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.

Down for the Count Up, 12

A COLDER OCTOBER, OCTOBER 16, 2018

I don’t remember a colder October.

Nature’s real lessons – love and loss and longing – echoing yearly. Simple trees and simple leaves. Temporary slumbers; predictable, patterned, withdraw with a promise of likelihood. Coming back, coming back stronger, maybe reaching a little higher.

Occasionally, that’s not the case. Of course, majestics don’t worry about that. Perhaps affording optimism in squirrels and birds and other creatures. Although seeing fit to plan, return rote expecting rejuvenation. Coming from another season’s slumber, they lumber; sometimes dumbfounded when the memory is bare or barely there.

Much like those times you thought you were growing straight, turned twisted in time, searching for the sun. Vital pieces fall away, hacked, splintered, struck by lightning. How it happens; endless possibilities, all still no less of a shock.  

So, I welcome the colors, and I welcome the lack. It’s part of the process.

Lightly suffering through another falling season. It only seems ok because I’ve been here before. Somehow now it’s easier to see. There are no perfect trees.

I don’t remember a colder October, or colors that faded so fast.

Quote for the Week:

2018 10 16 there are no perfect trees a colder october jakorte

More Sacred

So, that’s how the scroll saw came to live in the computer room closet.

Jeff read the manual (sort of), but that’s as far as he got. His legs were giving out, and we had other things to concentrate on. I also made him promise not to use it for the first time when I wasn’t home. If he could break a toe while shaving his head… sawing surely needed to be supervised.

And that’s how the scroll saw ended up in the 2010, house sold, moving sale. It didn’t make it to a table until the second day, because I had imagined it would be harder to unearth from that over-stuffed closet. I marked it at $50 thinking that’d be a good starting amount. I didn’t have the box or the manual, but it was brand-new, never used and maybe someone would know what to do with it.

A little after 3 PM on the last day, a young couple came in. “Hmm,” the husband commented. “Honey? Look at this!”

“What is it?” she asked.

“A scroll saw, just like the one I rented last week for $85.00. I could buy this one and we’d never have to rent one again!”

“Oh,” she considered, then continued. “I just don’t think we can afford that right now, honey,” as she moved on to look at other items.

The fellow just stood there mesmerized.

Knowing I’d never use and not wanting to struggle it back into the closet or move it to Ann Arbor, I whispered to my gregarious friend, “He can have it for $35.00.”

Because she’s the outgoing one who has no problem dickering with yard salers or yard sale customers I gave her the appropriate lenience to do as she pleased.

From her perch near the cashbox, she announced the offer loudly, adding the key phrase, “It’s never been used!”

That’s when I heard it. The whimper.

I laughed out a bark, and leaned closer to my cohort. “That’s the exact same sound Jeff made when we bought that thing!”

He looked at his wife beseechingly and she slowly nodded her approval. As he stood there holding the saw, he told us that he and his wife were renovating their home. “Thank you so much. Thank you so much,” he kept repeating.

“Never been used,” my friend repeated as they headed-out. “Her husband passed!” she called after him, stopping them on the threshold of exiting.

I really thought that man was going to cry as he turned to stare at me. “It will get put to good use,” he answered quivering. “I promise it will get used.”

I may have lost money on that deal, but I gained another blessed insight into the non-coincidences of GOD’s careful plans.

What was that scroll saw worth? $215.00, $115, $62.50, $50.oo or $35.00?

Making Jeff happy, which made me happy, which made that family happy = sacredly priceless.

Quote for the Week:

One more thing, October 6, 2020, my friend, cohort and kindred soul, Paula, passed away.

At first I was like, “Really, Paula? Today?”

But, then, I let go a chuckle-sob, thanking her for not giving me a different date to commemorate.

If it a day had to suck, anyway, it might as well have been that one.

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: