Saturday, January 26, 2013

One Step Closer to Letting Go

Today was meet the realtor day....the day we took one step closer to putting my Granny's house on the market.  She was here for five minutes and as I listened to her talk and begin to get details about the house and why it was being sold......I couldn't stay.  I walked to the back of the house, closed the door to "my" room and fought with myself as tears and sobs escaped and I struggled to stuff them back in.  Deep breaths, tissues, shoes on......I had to get some air, had to go for a walk.  My sweet youngest son went with me and as I walked down the drive, I looked over my shoulder at the house, the yard, the trees......and cried.  Once again willing them to stop, his sweet hand found mine and his sweet voice told me, "I'm sorry this makes you so sad, but I understand......I love you".  We walked and walked and walked around this little town, walked until I felt like a grown-up again and could return to the house and act like one.

For the next two hours or so,  I listened to the realtor talking as she walked through the house with my  mama and uncle, commenting on how big it is, on the five bedrooms, what good shape it's in, trying to pry up carpet that needs replacing to see if there's hard wood flooring underneath.  I listened as she said what a good house it is and how great it is that the only things that will need to be done to get it ready to put on the market are cosmetic, painting rooms, replacing light fixtures......I wished she would go.  She couldn't believe how big the rooms are, how "just wonderful" it is, how the timing for putting it on the market is perfect.....blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.....I wish I could move here and make those changes myself and keep this house.  Irrational and unrealistic, maybe.....but I still wish that I could.

I listened as they talked of selling my Granny's things at a yard sale.  A yard sale.......the thought of strangers carelessly sifting through items that mean nothing to them, looking for a cheap bargain & haggling over fifty cents here and a dollar there, makes me want to yell and scream......and cry, yet again.  The items from the kitchen.....they won't know how my Granny used those items, pots and pans and baking love her family.  They won't know how she put that secret extra dose of love....into everything she served.  They won't know that nothing gave her greater joy than to cook and bake for her loved ones, and how much pleasure she got from watching them eat and enjoy the fruits of her labor.  How she would literally beam as she watched plates being cleaned and people going back for seconds, exclaiming how good everything was.  Those baking dishes and other given, from a daughter's cruise or a grandchild's trip to Sea World, and trinkets collected from family trips, will just be a good deal to them, something they picked up for a dollar or two from someone's yard one Saturday.

I listened more as they talked of taking down pictures, removing items that make this house a home, the items that are all pieces of my family's story, that tell the tale of the lives that were lived here, of the people who were loved, of milestones reached and accomplishments achieved, of moments shared and of memories that another family can move into this house that my PawPaw built "from the ground up" as I always hear my mama say, brick by brick.  They won't know how the original family of five lived in a two-bedroom house until my mama was in her teens, how they worked and worked and worked at their restaurant and store and gas station, and worked in other ways as well, to save......until they could build this house.  They won't know that in these rooms, I can still feel the assurance of the unconditional and desperately needed steadfast love that I found here, strong and steady when the world outside was not.  It won't mean as much to them as it does to me......I didn't even realize how much it meant to me until now.  I never knew you could be so attached to a house, but with each step of letting it go, along with saying goodbye to someone who was so precious to me,  it feels like I'm losing a big part of myself, too.

One of Granny's sitters came by and brought a friend with her and they walked through each room, looking around, and I overheard them talking about the furniture, overheard the friend telling my mom that she was interested in some items....what good shape everything is in and what nice things she had.  Much of it is already spoken for.....many items will be going into a house we are currently building and as I listened and inwardly raised my eyebrows, I'm pretty sure I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up and the thought went through my head before I could stop it, "too bad, so sad".  Eloquent and mature, I know.......the thought of others rummaging through the items that made up my Granny's life and the reality of it happening is a hard one and I think I can sympathize well with people who are hoarders right now.

This day tore me up inside and I literally trembled as I struggled to keep it all in,  keep it under control.  The only way I could keep the tears and emotions at bay and keep my composure as the realtor and my mom talked to me here and there, asking me questions, asking my thoughts and input.....was to channel it all and write my way through it.  I sat and typed as it all went on around me, smiling and talking when needed, while everyone thought I was working on something.....never having a clue that behind my calm and quiet demeanor, a torrent of emotions was threatening to erupt.  I thought about how weird I am, having to write to keep those emotions under control, to keep from crying.  The same compulsion to write through my Granny's death and funeral pull at me now.  I told myself I was being stupid and that people have to do this all the time, that I should just get over it and it shouldn't be this hard, shouldn't be making me feel this way.  And I heard the voice of a friend telling me more than once to stop belittling my feelings and struggles.  That it doesn't matter what other people think or have gone through or are going through, that my pain is my pain and that I'm entitled to it and have to let myself deal with it in the ways that I need to.  To stop being so hard on myself.

The only person whom I think could possibly understand what I'm feeling and why lives very far away, our family estranged by hurt and bitterness and unforgiveness.  Relationships broken and severed.......but she would know and she would understand.  I wouldn't have to try to explain anything to her.....I know she would know because this place in the middle of nowhere meant as much to her as it means to me.....she shared that with me recently, wrote nearly the same words to me that I have thought and spoken to a few when trying to shed light on this part of what I'm going through.  I stared at her words in disbelief that, so completely different than me, she was feeling the same feelings and I found it somewhat of a know that maybe I'm justified in the depths of my hurting.  Because I always have a need to justify it in order to allow myself not to feel guily for feeling it.

Two girls, six years apart in birth and light years apart in personality.  Two girls who lived through the same childhood, survived the same dysfunctional family, different in how it affected us, different in how we reacted and responded, different in how our hearts were broken, in the wounds and scars left on our souls.....but forever bonded by blood and the hurt that both share whether different in nature or not.

On this chilly January night in Middle Georgia, as I write to try to settle the onslaught of thoughts that won't quiet down because it seems to does help, enough so that I'm doing it regardless of what people think,  I wonder if it's possible to feel more alone than I do right now and I wonder how many tears a person can cry before they just run out.  Pulling my Granny's blanket up a little higher, I am beyond thankful for the Bible studies done,  for the scriptures and songs that flood my mind in response to each thought and feeling that pierces my heart.....telling me, once again, that even though it feels as if I'm alone....I'm not.

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Have Your Way

I'm sitting here in a house that was my haven, curled up with a blanket that I remember seeing laying on top of my Granny the last time I saw her.  In the dark, alone, and I can't stop crying.  In the living room, looking out the front window, through the sheer curtains, to the moonlit front yard beyond.  Looking at the massive, dark, shape of the magnolia tree....overgrown and luminous in the dark, its presence making all the other trees in the yard look like lightweights in comparison.  Sleep eludes me once again, and worn and weary doesn't even begin to describe me at the moment.  A dream woke me up, like so many times recently, and I can't find my way back to sleep again.  I wish I wasn't alone.....and know I'm not.  I never am......He is here with me, listening and reminding me of scriptures and Truths, but I wish someone, a person, was here with me.  One of the ways He loves us is through His people after all, and I wish someone was with me now, to hold my hand, to pray with just be a comforting presence.  But I'm here in the dark, on a couch I've sat on so many times before, with the shapes and forms of familiar furniture and household things keeping me company, crying tears as quietly as I can.

And thinking, thinking, thinking......thinking through dreams and so many things that crowd and clutter my head and burden my heart.  He hears all my thoughts, because in all that thinking, I'm talking to Him......and I know that He sees each and every tear.  The phrase of Him collecting them all in a bottle keeps going through my head, as that phrase has kept popping up here and there recently, seeing and reading it so many times.

Thinking about all the things I've said to Him the past few months.  Conversations I've had with God, whispered prayers, pleas and cries  that go something like this:

 I don't want his, Lord....please make it stop. Please take it from me. 

  I am here. 

 I know You're here, but I don't want this, Lord. I don't want to feel this way, I don't want to think about this anymore. I want to laugh and giggle and smile and be silly. I want to go and do.....and serve....and be happy. I have so much to be happy about. Please, please take it. 

 I am here. 

 Why aren't you listening??? Please take this....all of it. I don't want it. I don't have time for this, don't have time to feel this way. I have no right to feel this way. Are you even listening??? 

 I am here. Right here, with you. 

You're not listening.  Why aren't you listening???  I am no good to You this way.  No good to my family.  No good to my friends.  What is the point of this??  Please, please, please......take it.

I am here.  I am listening.  I have not left you.

Sigh.  I don't know what to do, Lord.  I don't know why You're not taking it.  What am I doing wrong?  I can't keep feeling this way, can't keep going with all of this inside of me.

You don't have to.

Don't You understand how much this hurts??  That I can't even speak the words, that I can't even find them when people ask me what's wrong?? I keep trying to give it to You.  I can barely even pray.  I pray the same thing over and over and over again......when I can even manage to get the words out.  WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO???  

Write.  I didn't show you how to do it for nothing.  

I have.  I have journaled.  Or I have tried to.  I have tried to write, tried to channel my thoughts and feelings, tried to do something with it.

Privately.  Who told you to make it private?

Ummmmmm, NO.  That's not what I put so much work into my blog for.  NO.  No one wants to hear my story or listen to me whine.  NO.

I've never told my story before......only to a select few.  A very select few.  I don't like to go there, don't like to go back.  Going back is uncomfortable.  It hurts.  I can tell you about when I was saved.  I can tell you details about my life after my salvation.  But I don't go back.  I've never seen the point, never been willing to go there........and dread and avoid situations in Christian circles where they want you to tell your testimony.  I begin with my salvation and move forward.....and people look at me like, that's it??  Yes.....that's it.  Nothing here to tell.  Nothing exciting or dramatic in comparison to some.  Move on now.  It's always made me so very uncomfortable.  I just don't go there.  I change the subject.  Or find something to laugh at.  Or ask someone a question that shifts the focus off of me and gets them talking about something else.  Anything else.  I hate to have the focus on me.

Although I'm trying with all my might, I'm not being very successful at talking Him into taking this from me, at pushing, pushing, pushing it away.  At least one thing is clear.  There's something I'm supposed to do with it.  Because if He has me here in this place, for this long, and He won't take it from me, there must be a reason. A reason and a purpose and an outcome I can't see.

Last year was the worst year I can remember having and I can't have another year like that one.   I don't want to be here, but I am......and it hurts in way, it hurts so deeply, that I don't know if I could ever find the adequate words to describe it. But I have faith that He will bring me through it, that He will help me find my place of rest.....and just like so many times before.....just like when I look back on those memories I push away because they hurt too much and yet can see through the pain how He worked it all out for good.....I know that He will work this for good, too.

And if I have to be here despite my best efforts not to be, then I want Him to use it. Even if it means saying yes and exposing more of myself than I am comfortable with in a way I've fought so long and hard not to.

Maybe, like me, you don't know exactly how you got where you are.  Maybe life was already making you a little weary and the weariness of life and current day worries and stresses collided with events that shook your world during one summer in a way that left you reeling......that collision bringing with it memories that assaulted you with a breathtaking, gut-wrenching pain you didn't know existed.  Memories that caused feelings to surface that you thought had long ago been settled....bringing forth emotions that you didn't even know were there within you, just waiting to be excavated and brought to the surface.  And well-meaning people look at you curiously and ask what's wrong & those who know a little tell you not to lose your faith and to pray and to give it to the Lord......and you look at them and tell them you'll be fine, that you're just going through a stressful time.  You smile and say "thank you" and you want to get them to see that you haven't lost your faith at all.  That you have been praying.  Not the long, intense, deep and eloquent prayers that used to come easily, but the broken, fragmented cries of the heart, the constant wonderings and ponderings and pleas, the praying you pray from your soul all day long without ceasing, broken fragments and uneloquent at times, but constant all the same.  You want them to understand that you haven't lost your faith......that it is clinging to your faith that is all that is getting you through.  Maybe you've started wondering if something is wrong with you, if you've done something wrong and there's something you need to make right with the Lord and then it will all go away.  And you search your heart, each and every part, looking for what it could be.....and you feel so very confused and alone.  Maybe you need to know that you're not alone, that you're not the only one who has ever felt this way......and that there's nothing wrong with your faith.  That you can have a rock-solid, unwavering faith and still feel the way you do.....but it's just what you're walking through.  And what you're walking through is not who you are.  I have a precious friend that has reminded me of that more than once.  (Thank you).

Maybe it's time for me to stop fighting, stop arguing and reasoning with the Lord and pushing it all away when He's obviously not wanting me to yet. Maybe it's time to allow myself the right to feel the pain that I feel and stop telling myself I don't have a right to it  because my story is not as dramatic and traumatic as some.  To allow myself the right to cry and feel it and stop using my genuine and overwhelming thankfulness for what He has done for me, for what could have been but wasn't because He spared me, as justification for my conviction that I don't have a right to feel this way, don't have a right to the level of hurt that I feel.  Maybe it's time for me to tell my story in the way that I know write....because pushing it away isn't working very well and I've got to do something with these thoughts and feelings that plague me.

Maybe, just maybe, there's healing in the telling, and the hope of healing is enough to make me surrender. I don't understand, but......

 I'm ready to let Him have His way.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Worn, Weary....and in Need of Rest

I'm so very tired, and yet I'm awake. I sleepwalk through most days, sure that I'll collapse into bed each night and sleep blissful, the whole night long.

I can't remember the last time I actually did that. Why do the thoughts & memories & hurts that I keep giving to the Lord continue to come back to haunt me? This is the question I'm asking of Him tonight as I lay awake, tossing this way and that, trying to push the thoughts from my mind until I can't take it anymore.....and I find myself here. I had let this go.....had let my domain renewal lapse, determining to let this part of me that can put the things I'm thinking and feeling into written words when I can't find the adequate words to speak....go. I had determined I was done here. No words left. Or maybe, in the middle of the night when I can't sleep yet again, there are some left after all.

I've asked the same question so many times over the past year....."Why do the thoughts & memories & hurts that I keep giving to You continue to come back to haunt me?"  I ask again and again, I give it all to Him again and again.....and find it right back in my lap before I know what has hit me or what I have done to put it back there. I just want to REST.  Sweet, peaceful, contented......Rest. I pray for Rest for my body.....and soul, the kind of rest that I haven't had in what seems like such a very long time. I beg for it desperately and can't seem to find it, and wonder, wonder, wonder....what I'm doing wrong.

I honestly don't know.

I know that I'm tired.  Worn out.  And I'm tired of being tired and word out. There's a big part of me that's broken.  And I desperately need Him to fix it.  Desperate enough to post this post, or maybe just so tired in the middle of the night that I'm delirious & I've lost good judgement and common sense.  Desperate enough to be blatantly transparent and to ask for prayer.   I'll probably regret it in the morning. ;)

I'm leaving tomorrow (or actually, today)  to take a weekend trip that I'm dreading so completely. I don't want to go. I have to be strong and do the right thing and I have to go, but I feel so weary. Never in my life have I felt such weariness and after an emotional week, I'm afraid I can't handle it.  I'm afraid I can't be strong enough and hold back the tears and emotions for those I want to be strong for.

I know His peace and the Rest I pray for will come in His perfect timing.

Please, Lord, let it be soon.  I'm ready.

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