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Walking Through Fire

 

 

 

I do not like numbers. I can add and subtract, I have my multiplication tables memorized, and I can get by doing long division. There is nothing about numbers that I find funny or interesting. Instead, they bring out all my insecurities – all of them in full colour. All I do is cry, well when no one is looking. For a long time, it was something that I tried to hide from. Normally, I tell people up front that I am not a numbers girl. I don’t see any kind of life with them.

On Saturday, I did some online banking, paid some bills, and moved some money into some of my other accounts. Items I’ve done plenty times before, except I couldn’t figure out why I was $ 45 in the hole. I ended up going to my bank and asking the teller to articulate to me what was going on.

Sometimes a situation that doesn’t seem all that bad to you can in a flash turn on you.

Next thing I know I am experiencing so many emotions that I just want to run. I don’t want to explain why I did what I did because when you’re like this you feel like an idiot. Why do you feel the need to expand on this one situation that has completely humiliated you? Cause no one likes to feel like a fool. No one likes being reminded that we’re not perfect, that none of us have it all together. It was a mini-melt down for me. I haven’t experienced one in quite some time, in fact, it’s been years. When I started using antidepressants and I was trying to figure out which one worked the best that’s when I would experience them. I would be out of commission for 2-5 days. I literally could not function because I wasn’t used to feeling all these emotions. I had gotten really good at pushing them away.

I’m exhausted, but not defeated because even though I can’t see it, I know there is still more. I might be just a girl, a woman in a process with her stuff but I am still so much more. I’ve told myself that for years, it was easy to be forgotten, easy to hide and blend in with the background because I am really good at doing that. I need to remember in the process of all things that who I am doesn’t change even though I may not feel the confidence that is placed inside of me.

The emotions that erupted in me last Saturday are still having far-reaching effects on me. Namely, I think the emotions of my past are in effect ghosting on my present and my future. I can sit back and twiddle my thumbs and think there isn’t anything for me to do, or I can decide that I don’t want to be a spectator while my emotions take over what little common sense and intelligence inhabit inside of me.

Like fear, I think God is asking me if I will make a trek through the anger. After all, I am in the right place, I been residing in the desert to walk and hope that these dead bones will come back to life.

 

0

Travel and Tell No One…

 

 

Every Tuesday, I go to see Jose my only Spanish client, and fortunately for me, his Spanish-speaking Personal Support Worker (PSW) is also there. Jose has a habit of slipping into Spanish and he expects me to understand him, which I don’t. So while I am there cleaning or/and doing his laundry, Marta his Spanish PSW speaks to me in English.

In June, Marta found out that I was going on holiday because I asked her to translate to our client that I wouldn’t be coming to give him services that particular week. She asked me if I was going anywhere for my week off. I told her no that I wasn’t traveling any [exotic places] where for seven days. This seems to bother her because in her thickly accented English she asked, “Why aren’t you going anywhere?”

Truth be known I didn’t want to go anywhere, I don’t have any worthwhile savings, and I was only taking a week off. I might consider it if I was taking two weeks, but I regress because I don’t have any worthwhile savings. Oh, I also have a loan from school to pay off. Marta shook her head still not seeming to understand why I wasn’t going anywhere.

It was after this that she began to tell me she was going to Spain in January 2018. Marta is from Cuba and has never been to Spain. I realized as she spoke about this trip – and it surprised me – I have no desire to travel on a plane, which is another reason: no desire. I kept this piece of information to myself because I had a hunch she wouldn’t understand that either. Don’t get me wrong Marta is a very nice woman, but it’s one of those situations that I can’t literally run from. I don’t know if there is a typical Spanish woman, but if I were to typecast, I think Marta would fit that mold. I on the other hand not so much, though I have tried.

Not going anywhere for my holidays didn’t bother me as much as it did Marta or some of the other people who equated holidays to physical movement to another place with different weather. In my defence to you the reader, I have done some traveling aboard if you were wondering. I’m not opposed it, but right now God has limited my traveling abilities. My idea of a holiday [as of late] is to not go to work, stay at home, read, write, cook, bake, hang out with a friend, or go check out the  La Machine in front of my city’s City Hall last Friday.

I checked d out what the exact definition of travel was, and while physically traveling came up first there were other possibilities that were available. What I didn’t want to share was it’s nothing for me to travel to faraway lands via my imagination. It’s my belief too sometimes all this it’s all about appearances because my journey so far has enabled me to travel to areas of myself that I believed were impossible to find. For now, the only journey I am concerned with is the one that I am doing on the inside. The person I was yesterday is not the person I am today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Spinster Is An Ugly Word

 

 

Spinster Is an Ugly Word

Recently, I watched a BBC video of Jane Austen narrated by Lucy Worsely. For almost an hour, Worsely explains what it would’ve been like for young women to live in the British social class of the 19th century. In short, Austen never had a chance at the life she dreamed of. Daughters were to be married off, but Austen mostly due to her father being a pastor couldn’t offer much in a dowry to any eligible man who had an interest in her. It was also a hard sell for women who wanted to write and sell fiction. As they weren’t taken seriously as a man would’ve been in her position. I suspect it wasn’t expected for women to dream of more than a husband and a family of your own. I wonder if she had married, would we still know Jane Austen the author who changed the world of literature.

At the relatively young age of 41 years, Austen died penniless, alone and a spinster. Never to experience the life and lavishness that the characters in her books did. From a quiet and unknown woman came stories that have and will continue to entertain and foster her reader’s appetite for the kind of life that she hoped and dreamed of but fell short because fiction isn’t reality.

Austen was so much more than just a spinster, she had written novels that would transform the world of literature and even beyond. Sadly, she was never able to see or enjoy the status her writing gained years after her death. I could say I have a lot in common with Jane Austen but I don’t. She didn’t live past her 41st year, she lived in the UK, and most importantly she in the 19th century. But as I watched this video, I realized how fortunate I am to live in the present. I don’t know where the ideas came from those women who in the eyes of that particular era had no potential beyond the roles as a wife and mother.

Dejected and Sad

That was the one emotion that fluttered its wings inside of me as I watched an actress play act out (in the documentary) what Austen might’ve been thinking or hope for. In her situation, hope was in low supply. She didn’t leave home to start university or, nor did she harbor dreams to live on her own, however, Austen did for a period of time. She worked on her writing and kept sending her manuscripts out to the publishers.

I’m single, and I am 41 years old turning 42 in less than two months. As I viewed this video, I didn’t see the similarities to Austen rather all the opposites. If I had been alive in the 19th century I might be more like Jane Austen relying on the kindness of others. Instead, I live on my own and I don’t rely on others to pay my rent, bills, groceries and any other extras. When I think about all I have compared to young women in the 19th century without a substantial dowry to catch the eye of an eligible man of the marriageable age. I don’t have a lot in savings, I have a school loan that I am slowly chipping away at. I would like to plan for the future but I don’t have plans for the single version of me. I have plans for the married version of me, and even that has grown smaller as I am trying to remain in the present, trying to enjoy myself now. I love living on my own and having my own space. In the last ten years, I have been able to see why it’s good to be single, and just do what I want and when I want.

Sometimes I feel this stigma of being single, even though statistics tell me that I’m not in short supply. But I am not a part of the hookup era, nor am I looking for a filler until the real deal comes in. I’m in this obvious meanwhile I wait phase, the place where you wonder, you dabble in things that you might not do when you’re otherwise married. This is my time to fly, to flourish but like Jane Austen, it is a hard place to occupy.

A lot of women like reading about the Regency era because it’s time period has this romantic element to it. It’s so foreign to our understanding. There was no rush, no time restraints as we experience them now. We have answers to a lot of what made life hard and difficult. I could list pros and cons to both periods. Most women want the romantic daydreams of their childhood even if no one is able to truly live up to those ridiculously handsome and debonair men.

And sometimes I have these tiny voices echoing all over the place reminding me that where I am and who I am isn’t enough when I know it is more than enough. Just being in a place and liking, even enjoying where you have been placed. Not worrying about society’s expectations. Don’t get me wrong it is important to keep those hopes and desires, but to many of us, it’s a heavy burden to carry as the years continue to pass. I’ve told God more than once to take the desires away, but they remain and so it tells me a couple of things…

Persist. Hope. Trust.

If you were in my interior like God is, you would know this not what I want to do. This is not natural to me because I have made living my life the very opposite of these three things. It’s slightly annoying but I think it’s a bit of an inside joke on me. I can’t see my potential but I am going forward blinded to what is possible. What is conceivable is that yes my prayers will be answered. If I have learned one thing about God it is that He isn’t in a rush. My perceived deadlines are just my impulse to want to control a situation that isn’t in my doable skills set. I don’t think I will next Jane Austen, far from it, but her tenacity to continue writing despite her situation is a token to me that hard work doesn’t go unnoticed to least of those.

2

What’s Your Number?

God has a plan for my life. But I think it was seriously derailed when I was 13 years old.

My Bubi (Hebrew for grandmother) died. Up until that point, I didn’t know life without her, she lived right beside my family.  It never occurred to me that she wouldn’t always be with me. No one told me that grieving was a natural and healthy thing to do when someone dies. I kept playing scenarios in my head of how life would’ve been if she was still alive. I resisted the idea that she wasn’t coming back. All of those what ifs.

A year later my parents separated

This wasn’t what I expected. I expected my parents to stay together despite I knew things weren’t going well. They didn’t have loud arguments or anything that led me to believe they were going to separate. But they did.

For a long time have I was in this oasis of denial because the life I had in my head just didn’t look anything like in my real, real life. Sometimes the one that lives in your head is much easier to take. God had a plan for my life, and I kept thinking that I was waiting for it to take form, not that I was in it right now, living it out day to day. To be honest there was a lot of it that I didn’t like. Like a better earning job, my prince charming, etc.

A year ago, I stopped being friends with someone who on the surface seem like a keeper in terms of friendships. But appearances aren’t a good indicator of who they are on the inside. I was very hurt and disappointed at the turn of events over a year ago. So I started asking the question of why He would let this happen to me. I mean I’ve gone through a lot of people who I thought were friends only to realize that they didn’t really want to get to know me. It sucks. Another reminder that this life we live is unfair and hard.

Nine months later after losing this friend, the Lord brought up my reaction to losing my Bubi. After her death, I kept asking him how my life would’ve looked like had my Bubi still been alive and my parents separated. Would I see her much, would I make the effort to call her? When I was growing up it was easy to see her. I continued this kind of living in my perceived expectations into my adulthood. Why was I looking in on the life I thought I should be living?

He helped me to see that when my Bubi died, it was simply her time. It wasn’t a mistake that she passed away, her toe tag number had come up. People mourn when babies, children, teenagers or young adults die. We expect that they’ll live longer. Not all of us are guaranteed to live past our first birthday, much less your 25th birthday. We expect everyone to grow old, but that’s not what His plan always allows. I thought about how I had peace about my Bubi’s death, and how I had finally come to accept that it was her time.

I pray every day that the doors that are closed stay that way, so it allows the news windows of opportunity and the doors of consolation to open and breathe new life into our cobwebbed lives. I was truly blessed to know Muriel Petigorsky Flesher, my Bubi and to be so close to her. I didn’t really lose anything that I won’t gain again. As for my former friend, my best description of that period of time is it was a time of learning. I learned a lot about myself about what I need, and who I am, and what I am not willing to give up for a friend. True friends are hard to come by, but I have learned that I do have one, and she is a treasure.

I have lost many clients due to death

I have a client who celebrated her 90th birthday last month. Her parents and all of her sibling are gone, and I know she doesn’t want stick around any longer than she has to. She is in pain every day partly due to her age, but also because when she was in her 30’s, she was in a car accident and she suffered devastating effects. Some of her pain today is the result of that accident. She was literally crushed, but she has never given up. Neither her husband or the driver of the truck that caused the accident was affected such as she was. Despite all her sufferings, she has always persisted in anything she has done. She was the one who told me that her Dad would always talk about how everyone had a toe tag, and when their time was up, it just meant that it was their toe tag that was being called. Death is a natural progression of life. Just like the different seasons of life that we experience. We might not know just when we exit one season only to enter another.

A few weeks ago, I called one of my more quiet clients the night before I was to see him the next day. However, the next day when I went to go knock on his door he didn’t answer. I tried a couple more times. This man kept to himself, and I was probably the only person he would see in a whole week. It was weird because I knew for a fact, that if I didn’t call the night before he wouldn’t answer his door, but if I did call him and he was expecting me and then he would come to the door. So a couple weeks had gone by and still nothing. I told my program manager and she checked around and found nothing.

I found out early last week that he had passed. I realized that quite possibly that I was the last person to speak to him before he died. I wasn’t upset but God had thought to include me in his life. I always have the choice whether or not to accept the client that I am given. This man was a heavy smoker, and I am a non-smoker so I could’ve chosen not to keep him, but I continued because he let me do my work and he always showed me respect.

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One More Time

Forgiving other is probably one of the most important things you can do.  Jesus tells us to forgive seventy-seven times seven, so it’s big on his list.

Last week, I went to Madonna House.  For two hours, I spent some time with two of the staff members. For the last few months, I shared with the two ladies about what issues in my life that I was struggling with. I wasn’t surprised to realize that I needed to forgive my Dad again.

I wasn’t shocked that it was him that came up because my healing from the beginning has been what I have lacked from him. Granted no earthly father is perfect.

For those of you have seen the movie, The Shack you’ll know that it is about forgiveness, I won’t go into anything else if you haven’t seen it, but six days later I still felt raw(from going through from the process)  the revelation that I still needed to forgive my Dad. I know we are like layers of an onion, and it was just one more level to be peeled off, but in some ways, I felt discouraged after so many years that it was still there.

Honestly, I don’t know if forgiveness is just a way of reminding ourselves of how much we are loved, or I really just need to let go. I can’t go on judging someone or thing that I have no control over. Or maybe just another of a deeper understanding.

 

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new hallelijah

When I was younger, I gave up easily, the world all around me seemed impossible to penetrate, and I couldn’t see any possibilities. My attitude towards believing in myself was empty. So much was going on that there was a thick fog wrapped around my mind, and I wasn’t able to see through it.  Instead of moving forward like I wanted, I kept taking steps backward. There is this spirit of persistence that has steadily grown inside of me with time. My understanding of my younger self is fuller and more forgiving.  Every day, He fills me with a new song, some of them are loud and some are whispered. Each time I run to the desert, he comes looking for me. He knows where all of his children are. His mercy goes on forever.

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How I Found My Superpower

Whenever doing a physical activity in school, the teachers would usually pick two people to choose the teams. I was always left to the last.

YEP

I don’t have a single athletic bone in me.

It just seems that everyone is good at playing sports. They’re not awkward. They don’t almost kick the ball, their foot just slipping past the ball, or the basketball just hits the rim of the hoop, and then is ruled out-of-bounds as it drops out the court.

In elementary and junior high, it was a big deal because you were judged on your Olympic ability in kicking, running, serving, dunking, etc. But on the other hand, I am a fabulous spectator! Math and Gym were not slam-dunks for me. This contributed to my oddity, to being weird because having the naturally athletic gene is what helps with your popularity. But I just felt so out of it, and I still don’t understand the reasoning’s behind playing Ultimate Frisbee, and then afterward at a coffee shop or pub. If you want to socialize, just skip ahead to the pub and order food already!

But I’m not completely without game because I can speed walk!

I’m sure, I would probably monopolize the category of speed walking if they ever created it as an event at the Olympics. They haven’t to my knowledge, so I continue on my own.

So What Is My Superpower?

Often I get caught up in I’m no good, and no one sees me syndrome. But He who sees me remains silent with his hands clasped behind his back even on the most intensive days. When I am left on my own, I do find the ability to allow Him to remind me that it is Him that this is all for. That my days of belonging are over because I belong in and to him. Not that it helps all the time, but if I am reminded of my beginnings, and at some point, I will hopefully gain sight of His position in my life.

Somethings don’t make sense, but sometimes the interconnectedness of relationships between strangers, your friends, family, and enemies don’t make sense either. People are what I want to talk about, the same people who disappoint me can at the same time turn around and show me that they do listen. We’re all flawed and that flows into everything you do. A lot of the time we push away what is important like our feelings, our limitations, and struggles. These are the things we need to be honest about in relationships.

I’m a bona vide introvert, so typically, I spend a lot of time to myself because I feel drained by spending too much time with others. It’s easy to isolate myself because of my past struggle with depression and my peers, but as I was attempting to heal from it, I found or re-discovered that I like connecting with people on a one on one basis or even two to five people, but there’s a catch! When my time is spent conversing with others and is spent in the shallowness of today, I am exhausted. I crave a depth and richness of conversation and connection with another person that is hard to find.

Using my Superpower

Most people have no patience for the deeper things of life. I  have found knowing my personality type has been an encouragement because it shows me what is normal for me. It has shown me who I am and that God really did know what he was doing. Even though sometimes I still struggle, I now know that my perspective isn’t necessarily wrong as I always would assume because others would not acknowledge the way I see things. Introversion and my typing is part of the map that is specific to how I think, see and process the world around me. It’s good, it’s really good. In fact, I have realized that who I am is what most likely kept me out of the popular group that I thought would make my life so much better!