Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Waiting Game

Death. It's such a strange thing to think so much about. But the past 3 days, it has occupied most of my thoughts both day and night. My dear Pepa is lying in a hospital bed on the 4th floor of the Carillon house. It's where people go to die. The minutes and hours continue to creep by and he continues to breathe and moan and slip in and out of sleep. I've never experienced anything like this before. The last time I lost someone this close to me, I was 12 years old. I remember being called out of my 7th grade math class and finding my dad waiting for me in the office. Mama Jo was dead. It happened so suddenly. The words felt like someone punched me in the gut and my eyes were stinging and I was searching for air. This came out of nowhere. No warning. Just death. But this is so different. We are all waiting for him to breathe his last breath. We know it's coming and his deteriorating body is somehow getting worse and showing signs of the "final stages." And we all just wait. The feelings are the same. My gut still feels pummeled, my eyes are still stinging. But it didn't come with one sharp blow. It's a slow, constant beating that has me reaching for air at every turn but finding no relief. Or maybe it's me that's holding my breath. I'm just waiting for the call or the text message. Surely I will get a call. Can you imagine hearing the AT&T default ding and reading those words across a phone screen? Like it's just another Facebook update or RSVP to Ava's birthday party. But maybe the death will bring about a release. Maybe the knot in my stomach from waiting will slowly go away. I don't know why he's still here. I don't know if he's hurting or scared or just ready to be gone. But God knows. And I have to trust that He's here in the midst of this waiting. He's doing a work or He's teaching a lesson or He's testing our faith. I don't know the why yet, but it feels so good to know that I don't have to know all the answers. I just have to try and find the breaths when they come. And I just have to keep waiting...until he's gone. And then I can start missing him. I can cry a different set of tears. Tears of loss and grief. There will be a few tears of joy for his heavenly homecoming. And I will try to be strong and help my kids understand and I will fail, and I will cry and that will be ok. And I will remember all the things I loved about him. And I will be thankful for the last few years he's gotten to spend making memories with my kids. Memories of peppermints and "rides" in the hospital bed. Of singing and dancing and laughing. Of quiet moments shared gazing out the window. I will have my own personal memories of his motorcycle, walking calves, calling him Ralph and him calling me Sydney. So many memories of life and joy. And those are the things that will make the death bearable.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

30 is the new ???

Well, 30 is the new age for me! Yesterday was my birthday, and it turned out to be a pretty good day. I've been a bit panicked about this one for quite some time, but as the big day got closer, I realized that it wasn't so bad. And when I crawled into bed last night, I realized I survived! It was a great day and although I just entered a new decade, I really didn't feel that much different. I am very much a list maker. Always have been. My sister, Paige, wrote the most beautifully amazing blog about me yesterday and it was a list of 30 things about me. As I read the things, I wasn't sure they were all true, but it made me realize how much I wanted them to all be, or at least feel like they were real to me. I've been thinking and I've decided I need a new list for this year, or really decade. 30 things I want to accomplish in my 30's. I'm still praying about what all should be on the list, but I'll go ahead and start. I'm sure some of them will seem silly to others or not make any sense, but the list is really for me. So here goes!

1. I want to continue to raise three beautiful daughters to know and love the Lord.

2. I want to be a better wife to my husband every single day. As I continue to learn things about him and as we continue to grow closer, I want to love him better and support him in every way that he needs.

3. I want to have really great friendships. This is something I don't think I've ever done all that well, but I want to intentionally work on it. I want to invest in people that are fun, like-minded, and at the same time challenge me to grow spiritually and in other ways. Life is too short to go through it alone. I want to purposefully choose people to be in my life that will make me a better person.

4. I don't want to yell anymore. I can't believe I'm admitting this in blogland, but it's true. I can be a yeller. It is the one thing about myself that I dislike the very least. I have a short fuse sometimes and before I know it I'm barking for no reason. I'm immediately remorseful and embarrassed. Raising kids comes with it's fair share of irritations, however, that is no excuse for me to yell. No more yelling!!

5. I want to read more. A few weeks ago, I decided for some odd reason to read Pride and Prejudice. I have never been a reader. I could spend hours vegged out in front of the TV, but lately, it just doesn't interest me. I downloaded the book on my phone and read it cover to cover. I was quite proud of myself for finishing the 418 pages! And now I want to read more! Any good suggestions??

6. In the words of Mary J. Blige, I want "No More Drama." I am finding myself at a place in life where I often ask myself, "what's the point?" What is the point in being mad all the time? Where is the fun in picking out flaws in other people? What is the purpose of keeping things stirred up in my mind and emotions to the point of feeling like I'm about to reach my boiling point all the time? The answer is simple. There is NO point! It is useless, wasted time spent worrying about things that are usually out of my control. And I have found that control is usually the culprit. Feeling out of control and grasping for it can cause this constant stirring of drama, that I just have no desire to be a part of. So, I am committed to living a life full of love, forgiveness, and believing the best of people. Isn't is amazing how God gives us the grace we need to walk out what He's called us to do? Isn't it even more amazing that He doesn't give us the grace to do other people's jobs and to live other people's lives?

7. I want to be healthy. Ahh, here it is. The constant battle for me. Weight. Food. Health. Self-esteem. These things all get rolled into one big ball bouncing up and down. Right now I am teetering on the "up" side of weight and food, and the "down" side of health and self-esteem. If I've learned anything about my natural self in the last decade, it is that I am NOT a naturally thin person. Over the past few years I have worked my tail off on two different occasions and lost a good amount of weight. As soon as I felt I had reached some goal or level of health, I started "rewarding" myself with all the yummy food that I so enjoy. It doesn't help that I love to cook. It is relaxing for me. It is a creative outlet for me, and I love it! However, before I know it, all the hard work is over and I start putting all the weight back on again. What the heck?? I saw a hilarious quote on Pinterest yesterday that spoke loud and clear to me. It said "Don't reward yourself with food. You're not a dog!" So true!! But if I jump through the hoops and lose enough weight I stick my little hand in my pocket and pull out a treat (or 5). This has to stop. In the past I have done really well with losing weight when accountability is involved, so I'm praying for God to show me who to be accountable to. I can do this!!

8. I want to take more vacations with my family. Vacations are some of my fondest memories growing up and I want my kids to have those. There is something about getting away from "normal" life and just having fun! My dream vacation is to go to Disney World with my family, my sisters and their families, and my parents. Can't you just see all those girls at Cinderella's Castle?? Photo-op for sure!!! I also want to go on more trips with my husband. There is no better way to reconnect than a few days away from work and the kids (even though I love them dearly!) preferably relaxing on a beach or some other beautiful location (I'll take mountains too. I'm not picky).

9. I want to do a better job of "multiplying" myself at work. Work for me is being the worship pastor at Church on the Rock. As much as I love actually leading worship in a service, I really get a bigger kick out of seeing other people raised up and released to do it. It truly gives me the proudest feeling! Is that wrong? I just get excited to see other people fulfill their calling and their destiny in the Kingdom. I feel like so much of what I'm "called" to do is changing to more of a mentoring role than an out front leader role. I still enjoy doing both and am blessed enough to have the opportunity to do both. I get to work with some of the most amazingly talented, anointed, humble, powerful worship leaders. It's really a fun job!

10. I want to write more. Paige wrote about it yesterday on her blog, and it got me thinking. I do love to write. I write songs, stories, thoughts, ideas. Whatever pops into my head. However, I don't make the time to do it as much as I would like. At one time I thought about writing a book, although I'm not sure anyone would read it! But it would be so fun to write!

Ok, I think that's enough for now. I've 20 more things to decide on and 39 years and 363 more days to do it. I think I'm good.