Monthly Archives: December 2015

Good Riddance 2015

I couldn’t be happier saying good bye to this year.  I truly believe this year was filled with more tears of sorrow than joy.

  1.  January– lay offs at the bakery.
  2. February–death of a lifelong friend
  3. March–IRS comes knocking.
  4. April–hundreds of handcrafted cookies and was told to stop decorating.
  5. May–blew out my hand and in constant pain.
  6. June–daughter breaks arm and another dear friend passes away.
  7. July–begged surgeon to do something with hands; pain too much to handle.
  8. August–lose bakery, bankruptcy and daughter goes away to college.
  9. September–neighbor is hit by car and passes away.
  10. October–Mark in a wreck.  Lost jeep but praise God for Mark’s safety.
  11. November–neighbor/friend freak accidental death in deer woods.
  12. December–unexpected home repairs and well, just didn’t feel like Christmas.

I know there was some good stuff that happened in 2015.  My daughter did graduate.  Mark and the kids are healthy.  Mark and I both have new workplaces.  We got to visit New Orleans and a dear friend.  Yes, there were a few highlights for the year.

But in reality, I am ready to just say farewell and start over.

Isaiah 43:18 says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”

I just closed the book on 2015.  I don’t want to dwell on any part of if.  It is over.  I dust my hands off.

Good Riddance.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

Revelation 21:4

 

 

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Good Grief

Last night I discovered undoubtedly that I haven’t mourned for the loss I have experienced in 2015.  Now some of you are thinking, “Will you just build a bridge and get over it?” I couldn’t agree with you more.

I can’t help thinking that the art of mourning has been lost.  Over the centuries cultures have designated “rules” for mourning.  For example in the Victorian years, if a woman lost someone close to her, she would endure mourning for 2 years.  The first few days of mourning a black ribbon would be placed on the doorknob.  This is to indicate the delicate nature a visitor must portray while visiting the grieving home.  Some areas placed black wreathes on the doors to signify mourning.  Women wore a black bonnet with a dark veil for the first year along with a solid heavy wool black dress.  During this first year, men and women in mourning could not be seen socially nor attend public amusement places like the theater.  After the first year, women could gradually move from the heavy black to lighter shades of dark grey to light grey.  Then they could gradually add color back into their wardrobe.  As the shades change so does the isolation.  Gradually they would be seen socially.  Also, during the 2 year period for women, they would only write correspondence on paper that was black outlined.  Of course men and children were only required to mourn for one year.

The Jewish custom is for the first seven days after the funeral (also know as the Shiva period) the person experiencing the loss will cover the mirrors in their home and tear a whole in their clothing.  They must sit on the floor or on a box as they greet visitors.  Close family and friends will do their household duties, cooking, and work.  After the Shiva comes the period known as Shloshim.  It is for 30 days and during this time you are no longer required assistance nor to sit on the floor/box.  Men must refrain from shaving and neither sex can remarry  nor attend celebrations.

The outward is supposed to represent the inward feelings during the mourning periods.  I wonder if it would make a difference in our lives today if we still honored those mourning traditions.

After the bombings in Paris, U2 held a concert where Bono said, “Grief is a wound that never closes.”  Hmmmm….  could it be?  My mother has been gone nearly 20 years and there are times like around the holidays I grieve for her.  Christmas was her special celebration.  She went all out.  I grieve for that.  I grieve that my kids never knew her.  I grieve that things changed after she died.  Christmas was never the same.

My point is– do we really know how to grieve in our society today?  We are told to drown ourselves in work or to just get over it.  When my mom died there wasn’t any Bereavement days–there still may not be.  Most places only give a couple of days off.  I remember returning to work the day after I lost my baby.  Do you think I was mentally prepared to work?  Even when I lost mom, I could barely function.

If society doesn’t recognize the need or value of mourning, how can we “get over it?”

Job mourned.  Mary mourned.  Mary and Martha mourned.  So why don’t we allow ourselves to mourn.  Are we too afraid to just admit we need time to heal?  Afraid of being labeled “weak”?

Well, I am gonna say it right now–I need a year of mourning after the year I have had.  Wonder if I have enough black to wear?  Maybe I need to cancel all my celebrations–clear my schedule so I can mourn.  I wonder if it would make a difference?

It might take me a week to get up off the floor!!

 

The Way I See It

The night air hung heavy like my inner soul.  The darkness of the night held me tight as the tears flowed from my weary eyes.

The year’s grief crowded my mind.  My heart grown cold. My soul ached for peace.  The candle lit by my mournful presence gave me fleeting hope that this year’s sorrow was coming to an end.  Alas, I realized that the year’s heartache has been oppressed by one devastation after another.  I haven’t truly mourned.  I have only tried to cope.

Coped!  Ha!  Swallowed hard and plowed through the day only to end up emotionally exhausted.  As the cloud of depression drapes itself around me, it is a struggle to put on the happy face.

Within the thirty minutes of tonight’s church service, I was made aware of how far my depression has gotten.  It hovers over me like a hot lead blanket–uncomfortable and impossible to shake off.  The weight of it makes it hard to get up in the mornings.  My thoughts are woeful and of all the suffering I have endured over the past year.

But something tonight gave me a glimmer of hope.  Something to really hang onto.  The blanket lifted for a brief moment after the hard sobs and prayer.

God is near.  He has always been near.  I have allowed the wool to be pulled over my eyes.  But tonight I could see so clearly.  I understand now what I must do.  And it isn’t to lay in bed with the covers pulled over my head and wishing that the day wouldn’t start.

I have been living–no not living–existing with the way I see things.  I see my anger, my heartache, my loss, my financial situation, and not to forget–my long list of woes.

Yet the Holy Spirit is within me.  I have the capacity to see things from Jesus’ perspective.  Jesus was born into this world to change the perspectives of men.  If I am going to get through the next hour,  next day, week, year– I must change my perspective from mine to Jesus’.  Oh, it is going to be tough though.  I am only human and my flesh tends to lead me more than I allow the Holy Spirit.

Where to begin?  How in the world do I turn this around?  At the moment I can’t see past today’s horrific events.  Will it begin with prayer?  I’m afraid my “want to” got up and went after I laid to rest my second best friend.

See it is harder than I thought.  I haven’t even finished the post and I am already giving up.  Or perhaps– giving in is more the terminology here.

Maybe I need a project.  Something to train my perspective.  Hmmmmm…… that just might be the answer.

Maybe I should start with Philippians 4:8, “Finally, Brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

I will start there…… with the truth.  The truth is……. God loves me.  He loves me more than this depression.  He loves me in spite of it.  He gave us Christmas.  He gave me Jesus.  He gave me the Holy Spirit.  He gave me life and hope.  He loves me.

Yes, He truly loves me–for the Bible tells me so.

 

Hey Honey! Put a Pot of Coffee On!!

Do you ponder?

I do.  Sometimes way too much.  I guess it is the educator in me.  I question.  I seek answers. There are times I can’t turn my mind off from all the pondering.

So, tonight’s homework from my Advent class was simply to ponder.  Hmmmm.  Ponder.

Thinking can be dangerous.  Especially when you are in the middle of a pity party.  Those pesky thoughts are like rabbits dashing from one area of the garden to another.  No turtles here.  Not a single thought slow and steady.  Nope.  Zip.  Zap.  Dish.  Dash.  The superhero, Flash, has nothing on my thought speed.

**Mental sound effect–screeching tires.

Wham.  There it is the ponder of the day.  I was wondering when it was going to rear its ugly head.  Yep.

Why?

Why did my friends have to die?  Why not one?  Why 4?  Why did my hand have to give out?  Why did I have to close my bakery?  Why did I have to teach?  Why did I have to be infested with so much yuck?  Why did Mark have to wreck the jeep?  Why did my daughter have to grow up and leave the nest?  Why?  Why? Why?

And my answer:  Wake up and smell the coffee, Regina.

God’s plan.  God’s time.  Did you not ask God to get you out from under the pressure of owning a business?  Did you not ask for a way out from under all the crushing debt?  Did God not supply you with a good paying job among great people?  Did He not give your baby girl wings to soar upon?  God’s plan.  God’s time.

Hmmmm.  Told you pondering can get me into trouble.

So now I need to ponder where do I go from here?  Ponder on ways to soften my heart and understand all is good.

Guess I need to start smelling the coffee, huh?