyms are

bloated, bombastic, distended, enlarged, inflated, overblown, pompous, protuberant, puffy, swollen, tumescent, turgid.

I do thank God for my swollen mind because it's beautiful and complex and never-ending. Sometimes it just plain sucks. More about that later. My therapist has suggested finding a box and writing down each thought on a slip of paper, putting it in the box as a literal way of "putting the thought aside." Then I would take one piece of paper out at a time to worry/think about for that particular period of time. So maybe I will try that. I could list each of my thoughts on here, too, but then this blog would be too long and it is already quite lengthy.




Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Amazing Family









One of the many things on my mind. I just finished this book yesterday. It was not the most amazing eye-opening thing I've ever read but brought a lot of things to my mind, including the realization that I have an amazing family, wonderful brothers, for who I am so thankful! My three brothers are all over the country and world right now, so this makes a continuing relationship quite challenging. My oldest brother Nate is in Bend, OR; Greg and his wife Sarah live in Corpus Christi, Texas; and my younger bro Tim is completing a master's program in engineering in Aachan, Germany. Less than three years ago, we all lived within a few miles of each other in the Twin Cities area and got together a few times a month.

Being someone who doesn't adjust to change well, these transitions have been rough, but overall I look back and am so proud of each of my siblings, what they have contributed to my life and seek to build a stronger relationship with each one, as well as my sister-in-law. As a family we have seen intense triumphs and struggles these last three years, including my dad's illness and surgery, Tim's life-threatening accident, graduations from college (me), Seminary (Nate) and banking school (Dad), job struggles and changes for ALL of us, Dad's car accident, the recent deaths of our beloved grandma and uncle, the additions and subtractions of significant others, and so much more...

We have gone through so much and many of us are still in so much emotional and physical pain. But I am in awe of the amazing family I have and how we stronger because of all these struggles and successes; mostly how God has been there through it all.

I have been in WI visiting my parents these last two days and have mostly spent time with my dad because my mom's been at work visiting hospice patients. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of helping him move brush and carry boxes (of Tim's that we put into storage). He is still in lots of pain from his bad car accident a year ago, so small amounts of lifting can trigger extreme pain. It's hard for me to know what to do or say, so I guess I just have to be. Anyway, his attitude helps and strengthens me to focus on God's goodness, on forgiveness and looking ahead, not back, on ... hope.

Well, this isn't even what I was going to write about, but I will leave it at that for now!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Subbing

I am sitting here at 5:50 on a chilly October morning waiting for the phone to ring to offer me a subbing job. I am getting the hang of this subbing thing. I usually obsessively check by calling the three numbers, the Kelly Staffing number which offers me the best hope since there are about 5 school districts I could get a job with. Then there is Mounds View and Forest Lake, which I am independently a sub for but so far have not subbed as no jobs are ever available. It's literally a meat market. If I ever miss a phone call, I pretty much don't get the job as it is already taken; hence my obsessive calling. But if I don't end up working today that's okay since I worked 24 hours over the weekend!

I have really enjoyed substitute teaching. I have gotten a feel for what it might be like to teach high school for example. As one counselor at Spring Lake Park High School put it high schoolers are just "big little kids." And they are. But not really. They can do a whole lot more than Kindergartners, so that's why when I am really tired I prefer subbing for high school (11th or 12th) because they are so self-directed. But then again it could get boring so that's why Elementary is always good to switch things up.

My most amazing experience came last week when I somehow got ahold of a 2-day job at Wildwood Elementary in Mahtomedi. I was able to sub for the same first grade class for 2 days and had an amazing time! The main reason it was awesome is because the staff were so encouraging, helpful and kind. It is a K-2 school with about 8 sections of each grade, so still a pretty large elementary school! Anyway, the teacher's plans were quite detailed (always an amazing plus!) and the kids were quite well-behaved, according to me who is used to yelling, screaming, throwing chairs and tables, and physical fights (this was Kinder in inner city St. Paul). But anyway, all you have to do is say "Give me 5" and the entire class of 24 first graders will put their hands up and be totally quiet. It's amazing. Of course, they were a little crazy because they are 6 and 7-years-old so I used some songs and games I knew, and overall had everything under control. Mostly it was FUN and I had energy to enjoy myself!

The thing is, tons of staff complimented me on how good of a sub I was, and I felt like I hardly did anything...Anyway more on that later. This is too long! Well, maybe I will have a day off today!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Life

I am looking at a moldy tomato that I got (among other healthy) ones from my friend Josh. It's sitting on the table amongst a variety of fruits and vegetables, onions, sweet potato, apples, pears.

"These are warnings signs if the flu is severe...that you need to get your child to the hospital." The radio DJ says in the background.

My mind is throwing around all these colors and textures and words and sounds. And I look back on my week. Full of excitement, praise, hope, and the possibility of explosion.

The sun that came out yesterday was amazing...I even got out to go on a walk with my roommate, Theresa. We talked about our early babysitting experiences.

While I sit here, everyone I know is going through some sort of life transition or grief period. And I am praising God. Is that selfish?

I have gotten a job every day this week (either with the group home job or sub teaching) and have really enjoyed it despite my exhaustion and on-and-off headaches. After teaching first grade today, I will drive over to my old group home where I worked for three years and do a short shift there. I am so excited to see everyone again but it's going to be a crazy long work day. Then tomorrow I may or may not pick up a sub teaching job. And on Sat I work 16 hours at the regular group home and Sun 8 hours. I love God's provisions but hopefully I am not overdoing it.

I am really trying to be intentional about everything that's happening to me, take nothing for granted. While constantly praying for my friends/family who are struggling (who isn't?) I won't believe the lie that God should "spend less time with me and go to them who need him more." He has been my closest and Ever Presence these past few days and weeks. The only thing I am doing differently is simply inviting him in to the smallest tasks and thoughts. He truly does care, as I have learned. I tell Him all about these people that I love and care about, admitting that I CAN'T change their situation. He has really given me purpose, life and hope when I feel I least deserve it...

Anyway, yes a very random post.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Foundation

Life is a puzzle and each day...
A new gift
I am astounded at
How the world has changed
My very source of stability
Seems to have slipped
Like a gripless shoe on solid ice

I am reminded again
Of Trust
And Hope
So deep that your
Fingers are bleeding from all the
Effort of holding on
And the Knowledge
That there is only one Truth
To depend on another person
Or ideal can put an end to
Your sanity

I am aching for people
I love dearly
And those Who I don't yet know
I know I may seem close-minded to some
That my tried and true methods
Might seem rigid to Emergents
But I am one who lives and loves
Because of my experiences
The BitterSweetness the Savior
Has given to me
and the Love I can share because of
His Saving my Life
This priceless gift.