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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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2

React or Respond

 

When you can’t put your prayer into words, God hears your heart.

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On Wednesday of this week, I got an email from Eddie Bauer, informing that they were giving me a gift card for $30 since it’s been a while since I’ve bought from them. They claim to miss me! I haven’t bought any clothes in over a year, I like clothes, but I always buy way more books and food than I do clothes. For Christmas, my Mom gave me a $40 gift card for a local and very popular second-hand store, St. Vincent du Paul. Most people would probably agree with me when I say their selection and prices are better than Value Village. I am at the point where I really don’t like the clothes I wear. Maybe, I should go to the trouble of printing off this coupon at the library because I don’t have a printer or a mobile phone.

I haven’t found a perfect way to express what may burst into my life, but I’m realizing this is somehow linked to who I am. I am taking off the layers that cover the core of who I am.

Learning who I am

Just when it seems that I am doing pretty good, Lent and spring allergies pop up, like I haven’t experienced in years.

I want to be who I am all the time, but by not eating refined sugar it’s brought up anger that I didn’t think were still there and a situation I tried to push away. Even though I know that life isn’t perfect, I think I expected it to be, and I feel as I am waiting for it to happen. My invisible feathers get all huffed up when someone isn’t as kind or respectful as I would like, but who I am to determine whether I get kindness or respect. Instead, I am being nudged to be the one to show kindness and smiling when I am all out of playing nice with other people.

All of my struggles all of a sudden are magnified a hundred times. This isn’t what living an authentic life is supposed to be. – right?

The Real Deal

I want the real, unrefined, not going to slip through my fingers kind of life. I don’t want a processed life, so instead of a cheap version, it will be filled with the wholeness of who I am. I have this image of me running in an open field but I don’t know my destination. Becoming who I was created to be will not happen overnight. I grew up believing that I would know everything when I was in my twenties, but I don’t know where that belief came from. Becoming an adult hasn’t given me all of the freedom I sought as a little girl. Instead, I think I am realizing that it’s possible, but it may take some time, probably my entire life! But if I can get glimpses of what it looks like, I can keep going back to the map that’s imprinted on my heart.

 

 

 

 

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Listen to What People Don’t Say

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That can be a hard one, to listen in the spaces that exist and to catch the words that aren’t spoken. Emotions that roll through the unsaid words and still do damage to all the persons involved.

       We are all broken, that’s how the light gets in. Ernest Hemingway

Water leaks out of the pipes and no one sees. The hard edges of rust sit until they are discovered, and with silent gasps of horror and disgust, fear spiraling out of your eyes. The smell of a campfire surrounds the air, burning wood sends out smoke signals. The heat of the fire can’t hide the dampness and the cold wind that dips down onto the ground.

Listen to what they don’t speak, or when their heart breaks

Walking through a shopping mall amidst the older people who sit on the cushions with long faces. They come here every day hoping to fill a hole in their heart. Others are just passing by on their lunch break too busy to look up as they speak with a colleague.

                                                                       Courage, dear heart. C. S. Lewis

What if I failed like I did last time? Already I can hear his voice, saying, “I told you this isn’t your thing.” But he doesn’t understand the desire that lives inside of me. It’s like if I don’t keep trying a part of me will wilt to nothing. There’s no way I can put it into words, I don’t think God has created a way that describes how free and wonderful I feel when I am able to get it right. I want to fly. I want to run away from home, but if I do, will they let me come back? But if I’m truthful, it’s not home anymore. I wish my eyes were able to take pictures of what I see now, and what I am entering into.

She understood that the hardest times in life to go through were when you were transitioning from one version of yourself to another.  Sarah Addison Allen

This transitions part really sucks because I feel like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, it’s so painful. There are people who mean the world to me, but I don’t see their purpose in my life anymore.  I am not the same person anymore, and if I am truthful about the situation, I don’t want to go back. All around me, people are hurting. Not in the same way but sins are overflowing, and there is nowhere to keep the tide from exposing more grief.

A lot of people are afraid to say what they want, that’s why they don’t get what they want.  Madonna

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Puttin’ on the Ritz

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One of the things that I love to do during the summer is paint my toe nails. When I was younger I would paint my finger nails too, but it would never stay chip free. Usually I would choose a shade of red until my nails started to turn yellowish, which I found out meant that I wasn’t allowing my nails to breathe. So I gave nail polish up for a while, but eventually I went back to having coloured toe nails as I love wearing sandals with my coloured toes nails in the summer!

Blue and Borrowed

It’s not a cheap bottle of nail polish, but it has captured the exact shade of blue that I wanted to paint my toe nails this summer. It all started last year when I saw a woman with this beautiful shade of light baby blue on her toe nails. My search began in earnest. And I wanted to share it with someone who I thought might enjoy it as well, but I had no idea that the nail polish would spurred on its own battle.

The Other Side of the Coin

So I have been asking myself, is the battle that was spurred on by nail polish worth my time and effort? At one point, I didn’t see the choices that I had, and yes I could believe those lies I told myself, but instead of putting on airs, I kept pulling back the layers that I had collected over the years. I didn’t want to be that person who kept doing it over and over before I caught myself in the act, but…

Believing the lie that I wasn’t deserving of what I desired when it was God, who had given me these desires in the first place. So when I decided to step back, it afforded me the luxury of seeing what was really in front of me. Being single and being friends with someone who is married isn’t easy, but it has allowed me to see that my needs being met in a relationship is just as important as the other person who is married. Singleness seems like a plague, but it’s just a station of life that I’m in now. Being exactly as how God wants me to be and act is sometimes hard when you become aware of what the other person is asking of you. Do you bend to their expectations or let your hair stick out at odd angles?

Cultivating a Value System

So many times I have turned around and looked the other way, so I didn’t have to deal with the conflict, the fear and the rejection I’m expecting. When I take the time to reflect on what made me feel uncomfortable or angry, it’s only then that I start to see a clearer picture emerge. I am big on quality, and it’s what I am looking for in just about everything that I seek. But especially in people who are in my life. Often it’s lacking, but then it can turn up where you least expect it. I am learning that I love it when someone  unexpectantly shows me what they love or like about me. It’s not what I can do for them, but just for being who I am. There are no pretenses, no masks to be put on. These people are the ones that love me just as I am. No strings attached. I love that they can see who I am and be able to put it into something solid. Validation just flows out of their mouths and I take in like sunbathing on the beach.

Are you part of a community where you feel you can just be who you were made to be?

They take you whatever way you present yourself to them? I don’t know about you but it allows me to truly be who I am without fear that they don’t ‘getsomething about me. Whether we admit or not, we all want to be valued by those we love, but it doesn’t always happen in a nice and neat way. Sometimes were not understood as we would like to be. My high sensitivity has led me to experience these kind of situations. It’s frustrating to speak as clearly as you can, and still be misunderstood, like you’re speaking foreign language, but also not feel the support you were hoping from this particular circumstance.

Neither did these circumstances boost my low self-esteem, and my lack of value in myself, never mind receiving value from other people. I have learnt it is easy to see the value others show you, when you come to truly value yourself. Arriving at a place where whatever happens your confidence in yourself isn’t blown off into the the gutter.

1

Au Revior

 

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In my last post, I incorporated some words that had been on my prayer radar (in my journal) for some time. In my daily ongoing stuff, there are words that stay with me as I wearily walk through life. I might be wary in my path, but I keep thanking Him for the things which bump against me. Sometimes it’s the hard surfaces that ribbed us in the wrong way.

Over two weeks ago, I received email which will remain unanswered. Numerous times I have tried to explain without the anger, disappointment and hurt that I was feeling. I’m not trying to push my emotions to the situation aside, but I thought and wanted to defend what I had perceived to be wrong.

So I set off to pray about this email and ask Him how he wanted me to respond.  All I wanted to do was back off, have some time to be quiet and just be with him. Did I mention quiet? Did I mention way too many emotions to list here? No, but please be assured they all showed up.

I may have in my last post mention something about thanksgiving. As I struggled to hear the Lord, I thanked him for all that seems to be going wrong. I keep thanking him for all the things I do not like, and the funny thing is, he shows me how it is a part of his plan. I can’t see this plan, but nor do these situations seem to languish in pity anymore. My anger, disappointment and hurt remain, but of it become clearer to me, but he hasn’t provided me with any answers. Thanksgiving isn’t me being brilliant, it’s the Lord who reminded me. He’s clever enough to suggest something that yes, will benefit me but more likely in the long run glorify him. Soon in the near future, I will think back fondly to the time when my answered prayers were simply struggles. that I couldn’t  see the answer was just waiting to stand up and introduce itself.

Delighting in everything He allows to cross your path. I am seeing in my struggles that His love for me remains. It is easy to think through that we must walk through these hard times with the world’s burdens heavy on your shoulders, and yes, I will admit to having many of those days. But taking the time to stop and thanking Him for these ‘unbearable’ has increased my ability to continue on with the knowledge I am not alone. He is in charge, and my troubles don’t change that. It is why I can trust in Him, or at least start.

Of course, I am thank-full for what is good in my life and grateful for what he continues to be faithful in my life. Saying words out loud instead of letting the words bounce around in your closed mind, opens the heart to His side of things, if of course you are open to receive these blessings.

It used to be that when I wrote, it was best done when I was depressed. I don’t know why, but as an adult it has completely reversed that I am better to write when I am not down. Hindsight is great. It allows for a greater space in all the places where the hurt and sadness, the joy and peace, to converge together and I have the clarity that didn’t exist before.

 

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Elements

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The last few months have been puzzling as I face certain aspects in my life.

Normally, I would say I can find a balance between work, writing, and everything else, but it’s not happening right now.

I’m caught in this swirl of emotions and I want to use words to paint what is going on inside of me. I don’t think I can find God and I know he’s somewhere… just beyond my reach.

No regrets

A thousand years ago, I had a plan all mapped out, I was going to travel overseas with one of my best-friends, we’d go all over the place.  But he back out after being offered to drive an Ice Cream truck all summer, and that trumped backpacking all over Europe. Back then I had no idea that I struggled with depression and anxiety, and  it would’ve be the worst thing to do. And that so-called best-friend, turned out to be someone who was hiding, and well, some things are best left in the dust of the past.

The last few months have reminded me of my twenties when I was running away from who I was, and trying to be someone who I thought everyone would want. I feel as if I’ve lost my sense of direction, the internal compass inside of me is broken. I haven’t been following my plan for a long time, but it’s like the plan that I thought He had given me has disappeared. I want the Lord to fix this broken map, but he hasn’t supplied what I thought I needed.

God isn’t beyond my reach

I say that because I want and know Him to be aware of me. In my desiring, I want him to acknowledge me and swooped me up into His arms.

At times like this my anger usually flares up because it’s a natural reaction. I want Him to take notice that my prayers aren’t being answered. I hope that by being angry he’ll do something. Instead, He remains quiet through my tears and false accusations, and waits until I might be willing to listen to him.

In the last couple years, I have been taking (insert sarcasm here) a crash course called: This is Your Anger. In the beginning, I experienced my anger almost as a voyager because I was very aware of how my body felt as this secret rage roared to life inside of me. It was out of control, it was loud, inappropriate, selfish and full of pride. I would spend weeks, soaked in this emotion until I realized I didn’t want to feel this out of control. Instead of staying quiet, patient and trusting, and persisting in prayer even when the road in front looks bleak and bleeding.

Everything happening seems so contrary to what I thought would actually play out. In all of this I know that even though it all seems out-of-place, it isn’t at all. But that’s the thing, we are inhabitants of a world where stupid crazy things occur, and people wonder why; how did this happen? His plan is still playing out in a world gone completely mad, where common sense has simply dried up.

Gratitude

In the midst of all it His mercy still springs forth, and it was and is for me, in the form of giving thanks. Beginning last week, I began hearing (not audibly) about thanking him.

1 Thessalonians~5:16

So I began thanking Him for what I don’t like, for the situations which I tire of, and I found that as I listed my complaints that I wouldn’t think twice of thanking Him that a peace quietly arose inside of me.  It moves my focus off what I don’t have, want, or covet, and I am finding myself closer to what has been missing.

 

 

4

Three Sparrows

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This past summer, I began noticing that two or three sparrows would sit in between the rails of my balcony. This absolutely delighted me! I am careful to be slow in my movement and observe them quietly, or I risk scaring them away, and they’ll flutter away back to the safety of the bushes down below on the ground. They sit and fluff their feathers and otherwise look very cute. I would rather them come and visit then have the pigeons swoop down onto my balcony because next thing I know the male will be strutting his stuff to the quiet female, who is trying to go unnoticed by him.

Balance

Any reminders of the Christmas will pretty much be receded into the background by the time Monday arrives. It’s the routine and structure that I am needing because my thoughts have become so crazy, I am over analyzing obsessively, and I am gasping for peace to enter into me.

A couple of days after Christmas, we got our first winter storm, and at the end, we were left with 20 cm of snow. Tall snowbanks, slush and a pile of salt at the end of the sidewalks. It’s already January and mentally I am running to greet it despite its cold, damp and windy temperatures.

Most people don’t get the sensitive and quiet ones, and that’s okay. It is because I realized as long as I get it, I don’t mind telling you that yes I had a good Christmas because I did. I used to want others to understand what I went through Christmas but this New Year’s Eve I made a discovery, a discovery of how I experience Christmas is mine. Doesn’t mean I need to share it, and so I won’t. I’ll just make sure that I take care of myself in whatever way I can.

 Back to the Sparrows

I like quiet, cute and unhampering to my situation(s), whatever that may be at the time, but I don’t and can’t control everything that comes into my life. Life is hard, but if I have any choice in the choices then I will choose the sparrows of leisure, who just want to fluff their feathers while they use my balcony for rest.