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.

Down for the Count Up, 6

THAT’S THAT, OCTOBER 1, 2012

Just one day of slight ups and some surprisingly big downs. An attempt to turn things around in a way that would normally bring me down… hasn’t. I’m not as bothered by it as I have been in the past. In fact, my amusement is sickly amusing. Does that mean I am becoming heart-stronger or strongly heading back down the WTH aisle at the IDGAF store?

In spite of all that, I was ok today. Until I found out something that set me back a bit, or a whole lot, to be honest. I convinced myself that I would be ok coming home from Ireland. I didn’t realize how much stock I had put into one, single, solitary, all-focused, not entirely rational, and now non-existent path. Feeling quite foolish, disappointed, and totally without a direction to cast my hopes.

Sometimes GOD quietly closes a door for you. Sometimes HE slams it shut on the foot you’ve stubbornly been using to keep it propped open. I got slammed; a little harder and a little harder to take than my usual god-smack. Of course, I’d been pushing to keep it open. I can only shake my head and glance back over my shoulder. I should have realized it was too difficult an undertaking to be worthwhile.

I’d like to be able to blame the pain on someone else, but no one let me down. I let myself down in a zig-zag, running-after pattern I’ve followed before. You know when you know better and you just can’t stop yourself from bee-lining, full-stinger ready, just can’t avoid buzzing and trying and buzzing and trying and buzzing and trying, only to fail and fail and fail?

It seems now, that the truth blares out. I never had a chance, but still I believed. Stubbornness moves against us more than for us. 
Trying to divest myself of the very emotional investment I have made, chasing rainbows toward an always fictitious pot of gold. I would have done better counting shiny penny moments and tracking mini-triumphs.

It’s a painful blessing to bear: the resounding slam indicates without doubt – my plans were not GOD’s plan. When that happens, there’s nothing left to do, but thank GOD that your toes won’t be jammed up against that door anymore, pick up your heart, and limp off in a new direction. That’s that.

Bandage. Bandana.

If you’ve been there, it doesn’t matter how removed you are, how not-too-close you are, to the situation.

You don’t need to be there, or even slightly on the fringe.

Miles away holds the same cosmic shock as standing toe-to-toe.

In a flash. Flashback.

It’s all real, again. Not exactly the same, but you’re tossed that way.

Way back there, to that little box on the board that emotionlessly announces: This is where you are. This is your new beginning.

A new, non-optional, previously unimaginable, reluctantly occupied space becomes the jumping point.

Because the circular shift, the spin of the table, turns you dizzy.

The rules have completely changed, now, into a language you don’t understand. You thought you were winning.

This is the new precipice – the launch of the unimaginable.

Everything looks dully the same here in the realm of faded all.

The elimination of Point A to Point B, negates any previously planned paths.

The rebirth is deficient doors that will not take – that will never take – you where you want to go.

Open or closed; not one of them will stop the flow.

There’s no portal to the past. Only provenance.

Prior plans do not matter; there’s no map for this journey. No perfectly sized torniquet, either.

Bandage. Bandana. The heart bleeds through just the same.

with sympathy.

yesterday’s rain

I walked home in the rain, yesterday.

It wasn’t a deluge. I didn’t try to catch it in a paper cup. It was necessary.

I keep a huge Kohl’s plastic bag in my work tote for occasions like this. When the weatherman gets it wrong. I carry a ball cap, too, even with the lack of thick hair to keep it on when the wind picks up. I really don’t care if my head gets wet, but I’ve noticed that hair actually does a pretty good job of keeping the water from running down your face. So, capping it is.  

I’m sure I look a looney in my get up. I wear my go-to bonnet underneath my raincoat hood. My pea-head doesn’t hold up to the assumption that if you wear a larger size, your head must be larger-than-normal, too. Here’s the descript: Without the head help, looking straight ahead, I can only see from my nose down.

The sleeves are also about 2 inches too long. Helpfully, they keep at least one hand from cold-water pruning. The other one hoists my baggage. I likely drag along too much stuff for my two-days-per-week journey.

In my defense, I might want or need: phone charger, ear phones, sanitizer, chap stick, face powder that I could probably leave home since I have not used it in over a year. Also, coupons, reference paperwork, tissues, plastic bags, ball cap and a handkerchief. Paperclips, two pens, in case one does not work. Plus, the regular house keys, office keys, lunch box, water bottle, phone and masks. Yes, plural.

Anyway, yesterday. On my way out of my windowless work space, I hadn’t assessed the situation. Which led to having to assemble myself in the see-through vestibule. Bright pink, nylon-raincoat flap engaged, faded bluish bill sticking out, primed me for the silly-looking 5-minute trek home began.

That’s when I started thinking.

When was the last time I walked in the rain on-purpose? I knew it might rain today. Walking was a risk; a logic-balanced choice, though. Michigan Construction Season is in full-swing. It would take me 15-20 minutes to drive the alternate ‘detour’ route.

Two years ago, I regularly walked in the evening and on weekends. Walked the long way to work, 4-5 times a week. Checking my photos, it looks like my last deliberate rain-tread was a weekend morning. May 2019. Based on my shots, I’m sure it wasn’t a hard rain. Not likely was a drizzle, either. I remember making the choice to go.

I took a lot of rain-brightened pictures of flowers and leaves. Overcast skies and water make nature’s colors pop. I enjoyed the way the misty air kissed my skin.

Maybe it’s time to stop the basement cycle. I don’t take any photos down there on my perpetually-circular treadmill trips.

I’m kinda wishing for a wet morning this weekend. Just so I can conquer the walk, for the first time this year.

And ramble some. And take some cheery rain-soaked photos.

Question for the Week:

The Jesus and Mary Chain Happy When it Rains

Aaron Neville Can’t Stop My Heart From Loving You (The Rain Song)

Rihanna Umbrella