Friday, December 30, 2016

Just a Branch

Today my dad and I cut a branch from a rose plant and replanted it into a pot. I felt awful the whole time. Empathy is in my top 5 strengths which means even when I kill a spider I wonder if it was sad. So, here we are attacking this rose to try to make it better.

I had to dissect the healthiest part. Then rip off the flower. Stab the bottom of the stem and then slice it open. I had to chop off half of every leaf. Then shove it into the dirt and smash all the dirt around it. Finally, I had to trap it under a mason jar.

When we are all done, I stood back and looked at this pathetic little two inches of a branch, sliced, poked, smothered and I prayed that it would root.  There is so much potential in this little stick. With a little luck and science, it will root and grow into a whole new rose bush.

I'm that branch.  Last year, I was sliced, the best parts of me ripped away, and now I have been shoved into dirt and I'm sitting here, a small version of the person I was last year, just hoping and praying that I take root and grow into a whole new person.

With any luck (and science) I will be bigger, better and more beautiful than ever.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

My Life is a Seattle Ferry

I sat down on the Ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge about 20 minutes early and put my head into a book. I got done with the chapter and looked up to realize we were far from the dock.  I hadn't even notice how far we had gone.  I looked at the city.  It was a beautiful city, but with the sun just about to set behind the clouds, it was dull and grey.  As we moved further away, the city disappeared behind the fog and before I knew it, I couldn't even see it.

We landed on Bainbridge Island and I walked to dinner at a local restaurant.  It was raining and cold, but it was beautiful.  I had a wonderful dinner and then headed back to the ferry.

I took a seat facing Seattle.  The sun had been down for about an hour now and, through the fog, I could see little sparkles of lights from the city.  As we moved toward the city, the fog moved away and the city became larger and more brilliant.  My eyes couldn't take in all the beautiful lights of the skyline.  It was just gorgeous.

I walked out to the front of the boat.  The wind off the water chilled my face and hands.  A small tear fell.  This was my story.

I hurt my back so suddenly that I was far from who I used to be before I even knew it. I watched as my injury slowly took my life from me.  As I gained weight, rolled in wheelchairs, and layed in bed for weeks at a time, the person I had been slowly disappeared behind the fog.

I was stuck in that fog for months.  And just like the lovely dinner I had in Bainbridge, I had small wonderful moments in the cold, confusing times.  But then, I had surgery and found myself sitting there, squinting to see a few lights of my old life sparkling behind the fog. I started physical therapy and I knew I was moving back into the direction of that old life that I loved.

I haven't docked back in Seattle yet, but I am really close.  I'm still on my journey back to the city that I know will be even more brilliant than when I left it, but for now, I will still exercise everyday, eat right and work on finding the girl that I was before my life was ripped from me.  And when I do, I will sparkle brighter than even before.

Monday, May 2, 2016

No Miracle for Me

My friend Brooke saw a real life miracle.  Her husband was gone.  They told her it was the end and to say goodbye.  She prayed, we all prayed, people all over the world prayed and within the hour a nurse ran in and told her to come quick her husband was back.

I don't understand miracles.  I don't understand how God decides which miracles to perform.  But I know I saw a lot of people's faith renewed watching Jason come back to life.

And then there's me.  I was on vacation with my family and on day one (Monday), the combo of roller coaster, throwing my nephew and hoola hooping with my niece made my back seize up in a way I never experienced.

Within 24 hours I couldn't even stand.  I was in Florida with my family and all I saw was the speckled ceiling of my hotel room.  I would lay there helpless as my family played with Mickey and Minnie.  I asked for a miracle.

By the third night, I would hold in my screams as I rolled onto my stomach to throw up into a garbage can next to the bed.  The pain meds and my stomach didn't get along.  Throwing up would make my back seize and lightning bolts of pain would shoot down my legs.  It was the second worst pain I have ever experienced.

I had already tried asking for a miracle.  So I thought maybe I didn't ask right or ask enough.  Maybe (like Brooke) I needed more people to pray.  I sent texts out to friends and posted on Facebook.  I prayed over and over, begged for a miracle.


So what do you do with that?  Have I suddenly found out God doesn't exist?  Is this the moment when I realize even if there is a God he doesn't love me enough to heal me?  Or maybe he just loves Brooke more?

And then you start feeling selfish and small.  There are wars going on.  There are people who will actually never walk again.  There are children being deserted by their parents.  Maybe God's off worrying about the real problems in life.

But here's the truth.  God doesn't have to choose who to worry about because he can worry about everyone all the time.  He isn't ignoring me, he allowing me to be here for some reason.

So it began.  I reminded myself all the miracles I have seen.  All the times God came through.  I reminded myself that God doesn't love me more or less compared to my pain level.  I believe that suffering leads to perseverance, perseverance to character, and character to hope.  So I will sit in this suffering knowing that hope will arrive.  And maybe the fact that I'm sitting in pain shows how much God loves me because he wants me to learn or to grow.  

Our human minds want answers.  I don't have answers and I have now been sitting in this pain for two weeks.  I'm jealous of people who can walk.  I just want to get up and run.  But instead I will sit in my wheelchair reminding myself to have joy.

I have seen amazing kindness from so many people.  From small acts of a stranger offering to help me into a car to my friends bringing me food and transporting me around.  There is so much good in every bad situation.

So, as I wait for my miracle, I will smile at people staring at my purple flowered cane.  I will tip the wheelchair lady at the airport more than I should.  I will accept the humility that comes with constantly asking for help.

But I know this.  God is not only real when miracles happen.  He is also real in my pain.

Monday, February 29, 2016

You're In Charge of Your Hurt

There a new guy around.  He's tall and skinny and loves Jesus and likes to camp.   All things I adore.

But he's brand new to me.  I didn't meet him on a dating site or grow up next door.  He asked a mutual friend for my number and texted.  I internet stalked him.  Nothing.  No Facebook, no instagram, no snap chat, nothing.

So after a week of texting, New Guy and I went to coffee.  It was so very strange sitting across from a guy who I had probably only seen in real life about 4 times and who I knew absolutely nothing about.  I was really hopeful from our texts, but I was hoping for the strangest thing.  I wanted to have a good time, but not a great time because in the past having an absolutely great time during the first date always led to my heart breaking after Mr. Great doesn't like me back.

And I got exactly what I wanted.  A guy who seemed really fantastic, but had a couple of things I needed to know more about.  So, no deal breakers, we move forward.

The next hurdle we had to (slowly) get over was a guy I'll call Josh.  Josh was this guy I had hung out with for a good 8 months many years back.  Josh also had been brand new to me.  Josh just wanted a friend with benefits and I just wanted a boyfriend.  So, I kept stupidly hanging out with him because I was sure he was going to come around and be my boyfriend.  Nope.  In the final scene of our ridiculous friendship, he told me that he had been lying to me the whole time.  Everything I knew about him was only said to win me over.  All lies.  The true Josh was a stranger to me.  It was only after the final credits rolled I realized I never met one of his friends or any of his family.  I would never do that again.  (Thank God Josh never got one benefit from me.)

So, now here I am.  New Guy is sitting across from me saying all these great things, but all I can think is that in 8 months I'm gonna be walking away with a broken heart from all the lies.  And poor New Guy is kinda new to California and so I can't meet his friends and family.  Is this guy worth breaking the getting to know the friends and family rule?  I don't know.  But I'll give him another hang out.

Next hang out, he informs me friends are coming into town!  Ok, I'll meet some friends and that will surely help me get to know him and I'll see what kinda of people he is surrounded by.  When I meet his friends they show me pictures from New Guy's past.  He's legitimately unrecognizable with long, different colored hair and different glasses.  New Guy was a stranger to me.

My knee jerks.  This feeling, I know this feeling.  This is the feeling I had when Josh told me about all the lies and I felt like he was someone I didn't even know.  Who was this guy in the pictures, I didn't know that guy.  I sat on my couch that night, still dressed with my heels on, staring at my wall.  Although this feeling was the same, this was not the same.  The reason I saw those pictures and met those people is because he was trying to be transparent and not hide from me.

I honestly felt like running.  This feeling inside of me was familiar and freakin scary.

I didn't run.

I knew that this scary feeling was a feeling.  And feelings can be very very wrong.  My logic mind was telling me to give it a chance, to keep trying and so I did.  I pressed in.  Scared out of my mind, I pressed in.  The next day I hung out with his friends a little more.  They were really awesome.  Awesome people don't usually hang out with douche bags.

So, using only logic.  I pushed forward again.  Reminding myself to tell him I liked us because my emotions were telling me to protect myself, to run.  I didn't want to tell him how happy I was or how great he was because what if it fell apart again.  I would write text messages and then stare at it. I would actually have to count to 3 outloud to make myself hit send.

The biggest blessing I have is that he seemed to like me enough to move at the speed of molasses through all my crap, but here's the really crazy part, I told him all of this and he seems to be sticking around.

Vulnerability.  It's so hard.  It's so scary.  It's so necessary.

Don't let past fear ruin your life.  You don't have to run.  You don't have to hide your hurt.  You can just accept it and tell it shut the hell up and live a fanastic life.