Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nothing Turns Out Like You Think It's Going To

There's a meme going around the Interwebs that shows a stick figure on a bicycle, moving from left to right and from down to up in a smooth arc.

Right below that there is another stick figure on a bike, but the path from left to right is not a smooth down-to-up transition. There are enormous valleys, huge dips, crevasses and although the upward motion continues, it is visibly a slower and more difficult route.

The first one is labeled My Plan for My Life and the other is labeled, God's Plan.

And old Yiddish Proverb says, Man Proposes, God Disposes.

Is it really God that shakes our snowglobe and causes the downpour? Or is it the choices we make in life that take us in certain directions where there is bound to be bitter storms and dangerous paths? And how can we remain calm in the face of such furious winds that threaten to, if not destroy us physically, mortally wound us spiritually and emotionally?

I do not believe that God's plan for us is to be miserable. There's a reason it's called The Plan of Happiness, and it was crafted by a loving parent to help us return to Him.

However, when dark storms are raging, it is difficult to see the dawn.

I fully admit that there have been times when I have been literally and metaphorically brought to my knees by some painful twist or turn along what I had thought would be a less-jarring bike ride through life. Life is messy. It's not sanitized for your protection---it's messy for a reason--to cause you to grow in ways you never thought possible.

Sometimes it's the actions or decisions of others that have a negative impact on you or on a great many people. Through no fault of your own, the storm arrives gift wrapped on your doorstep. Other times it is your own actions or decisions that bring calamity calling. Either way, you cannot refuse delivery. As I've told my children when they complain, Life is not Fair.

I am grateful for my faith in a loving Father in Heaven, who knows me and knows what storms rage around me. While I am not always thankful for the storms, it does help me appreciate the bright sunshine at dawn all the more.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Writing, Righting.....

In the history of my blog, I have never gone so long without a post. You're welcome.

In my defense, I have been otherwise occupied. I wrote a novel. Over three hundred pages and found a literary agent that liked it enough to request the entire manuscript. And while I've yet to hear back from her, except for a gentle note about almost being 'there', wherever 'there' is, I hold out hope. Even if she does not take me on as an author, it has been a wonderful experience to send my first novel out into the ether and have the first Literary Agent give it a thumbs up. I am aware that this is a rare occurrence.

While I have been working on the sequel, it has not gone as smoothly or as quickly as the first book. I don't feel as driven as I felt when I was writing the first novel. Ah well. Nothing to do about it.

As for Righting, I make attempts at righting myself. Bringing myself back to center, the path, holding to the iron rod, keeping the faith, a stiff upper lip and putting on my big girl panties each day to face what is tossed at me. Trust me--there have been mountains of things thrown down at me. Most days it's a wonder I'm still standing. Some days I don't.

The urge to hide, to flee and never return has come upon me on occasion. However, I do not flee. I stay. Perhaps that will be counted as brave enough when my time comes for judgement. I did not run away. I stayed. Is that enough?

I do not know.

Most of the time I instinctively know what to do about things. And by 'things' I mean dealing with my children, housework, driving, grocery shopping and work. But there are other things that I'm at a loss to deal with. The mental illness and proclivity for self-harm and suicide of my child. No, she's still alive, though she has tried three times to vacate her mortal body. There are other issues this child has, which are even more difficult for me to write about than cutting and suicide attempts. I'll let your imagination run with that one.

So, I am weary. I am tired. I am worn. And this causes me even more distress because it means I'm not enduring my trials well, with a bright smile on my face and a song in my heart while making homemade loaves of bread and feeding the poor.

Mostly I want to sleep, which I recognize as a bad sign.

I also recognized something the other day as I made a mushroom and onion omelet for my mentally ill child, with a lovely fruit salad cup. I placed her omelet on one of my pretty plates and put her fruit salad into a nice pretty matching cup on the plate.

I placed my omelet on a paper plate.

Seeing this, and not for the first time, I realized how poorly I treat myself. Sure, a paper plate isn't striking myself with a scourge or stabbing myself with a fork, but it is indicative of what I think of myself. I don't deserve the pretty plate with the matching cup. For whatever reason, this is how I've treated myself for years.

So is it any wonder that I am not valued by others, if I cannot value myself?