The cries and sobs were thick in the air. Pain. Loss. Something I witnessed but did not fully understand. I was scared. Knowing my history of being a “wet rag” (my grandma’s affectionate term for overly emotional cry baby), I was dreading the upheaval of emotion I would feel during my first funeral ceremony.
I did not know the man. I never met or spoke to him. Nevertheless, the tears started welling up in my eyes and my throat grew tight as I listened to friends and relatives reminiscing about this man and his modest life. I was overcome with the grief of these people who had lost someone so dear. Voices would rise up above the crowd and yell “Hallelujah!” and “Amen!” and my heart would ache even more. Some would just stand in quiet respect, arms raised to heaven. These were humble offerings of love and honor. I couldn’t take it! The damp, oppressive heat in the room, fraught with such raw suffering, it was beginning to suck the air out of my lungs and I couldn’t breathe. We were handed white fans when we entered the small church and I carelessly sat it aside, not aware of what I needed it for. Now, I understood. I fanned myself to try to get some relief, to fight off the emotions that were closing in on me and taking over. As the service progressed, the pulsating myriad of fans were hypnotizing and became a mesmerizing force, pulling me deeper into the gut of this heavy, grieving monster. The words and songs became a blur and my sobbing was nearing the next level of hysterics. I couldn’t rationalize my tears even though I tried to tell myself repeatedly to stop.
OK. So, I have a confession… I occasionally listen to Christian music and have found a few good radio stations in the area. They sustain me and keep me healthy while watching my spiritual weight, but I know that when I am yearning for a treat, to worship and really get into His presence, I just grab my Fike and Dana CD’s, sit down and enjoy every last spoonful of music. I savor the rich honesty blended with raw emotion, the humble wisdom seasoned with just enough desperation and every bite is topped off with sweet repose. If I’m lucky, He’ll provide a few extra ingredients that sweeten the whole deal. I admit it – I scrape the bowl for more. The experience never fails in bringing my heart back to where it needs to be and leaving me feeling spiritually stuffed. I walk away feeling a little guilty: guilty only because I feel so privileged.
Thanks Fike and Dana for doing what you guys do so well!
Well, the goal has been set. I am ready for the challenge this year.
Last year, physically, was an ‘aha’ year for me. I discovered my own strength, endurance, and physicality. I found a love for the way I feel when I am physically strong. Now, I’m not talking Jillian strong – I’m talking 39 years old, never an athlete or even close, “fat one” in the family, feels good kind of strong.
I started jogging to spend time with my mom and a routine developed. Well, if you know me and my routines, you know we are two peas in a pod. I started running on my own and pushing how far I could go and how fast. It became a challenge. A few months in, I ran my first 5K and it inspired me to push it further. Bring on the 10K, the half marathon! Daydreaming of finish lines began – the accolades, ribbons and medals that would show off my hours of sweating in the gym. Marathon – bring it on! Yes. I was dreaming of running… Unfortunately, my dreams were years of training ahead of my body and injuries soon followed, temporarily sidelining me.
I had “worked out” many times before in my life, normally 3 months on and 9 months off, but I had never felt a real desire to exercise. I hated it and it took everything I had (normally 9 months of intense, self-loathing jabs and private fat jokes that really weren’t very funny) to start working out again. By working out, I’m talking hardly breaking a sweat. Sweating was gross.
I was sidelined for a while but I noticed a distinct change within. I knew I could do it. This belief, this unwavering strength was new for me and carried me right through all the regularly scheduled “I’ll start next week!” and “I can’t do it’s!”. Currently, I am back in the gym, back to my routine and am working on the 5K again. My goals for this year include a 10K in March and a half-marathon in June. I know I will finish them – I’ve seen it in my daydreams.
40 x 40 is my personal challenge for 2010.
For Christmas this year we made a birthday cake for Jesus. A friend had mentioned the idea and I thought it was a great, tangible way for the kids to think about the ‘reason for the season’. Sidney, my 4 year old, kept asking how Jesus was going to eat it.
“Well, Jesus is in you, right?” I asked her.
“Yes” she hesitantly answered. I could see the gears spinning in her head as she tried to wrap her mind around the idea.
“So, He can enjoy the cake in your tummy when you eat it.”
“Oh, OK.” She wandered away, completely satisfied with the explanation.
When it came time to eat the cake, she took her first bite, swallowed it and grinned from ear to ear.
“Jesus LIKES it!” she exclaimed.
I had to laugh. Now, everytime she eats something she gets a big grin on her face…”Jesus likes it!”
I never realized how much I loved my daily routine until it was taken away from me. Don’t get me wrong, I like change. I believe in it and need it to move forward in life but in the midst of it, I struggle. Let me set this up by saying I am in the middle of a move and there is much uncertainty on when and where this move will end. I’m pretty sure the house we are closing on will be ours soon, but it seems that every power in the universe is fighting against us and changing the battle plan daily. My routine is kaput! We (five of us and two guinea pigs) are living in a hotel room with all of our earthly belongings sitting in a moving truck in the parking lot, racking up enormous fees daily. We ( I ) opted for the truck instead of storage because we thought the process would be short, and the convenience of “our stuff on wheels” was high on my list since I would be moving almost everything myself (my husband is recooperating from a torn achilles tendon). Well, short has turned into “It’s OK. We can deal with it.” which has turned into “Are we ever going to get out of here?!?” My days are spent in a quandry, thanking God that I don’t have to clean the hotel room and breakfast is served every morning at 5am (I can’t sleep very well so the earlier the better) but also hating not having any personal space and no comforts of home, especially in this holiday season. It’s not how I would have planned it but change never seems to follow my plans at all. Change is it’s own boss, not yielding to my humble requests. I’m pretty sure that a bright and shiny new routine will set foot in my new house soon, but until then I sit, enclosed in four walls, surrounded by five suitcases, two bottles of pepto, guinea pig funk, and paper snowflakes put up on the wall. It is Christmas anyway.