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How Then Shall I Recover

Posted by pearls4me on June 9, 2014

It’s hard to believe an entire week has passed since my surgery.  During my post-op doctor visit this morning, I got my staples removed and received news that my pathology report indicated no malignancy.  The latter news alone should have me turning cartwheels, alas, it was my doctor’s instructions to continue with my current level of (very) restricted activity that caused a a funk to creep so cunningly into my spirit that I had my 1st post-op meltdown over dinner.

 

As meltdowns go, this was a mini.  At least on the outside.  But on the inside it feels like a volcano.  A fiery hot dangerous volcano that would erupt and cover up hard all the love and softness and sweetness being sent my way.

 

M1 is caring for me like a pro.  From advocating for me in the hospital to admonishing me when I all too frequently bend or stretch or do something that is yet restricted.  She is kind, attentive, proactive, thoughtful, and because she knows me so well, accurate in her loving service to me.  Worse yet, she is, gulp, nurturing.  Nurturing like a loving mother.  

 

God help her.

 

I came home from the hospital Wednesday, slept most of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, had a bit of company on Sunday, and by the time dinner came today, I could barely look at her.  

 

The dreadful truth is that I feel like a frightened, needy little girl inside.  My body hurts, I need help, and I feel profoundly vulnerable.    What the little girl in me knows about receiving loving, sweet, kind care is not very much.  What she knows about doing it herself and never asking for help is a lot.  Remember, this is the little girl who collected knives in her bed.  Life was scary and she was alone and unprotected.    

 

A lot of really smart people have sided with my doctor.  They tell me to rest, rest some more, and then take a nap.  Need something to do?  Read a book.  Work a puzzle.  Take a wee walk.  Then take another nap.  Let other people do your laundry, make your bed, drive your car, clean your kitchen, vacuum your rugs, scrub your toilets, even walk your dog.  Scary stories abound about torn stitches and longer and ickier recovery for those who dare not heed these instructions.

 

What I know about resting, asking for help, and letting other people help me is not much.  What I know about receiving nurturing, the kind of nurture a loving mother would provide, is even less.

 

God help me.  My recovery is dependent upon my doing things – silly, simple things really – that I have no idea how to do.  

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A Hundred Forms of Fear

Posted by pearls4me on May 15, 2014

Fear has greeted me for the 2nd straight morning.  “Fear sucks” was my FB post yesterday.  Were I more brave and less ladylike it would be ‘Fuck fear” today.  But I have no such bravado.  
 
The excellent preparations I have made to transition my customers to colleagues has pressed reality into sharp focus:  I am having major surgery.  It will hurt.  Recovery will be hard and very, very slow.  
 
I am afraid.  
 
I lay in bed and play round after insane round of What if?  
 
What if I have a bad reaction to the anesthesia and turn into a vegetable?  
What if I die on the table?  
What if Dr. B. leaves a surgical instrument inside me?  
What if she opens me up only to discover I am riddled with cancer?  
What if my incision gets infected?  
What if I get a staph infection during my hospital stay?  
What if I get raped in the hospital?  
What if something happens to M1 and my primary caregiver plans are screwed?  
What if something happens to Hope while she’s at Maggie’s?
 
Driven by a hundred forms of fear……there is only One who has all power…His name is God, may you find Him now……and so I breathe and practice, again and again and again… 
 
1.  Admitted I am powerless over my uterus, my fibroids, my cysts, my unidentified mass, my fears, my surgery, my hospital stay, my caregivers, my everything and my life has become unmanageable…..
 
2.  Came to believe (Lord, I believe help thou my unbelief) that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity…….
 
3.  Made a decision to turn my uterus, my fibroids, my cysts….my everything over to the care of God as I understand Him and oh how I wish I understood more……

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This Uterus I Know

Posted by pearls4me on May 10, 2014

Mother’s Day.  A pretty good day to return from the unplanned, albeit 15 month sabbatical from this blog.  A pretty good day to talk about this uterus I know.
This uterus I know was in her early 30’s when she longed to be filled with a baby.  This uterus I know took her husband quite by surprise with her longings and he went off in secret and fixed it so that this uterus I know would never be filled with his baby.
Many years passed and many dreams died and this uterus I know finally laid down her longings to be filled with a baby.
Then the husband died and this uterus I know dared come alive and gave birth to longings and imaginations of a Great New Guy who had always wanted to love a woman and fill this uterus I know with his baby and together they would……..
Dream.
Imagine.
Long.
Hope.
Fulfill.
It’s been a few years.  Great New Guy has yet to appear.  Yet, this uterus I know is filled to overflowing.  Triplets take up a lot of room.
Friends helped this uterus I know to name her quiver full of fibroids.  Frieda, Fredericka, and, well, that other F word that invites accusation that this uterus I know is surely not a Christian.
Friends have also invited this uterus I know to lay down her weapons of humor, sarcasm, denial and spiritualization that would assault the tender, feminine heart that resides north of her.  Same body.  Same longing.  Same emptiness.
This tender, feminine heart is hurting this Mother’s Day.  A baby is never going to fill this uterus I know.  Disease has triumphed desire.  Fibroids, cysts, and unidentified masses simply need to go.  Surgery has been scheduled.
This uterus I know, well, it’s taking a while for this uterus I know to sync up with the heart, mind and soul.
We stare at my profile in the mirror, the profile that really looks pregnant, and we fantasize……
We have all manner of imaginary conversations with strangers who ask, so when are you due……
We actually long for somebody to ask so that we can lie and pretend, just for a moment…..
We imagine, oh how we imagine, what if…….
We know we aren’t crazy, we are simply pregnant.  With real things that really matter even though they aren’t a baby.
This uterus I know.  Well, she really wishes it was a baby.
my uterus

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Calling It Good

Posted by pearls4me on February 17, 2013

Sunday morning sun is blessing my first cup of Sumatra and kissing the flurry of cardinals and chickadees who have found the feeder of black sunflower seeds I set out yesterday.  

It’s hard to believe we have been in our new home for a week now.  Boxes are unpacked, rooms and closets have been arranged (a time or two or three), and I am learning how to get along with a tankless hot water heater.  As long as I do one thing at a time, i.e. run the dishwasher or the washer or take a shower, all is well.  We would do well to abandon our multi-tasking ways and learn from this compact little device.  

It took Hope no time at all to find the sunny spots in the house and our outdoor jaunts have afforded us opportunity to meet many of our neighbors and their four legged friends.  It’s impossible not to notice how quiet it is here.  I can even see the stars now that they are not competing with the city lights.

On our Saturday morning run along Fall Creek Parkway, we saw fellow running enthusiasts, squirrels, cardinals, robins, a blue heron, and an endless parade of trees.  I stopped for a Starbucks on the way home and considered it a perfect morning.

Life here seems to offer a new ease.  It’s as though an invisible weight has been lifted.  Perhaps not so invisible.  As I lifted Terry’s Box to the shelf in the guest bedroom, the thought occurred to me, “Well, Terry, this box is heavy, but the weight is now on this shelf ~ not my shoulders.”  

This is my home.  There are no ghosts here.  God’s promise to me that a simpler rhythm of life awaited me seems to be settling around me like a warm cloak.   

Perhaps what is most surprising is the absence of fear.  As I approached my move in date, my main prayer was that I wouldn’t be afraid here.  I have experienced fear in every ‘home’ I have ever lived in.  That ought not be.  A home should be a refuge, a sanctuary, a respite of peace and beauty.  Not a place where tortured children or battered wives live small and hold their breath.

So far, there is a notable absence of fear here.  Not one time have I searched every closet, under every bed and behind every shower curtain when I come home.  Throughout my days, I move from room to room with an ease that astonishes me.  My nighttime walks with Hope are sweet and peaceful and sleep comes easily.  I haven’t even loaded my shotgun yet ~ I will though ~ there’s no call to suffer fools lightly.  

I am reminded of Kimberley’s prophetic counsel to me a few years back.  “Melodie, if you will allow God to be sovereign along each step, you will emerge from this season fearless.  And with your wisdom, when you are fearless, you will be a woman to be reckoned with.”    

Fearless.  Me?  Could it ever be?  Could little Much-Afraid ever leave the roots of her Fearing families and grow up?  Like Much-Afraid, for some time now I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop.

“I wonder what He plans to do next, and if it will hurt very much indeed.”

Every day for six days a long time ago, God spoke and changed things up.  A lot.  When he was done, he called it good.  Every time.

For my part, I have struggled to call it good.  I have struggled to call Him good, so wild His ways.  

“He’s not a tame lion, but He is good.” 

Yet as I said goodbye to E. New York Street the other day, His goodness and provision in spite of me was obvious.    

I learned to tell the truth in a whole new way during those E. New York Street years.  Dan would say THAT is THE very reason I survived.  

Walking with me through that goodbye, a friend declared me to beautiful, brave, and freed.

Brave.  Freed.  Even I can call that good.

 

 

 

 

  

 

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It’s Moving Time!

Posted by pearls4me on February 7, 2013

I cannot stop sighing with the anticipation.  Tomorrow is moving day!    

Joel, Dave, the two Marks, Matt, and Brian worked together seamlessly, each lending their excellence and craftsmanship to transform Ethel’s showcase of sea foam greet carpet and truly bad wallpaper to a home that reflects what I am discovering to be a most satisfying and delightful style.       

We speak of you affectionately, Ethel, and I am keeping your sassy sconces in the guest bath in your remembrance.  

A home should be a refuge of peace and beauty.  Elisabeth Elliot said something to that effect in a book of hers I read years ago.  I have the sense that these words are God’s personal promise to me as I prepare to move.    

“We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.  We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.   We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.”

-Alcoholics Anonymous, p.83-84

A deep, profound and excruciating inner work was required to bring me to this place of letting go.  Yet the joy that is in my mouth is indescribably sweet.  I skipped through my new house yesterday.  I even skipped around the park last night.  Hope ran after me and we played a bit, energized by the frosty air.

Of all of the memories that I will hold of 351 E New York, this will be the greatest:  I finished well in this house.  

God didn’t just return this house to me, he redeemed it.  Yet all the while, I had the sense to hold it loosely.  And now I understand.  He had something else in mind all along.  Something even better.  A place of new beginnings.  

A refuge of peace and beauty.  Just for me ~ the daughter of my Father.  

Wow!  Those are really new words for me that just rolled out of my laptop.  Won’t this be fun to explore…….

 

 

 

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The Blanket That Love Built

Posted by pearls4me on January 26, 2013

ImageJust look at this lovely thing.  Oh, I wish you could feel it’s yummy soft comforting warmth against your cheek.  My friend Laura made it for me with her own beautiful hands.  It’s perfectly exquisite.  All my favorite colors.  Circles hinting at spirals.  Amazingly long enough to cover both my head and feet when it’s nap time.  It’s even reversible!    Her gift card read,

Melodie,

It has been a joy to watch the Lord love on and bless you immeasurably!  I am so excited for you to move into your new home.   It will be a place of refuge and joy!  You have journeyed well, my friend.  Enter into the Promised Land, Dear One.  This blanket is a symbol of His love and warmth.  When you wrap up in it may you feel the embrace of The Father.  Celebrating with you!

Love, Laura

Isn’t the love of God poured out through others simply stunning!  

Perhaps what makes this even more special than the obvious is that I know Laura can struggle to make ends meet.  She can also be required to burn the candle at both ends to keep up with the demands of her job.  Yet she sacrificed to forever commemorate a significant crossing over in my life.

After the divorce and Terry’s death, I went through a difficult season of loneliness.  Some ‘friends’ just don’t stay when things get hard.  And when I got serious about my own recovery, a couple more relationships fell asunder.  The goodness of God to gift me with such beautiful friendships takes my breath.

So many things being restored to me I can scarce take it in.  But I am.  I surely am.  And I am basking with joy under this blanket of love.

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The House That Love Built

Posted by pearls4me on January 24, 2013

ImageBought myself a house yesterday.  What a marvel to see my name, only my name on those documents.  The closing agent said the process was greatly simplified since this was a cash transaction.  That made me smile through and through.  Actually it makes me laugh out loud and say fuck you Evil!

The woman whose home I bought suffered a stroke last fall and is now in assisted living.  She lived in the home since it was built in 1976 and has been the sole owner and occupant all these years.  It had been a model home – guess that explains all the nice crown molding.

All this was explained to us by her son-in-law and POA.  When he first walked into the room I thought, well isn’t he a long drink of cool water.  Wonderfully tall, broad shoulders, big hands, a good and open face.  My conversation with him during the closing was an extra blessing.  He told me that Ethel would be delighted that ‘somebody like me‘ had bought her home.

He described Ethel as a dignified, fastidious woman of German-Dutch descent.  That more than explains the superb condition of her home.  For a home that is pushing 40, it’s very gently used and beautifully maintained.  What a particular, personal blessing that is to me.

I told him all the things I had planned.  Yes, the sea foam green carpet had to go.  As did the wallpaper in nearly every room.  He simply nodded and said those would be the first things he would change, too.

I skipped in the parking lot afterwards.  Dan would be so proud.

Of course we went immediately to the house.  I had keys!  And garage door openers!  I skipped through my living room breathing in the joy joy joy.

Friends gathered to christen my new home with Bazbeaux pizza and bubbly.  Their blessings stunned me.  I liked that Steve went first.  Guess I’m old fashioned enough to still want the man to lead, to have something to say.  In all my excitement I can’t honestly remember his exact words, but the spirit of it was Emmanuel.  God with us.  God with me.  Leading, encouraging, constraining, keeping.

And then M #1 prayed.  I was stunned when she said ‘we bless the brokenness that brought Melodie to this place’.  

Without hesitation, Yes, Lord, sprang to my lips.  Yet I silenced my agreement.  My lips mouthed, Yes, Lord, but my heart was hollering Are you f-ing kidding me?  You want me to BLESS the BROKENNESS that led me to this place?

But it was too late and that heavenly arrow had found its mark.  In a nano-second I knew that God would soon bring me to the place where he would indeed ask me to bless the brokenness that brought me to this place.

Before long, we were filling up on pizza, bubbly, and warm conversation we lingered on that sea foam green carpeting.  I feel so at home there already.

The shackles are falling off oh yes they are.  God is giving me a whole new life.  

I cannot help but be reminded that God spoke those very words to me when I was in the plane headed to Honduras two summers ago.  Melodie, I am going to give you a whole new life.

A bucket of work and warfare goes into a whole new life.  I am no longer living under the curse that Evil using the mouth of Terry laid on me.  Something in me has risen up and said, How dare you!  How dare you curse me with the idea that I can’t make it without you!  How date you curse me with the idea that I can’t do life on my own!  Fuck you Evil!  I reject you and I reject those lies.

What’s so interesting about Terry’s curse is that I don’t have to ‘do life on my own’.  I am not alone.  God is with me and he is for me.  I have friends and family who are doing life with me.

My hands are open and my heart is full of gratitude.  I am grateful for Ethel and for what I am guessing is a beautiful life lived gently in the home that is now mine.  I am grateful for her caring son-in-law who blessed me with his eyes and words at the closing table.  I am grateful for friends and family who are loyal and true and faithful and have the courage to do life together.  I am grateful for a new home that is perfect for me.  I am grateful for the grace to accept it.  But most of all, I am grateful to the One who is Always Faithful.

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I’m So Excited

Posted by pearls4me on January 22, 2013

I close on my new house tomorrow.  I’m so excited I can’t sleep.  Gonna get myself a whole new life :) 

 

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Missing Her

Posted by pearls4me on November 30, 2012

It’s been at least two years since I first saw her.  I was walking to work and caught sight of her from the corner of my eye.  So appealing was her image to me that I slowed down to stare.  I couldn’t help but notice her long bare legs perched easily atop shiny black heels.  Her crisp white blouse and knee length navy skirt were pleasing to my dress for success eye.  She was having a good hair day and her earrings sparkled in the morning sun.  

 
But it was her countenance that so captivated me.  It was a face of quiet confidence.  A face that had seen some stuff, yet was bravely willing to let a wee bit of optimism rest at the corners of her lips.  I was surprised at how pleasing she was to me as I paused there, admittedly admiring my own reflection in the store front window.  I liked her.  I liked her alot.  And I was really proud of her. 
 
It’s hard to say where she went.  Or when.  But I’m pretty sure my addiction to contempt ran her off.  A shovel of dirt here, a handful of mud there.  It’s enough to scare anybody away.  Or bury them alive.
 
Come back, I want to say to her.  Come back.  I know she hears me.  But so far, she stands afar off.  Clearly uncertain of her welcome, of my ability to sustain her and care for her in the way she deserves.  
 
Her suspicions are well grounded.  I silenced her.  All but killed her.  Why I can’t say exactly.  But I want to find out.  Every breath today is a longing, a cry for Yahweh to come and breath on her old, dry bones and restore sinew and flesh to her.
 
Here I am, Lord.   Come, please.

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Serenity. Truth. Breath.

Posted by pearls4me on October 7, 2012

Image

 

The Serenity Prayer.  Long a staple in 12-step programs and a powerful reminder that we can change (some) things.  Not people.    

The Serenity Prayer was the topic of our Al-Anon meeting a few days ago.  As I listened to people share their experience, strength, and hope, the realization washed over me that key truths had finally made the long journey from my head to my heart.

I was powerless over Terry.  Therefore, I was not responsible for his life.  Therefore, I was not responsible for his death.

When these truths became mine is not entirely clear.  Healing is a process.  All I know is that it’s been a while since I have suffered the oppressive, tormenting burden of power, failure, and responsibility.

But……what about my longing to Finish Well?  What about that vision God gave us about what it would mean for us to Finish Well.  Together.  

Our failure, my failure to Finish Well has been a oozing wound that has paralyzed me from envisioning a future.  After all, I didn’t Finish Well in the most important relationship of my life, so why would God trust me with anything else?

But God.

Yesterday morning, I was practicing self-care in my beautiful chair in my beautiful bedroom.  Reading.  Sipping coffee.  Enjoying the stillness.  This video was embedded in one of the on-line devotionals I receive.  I opened it without expectation.  But as I watched……..    

http://www.godvine.com/What-This-Racer-Does-is-the-Most-Inspirational-Thing-You-ll-Ever-See-1169.html

Tears came.  Big, fat, warm tears as my own race flashed in parallel before me.  I could hear God whisper to me, see Melodie, you did finish well.  Terry’s choices may have torn the hamstring of your heart, but you never gave up.  Even in your agony, your disappointment, and your obedience to my command to release him and surrender the outcome, you never gave up.  You finished well, Melodie.  You did.

These big truths invite me to take big breaths.  Breathing in truth.  Exhaling lies.  Breathing in Yahweh.  Yah in.  Weh out.  His breath.  His truth.  Yahweh.  Yahweh.  Yahweh. 

Serenity.  Truth.  Breath.  Good things all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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