Sunday, September 13, 2015

Love. Is. A. Verb.

Love is a verb.  I can't seem to get that phrase out of my head.  I haven't been well.  Hopefully I will be feeling better soon.  Until then, I have to go see yet another doctor and have yet more tests. It's fine and I'm not too concerned, I'm mostly bored and frustrated that I cannot do the things that are part of my every day life.  I have no energy.  It's annoying.

I have had a lot of time to think.  I called my dad to ask him medical history questions.  It was an information gathering phone call.  The thing with my dad is...he is really busy.  He has a wife (not my mother), two step sons, one step daughter, and three step grandchildren.  Two of whom he babysits for every week day.  He doesn't call.  He doesn't visit.  He doesn't acknowledge birthdays or Christmas with us anymore.  It started as an experiment really.  I used to call.  Then I realized I always call.  Never does my phone ring and it's him.  It just doesn't happen.  So I thought to myself, I wonder if I don't call, how long it will take before he calls me.  The answer is 18 months.  Eighteen months until my husband invited him to breakfast.  A breakfast in which he said he didn't want to see me if I were going to give him a guilt trip.  I called and wished him a happy birthday and a happy father's day in June.  I didn't talk to him until I saw him in August when I helped to move my grandmother into an assisted living facility.  He was an hour late and he left without saying goodbye.  He had a soccer game to get to.  I'm not mad.  I'm disappointed.  So when I called to get medical history information he wanted to know what was wrong.  I told him and he seemed concerned in between telling me that he didn't understand and that he would call me and he would try to come see me.  It's funny really how empty words can be.

Love is a verb.  It requires action.  I don't mean big grand gestures.  Love is in the everyday.  Love is in the three word text.  Love is in a phone call.  Love is in lunch.  Love is a hug. Love is in movie choices.  Love is in small gestures.  Love can be found anywhere but it requires action.  Otherwise it is just a word.  A word no more interesting or relevant to anything than the word pepperoni.

I'm prepared to take it a step forward.  Let's connect the dots.  1 John 4:8 says, "Whoever does not love does not know God; because God is love."  And if we believe that God is love then we have faith in God.  And if we have faith in God then action is required.  James 2: 14-26 says "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?  Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."  Do you see it?  Have you connected the dots?

Love is a verb.  It's more than a feeling of adoration although it is certainly that as well.  It's more than an attraction.  It's more than what is seen on a movie screen.  It requires action, not empty promises like, "Hey we should get coffee sometime." or "Hey I'll call you."  and then you never do.  I get it.  Life is busy.  I am busy when I'm not told I have to rest by medical professionals.  Which actually may be part of my problem and why I'm being forced to slow down.  It makes sense.  I get being busy but without relationships what do we have?  Facebook?  Facebook is a joke.  Don't get me wrong I'm as hooked on that blue icon as anyone but what if we weren't.  What if that weren't our only means of communication?  You don't like to call?  Text.  You don't have texting?  Stop by.  Whatever it is we must have human connection or what are we doing here?  What purpose do we serve?

I'm the phone call person.  I make the call.  If I want to do anything I'm the one who calls.  Sometimes people take me up on my offer of a movie or a coffee or lunch, sometimes they don't.  But one person cannot be the only person who makes the calls.  Eventually someone else has to make a call because the person always making the calls is going to get tired.  They are going to get tired and they might just have an awakening.  What if I don't make the call?  What if I'm they just aren't interested?  What if they just don't care?  What if I'm just not loved?  And who wants that?  Whether it is true or not true the devil seeks to destroy.  He hates relationships.  He wants nothing more than get in there when you are down and make you think things that just aren't true.  Frankly if I'm not loved by someone I just don't want to know.  I prefer to just love my family and friends blindly.  You don't like it?  Fine ok, but you cannot change who I am.  If you don't want to be a part of my life I can take a hint.  Don't talk to me for about 18 months, I will catch on.  It won't change my behavior though.  Oh I'll leave you alone.  But I will most certainly pray for a change.  I will pray and I will love until my last breath because love is a verb, and while some things are not in my power to change, I'm the daughter of a king.  I serve an awesome God and he is a great dad and a great friend.

Love is a verb.  Pepperoni is pepperoni.  God doesn't stop being God just because you don't believe or you don't act.  Pepperoni doesn't stop being pepperoni just because you don't eat it.  The difference is Love requires action.  That's it.  That's what I've come up with.  Months of not writing. Months of waiting for the words to come.  This is what I've got.  Love one another.  Act.  Call. Text. Show up.  For the love of all that is holy do not let the younger generation think that they are ok just sitting in front of a screen because they can talk to people there.  It's just not right. Make the kids go outside to play.  Do not let your daughter go on a a date with a boy who asks over a screen.  Human interaction.  It's a good thing.  Pass it on.  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Mother's' Day Letter to My Mom

Dear Mom,

In the Bible it says that to God a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day.  It seems hard to fathom that except on days like today.  Today, Mother's Day, I think I can almost catch a glimpse of what that must be like.  Can it really be my tenth Mother's Day without you?  How is it possible that the earth still rotates around the sun?  The passage of time seems to have come and gone in an instant.  I can still see you in my mind as clearly today as I could then.  If I close my eyes I can see your smile, I can feel your embrace, I can see you sitting at the table with your coffee in front of you chewing on your pinky finger, I can see you driving me in your car and hear you asking me, "What do you want to do now Kong?"  It was only a moment ago and yet...

I realize this morning how close we are to July.  How in two short months my birthday will be here and my heart will sink.  All I will be able to think of is how helpless I felt not being able to help you.  How in that instance and so many others, I was reminded that I have no control.  I have to relinquish all of it to God and allow him to not only help you but to help me too.  How can it be that it will be eleven years since you went home to be with our Lord?  Ten years of Mother's Day's come and gone.  Eleven years of raising kids come and gone.

So yes, it feels today as though all those years were just a day ago.  A moment has passed and you aren't here and my kids are almost grown and you weren't here to witness it.  I haven't been able to call you while making dinner.  I haven't been able to see you laugh at my struggle with teenage girls. I haven't been able to watch your relationship with them grow as they have grown. All of these things make me sad for what could have been had Cancer not entered our lives.

I feel sad for what might have been, what maybe should have been but then I realize that a moment ago is almost eleven years ago and while you were with God, God was also with me.  I may not have my mother here but I am a mother.  I'm not alone anymore now than I was when you left.  How could I be?  This morning my children brought me breakfast in bed, they gave me a card and sang me a song.  My husband gave me a short back rub and told me he loved me before going to work.  When I go downstairs there will be the "Hallway of Mother's Day" that the children create every year with signs of love and pictures they drew even after all of these years.

It is funny the passage of time.  The tears may come later but the healing that God provides is fresh every morning.  The writing helps.  The thought that even though you aren't here with me that maybe you get the messages I send out into the great unknown void.  No you aren't here in flesh but I see you when I look at my middle child.  Sometimes I look at her and I see you as you were in pictures as a younger girl.  I hear you in the things that my oldest says.  I think of you when I see my son and think of how great of a young man he turned out to be and how terrified we both were that I was having a boy.  There was nothing to be scared of, of course, he is so much like his dad and you thought he was the best guy ever.  I used to joke that you would have traded me for him any day of the week.  You would have thought the same of our son.

Your memory surrounds me and they are the good memories.  The memories of good times had.  The memory of a mother who was always there no matter how tired she was.  The memory of a mother who worked hard and instilled a good work ethic that I hope I have passed on to my own children.  These are the thoughts of a healing heart.  The heart protected by a loving God who knows my hurt.  For that I am thankful.  I love you mom.  I miss you every day.  Enjoy your Mother's Day in Heaven.  I may not be able to shower you with gifts but I have a feeling that spending your day in paradise with the King of all creation is better than what I could provide.  Plus I prayed that He would give you a hug from me.  My bases are covered.

Thank you for being my mom, for loving me and my family.



Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Life is a Roller Coaster/ Twenty years later

It was a beautiful day this day twenty years ago.  I had spent the night at my grandparents' house.  I had so much to do to get ready and I was full of anticipation.  I had to get my hair and my make up done.  I had to get dressed and I had to be at the church before anyone else for pictures.  

My dress was the dress of fairy tales.  Cinderella herself would have been envious of this dress.  Off the shoulders with long sleeves, cinched in waist and a full skirt, this dress was exquisite.  It was the first one I tried on.  I tried on others of course, but I had to have this one.  It was perfection in satin and lace.

At the church I was closed up in a room for so long I thought I might wet myself.  I had to go and I couldn't leave the room.  Potty chairs are useful and when your mother in law is the one to help make that happen, you know you've picked the right family.  My shoes were pinching my toes, I was getting overheated, and hungry and all I wanted to do was to see him, to find the one whose eyes could calm me.

I ended up wearing Keds down the aisle that day.  The heels only made it for the pictures.  When I saw him at the end of the aisle, I knew that nothing else mattered.  As long as I didn't pass out from the heat in the most beautiful dress ever made, the adventure, the hills, the valleys, the mountains, and the pits, all of it would be OK.  He was there.  He wasn't late, He didn't call and cancel.  he was like no other man in existence, in my world anyway.  He was a shower upper...he still is.  He shows up.  He shows up for me, he shows up for our kids, he just shows up.  I didn't grow up like that.  I grew up with cancellations and excuses.

It's not always been perfect, because nothing ever is, but it has always been worth it.  In good times and bad, sickness and health, losses too many to count, many bouts of depression, included the one no one thought I'd come back from.  There is no one else I would want by my side.  Twenty years of doing life with me cannot be easy.  All I can say is that it sure hasn't been boring.

I love this man more than the sum of all the stars in the sky. He gave me a family when I wasn't even sure I wanted one.  He showed me that sometimes people show up...sometimes whether you like it or not, whether you are worthy or not, whether you believe it or not, people will show up and love you.

 Life is a roller coaster and I picked the best partner for the ride. I can't wait to see what the next twenty looks like.