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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Familiarity

Last night I forced myself to write a few hundred more words on my WIP before going to bed, even though fatigue (let's make that exhaustion) was catching up with me.  No, actually it had already caught me.  Point being, all I wanted was to close my eyes, but there was this awful squawking, squeaking, cacophony of snorts going on in my bedroom that would not let me sleep.  Yes, it must be hay fever season!  I can put up with a lot of things, but snoring is not one of them.
A few good kicks in the backside of the perpetrator did no good whatsoever, so calmly, sleepily, I might add, I pick up my Christmas print fleece blanket and move to another room.  My son is away at college and his room doesn't get much use these days.  But there is a perfectly good bed in there and I intend to make good use of it.  I wonder briefly if the sheets are clean, then decide I'll just lay on top.  It's a warm night and I didn't bring my fan with me.
So, there I am on this strange bed.  It doesn't feel as nice as my bed.  It's firmer and the pillow is flat. Really flat.  All the good pillows are away at college with him.  I can hear the CPAP across the hall that belongs to son #2.  Hmm....it's louder in here.  There is a window by my head where the street light shines right into my eyes from a crack in the curtain when I  turn towards it.  I turn over.  I am staring at the side of a dresser that blocks my view of anything else.  Son #3 certainly has a lot of stuff crammed into this space we call his room.
Despite everything I am about to fall asleep when PLOP!  Something lands on my feet. It's that cat!  Jake is the one we have adapted the famous Veggie Tales pirate song for.  "He is the kitty that doesn't do anything.  He just stays home and lies around.  And if you ask him to do anything.  He'll just tell you, he doesn't do anything."  He's no pirate, but otherwise that song could have been written for him.  He doesn't care that his overweight body is laying on my feet and moving him is out of the realm of possibility.  It's me that has to move.  I try, but there's that street light again.  Whose dog is barking?  Oh, dear!  It's mine. Angel, please be quiet!  She gets so excited about the neighbor's cats that wander around.  She needs to get a life - something besides barking and cat watching.
So, back to the story.  I'm lying there, yonder CPAP humming, cat purring, me curled up in a tight ball to accommodate him, light in my eyes, wishing the mattress wasn't quite so firm, getting kind of warm and wondering if the snoring might be preferable.  Then this revelation dawns.  When my son is home, this is his familiar.  This is what's comfortable to him.  Is he lying in bed in his dorm room wishing he was in his bed at home?  (Well, probably not, I don't think he sleeps much there, but you get the point).  We all have things that are familiar to us and other things that feel strange.
I think God planned it that way so we can help others through this life.  Have you been through some trial that now qualifies you to help someone else go through the same thing?  Then help them!  Do you know someone who has 'been there-done that' in whatever you're experiencing right now?  Ask them for advice.  To borrow a title from a book I like - "We really do need each other."  Don't fight it.  Don't ignore it.  Don't push it under the rug (or the heavy cat).  Reach out to someone.  Stand in the gap for them.  Use the lessons you have learned to help someone else learn.  You will be amazed at the blessings that flow both ways when you do.
P.S.  I finally decided on the snoring - much more familiar! (Yawn!)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

9-11

We just experienced the 10 year mark (hard to call it an anniversary) of one of the most awful things I can recall in my lifetime.  I remember the day in 2001 vividly as well as how I felt and the gamut of emotions I experienced.  It's not a pleasant memory.  Therefore, when the news media started all the hype and build-up about the 10 year thing, it made me want to go hide my head in the sand.  All the news features, documentaries, pictures, first person accounts, even sermons commemorating that day gave me cause to wish desperately it was all over.  I'm not the least bit interested in reliving that day, seeing the horrific pictures and videos, listening to all the pain and suffering revisited, even honoring the heros.  I would just as soon skip it as go back and experience all that again.  When the TV in our house was spouting all the "specials" the afternoon of the 11th, I was in another room.  I didn't want to see, hear or feel and couldn't understand why anyone else did either.
Then, like the proverbial ton of bricks, it hit me.  It wasn't that anyone wanted to go back to that day 10 years ago or feel the same emotions again - it was that we have to.  We can't ever allow ourselves to forget.  If we forget, all the things that happened that day lose their meaning and purpose.  We have to remember, fight back, honor, even cherish those moments in our nations history.  If we don't, it was all in vain.  It is the same way with Jesus on the cross.  Every Easter season I dread the descriptions I am sure to hear of Jesus' suffering and the horrible things that were done to Him before and after He was crucified.  I closed my eyes through most of it the first time I watched The Passion, but I did recognize the importance of why were seeing it.  By His stripes we are healed.  The emotion it evokes in me is secondary to the reason it happened.  I can't avoid the emotion without avoiding the reason and therefore I do not dare to do so.  I have to bring it out each Easter, relive it, re-feel it and let the miracle of my salvation pervade my entire being.  If I don't, what Christ did for me loses its enormity and I lose track of how much He loves me, all so I can avoid feeling the pain.
Remembering 9/11 as horrendous as it was, is minuscule when compared to the cross.
Remember - Never Forget what Jesus did for you and me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Open Window

After an incredibly hot and long summer which seemed to never end, the weather has cooled off and it is actually almost pleasant - granted, my idea of 'pleasant' isn't necessarily that of anyone else, but you get the point.  I DO NOT LIKE HOT WEATHER SAM I AM.
With the temperature dipping down to almost cool at night, I suggested to my husband that we leave the window open to allow some of this cool, fresh air inside to help us sleep better.  Despite his inclination to experience hay fever, he agreed and we have done this for the past several nights now.
The open window is fabulous.  When I wake up in the morning it's actually cool in the room, and not the artificial cool I usually feel from the fan that blows directly on my sleeping form at least six months out of the year.  I like the night sounds, crickets and cicadas and things like that.  It's a nice little lull-a-bye to fall asleep to.  I also like having the curtain open to allow a little moonlight into the room, nice change of pace from the night light in the hallway.
Now, all that said - I don't believe I thought about all the disadvantages that go along with the open window when I made the suggestion.  First, there is the aforementioned hay fever.  Even though my husband insists it is not bothering him, I wonder if this is entirely true when he begins to snore.  I can never fall asleep first.  I've tried.  And so it goes.  Then, remember those pleasant little night sounds I mentioned?  What about the ones not quite so pleasant that invade the quiet of the night and even have the audacity to startle me awake at times?  The dog somewhere that barks at something then sets up a chorus of barking throughout the neighborhood in every tone and pitch of barking imaginable.  (My own dog is included in this nighttime choir and does her share of directing with the occasional solo piece so rest assured I am definitely not blaming my neighbors!)  The cars going by at all hours of the night are another source of irritation.  Don't those people ever sleep?  A car coming down the street can put it's headlights in my eyes for just a split second then continue on down the road as if nothing had happened.
The point of this dialogue?  Yes, I'm getting there.  The open window has definite advantages, but also disadvantages.  In my mind I have weighed the facts and find the scales definitely tip in favor of leaving the window open on these cool nights despite the drawbacks.  It is the same in life.  Always, always, even when it seems like more bad stuff is getting in than good stuff, leave the window of your heart open.  We miss too much if we close up to the world and let nothing invade our otherwise complacent lives.  God will not open the window forcibly if you have closed it voluntarily.  He will wait for you to realize it needs to be open and for you to let Him inside once again.  So many blessings are waiting.  Don't miss them because you forgot to open the window.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Distraction

How often do you think about your big toe?  I mean, honestly - do you give any thought to it at all?  I never did until several months ago when my left big toe started hurting.  First, I thought my shoes didn't fit right.  Blew that theory when I changed shoes and it still hurt.  Then, I decided it was gout.  Isn't that the disease where your big toe hurts?  Well, I looked it up.  Gout hurts a lot for a few days then it's done for awhile.  Guess that wasn't it either.  Finally, after several months, I did what I should have done in the first place.  I asked my doctor - then I wished I hadn't.  Arthritis.  Yep - that's what he said.  The "A" word.  I can take Tylenol for the pain.  What?  Do I take it all the time?  Will it really help?  Maybe it will go away.  Maybe it won't.  "Try not to use it too much," he said.  Seriously!  Who uses a big toe?
There is a point to all this whining.  My problems with my big toe got me thinking about how much I have thought about my toe over the last several months as opposed to all those months/years/decades when I never gave it a thought.  How much time have I wasted worrying, fretting, problem solving, decision making when there wasn't a thing I could do to change anything?  Where would I be right now if I had applied all those minutes to the pursuits God has put in front of me to do for Him?  Would my next book be finished?  Would my house be clean?  Would I be caught up at work?  Would I have gotten more sleep?
The scriptures clearly tell us not to worry.  Why then, do we do it?  Are we simply not capable of putting needless worry aside?  I have decided to make that one of my life's pursuits - leaving my worries with God and spending my time seeking Him instead of fretting over all the distractions that get in the way.  Can I actually do this?  I don't know.  Perhaps I'll worry over it.  Maybe it's my first lesson.