Thursday, June 19, 2008

"All These Thoughts In My Head"

That's a quote from a song off Alanis Morrisette's new album "Flavors of Entanglement". I happen to be in love with the it and find myself listening to it over and over and over again in my car especially when I am alone or feeling heavy emotions about what is going on in my life with my dad.

The circle of life is an interesting thing. We come into this world and are cared for by our parents. We exit this world being cared for by our children. We start off wearing diapers and being fed, we end up in diapers and being fed. Sometimes babies are just plain cranking and don't know why or what they really want. Not hungry, not tired, just fussy (as Teri once descrbied her mood to me). My dad was just fussy for several days dealing with his pain and feeling helpless. Now he is not so fussy but helpless lying in his bed not able to communicate or move about freely. This is the price for not being in pain or so we believe. It was heartbreaking to see him lying in his bed today, his eyes glazed over but still holding the familiar blue tint and kindness I have know all my life. He is still very much "in there" and still fighting the fight. How difficult it must be to have to lie there and wait for a chance to communicate with your loved ones or those taking care of you. I have no doubt he'd rather be up in his wheelchair visiting with us and his friends smoking a cigarette but the pain is strong and the need to find relief stronger.

I wish I knew the answers. I wish I knew who this lesson in life was for, myself or my dad? Perhaps both of us. I know I am trying to learn from every second of it but how long will this course take to complete? My whole life I assume but I am ready for this chapter to be over. They say God doesn't give you anything you can't handle. I never thought I was very strong because all my life I have had a fairly easy time of things. I hope this is my test and I hope I can pass it. My friend Minda sent me an e-mail the other day with this story. I want to share it with you.

You always hear the usual stories of pennies on the sidewalk being good luck, gifts from angels, etc. This is the first time I've ever heard this twist on the story. Gives you something to think about.
Several years ago, a friend of mine and her husband were invited to spend the weekend at the husband's employer's home. My friend, Arlene, was nervous about the weekend. The boss was very wealthy, with a fine home on the waterway, and cars costing more than their house.
The first day and evening went well, and Arlene was delighted to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live. The husband's employer was quite generous as a host, and took them to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have the opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so was enjoying herself immensely. As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive restaurant that evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of Arlene and her husband. He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment. Arlene wondered if she was supposed to pass him. There was nothing on the ground except a single darkened penny that someone had dropped, and a few cigarette butts. Still silent, the man reached down and picked up the penny. He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure. How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up? Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her. Finally, she could stand it no longer. She casually mentioned that her daughter once had a coin collection, and asked if the penny he had found had been of some value. A smile crept across the man's face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see. She had seen many pennies before! What was the point of this? 'Look at it.' He said. 'Read what it says.' She read the words ' United States of America ' 'No, not that; read further.' 'One cent?' 'No, keep reading.' 'In God we Trust?' 'Yes!' 'And?' 'And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin.
Whenever I find a coin I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him? Who am I to pass it by?
When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment. I pick the coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God's way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful! When I was out shopping today, I found a penny on the sidewalk. I stopped and picked it up, and realized that I had been worrying and fretting in my mind about things I cannot change. I read the words, 'In God We Trust,' and had to laugh. Yes, God, I get the message. It seems that I have been finding an inordinate number of pennies in the last few months, but then, pennies are plentiful! And, God is patient..

Thought for the Day:
If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.
If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it.
He sends you flowers every spring.
He sends you a sunrise every morning Face it, friend - He is crazy about you!
Send this to every 'beautiful person' you wish to bless.
God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.
Read this line very slowly and let it sink in...
If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

I really liked that last line. I have never been an overly religous person as most of you know but I have always believed in God as a higher source and now I am looking to that source to help me find the answers I am seeking and to lead my dad to a peaceful place with his family that has already passed on.

I need to pray tonight to get back in touch with God. I was praying a lot when all of this first started happening. I seemed to find strength and solace when I did. For some reason lately I haven't been. I seem to find a reason not to. I am too tired. I am too angry. God already knows what I am thinking but what if he doesn't? What if I need to voice my thoughts as part of my lesson of life I am learning? I will try tonight and every night after. Maybe that will help guide me in the right direction with my dad's illness. I hate questioning every decision, every thought I have. I feel guilty when I don't go see him every day. I feel rushed and anxious when I have to arrange for someone to watch my kids when I go visit him. Do I want to visit or have to visit? I want to visit as this is precious time I have with my dad before he leaves this earth forever. I should be thankful for every smile, breath and word we share until it is no longer possible to be together in this life. I am tired now and need sleep and with it some peace of mind and soul.

Be happy and loved and feel freely with your heart and thoughts.


Gina said...

Robyn, just a thought; try reading a Psalm each night before you pray. David went through some very tumultuous times, and always cried out to God for strength. Perhaps in David's words, you might find solace, and ideas for what to say to our Father.

I pray for you tonight, that He might hold you and your father in the palm of His hand, and that you might draw closer to Him because of what you're going through.

Aurora said...

Robyn, A friend forwarded your garage sale message to me. I read your blog, and chose to respond on your post of June 19th because that is my birthday and I am one of the "horsey" people in the Equestrian Center/Riverbottom Area. My horse, and I, have been there for almost 15 years.

I am not in the habit of leaving comments on blog sites to people I don't know, but, unfortunately, these are issues that have had a tremendous impact on my life. I am very sorry that you are having to experience this and hope what I have to say helps a little.

I know that life is precious.

I know that too often we take for granted the things that are really important in life: listening to our children when we're tired, waking up, wanting to be alive, small acts of kindness --not just to strangers, but mostly to those closest to us.

When my Mom complains about the family and our problems, I look at her and say, "There are people dying in Iraq..."

My house is not being bombed. My son/husband/brother/sister is not a part of the "Peace Keeping" forces stationed in a foreign country in political turmoil.

I am not the picture on the refrigerator of my beautiful, blond-haired, blue-eyed, talented, successful, vivacious equestrian friend who was diagnosed with 4th stage rectal cancer a year ago at the age of 40, whose memorial I attended this weekend.

Too often I have seen God take his best early on, and it doesn't make sense to me. I have to assume their job on Earth was done and God had his reasons.

My job is to remember the qualities that made them so special and how they made me feel, and to incorporate those qualities in my everyday life. Their part in my life made me a richer person. That is their legacy. I need to pass that on.

I believe that everyone deserves to die with diginity.
It is the responsibility of the living to reassure those who are ill and passing that "we will be okay, and they can let go." Peace of mind, and love, are infinitely the best and final gifts you can give anyone.

It's not about "us", it's about "them." Our time to grieve is after our loved ones are gone. Our "job" is to support them, be loving, caring and tender -- just as they were to us in our lifetime.

My horse, and I, have been in the Burbank Equestrian area for the last 17 years. The relationship with horses is something that we seldom have with our human family -- and I can't tell you why. I can only think of the quote, "There is something about the "outside" of a horse that is good for the "inside" of a man..."

I don't think I know your father, or you, and I just want you to know that I am so very sorry that you are having to go through this. It is something we all face -- I lost my father when I was 10, and am fortunate to still have my Mom.

I know that one day, I will lose my Mother and my lovely horse. I try to prepare, mentally, for this -- but there is no such thing. All I can do for them is be there.

Embrace your husband, hug your children and watch them sleep. Wake up in the morning and breathe. Hug your father, and your mother, while you can. Remember to tell everyone you love that you love them.

Embrace the fact that you are your Father's daughter and are here, now, when he needs you. Life is fleeting -- never take it for granted and always give the best of yourself. We never know when our time will come...