Thursday, September 10, 2015

Crashing Down

I have always had vivid dreams. I can still see dreams that I dreamed when I was a child in my mind like they're actual memories. And, kind of like Joseph, for a time I could hear someone's dream and it was like I could see what the dream was trying to say. Not in a hocus pocus way, but almost as though I could understand what the dream was trying to say.

I never called anyone over and invited them to tell me their dreams like a sorcerer. I would just listen and then sometimes I would be able to say what I thought the message was in all that craziness. I considered it a gift from God.

I had a crazy dream myself the other night. Someone I love was injured and I was trying to get them to the house to take care of them. I wrestled them in the car that they insisted on driving, even thought they could not sit up as we started across the bay there was much debris in the water. It hit me that the other bridge had been destroyed in a storm. Not the one on the ocean side, but the one on the bay side, the one more protected. And, as I watched in horror I saw a wave headed our way, scooping up pieces of the broken bridge as well as anything else in its path. As we braced for impact we suddenly found ourselves on the other side of the bridge safe. 

But, as we were about to drive under another bridge, I can see a tsunami sized wave headed our way. Just in front of us was a car full of a young family and the children peered back at us through the rear window. Again, I yelled to brace, hold the wheel tight and steady. I was certain the flood waters were going to kill us. 

They overtook the car. I could still see the faces of the children pressed to the window ahead of us. Suddenly, just as quickly as it came,the waters were gone. We once again headed toward home and safety. 

It took all my strength to get them inside the house and safe where I could attend to their injuries. I walked back to close the door to find that the waters were rising in the street. We were still in danger. 

Sunday my cousin and I went back to Six Flags. She convinced me to face my fears and ride Goliath. Goliath is huge. Beyond huge. I was so afraid that I was crying when we were strapped in waiting to go.

Anna was glad to be there with me. She supported me as much as I would let her. She rode beside me but I would not let her sit next to me because I was scared she would touch me and I knew I could not handle that. I wrapped my hands and my legs around the safety device like a monkey.  I have rarely been that afraid. All I could think about was the fact that this was only going to last about two minutes and then it would be behind me.

I don't really remember much about those two minutes. I only remember that I did not die and I know that next time I won't be so afraid. This was something I had to face on my own.

The thing that struck me about my dream was my overwhelming desire to get the person I was with to safety so that I could help them and attend to their wounds. But, even when we reached what I assumed was safety, which was home, there was danger. I could not protect them.

There are things in life that happen that are beyond our control. We send our kids out into the big ole world and we have to trust that they will be okay out there. We cannot enclose them in protection and keep them safe. They make choices that sometimes put them in the path of danger. And, sometimes all we can do is wait on the sidelines until the danger passes and hope that they don't drown when the waves of destruction come crashing down.

Sometimes we can save people, we can pull them out of the rising flood and drag them to safety. And, then when we look away they wade right back into the water.

Life is funny like that. We sometimes spend all of our time on the shore, sipping a cool drink in the shade and wondering why someone else chooses to swim in the riptide. I chose to sit in that seat, chose to face something that took me out of my comfort zone, and I made to the end. No one could have ridden that for me and allowed me to face what I needed to face.

I could not drag my injured love one far enough away to keep them safe from what it is they must face in my dream. Or, in reality.

I can sit there, waiting, with a nice fluffy towel to see if they emerge from the crashing waves, but it is up to them to come out. Just as in my dream, they were driving, I was merely riding along, hoping we could make it to safety so I could nurse them back to health.

And, so it is. I wait. Praying they make it back to shore.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Nothing to Fear

Let's just say I have always lived my life taking the safest route. I have a habit of following the rules because the consequences of not doing so frankly scare me to death.

I have a habit of blowing things up into gigantic proportions. It's not healthy, but it is me. It doesn't help that my nature is to pick things apart and look at them from every angle, dream up every scenario, and search for every solution.

I made a decision several years ago now. It was the right decision even though it seems that everything went the wrong way afterward. It was the right thing to do.

Because of that decision I have been forced to come face to face with many of my fears. Too many to mention here, but many of them. I am still facing some of them, and my mind is still working on them to find the solution, like a perpetual Rubix Cube.

"What times I am afraid I will trust in thee," I repeat that over and over in my life. Somehow, even in the midst of my bungling, things have turned out okay so far.

A few weeks back I went with my cousin and a friend of hers to Six Flags. Before we even left for the day I made it clear I wasn't riding anything scary. I have literally had a panic attack when waiting in line for a big roller coaster. My cousin didn't ever agree to that.

Before we left the park that day she had talked me into riding Superman. This coaster actually has you suspended face down to simulate flying. I don't know what I was thinking.

We waited in line and I mentally gave myself a pep-talk. When it was finally our turn and I was strapped in I repented of every sin I have ever done, just in case.

Next thing I know we are making our way up the first hill, facing the ground.

And, off we went. I screamed so much my throat hurt when we got off. She laughed so much hers hurt.

And, all I could think was I want to do that again.

All these years I have lived my life safely. Never taking any chances, never taking any risks, never learning who I really was.

I have found out that instead of someone cowering in the face of life, I am pretty fearless as I face my life.

So, in a couple of weeks we are going back to Six Flags. And, I am thinking of tackling Goliath on this trip. Seems kinda fitting, don't you think??

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Dream in my Heart

The dream in my heart is calling to me
In a voice like a soft, morning breeze
Speaking of promises longed for
Through light brushings of love. 

It all comes down to this moment
When I am braced for the hope within
When the beating races the blood through my mind
When I know all at once it's here. 

It's not by chance I found you
It's not by strength I've held on
It's by the sheer knowledge that this is it
And knowing once it's gone, it's gone. 

I open my fist in the cool morning air
And hope, like a feather, catches flight
Lifting from my hand is this treasure
That just for moment was mine

Dancing in the bright morning sunlight
Is a dream I once dared to dream 
I close my fist against the emptiness
I turn my back on the sun. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Through the Eyes of Love

This world is not geared toward love. That natural inclination to love one another seems to be an absent thing of the past. 

There has always been hate in the world. Since the days of Adam and Eve there has been envy and strife. And so it continues. We have every excuse in the world for our lack of love. We don't agree with this one's decisions. We don't like that one's choices. They are too fat, too thin, too old or too young. It has become easier to be indifferent than to show kindness and compassion. 

This world is a messed up place. It doesn't take much to realize that. 

Hey, messed up world, I have a message for you. We were called to love. 

John 15:12 says "This is my commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you."

I think this is where we get messed up, though. We look at others through eyes that are tainted by our own self hatred. 

Yes, I just said self hatred. We have allowed ourselves to become so muddled up in what we perceive we are not that we have no comfort with who we are. We allow ourselves to live beneath our purpose and accept things that were never meant to be in our lives because we do not love ourselves enough to rise above our circumstances. 

We turn to things and people to fill this loveless void in our hearts when we need to be looking within ourselves, striving to fix that broken concept that we are not worthy of the love that our very soul needs so desperately. You don't pour into something that you don't care about. You put your energy into something you feel is worthwhile. 

I spend time looking at myself. Not out of vanity, but I look at myself to see what others see when they look at me. What do they see in my face? How does the way I carry myself reflect to those who don't know me? If someone who has never met me saw me coming toward them, could they tell I place value in myself?

I see myself through eyes that love ME. I look in the mirror into the eyes of the only person who truly knows my heart, who has felt every heartache I have felt, whose arms were always there to hold me when I cried, the person who has seen me at my very lowest, and who was there through the best times of my life. 

This person looking back at me knows my dreams, my desires, my hopes and my plans. They know just how far I can go and they have been witness to times when I found strength I never realized I had. 

I look at this person some days and I cannot believe it is me. 

And yet, it IS me. And I have developed a close, abiding friendship with myself. It has made me more protective of my future, my dreams, and my heart. 

And it has also made it so much easier to love those that have not learned to love themselves and to accept what that love means. 

I can look at others and say that I understand where they are on their journey. 

He commanded us to love one another as He loved. He didn't ignore the sin in others lives. He told them to straighten up and not live like that anymore. But, He loved. He died out of love and with love. 

I may not agree with the sin, but I can love the sinner. And, I love myself enough to know that doesn't mean I should allow myself to be caught up in those sins. Sin still takes you farther than you ever wanted to go. 

But, I can love. I can look at others in their broken situations through eyes that see their brokenness as well as their situation. 

Love is the greatest gift you will ever give. Give that gift to yourself and soon it will overflow into those around you. 

"This is My commandment....." To love. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Musings of a Middle-Aged Orphan on Mother's Day

Many, many, MANY moons ago I was born the youngest child of three. I don't know if there is a typical family, but we were pretty normal. 

My Dad worked in newspapers. My Mom stayed home until I started school. She worked in a cafeteria when I started first grade so she would be home when we were. When I started second grade I was too shy to tell them my Mom was picking me up and they stuck me on the bus along with my aggravated older sister who tried to get me off the bus, but I was too scared. When we got home that day my Mom made the announcement that since we could ride the bus, she was going to work. 

My Mom was a very smart woman. She excelled at every job she had. When we moved to Southwest Louisiana she got a job taking payments in the water department of the city we lived in. It wasn't long before she was the purchasing agent for the city. 

I want to tell you about my Mom, for a moment. My Mom was private. She wasn't a recluse, but she was close. I never remember her going out with her girlfriends, or yacking on the phone. When my Mom was hurting she dealt with her own pain. So many things she carried we never, ever knew about. 

My Mom was very funny. And, her humor is one of the things I'm glad she passed down to me. She was not the type to get into your business but when she did it was warranted and you definitely paid attention. 

She taught me what it meant to be a woman. Just by example I learned how to carry myself, in all situations. I learned the importance of dignity and grace. I learned about how to handle people and the importance of family. 

And, I learned about the love of a mother. I learned that when you accept this role you are no longer out to serve yourself. You have a greater calling. Oh, neither of my parents coddled us. We learned early on that if we made a mess of our lives we needed to be prepared to clean it up. The consequences were our own. 

But, they taught us about working hard and not expecting anyone to pay us just to exist. 

I was walking with my cousin the other day and she said something that caused me to look sideways at her. As soon as I did it I told her that was a Peggy look. More and more my mother takes over my actions, my mannerisms. I know it's partially genetics and partially not wanting to let go. 

I miss her every day. She was my very best friend. She loved me without condition, but she also pushed me to always rise above. I miss her touch, her voice, her laughter, her smell. Even at my age, I want my Mama. 

Knowing that I had her for 42 years and she only had hers for 16, makes my breath catch. The missing of her own mother was so powerful and caused such a wound that I didn't even know what happened until I was older. She didn't talk about it. Only tidbits on occasion. As the years passed she shared more and more but I didn't get the stories from her that I did from my Dad. It's almost like the pain made it too great. 

But, I talk of mine often. It seems like just yesterday I kissed her goodbye. I will never be too old to remember. Never be too old to want to lay my head in her lap one more time. 

Missing her greatly. Today and always. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

All in a Day's Work

I got my first job when I was 11. I babysat for our neighbors while they went to the Sugar Bowl and earned enough to buy the album "Grease!" I still regret not buying "Sgt. Pepper" which I am pretty sure would be a collector's item by now, but that's another blog. 

I babysat quite a lot after that. I got a job at 15 working at Bonanza Steak House. And, I spent some time in the press room at the newspaper inserting ads into the paper. 

I graduated high school at 17 and since it would be 7 months before I turned 18 I had a hard time finding a "real job." I neglected to tell my parents I had been offered the Choral Scholarship and turned it down because I wanted to take a break from school. Yeah, dumb move, I know. When I finally did tell my Mom 15 years later she almost whipped my tail. 

Finally, in January of the next year I went to work at the newspaper helping in accounting where one of the girls was out getting ready for her wedding. I loved it. My Dad was the Vice President of the newspaper group but that didn't mean I had it made, that meant I was expected to work harder. Ms. Linda, my supervisor, let me go home early one day because we were caught up and I wasn't feeling well. I really wasn't feeling well after Dad got home. Believe me, the only way I would have missed after that was if I was on a trip to the morgue. Haha

I worked up until Ethan was born. We had moved to Georgia from Louisiana and it just made sense for me to stay home. When he turned a year old I started college. Bobby and I both had up to three jobs apiece while I went to school. 

One of my jobs was a DJ for a country station. My radio name was KC Lee and that is literally what cured me of my shyness I had dealt with my whole life. 

I graduated college and passed my Nursing exam, received my RN license, and started working in Labor and Delivery in Sept. Of 1995. 

I guess you think the point of all of this is to brag, but it's not. At all. And, I'm not trying to give you my resume. 

I was raised that if you had a need you got out and worked to fill that need. All those years ago we decided we wanted to provide a good life for our children. That was my motivation. 

You see, my children didn't ask to be born. They were a gift to me and their Dad. And we saw each day with them that way. 

We raised them to believe in hard work. And they have both worked hard to get to where they are. 

So, here I am. I don't have much but everything I have I have worked for. And I have worked at every job to provide the best of me for those who have trusted me enough to hire me. 

Today, I was able to see some of my hard work pay off and it thrilled me. I can't even begin to explain the satisfaction I feel. 

There is something to be said for giving your all, for earning your own way, not relying on someone else to keep your head above water. 

I cannot for the life of me understand, as a mother, someone who would sentence their child to an existence instead of providing their child a future. I want my children to be proud of me, to be proud of the woman I am. Someday when I am gone from here I don't want them to look at my life and the choices I have made and feel ashamed of the person I was. 

So, if you don't like where you are, take heart. Until you exist no more you have the power to change your circumstances.  I now find myself in a place where I can make a difference, where I can cause change, and where I can grow and prosper. 

And, I will. My story is far from over. This is a new chapter being written. I can't wait to see the plot unfold. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Facing my Giants

I really believe just about everyone has heard the story of David and Golaith. David walked out before this giant with incredible faith and did what an army would not do: he defeated him. 

I have to say I have my moments where I feel more like the others present. I buy in to the loud noise coming from what seems like a giant problem and I decide I cannot face it. So, I cower down behind a rock and pray the problem just disappears. 

There have been moments when I have rushed out and met those giants head on. Most of those times involved those I love and not just me. 

My son had something happen years ago while he was at school. Normally I approached his teacher when something went on, but this time I went to the principle first, and then to the school board. 

I was working at the hospital during this time and while on break they patched a call through to me. It was the teacher in question. He "had a problem" with me and wanted to "meet me somewhere" to take care of it. Fine by me, I replied. Name the time and place. 

At home that night I was telling my son about the call. His eyes got big and he asked me if I had ever seen his teacher. I replied I had. He said, "Mama, he's really big."

I told him I wasn't scared, he could bring it on!!

And, I faced him head on. No hesitation. 

I have pushed into the fray for those I love over and over. 

But when it comes to my own Giants? It's a different story. 

It is so hard to face down my own demons. But, it is way past time. 

There are so many things I'm afraid of. So many things I allow to happen to me because I'm afraid if I prod that giant it will crush me. 

Today I am asking God to help me, to give me the faith that slays dragons and defeats Giants. I'm asking Him to increase my faith to allow me to walk out in front of my own enormous problems and se them as they truly are, defeat able. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Sun on my Face

There comes a time when you know
And, any doubt you had is gone
Replaced by something warm and bright. 
When the clouds clear and the gloom lifts
You can finally see where you are.

Today, I turn my face up to the sun
I breathe in the sweetness of the soft breeze
For the first time in a long time I see
And, it's beautiful.  

Monday, March 2, 2015

The First Cut is the Deepest

I have always thought of myself as someone who sees good in places where it seems like good has never even visited. And, I have always loved life and the people in it. 

I don't know. That's still there in me. But, mixed in with that is a reality that weighs heavy on my heart. 

I have barreled through life thinking that everyone has one common goal: to love and to be loved. I have learned the reality is far from that. It's far from that. 

Five years ago today I was sitting in my parents motorhome. It was after church and we had gone by to see if anything needed to be done because someone was coming to look at it the next day. 

My sister called and I answered the phone to her screaming voice saying, "My Daddy is dead!"

My world stopped spinning. A week later I  stood with my mother in my parents bedroom as she calmly told me how to separate my Dad's clothes. Seeing the distress on my face she placed her hands on my cheeks and said, "We're going to be OK."

Three months later I kissed her goodbye for the last time. 

When we were discussing the reason our marriage had failed, he said something that is a reality. He said when my parents died, I changed. 

I changed. Forever. 

Five years ago I lost my parents. And in the months and years that followed I lost so much more. 

Tonight I feel the bitter reality of loneliness. I feel the sharp sting of silence. I feel the heavy weight of separation. 

It's not a sadness for them. I know they are happy and I know they are whole. It's a sadness for the loss of their voices in my ears. It a sadness for the absence of their touch when I so desperately need their touch. It's a sadness for the lack of the support they gave me and the love that was mine without condition because there was no condition on their love for me. 

I answered the phone five years ago and the cut of those words went straight through my heart and scarred my very soul. My spirit has walked with a limp every since. 

If they were here today what would they tell me? They would tell me that I will be fine. They would tell me that love overcomes even the separation of death. They would tell me that we are a family and I am never alone. 

I'm so weary, Lord. I'm so weary of it all. I need comfort from You tonight. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Storm Damage

I My sister and her family went through Hurricaine Rita.  Thankfully, they evacuated because there was extensive damage to their home and the area. Even though they are 25 miles from the gulf, their grass and shrubs were all dead, their house covered with a salty film. The house next to them lost its roof and it bounced off their house. But, the most interesting thing was what happened to the foundation. During that storm their entire house was shifted on its piers causing damage inside the home as well. 

I recently came back from a week of training. During that, we were asked to draw a picture of our lives. There was a long period there where there were no real "events." I was living, going through everyday life, raising my kids. Nothing out of the ordinary. 

Then, the picture changed. I went through a storm that damaged me inside and out. Just like those buildings that withstand a Hurricaine I did not come through it the same as I went into it. There is a Pre and a Post storm line in my life. 

We had to explain our pictures because the principle behind the exercise was we can't presume about someone from just viewing the outside. My picture started out with stick figures of my parents and my siblings and me and ended with me. 

I have always been surrounded by family. Always knew there was someone I could run to. I have found during my storm that there are those people in our lives that are right there for us to love and support us, until our personal storm hits. It's almost like they can't bear to view the damage. 

As you struggle to repair you're  looking for someone to replace the broken and destroyed parts and strengthen what is left. 

Sometimes you get back to the condition you were in before. Sometimes you are even better than before. 

But, most of the time, the damage is still noticeable. Especially to those who know you. They can see the sparkle is gone from your eyes, that you don't smile as much or laugh enough. 

They can see the difference in your walk, that you don't hold your head up as high or have the same bounce in your step. 

Rain comes to everyone. And some rain causes growth and advancement. Some causes complete destruction and you have to rebuild from the ground up. I am in-between.  

Even though they were able to repair my sister's house and place it back more securely on the piers the house will never be the same. The back wall shifted out and although the foundation is secure the wall will always tilt outward. 

And in my own life, I will never be the same. Although I am still standing there is a difference in me. I have finally reached a place where I can no longer feel the constant rain and winds, where I can assess the demage and begin to repair it. And, I have moved into a place where I can keep myself safe from further damage from those who always come to the scene of the disaster. 

So, here I am...survivor. I have withstood winds and rains and floods. I have survived the very foundation that I stood on shifting. I have survived the loss of my identity and some people that I loved. 

But, most importantly, I'm still standing. And, stronger than I have been in quite some time. For that I am thankful. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

This One's for You

I have dreamed a thousand dreams and hoped a million hopes. I have spent an eternity with my hands clinched in anticipation of that moment when I know, I just know. 

And, I have held to that promise, to that certainty that someday I WOULD know. 

Look at me. 

Staring back at me in the mirror is no longer a young girl with eyes full of tomorrow, but a woman who had seen tomorrow come. And go. 

And there is age in her face and sadness lurking in her eyes. 

If you could look beyond the outward to the inward you would see.....possibility. You would see a heart glowing with overwhelming desire 

And, live she shall. She will overcome this present darkness. She will stand in the sunlight again, surrounded by the sweetness of all she has searched for. She will finally know. Finally realize. And finally dream in color again.