Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Years's Day

This holiday has always been anti-climactic for me.  It is just another day, except for the change in  my TV viewing schedule.  I never make resolutions as winter is the worst time for me, and holidays are also not a good time for me to make decisions.  Here, my schedule is messed up and I feel all out of sorts, not having a plan every day.  Needless to say, I am not a fly-by-night person.  

This was a most difficult year so far for me.  The worst was my dad falling.  It took 6 months of 3 weeks of traction, major surgery, 1 week in hospital, and a month in various nursing homes.  My dad is OK now, but he still uses his cane, even though he is not supposed to.  I think he is scared he will fall again.  I don't blame him.  I would be scared of that too.  I think it was the most horrible time in his life too.

I also had 6 months of pain in my arm and hand.  I have had 4 sessions of trigger point dry needling, which hurt like hell, the worst pain I have ever experienced.  But it helped.  But the pain is coming back, I hope not for good.  I guess we will just have to see.  

I still miss my cat, Chocolate.  It has gotten easier though, and not so painful.  This Christmas was a lot easier.  But I fear trying to adopt another pet.  I am such a light sleeper, but if I don't get enough sleep, I am depressed and anxious.  

I am also still going to school for ABE/ESL certification.  I hope to have enough credits in May to sub.  Although I fear leaving my volunteering will be hard.  I will so miss the staff and especially the students.  I have come to care for them and enjoy helping them.  But, I am tired of being unemployed.  They say it doesn't define me, but I can't help feeling like a loser being unemployed and unpublished.

I also have no new relationships in my life.  Just my family, my KFS group, and 2 childhood friends.  But they are busy and have their own lives, and I understand that.  We have gone our different ways.  I was too dependent, as I don't know how to make or keep friends.  Besides, I have my family, and they keep me busy.

But sometimes when I am in the throes of my period, I feel lonely and alone, and wish I had someone to share my life with.  I wish I had someone who believed I was beautiful, and worth it.  Someone who doesn't try to change me but accepts me as I am, and appreciate those parts of me.  I don't know why it's so hard.  I just can't seem to attract a mate.  It's like I have the plague.  I don't just look and sound weird, but I also struggle with anxiety and depression, which men don't seem to want to deal with.  I don't either, but I have it so I have to.  I have both disability and mental illness.  And I have to deal with it.  And sometimes it can be exhausting.  Even so, I still want a "normal" life, and when I can't seem to attain it, when I fail, I just get more and more discouraged.

I usually don't talk about all this much.  It makes people uncomfortable, and I don't want to upset them.  I don't expect people to fix it, I know they can't.  I just want people to hear it, and realize that this is my reality.  This is what I have to live with.

So no, I make no resolutions.  I know I have no control over my life.  I can't make a man like me, I can't straighten my spine, fix my nose, fix my brain, and fix my upper body.  I can't make people hire me, and I can't make people like me.  I am what I am and I am certainly not God.  Sometimes I think I would like to be, but still, people wouldn't like me when they don't get their way.  Because we just don't sometimes.  Because that is life.  

So no, I don't like New Year's Day.  It is an end to that magical season of Christmas, and a reminder of my futile attempts at trying to be "normal."  

I hope next week is a more cheerful topic.  Maybe I am this way because I am in PMS.  What stupid things these hormones.  Especially as I don't plan on getting pregnant!  The hormones mess me up!  How useless!  

I hope I don't upset my family the most.  Sometimes I think it is worse on the parents than their children, as the parents can't fix it.  They want to be strong and they hope for everything for their children, but sometimes it is not to be.  And they have to accept that, like I do, even though they, nor I, want to.  I guess we just have to try to see the good in things.  And appreciate life as it is.  For I am rather spoiled, with a great family, my own home, education, travels, pets, and health, such as it is.  I am not a woman in a third world country, suffering so horribly as they do, with no rights, no education, and no hope.  

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Advent: Joy

I assume this final week is about joy.  I follow 3 other bloggers who also are writers, and seeing their success makes me sad and feeling jealous, I have to admit.  I was not successful in my 10-year foray into this most murky of professions.  I get tired of trying and failing, trying and failing, and trying and failing in all aspects of my life: in relationships and career.

I was feeling great until I read my fellow bloggers' posts for this week.  I know I shouldn't feel this way.  I should feel thankful for what I have.  But then again, there is that word, "should," which should (!) not be part of my vocabulary, coming from such a legalistic background!  

Maybe I am just tired.  Maybe I am just out of sorts because my schedule is different these 2 weeks.  Being out of my routine, throws me off.  Relationships continue to baffle and repulse me (quote from Sheldon Cooper from "Big Bang Theory!")  Actually, they don't repulse me.  I just can't seem to keep them.  I seek them out but find no one, or only the ones that eventually hurt me.  But I guess, that is typical, people are not perfect, I hurt, as others hurt.  We all hurt each other, especially the ones we love.

I guess I compare my life to movies or TV shows, even though they are terribly unrealistic.  I mean, who looks that good all the time?  You never see them on the toilet.  Do fictional characters never go potty?  I know this is weird.  Maybe I spend too much time thinking.  

I live a life of fear.  I fear I will fail in my latest career venture.  I fear I will forever be single and lonely.  I fear I will never be able to tolerate another pet.  Change is just so hard.  I get used to things, and change throws me off and I feel on the edge of a precipice.

But usually, usually, I am happy,  Especially now as I love Christmas, the pain of losing Chocolate is dimming, my dad is healed, my arm is healed.

I live in the greatest country on earth.  I like myself, the way I look, that I am smart, and that I can write, even if few others think so.  I love that I am a good teacher.  I love helping immigrants learn to speak our complicated language.  

I love to read and am thankful I can read.  I love the internet, TV, music, and movies.  I love animals, wild and domestic.  I love art and history.

I think I am an interesting, smart, and funny person.  It really puzzles me why I can't seem to attract a mate.  I am not a typical woman though.  Maybe that turns people off.  I guess it is a miracle that my parents met each other.  Neither of them are typical, yet they met, fell in love, and have been married 55 years.

I guess I just wish I could have gone further in my writing.  I tried so hard.  It is hard to see what you work so hard for fail so miserably.  

But as they say, I have to brush myself off and get back on the horse.  I have to keep trying to do something with my life.  I just am tired of failing.

Well, I guess this post isn't much about joy!  Especially when a neighbor's dog keeps barking in the hallway driving me nuts.  But I guess the point of joy is finding the good even when life sucks.  Because I do have a family, a home, an education, memories, and freedom.  

I am safe and healthy.  And most of all, I am saved by the grace of God, through Jesus Christ.  Even in the midst of my failure, God still loves me.  He still see the beauty in me, because He created me.  And everything I love is because of Him.  I wouldn't be here without Him.  He orchestrated my life so that I could be here, at this time, in this place.  

I think most of us lead pretty ordinary lives.  Most of us aren't celebrities.  Most of us are struggling with something, something bigger than us.  We go through each day just trying to figure out why we are here in the first place.  

I think every life has a story, every life has a purpose, a meaning.  It may look boring or ordinary to others.  But it is not to God.  Life is a gift. I don't want to waste it feeling sorry for myself, feeling things that waste my time and energy.

I just want to enjoy it.  That's what Joy is about.  Living life as a gift from God.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Advent: Love

This week I assume is love.  Wow, that is a loaded word if there ever is one.  I feel a certain lack of love these days for those who hate me just because the color of my skin.  Yes, I mean white.  I have been called a racist, and that is the most painful thing I had been called, because it was from an accuser who didn't know me, and because if I was racist, why would I take a job helping children of all races to get the help they needed?

It is also hard to love the Islamic extremists, who hate me for many reasons: being a woman, American, Christian, disabled, etc., etc., etc.  The plight of the persecution of Muslims around the world is so advertised, but not the plight of my fellow Christians around the world who are killed simply for being a Christian.

I have to remember that some people grow up in a world full of hate.  There is no respect for love, no respect for life, and no respect for death.  They think in the name of Allah it is right to kill all the infidels.  People can pontificate all they want about why they kill, but it boils down to this: theirs is a life of hate and death.

Why else would a couple abandon their own baby, as the San Bernardino terrorists?  If they loved that baby, and if that baby's life mattered to them, they would not abandon him/her.  But their hatred for us and commitment to Allah, superseded that.

It's interesting to note the difference between Christian and Islamic martyrs.  Christian martyrs are killed by others because of their refusal to turn their backs on God.  They don't kill themselves or anyone else.  Islamic martyrs kill themselves and others, in the belief that they are honoring Allah.  All they are honoring is the forces of evil.  God knows what they are doing, and they will suffer the consequences of their evil acts.  They have not won, they will never win.

Why?  Because God has won!  He won by showing His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  For God so loved that world that He gave His only begotten Son for us, so that, in Him, that we might be saved.   For those who believe in Him, He gave the right to be called children of God.

So even though I can't love my enemies in my own power, I can through Him.  And it is not a love that excuses what they do, or allows them to get away with it.  It is a love that understands that they know not what they do, like when Jesus was crucified, He asked God to forgive those who killed Him, for they knew not what they did.

I, for one, am glad that God is love.  Life is so full of hatred and death that without God's love, it would be hell on earth.  I shudder at the thought.  

So we celebrate Christmas because God demonstrated His love for us through the birth of His Son.  He spoke to the shepherds, He spoke to the Magi.  For Jesus is not just for some people, He is for all people!  

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Advent: Peace

I assume this week is peace.   I could be wrong, since I don't know much about these church rituals.  But it doesn't matter, as peace is something we search for all our lives, and something that we always need.

I see very little peace these days, here and abroad.  I see such deep divisions in religious and political circles.  We become more divided the more we argue, the more we try to prove our point.  We forget that classic quote from To Kill a Mockingbird:  "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” 

Why can't we do this?  We are so quick to judge the opposite side, thinking it is OK, while thinking it is not OK to judge our own side.  

I get so tired of the ranting  and raving, the emotionalism behind such judgement,when people suspend all logic.  Whenever the screaming and judgement start, that is where emotions take over, and all rationality is lost.

I also get tired of the PC police.  I get tired of the feeling that if I am wronged, it is OK to take my vengeance.  If that was OK, I would have a long line of bloody victims.  I get tired of people feeling like they  are owed.  I thought that way too, for a long time.  Until I accepted the fact that I have to live with the cards I am dealt, and do what I can with them.  No one owes me.  

We want peace in the Middle East.  That is a lofty goal that I don't think will ever be fulfilled in this world.  But we can't even begin to create a peace there if we can't even create it here: in our homes, in our community, in our country.  

So that is why Jesus came.  To bring peace between God and man.  During that time that He came on earth as a baby, it was the Pax Romana, peace in Rome.  That was a joke.  "Peace" was only maintained through fear and punishment.  God's peace came through love and salvation.  In fact, Jesus means, "God saves."  

That is why when an angel appeared before someone, they first said, "Fear not."  It would be scary seeing an angel.  But the angels were messengers of peace, not fear.  Salvation, not punishment.

Let's start where we are. right here, right now.  I know I am as guilty as the next man to bring war instead of peace, but I don't like myself when I do that.  And I feel  at war with myself when I do that.  I want my words and actions to bring peace.  Oh, Lord, help me to do that.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Advent: Hope

This week is the start of Advent, a time of waiting for something, or the beginning of something.  And this week the theme of Advent is hope.

Sometimes, hope can be a dangerous thing.  We can hope in people or things that may disappoint us, or never come to fruition.  That can create a sense of bitterness, a sense of entitlement, woe is me.

I have tasted this bitterness many times.  I hoped for marriage, children, career, normalcy.  None came to fruition.  

But sometimes, if we let it, our perspective can change.  We can see that sometimes, we have what we need, and we can want what we have.  

When I was in college, I had my group of friends, when I wasn't close with my family.  Now that I am older and out of college and on my own, I have my family again.  I want to hold them tight and never let go.

I may not have my group of friends in college anymore, as we have all gone our own ways.  But I do have my family.  Not only that, I have my church.  For the last year of college, I wasn't in Campus Crusade, I didn't go to church. But now I do.

See, God always provides.  What I lack in one area, I have in another.  Although I am not married and have no children, I am now glad of that!  

Although I have no career at this point, and may never again, I did at one time, and I have my parents who always provide.

Although I lost my beloved cat, I still have my parent's dog, Minnie.  And it is nice actually to be able to enjoy her company without having to be with her 24/7.  I love her, but she is so needy, and I am so responsive to her needs and wants that it is difficult for me to say no!

Today was yet another mass shooting.  They have almost become commonplace.  But this one was different as it was in a center for people with developmental disabilities.  If that is the case. mass shooters have hit a new low.  Shooting up schools is bad enough, here are people, from children to adults, who will never able to fully comprehend what happened, and never understand why.  I don't even understand why.  

I see people in our country who keep demanding this or that, thinking they are entitled to these things.  I used to feel entitled.  But when I grew up I realized I had my hope centered on the wrong things.

Life is hard.  Sometimes it sucks, and you despair of ever getting through whatever troubles you.  All I know is I think that is why our week's theme is hope.  Jesus came at a time where there was no hope.  Not just in the life to come, but in the here and now.  For the Jews, they had no hope.  From time to time there would be an uprising and people would be killed.  But then that would be quashed and the vicious cycle of despair would start all over again.

Jesus changed all that.  He came to feel all the things we feel, yet never did he give up or give in.  This is not to make us feel bad, for He knew that sometimes we would give up or give in.  We're human.  But He came to give us hope.  That this isn't the end.  That God is there and He knows, and He is in control.  He created beauty in the world to encourage us.  He knows what we need.   

So when I feel discouraged, I hope to remember that He is my only hope.  He is perfect, forever, all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-present.  He is hope.