Friday, July 22, 2011

My Racing Subconscious Mind

I had to chuckle, because the first sentence I wrote for this blog was, "My mind is insane." That's how I feel sometimes, though. I guess I should phrase it as, "My thoughts are insane." I hate how my mind plays tricks on me, too, especially in my sleep. My biggest fears, saddest moments, total heartbreak, and darkest sides of me, come out and back to me as I dream.
For years now I have suffered from night sweats. Not a light "glow" or "dampness". I'm talking an all out, I need a shower and to change the sheets, kind of sweat. I've been to almost every doctor there is, tried different medications and homeopathic remedies, and a very expensive and bad purchase of sheets that were supposed to work wonders. Dan used to walk into the bedroom as I was changing the sheets and say, "oh great, it's asylum night." I would laugh and roll my eyes even though I did feel bad. These things were bright white and as comfortable as cardboard.
Recently, I have noticed that my worst sweats come with my most intense dreams. Two weeks ago I had a terrible dream about Dan. It was so bad, I don't even want to write about it. I just spent ten minutes explaining it, and then deleted every line. It hurt to even reread. I woke from this dream in a pool. It took minutes to put together the last year and a half of my life and realize that what just happened was a dream. I was sad, then so very angry.
After my anger subsided, a difficult week followed. As, Paul Young explains so eloquently in, "The Shack", The Great Sadness took over. Laughing was a chore, and I felt bad for everyone around me, because I just wasn't myself. I lost sleep and I think it was in some way because I didn't want to dream anymore. A complete feeling of "poor pitiful me" consumed me. I hate feeling sorry for myself, and I couldn't help it, so it made it even worse! I pride myself on being the "glass half full" girl and always biting the bullet, cowboying up, and smiling through it. I get even harder on myself when I have difficulty doing that.
Little things that reminded me of Dan kept popping up throughout the week. Maybe they were signs, but they made me mad. I wanted to talk to him, really, I needed him to talk back.
Everyone always called Dan for advice. Not only was he incredibly smart, he was also an amazing friend. I hope he knows that I never took that for granted. I hope I told him enough.
I go back and forth with finding it hard and easy to have conversations with God. Right now, it's hard for me. I'm not sure why I feel like if I say the wrong thing, I might be punished. Someone else I dearly love might leave my life. I know that's not how it works, so why I try and go about my day incognito toward the Lord, is a mystery to me. I know He is the reason that "The Great Sadness" doesn't last nearly as long anymore. I hope He also understands my confusion. I lay in bed, begin to pray, then my mind goes in a million directions. I forget I was praying and eventually go to sleep.
Today, I want to hug everyone I love. Even though that isn't possible, and my arms can't reach that far; I'm telling you now. Today, I am back to half full, and smiles. Today is another day on the winding road and even though it's 110 degrees, the birds are signing and my cheering section in the clouds can be heard loud and clear.
Everyone who is reading this, I love you, and love the way you have individually touched my life. Thank you. Thanks for staying on this ride with me, even though it's only been bumpy!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Shack

I love to read. I like to read mystery, fantasy, suspense, love, comedy, and even a romance novel now and then. After Dan died, I stopped doing many of the things I loved. I stopped watching football for a while, I stopped listening to music, I stopped watching any shows that we loved together. I did not, however, stop reading. During that "first year" without him, I actively sought knowledge about grief. Really what I was doing was assuring myself that other people had endured this pain, and survived. I read many books like, "I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye", "A Grief Observed", "Widows Wear Stillettos", "The Tender Scar", "Waking up Alone", and "Getting to the Other Side of Grief"; to name a few. Most of the books I read, made me feel stronger, but at times, I read words that would have been discouraging to even non-widows. I swore to never read another Nicholas Sparks novel, or Jodi Picoult, because I didn't need their reasons and words to make me cry, I had my own.
I'm slowly easing back into the reading scene of non-grief books, (currently infatuated with C.J. Box's novels that include the character Joe Pickett.) Before I began the Joe Pickett series, I read a book lent to me by my mom. She didn't really give me any background on the book except that it was a Must Read. I would like to say that my mom had no idea how right she was, but something tells me, yes, in fact she knew exactly what she was handing me as she carelessly put it in my purse one day after a visit.
I took "The Shack" by WM. Paul Young out of my purse when I got home. I read the book jacket, and thought, "Wow, Mom....Do you want me to kill myself?" It sounded depressing, and not at all like the uplifting words I needed to read.
I layed the book on my nightstand amidst the stacks of other to-read books. I don't remember how or why it popped out at me recently, but it did, and I am better because of it. I would love to tell you all about this book, and give my opinions, my views, thoughts, feelings, but I really want you to read it for yourself. I am going to write this:
For about a year and a half (since Dan's passing) there has been hate brewing inside of me. Hate for certain people who care more about themselves than the memory and beautiful life lived by my husband. Hate of being wronged, hate for lies told, and promises broken. Hate for harsh words, and stabs to the back and heart. My favorite phrase to those I spoke about this with was, "At least I'm not the one that has to judge them." I smiled believing and playing like a movie what their judgement would look like. Hoping it would be the hand of God smacking them all down into eternal hell, which is what I feel they have done to me. Would you believe me if I told you this book has turned my hate? Don't get me wrong, you are not going to see me embracing any of these people in a heartfelt hug, or let alone making eye contact, however I do not hate.
What I walked away with from this book is that God loves all his children. Even the ones that make our stomach turn in disguist, he loves them as much as he loves the ones that dedicate their lives to being good. Just like any parent loves their doctor or lawyer daughter as much as they love their addicted/jailed son.
I don't believe that I have to love these people as God loves them, but I do need to forgive them. Not for their benefit, but for mine. I need to release the hate that bonds me to them, and with that, they will forver be let go.
As young girls our mother told my sister and I, "Never say hate." "You can say, dislike, but hate is ugly." And just like the many lessons, she taught me so diligently throughout my life...
She knew exactly what she was doing when she slipped THE SHACK into my purse.