What limping means

When I am sitting…in a restaurant, at the airport, in the audience somewhere…not one single person would see me as anything but a smiling(usually!) woman living life. Typical woman, drinking coffee, having a conversation, whatever…

When I rise, that changes.

My dad insisted, yes insisted, that I have a cane. I didn’t want a cane, and I remember having pretty emotional words with him over the issue.

Guess what? I have a cane. It’s a clear, acrylic cane. Ahh, compromise :-)

I have it because the situations that I need it are unpredictable. Never at home, never at work, never ever when I am familiar or comfortable in the environment I am in. Instead, it’s for the security I may need when I am somewhere that I can’t predict…a crowded restaurant, shopping at the mall, going somewhere new.

The cane is clear acrylic so that it is the least noticeable of my accessories :-) In other words, notice me, not my cane, please! That cane goes with jeans or an evening dress, relatively unobtrusively.

But I have a far more important thought about that cane. I have the cane so that there is never an excuse to stop moving ahead.

I wouldn’t need it if I just sat. I wouldn’t need it if I was content to stay where I am. And I wouldn’t have it if I let fear rule.

My “limp” is visible (is yours?), but I choose to reveal it because I refuse to stop living. I am looking for people in my life who get that…who see the “limp” as courage, even beauty. Is it beautiful to see people with setbacks just keep walking? I hope so, and I think so.

And Now is right on time

“Our journey has molded us for our greater good, and it’s exactly what it needed to be.  Don’t think you’ve lost time.  It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the Now.  And Now is right on time.”

I have several personal ‘mantras’, for lack of a better word.  My favorite one   is  “For my good and God’s glory”, but I have others that I use frequently, either in my head or aloud.  “Failure is never final“, “The only way out is through” , and this one: “It often looks like the Hero will be too late”.  ALL of these show my heart, and how I think.  They are common to one another, and they all refer to the journey.

I recently saw this Journey quote, and realized how much of it reflects what I believe.

Every situation in my life has contributed to today.  There are some amazingly abundant situations that leap to mind.  There are desperately painful situations that are there also.  Every now and again, I review the menu of those times, good and bad.  Usually it’s when I am browsing through old journals, and I’ll read through those lovely or desperate days.  My perspective changes with the passing of time, so I’ll occasionally see something new in those memories.  Review is good, if there is something new to learn.

I love the concept of “Now is right on time”.   It’s tempting to think that it isn’t.  It’s late, it’s early, it’s intrusive, or it’s upside down. God is always spot on, and exactly on time.  The verse in Lamentations 3:23  that assures us that God’s mercies are new every morning gives me great comfort.  I get today’s mercies for today’s issues.  Tomorrow’s mercies will be specific to tomorrow’s concerns.  We don’t get those mercies early, because we don’t need them until we need them.

Cracks and Light

My habit is to intellectualize.  Most of my reactions start with “I think…”

This isn’t news to me, yet I was startled when someone whose opinion I value, pointed it out to me. Frankly, I’m startled that I can be seen so clearly. We believe in the invisible cloak around us, don’t we.  Surely we aren’t that starkly evident to others, right?  Oh, but we are…

Most of my mornings have always begun battling my habit.  Because I’m aware of my cerebral tendencies to think through life, I have always used tools that will help my shift my view.

After my dad died, I quit writing.  It took nearly four months for me to get back to it…journaling, writing my prayers, blogging with earphones in – listening to my music. Again, pointed out to me was something I couldn’t see…I could think through losing him, but feeling it was too hard. So, I laid aside the routines that spark my heart. Self-protection…

Self-protection is a lie.  Can’t be done.  Dads die, and then moms get cancer. The world is broken, and there are cracks everywhere.

This morning I realized that cracks allow some things to get through that wouldn’t if there were no breaks. My mom’s cancer is forcing me to face what I was trying to skirt. That it doesn’t matter how old we are when we lose our parents. Feelings of profound loss. Feeling like the ground beneath me is shaky. Feelings of camaraderie between sisters that was a lifetime of building…for these moments and so many others.

I am catapulted into a crack, where intellectualizing is helpful only in moments of information gathering or decision-making, yet useless when I look into the precious eyes of my mom. It’s light that comes through the crack.  Illuminating, incredible Light.

Far more connecting happens when I let myself feel with her.  How much we miss dad.  How hard it is to face her illness and future.  How much we want to trust God.

I’m willing.  Willing to feel this, and willing to allow the experience at hand to change me. Willing to trust God for Restoration in its fullness…for both of us.

Simple

Life doesn’t feel simple these days.  It feels complicated.  It feels uncertain.  It feels cluttered.

I listed to Ross  King this morning sing Clear the Stage, and started thinking about whether life IS complicated  or whether I make it complicated.

When I get into my typical m.o, I strain and work to control.  Usually it’s obvious what I am doing, but covert effort is part of it too.  Convinced with delusion  that I have control over life’s outcomes, I fall inevitably into behavior that just wears me out and doesn’t change much. I’m even often tempted to persuade others that I can handle things, and that I am capable of getting…whatever…to change its course.

I reality, my “stage” is just overflowing with stuff.  Stuff that happens, stuff that doesn’t.  Events that feel unfair.  Things that overwhelm.  I admit it, I am overwhelmed.  I want things to go a different way for someone I love.  I want her well and whole.  I don’t want to lose her.

I had a realization not all that long ago that the very best position for me to be in is fresh out of every single thing.  Isn’t God most able to meet our needs when we quit offering our suggestions and tools?  When there is nothing in the bank, no ideas left, no food in the cupboards, and not a thought to offer, God is there.

Vast resources, no limits, and Wisdom I don’t have.

Scary Tomorrows

Two beeps. That’s my secret signal as I leave her house. Its always been what I do. So much comfort in what we do routinely.

But its only in recent months , after the beeps goodbye, the tears start to fall.. Driving home in the dark evening, the streets look luminous and bleary.  That’s my new routine.

Why the tears tonight? Why that sweet ache?

It was a good day…there were smiles, laughter, Starbucks and a visit with a grandson. Even a pronouncement of “This was a great day”.

But its lurking, hiding in the dark, threatening her, and therefore us. Again…

We can and we will walk through this with her, although none of us feel anything but sorrow tinged with scared.  My heart doesn’t feel strong enough to bear this again.

But, when I think about scary tomorrows, I remember God’s faithful yesterdays. The reality of fear seems best sifted through the screen of what I know for sure.  If I accept that God is good, then I will accept that good may not look good.  That my view is partial.

That Anguish will always produce.

I just thought…

it would be easier. His loss wasn’t something I fully reckoned with.  There was’nt any posturing.  I think I might have thought I could graciously ease away from sad.  No such thing.

Sad doesn’t look the same as it did at his funeral. though.  Sad now is wishing I could call him and share something fun, or great, or just a silly moment that I know he would enjoy.  Sad is talking to my uncle, whose wound of losing his baby brother is still so raw.  Sad is going up to the communion table with my mom, who can’t yet bear it to go alone.

And then there is this: I haven’t written in months. Funny how you don’t really realize it, until one day it’s obvious that routines have changed, and that there might be something you are feeling that isn’t on the surface.  That isn’t sad moving graciously away.That’s not wanting to feel it.

So today I am feeling his absence.  The whole world lost him, and only we know it.