Awkward Grief

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that I feel awkward most all of the time. So why would my grief be any different?

It’s an odd and clumsy thing to grieve over an ex-husband. We were high school sweethearts, married, had four children, and divorced. Grieving the loss of a relationship is often compared to death. I can see the comparison, but it is different. I liked that my ex-husband was alive on this planet. I liked that he and his wife were a part of my children’s life. I celebrated his success at work. And I often turned over to God our failure to remain married. There is shame in failure. Deep shame. But there is grace available, and I claim every drop.

My now-husband understands the grief of losing a former spouse. He also grants me grace to grieve. I had asked him once what I would feel if my ex-husband didn’t survive his cancer. He said you can’t know until it happens. He was right.

Something else I’ve noticed. When I am sad about one thing, I am sad about everything – every broken thing. Tears are always one thought or song away. And not only for my broken things but other peoples’ broken things. Friends who have lost loved ones, problems many of us share, the difficulties of life. I can’t tell you how sad I am at this moment for not buying lunch for that homeless kid I saw the other day at a fast food restaurant. At the moment I was annoyed that he was taking up a seat and we had to wait. Oh, I wish I could go back in time and buy him lunch.

Sometimes I feel like my heart has been beaten with a tenderizing mallet.

Anyway, awkwardly I march on, helped and held up by your prayers for me and my family (thank you). I want to be present. I want to feel what I feel, and allow others to do the same. It helps me to know that I can trust God with all things. Even loss. Especially loss.

Thank you for reading.

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Can Can

Hi, all! I’ve started journaling again, so of course, I’m blogging again, too.

I’m such a rules-bound person that I found it a good exercise this morning to list some things I CAN do. So here they are, fresh off the brain. Enjoy. (I would love to read your Can Do lists, too!)

I can wear white whenever I want to.
I can never wear white if I don’t want to.
I can say “No” with one word, “No.”
I can say “I’ll think about it.”
I can change my mind at any time.
I can let others face the consequences of their actions.
I can find growth in facing the consequences of my own actions.
I can feel differently about someone’s pets than they do.
I can feel differently about anything than others do.
I don’t have to laugh at jokes that hurt my feelings.
I can allow things to be awkward.
I can choose to not comment about other people’s choices.
I can choose to not comment about other people’s choices.
I can choose to not comment about other people’s choices.
When criticized, I can respond calmly. They may be right, and they may be wrong.
I can be alone.
I can be quiet.
I can be happy.
I can be sad, or afraid, or anxious.
I can feel any way I feel.
I can be thankful.
I can live without ______ (fill in the blank with anything).
I can choose to not comment about other people’s choices. That again.
I can smile at myself in the mirror.
I can be taught things.
I can teach others things.
I can age.
I can accept how things are.
I can exhale.
I can trust God.

Posted in acceptance, Business as usual, Morning Thoughts with Alice | 1 Comment

Acceptance or Prayer? Acceptance and Prayer?

I have been wondering lately how acceptance and prayer work together. Not so much about how the Serenity Prayer works (that is a thing of beauty, and deserves its own post) but about whether our prayers work with or against the acceptance of reality.

On the one hand, it is good and healthy to accept that things are as they are (or were as they were). This is us receiving reality with open eyes. But on the other hand, we are told to pray for people, situations, and ourselves. We are told to pray for healing and God’s will to be done “on earth as it is in heaven.” We are told that “the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” And, “You have not because you ask not.” This creates a tension in my mind.

In praying for change am I not accepting reality? In accepting reality am I not believing that God can change things? What’s a body to do?

Well, here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

One, I know that God can change things. I believe down to my shoes that God has power over all of creation. From world-shaking events to good parking spots. The weather? Yeah, he can change that. Cancer? Yeah, he can heal that. My stinking attitude? Yep, he’s really good at changing people. God can change things.

Two, I can ask God to do something or to change something. We have God’s permission to not like bad things and to ask him to change them. You may even say it’s our duty.

Three, we accept what he decides to do. We, in our praying, in our asking, submit to God’s will. He may answer, “Yes,” he may answer, “No,” he may answer, “Not yet.” In believing that God loves us and is working his good and perfect will in our lives, we can say “Not our will, but yours.” We accept the yes, the no, or the not yet. We may never stop praying for something (and that’s allowed, too!), while at the same time we accept that we may never see our prayers answered in the way we would like them to be answered. We accept he knows, and does, best.

Boiled down it looks like this:
1. Believe He can do it
2. Ask if He will
3. Accept what He does

I know this doesn’t remove the mystery of God’s will and prayer, but it does help me see where acceptance fits in. I am finding so much peace and healing through learning to accept things as they are. Things about me, things about you, things about the world. Do I still ask God to change things? Every day. Do I accept that he may or may not? Well, I’m working on it. But I do accept that this is a life-long process. God, grant me the wisdom…

Posted in acceptance, My journey with Anxiety, prayer | 3 Comments

Tick Tock

I was journalling today something about hearts that I wanted to share.. hearts… hearts… oh yes, the heart is a muscle! And like all muscles it gets stronger with use. And as you know, to build muscle you have to tear down muscle, and it rebuilds stronger, bigger.

So it is with the heart, the figurative heart. The heart we love and grieve with. That one. The temptation (for me) is to protect my heart to the point it takes no risks. No risk means no pain.

Tut tut, Alice, this is not good, nor is it living.

Our hearts will break. Our hearts will rebuild. Thus it is with hearts. And most importantly, in Junior Asparagus’s words, “I know whatever’s gonna happen, that God can handle it.” And he can. And he will. We only have to live, and love, one day at a time.

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As Trees Do

I saw them falling and felt my heart sink a little. July? It’s too soon.
What’s wrong with those trees? Are they ill?
I looked around town and found out, no,
no, there is nothing wrong with my trees.
Tulip poplars can start to lose leaves as early as July.
As early as July when it’s dry.
It’s just what tulip poplars do.
Winter isn’t coming early and the tree is not over sick.
I can relax and un-brace myself.
A tulip poplar will be a tulip poplar.

and people will be people
and that person will be that person
and I will be me
and we can grow as trees do

Un-brace, Un-fear, Un-clench.
A tulip poplar will be a tulip poplar.

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Some Days

There are days
cold, dark soul days
when I see only the broken things

Those days
cold, dark soul days
I wrap my shoulders with grief
and wait for the thaw

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For people with chronic illnesses, or just limited energy levels, the Spoon Theory makes a lot of sense and helps us explain to those we love why some days we just can’t even.

Briefly the way Spoon Theory works is that you have a finite number of spoons each day, paying a spoon or two as you go for each activity. Some days may end with you needing more spoons than you have on the table, causing you to to borrow from tomorrow’s stash. So then tomorrow you start the day with fewer spoons, again paying as you go. Some days you may find you have only enough spoons to get out of bed and eat.

My goal has been to manage my spoons well so I don’t find myself in a deficit. Some days it can’t be helped, but the idea has been to spend, or not spend, my spoons as well as I can.

I have a hunch, though, that it isn’t beneficial for me to conserve spoons for tomorrow anymore. I suspect that when I go to bed with leftover spoons I don’t sleep well, which gives me too much time awake in the dark. Hello, anxiety.

For the past three weeks I’ve been experimenting with spending all my spoons every day. I am walking between 4 to 6 miles each day, as quickly as I can. I’m pushing myself, draining every last bit of energy each day. No spoons left behind.

It is my goal to drop into bed exhausted and sleep like a farmer. Assuming farmers sleep well. I am trusting that the new day will arrive with enough new spoons for me to do what needs to be done that day. “Give us this day our daily spoons…”

And guess what! Sometimes I have enough energy and sometimes I don’t!

But usually I do.

The worst that has happened so far is a low energy day (think tired from the bones out) and have to cancel my plans for the day. Or muddle through in a thick fog. It’s not the end of the world, and I know by the next day I’m likely to be up and running and using up spoons like a soup kitchen.

I’m sleeping great. I’m gaining muscle and overall feeling much better about all kinds of junk. Who doesn’t have junk? I have junk. And those fatigue days? Fewer and fewer, my friends.

Spoon Theory makes sense, and is a very good explanation to how our energy works. But I believe that for me, right now, conservation is not good – it leaves too much energy left for worry and fretting. The best use of my energy is to use up my energy, each and every day.

We’ll see! I reserve the right to be wrong. I’ll let you know.

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