Down for the Count Up, 4

FOURS, OCTOBER 5, 2010

Who decided to measure significance in fours?

Scholarly times, significant times, self discovery and soul expansion; whether we realized it or not.

First year scared, uncertain, going through the motions and just trying to keep up. We don’t think about seniors because it’s unimaginable that we will ever be them.

Second year more comfortable, finding routines to follow, not so much worried about being lost, we know our place, for now. 

Third year holding our own, established, feet planted firmly in ownership of our roles, noticing a new class of freshmen.

Fourth year – accomplishment, realized a pinnacle, and confidently measured our success and scholarship.
Some of us went on to college and some of us decided not to take another quarter ride.

Widowhood is a lot like that.

First year scared, uncertain, go through the motions and just try and keep up. We don’t think about happy because it’s unimaginable that we will ever be that again.

Second year not so uncomfortable, not so much worried about being trampled by anniversary dates, holidays and every days since we’ve already been through a round of those. 

Third year it seems we’re holding our own, sort of established, feet planted firmly because we’re tired of change, noticing more freshman faces and wondering if they’ll survive.

Fourth year – taking careful measure of each minor success in our educational journey, we don’t really need to decide to go on pursue a higher education. It just comes with this particular type of scholarship; not exactly a free ride – this one comes with a moral obligation to guide, if we can. Some of us will decide we’ve learned enough. Some of us will seize the opportunity to further our education.

So here I am, four years later having completed a reluctantly personal four year scholarship to widowhood. Not a freshman, or a sophomore, not even a junior anymore: I’m a senior.

I’m sure I haven’t learned all the “alone” there is to know in the universe, but I’ve established a pretty firm, well-rounded foundation. I’m sure additional unanticipated lessons will come my way. Circumstances seem to dictate further education is in store. Never content standing still, I guess I’m headed into the college years now.

Maybe, after another 4, I might qualify for some sort of teaching certificate. Although after another 4, I will no longer be a “young” widow, so I’m not sure how much help I’ll be to the younger accidental scholars. On the other hand, I anticipate, not with happiness, that there will be more peer aged victims of the inevitable.

I keep coming back to the conclusion that timing is everything. So how we count it is important.

Whether it’s a four-year program, a five or eight year program or an accelerated path, time doesn’t change the way you hurt, it merely adjusts your tolerance for the pain and moves it towards a strange and previously unimaginable acceptance.

Down for the Count Up, 5

HOW DID I, OCTOBER 10, 2011

So, have you done it, recently? Have you asked yourself, “How did I get here?”

October 6, 2007, I was on my very first mission roll, far from home, in the company of 48 strangers, asking myself over and over, “How did I get here?”

Every year for the past five years, on October 6th, I ask myself this question again. And every year, the answer seems more and more obvious. If you would have told me 10 years ago today, October 6, 2001, on my wedding day, that I would be a Christian, I would have doubted it. If you had told me 5 years ago today, October 6, 2006, at my husband’s funeral, that I would survive, and my Christian faith would be stronger than ever, I would have doubted it. There is no doubt in my mind these days, yet every year on this particular day, I take stock. I do so in amazement, and marvel at how GOD has brought me to and brought me through. Joyfully, this year, HE has brought me to you. Whether after a long while we’ve crossed paths again or we’ve intersected for the very first time, we’re solidly on the same journey, and have been for quite a while.

Please know that today, I am praying for the safety of your heart and body. I am praying for your guidance to be strong and bright. I am praying that the life you are living, will become sustaining memories that hold you close, reminding you of hard times and sacrifice, of love and hope, and those you share each experience with. May the LORD bless and keep you, always.

Ephesians 3:17-19
Then He will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of God, though it is too great to fully understand, then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Sacred Scroll

Old stories. #2:

I know for a fact that grown men whimper.

I don’t remember the first time I heard Jeff whimper, but it probably had something to do with some expensive Dale Earnhardt Sr 1:24 die-cast replicate race car.

I do remember one quite clearly, though.

Kmart was closing a few Michigan locations, so we took a drive out to one to see about bargains. The one we ended up at was nearly done-in. The place was a disaster; people were taking things off racks and shelves, opening and destroying boxes and leaving items mid-aisle.

I was just about to drag him out of that madhouse when we rolled by an aisle with – gasp – tools!

“Oooooo,” he murmured. Eyes wide, he radared every shelf. I don’t know how he saw it, but well-hidden, stacked behind some really traumatized boxes was a brand new scroll saw with it’s own folding workbench.

He dragged it out for inspection, carefully searching for any signs that it might have been opened before, returned or damaged in any way. Then, cautiously and thoroughly reviewed the “before and after,” markdown pricelist, dragging his finger down the display.

“Oooooo,” he gasped, peering closely. I could see the dreamy dollar signs in his glazed-over look.

“How much?” I asked.

“It was $215.00,” he marveled.

“How much?” I asked.

“It was already marked down to $115.00,” he cooed

“Jeff!” I snapped my fingers hoping to bring him back, because he was clearly swirling into the “I don’t think I can live without this piece of equipment,” abyss.

“How much?” I asked, again.

.Jeff tentatively smiled as he lovingly patted the box and solemnly spoke. “$62.50.”

“I don’t know, Jeff,” I hedged. “What would you use it for?”

“Lots of things,” he insisted. Earnestly adding, “for the store! um, and… making stuff!”

“I just don’t think we can afford that right now, honey,” I said, trying to let him down easy.

Certain he would bow to my logic, I wheeled the empty cart around to leave.

That’s when I heard it. The whimper.

I was so surprised I stopped right in my tracks and turned to stare at him.

The whimper came with a face I had never seen before – one way more serious than puppy-dog eyes.

Eyes still foggy with scroll-lust, bottom lip tucked in under his teeth, still touching the sacred saw, he barely shuffled away from the hand-magnetizing carton.

He truly tried to take another step toward me, moving maybe an entire inch, arm about 20 degrees behind him.

Then he whimpered, again.

“Ok,” I said. “Throw it in the cart.”

He did. Grinning and with ninja speed.

“Quit smiling like that,” I good-naturedly grumbled. “You’re gonna split your face wide open and I don’t wanna spend another night in the emergency room with you.”

Jeff just kept twinkle-smiling. I twinkle-smiled back.

Quote for the Week:

The Electric Argument

Old stories. #1:

April 29, 2008

The Electric Argument

A few years ago, I read an online article about ways to reduce electricity consumption.

I was fascinated to learn that even appliances in the off mode could still be sucking up electricity.

When I passed this information on to my husband, he guffawed. “Absolutely. Not. True!”

I thought it was worth checking out, so I secretly unplugged some of our less used appliances.

Must not have been so secretly, because the next day, all were mysteriously plugged back in.

I unplugged them again, only to discover the phantom re-plugger had been ‘round the house, again.

Recently, watching an episode of the TV show “Til Death,” I laughed to see the very same issue addressed. Joy, of course, believed the electricity saving advice, and Eddie thought it was a farce. And, so began the plugging and unplugging.

It’s weird to see your life on TV. It’s also highly amusing.

Jeff and I never did resolve the electric argument. With all the unplugging and re-plugging, we never were able to prove a savings or not, one way or the other. Then, this month’s Reader’s Digest shows up, and guess what? The April 2008 edition, page 17, has a lovely little blurb about… Vampire Electricity.

If nothing else, at least unplugging all of those dormant appliances reduces the chances of a house fire.

Who me, worry?

Episode 106 of Til Death, “The Toaster” aired 2 months after Jeff passed.

Countdown: 35, 20, 15 and 1

First, don’t freak out.

Second, you know it’s coming, so we might as well count it down together.

35 days away. Seems like plenty to prepare for a train wreck, if you were expecting one.

I’m not wholly sure if you should be expecting one or not. I don’t know if I should be, either.

I’ve set aside 14 days. Just in case.

I’ve also put myself out there – every day – since that day someone I didn’t know said something that changed everything.

Followed by that day, I thought I was safely anonymous amongst 66K people; letting out what I’d learned on that something someone said day on inspirational site.

Trent Shelton. Remember when I suggested y’all follow him?

Well, no one told me they did. So, I found out the hard way that I hadn’t been honest with the universe as stealthily as I imagined. That night I wrote to no one but myself. That morning I found out my words had been seen.

Notification: 2 likes.

?

Clicked out of curiosity; hoping to find a kindred discussionist or two, only to nauseously realize I’d inadvertently let my private cat out the bag.

Those two likes? My brother and my brother-in-law. Cowardly non-addressed, at least, until now.

Since then, though. Since October 2020, there’s been this reoccurring theme. Everywhere I turn.

Books I’ve read, motivational quotes, inspirational stories, sermons I’ve heard, songs I’ve taken to, have all been telling me the same thing:

“You’re not the one who died.”

Obviously, I’ve been well aware of that. What I haven’t been aware of is… anything else.

It’s entirely mind boggling. 35 days until 15 not 20. 20 is the sun eclipsed by the 15 moon, because. My God. 15?

It’s going to be a bit of a non-chronological heap. I’m almost out of time, but I wanna get the good stuff in or get it out or just share it dammit.

.

One request: If you’ve got a JSK story, share it on Knabble. Or email it to me.

I’ll get it out there for you. For us; for all of us.