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Tag: loss

True gratitude includes being thankful for the stuff that sucks too.

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We all know the things we are supposed to be thankful for. We celebrate them as often as we can- having food, shelter, family, love, good health etc. That’s the easy part.

True gratitude and insight, I believe, comes from being thankful for all the things that suck too. Without the dark there is no light, so to speak. After a three year stretch of navigating rough seas, I am trying to find light in the darkness, and understand how to be grateful for the things that haven’t been easy.

Today, I am thankful for suffering multiple losses in a short period of time. The grief was a testament to the fact that I am a well loved human. I had grief to wade through because I knew love. I knew companionship and support and joy through others, both human and animal. I loved sincerely. I am grateful that even though the loss is painful, it is there to remind me of love, and not everyone has that.

I am thankful for the lessons that the stress and uncertainty of this pandemic has offered. It showed me that we are capable of doing hard things together for the sake of others. I am grateful for the people who disappointed me during all of this, because it helped me reevaluate relationships that were draining me and helped me to better appreciate the ones that filled me up. It allowed me to learn how to say no. It gave me strength to stand up for the things that I think are important to stand for, and the tenacity to see them through.

I am thankful for pants that are too tight, or feeling guilty for not exercising enough because it means that I always have enough to eat. It means that my children don’t know what it is to be hungry. It means that my dogs eat better than some humans.

I am thankful for balances on credit cards and lines of credit and sometimes having to wait until next payday to make a purchase, because it means that I have appreciation for the things we have. It means that I understand the value of hard work and the value of privileges we enjoy. It means that I value the time of others, and don’t take them for granted. I am thankful for the lesson it teaches my children of having to work for what you have instead of expecting it to be handed to you.

I am thankful for illness and injury because it gives me empathy for others who are suffering.

I am thankful for mistakes because without them we would never learn anything new. I am thankful for doing it wrong a million times before getting it right because it teaches us perseverance and hope and determination.

Today, I want to be thankful for the things we usually wouldn’t want to acknowledge, because it’s been a rough few years, and I think the next few are likely to be challenging, and finding the calm among the storms fills me with hope.

Happy Thanksgiving.

So Me And God Are Fighting, And I’m Not Sure He Gives A Shit

I have spent the past few weeks watching friends and family suffer unimaginable losses and changes to their lives.  Loss of loved ones, loss of independence, loss of the life they knew.  Just, loss.

And although the grief of my friends and family is not my grief to own or process, I have to say that when you watch so many bad things happen to good people, it makes you question things that you’ve believed all your life.

I gotta say, Bitches, that my faith is taking a real beating lately.  I am super pissed at God right now and He knows it.  He just doesn’t seem to care. I mean, I’m sure people question Him and get angry at Him all the time, so why would I be a special case that he personally responds to?

And yes, I know that God isn’t really gonna come down and do the burning bush thing or flash flood all the assholes in the world.  He’s already been there, done that and we’re still a bunch of pricks down here for the most part.  I guess that’s where I feel ripped off.  Can’t He just make the bad shit happen to people who are the dicks?  Can’t He let the horribly painful and undignified things that happen to genuinely good people skip them and land on someone who deserves it? Can’t he let someone die without suffering first?

Where are you???  Why aren’t you helping us???  Remember that Footprints poem about you carrying us?  Some of us could use a lift right about now.

And then it dawned on me yesterday that maybe it doesn’t work that way.  Anger blurs our vision and skews our perception a little.

Yesterday I watched a community of friends come together once again to support one another and take on a piece of each others grief. I watched us love one another and provide comfort and laughter in a real moment of shitty darkness. I have seen them do this so many times over the years.  No judgements, no bullshit.  Just raw true friendship and community. And then I remembered what the priest said about being the arms and legs of Christ.   We are God. 

And I guess we have to just be each others people.  I still don’t understand why such pain has to be endured to begin with, but I am lucky to have the community I do.  I am lucky to have my people.

And despite feeling angry toward God for not stepping in at the moments I feel He should have, at the very least I know that when something bad inevitably happens to me, I will not be alone.  Because I have an army of friends so strong and so awesome that nobody will let me fall ever.  And that is comforting.  And maybe that’s the point.

God isn’t hiding in a bush or in the sky or behind the altar.  Those things are just symbols. He actually lives in my people.

Find your village, Bitches.  It takes the edge off.

 

 

My Everything

Just hours after birth.  Look at those cheeks!

Just hours after birth. Look at those cheeks!

Today marks three years since my everything was delivered to me in the form of a 7 pound, 14 ounce little spitfire.

I say my everything because that’s what she is.  All the other things that used to feel so important suddenly became trivial.   Everything else took a backseat.  I took a back seat.  Life stood still in that moment as I gazed at my beautiful first born child, and I changed.

I was a mother.

Today we celebrate my Twee Destroyer’s third birthday.  She has given us so much, just by being a normal tiny person.

She makes life fun.

She makes life better.

She has a way of endearing herself to everyone she meets with innocent honesty and little girl affection.  And those giant, round, Cindy Lou Who eyes.

And in this year where many former colleagues and acquaintances have suffered life shattering losses, I am grateful.

Grateful that I have got to hold her for every day in these past three years.  Grateful that I get to complain about temper tantrums and peed pants and no sleep.

I am grateful that three years ago today, I was sent the most perfect little cherub.

So today, we will shower her with presents and balloons and parties and whatever she wants to do.  Because I can never repay her for all the things she’s done to me and for me.  I could try, but it will never be enough.

Bitches, I love the fuck out of that little girl. (Pardon the True Blood reference).  but I really have no better way to say it.  I love her so, so, much it almost hurts sometimes.

Three years with my everything.  Happy Birthday.

And The Wolf Turned Into A Butterfly

funlava.com

funlava.com

When I was a teenager, I worked at a summer camp called Anglican Island.  It was some of the greatest summers of my life.  Getting paid to live away from home, at a camp and resort on Lake of The Woods.  On top of all that, I made some of the best friends I have ever had.  Most of us are still in touch one way or another to this day.  Some of us are very close.  But all of us, I think, would be there for one another in the blink of an eye when needed.

These people that came into my life in the summer of 1994 are part of a community that expanded into spiritual weekends held during the winter months, church services, dances, and regular social activities.  It wasn’t culty.  It wasn’t weird.  It was a community full of love and fun and shared faith.  And we all grew up together, and supported each other through the hard times and the easy ones.

At the center of this community was a man named Jim Wolf.  He was a large, burly man with a beard and a slightly bent over walk.  From afar he looked like any regular person.  Up close, he had the kindest, warmest eyes I have ever known.  Despite his size, his demeanor was gentle, and full of understanding.  He could listen and interact with a bunch of teenagers and twenty somethings and never get bored.  He never made you feel like your problem was too small to be heard.  He was full of love, and made you feel so.

I swear, when Jesus said we should be more like Him, Jim Wolf listened.  He walked the walk and talked the talk.  He suffered his own personal tragedies, and it never changed him from what we all knew him to be.

I think its amazing when any adult is able to positively impact the lives of so many young people, but even more so when it is a priest.  What group of teenagers wants to hang out with a middle aged priest?

We did.  He became a significant adult in our lives that we could confide in.  That we could turn to without ever feeling judged.  And who always had an anecdote or piece of advice that made sense to us.  We loved him like a parent.

And now, two days after this world has lost a soul that truly made it a better place, I find myself deeply sad and reminiscent of the time I spent with him in my life.  I find myself grateful to have known him.  And regretful to not have seen him for many years.

Our world was better with you in it.  You will be deeply missed, Jim.  Our hearts are heavy today, but yours is light.  You finally are reaping the rewards of all the good you have done for so many. You used to talk about metanoia.  How we needed to change into (metaphorical) butterflies for our faith to be complete . You helped us change for the better.

Your metanoia is complete….so fly butterfly, fly.

Somebody Lost Their Child Today

I’m sure there are going to be a lot of people writing and sharing their thoughts on the Boston Marathon bombing yesterday.  How could we not all be thinking about it?  The scenes shown on the news and on the internet are pretty graphic, but even so I suspect we are only seeing the tip of the gory iceberg.

I don’t have any conspiracy theories or maniacal thoughts about what I would do to the people responsible, once found.  The police and FBI will do their jobs and find out what happened, I’m sure.

I think we get desensitized to events like these when we see the daily bombings in the middle east.  The violence an ocean away makes it feel like it doesn’t really happen.  There is no connection to the people on the screen.  And to be honest, I’ve chosen to just change the channel, because I hate to watch things that I don’t have the power to impact. But when you see it here, on the very continent we live on, it makes it real.  This happened to my American brothers and sisters, and it feels like it happened to me.

So I started thinking about loss.  True loss.  The kind that you can never get back, the kind that can’t be undone.  Death.  Innocence. Sight, maybe.  Hearing, maybe.  Security.

Yesterday, we had a snowstorm here.   A pretty mild one, but annoying in the middle of April.  And while we were all busy bitching about the weather, somebody lost their child.  Somebody lost their spouse, parent, sibling, or friend.  Somebody lost their leg.

Yesterday, while we were busy having the Monday blues, somebody lost their child.

And we will get another Monday next week.  And we will likely complain about it, and wish it were Friday.  And that child will still be gone, and that parent will have a real reason to hate Mondays.  And that parent won’t notice or care to complain about Monday or anything else.  Because they lost their child, and they would rather take all of our complaints at once and deal with them than be left with this.

This loss.  This grief.  This pain.

And I keep thinking to myself, there are parents who lose their children every day in those countries an ocean apart.  Every day is a Boston Marathon bombing for them.

How can this be what humans have come to?  Or have we always been this way?  Only now we have bigger guns and more efficient ways to hurt one another.  And that’s our goal, isn’t it?  To make each other hurt and suffer unimaginable losses.

And yet in the aftermath, and during the crisis, we somehow manage to help each other no matter what the race, or religous belief, or sexual orientation.  We push aside our stupid inconsequential differences and help one another.  Because loss is universal.  We can all identify with that pain.

So let me say this to you.  When we are busy complaining about things that are inconvenient, or hating someone because they look different or act different or believe different than we do, turn on the news.

Somebody lost their child today.  And yesterday, and tomorrow.

Find your grief and your anger and use it to help and love each other as if ever day were a crisis day.

Because you know what?  This is bullshit.   Our behaviour is bullshit.  It’s time to stop, and love, and end this.

Because one day you could be the one who lost their child.

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