Afflictions Eclipsed by Glory

Grief has layers, not unlike the onion.  It creeps up on you, and the realization that you loved this person more than you had imagined hits us in the solar plexus.  As the sons and daughters of a merciful and loving God, we firmly believe that our beloved has crossed over and is now home and pain free.  Yet even in the knowing, we fight the reality that this person whom we adored and perhaps took for granted is no longer by your side, helping you to fight the good fight and ease your burden.  You are better off for just having this kindred spirit in your life.

My dear friend Scott succumbed to cancer on September 22, 2019.  We were very close, and I had cared for him in the last days.  So it came as a shock when my husband phoned me this morning.

“Honey, I have some bad news,” he sighed.

I immediately thought of Scott.

“Umm, he died last Sunday.”

475323_2414187733540_130154192_o

My breath caught.  Last Sunday?

He spoke his comfort through the phone, and promised to stop in at lunch.

I don’t remember what I did after that, even if just hours ago.  I called a friend and wept, openly.  It was hard for her to make out my words, but her tender soothing meant the world to me.  I ended up on a hike, and to be honest I shouldn’t have been driving.  As I walked I spoke with Jesus, I spoke with my friend.  His wife was never a fan of our friendship-going as far as thinking we were intimate and stalking me two Summers ago.  On his death bed, Scott admitted to me that his wife had emotionally abused him for thirty five years.

“Sugar, you’re just emotional, you don’t mean that,” my voice broke, I felt the sting of fresh tears, this was all too much.

Long story short, he was dead serious.  Towards the end his wife asked that I “STAY AWAY” even as her husband was begging me to stay.  Hospice was long gone, he had no friends or family stopping in-his entire family kept working.

He was helpless.

“Scott, I can’t do this.  I can’t be in your wife’s home against her will.  I’m so terribly sorry,” I wrote in the text.

I’ll be okay.  The last three words I heard.

My heart was ripped apart, I prayed for the Lord to have mercy on him, that he wouldn’t suffer, that his wife muster some compassion for him, not see him as a burden.

I drove to his property, where he had planted a rare maple tree.  I could see the new bench by the tree, next to the pond.  I walked half-way across the yard, then headed back to the jeep-then back to the bench.  I didn’t care who saw me, I put my head down and wept.  I stared as a maple leaf spiraled to the ground.  I grabbed it.  The rest of the day was a blur.  I needed my husband, I didn’t want to be alone.

When Dwain didn’t answer the phone, I broke down.  The only thing in life that remotely frightens me is the loss of my husband.  My entire psyche shuts down at the mere thought of him not coming home.  I rarely have these thoughts anymore, not since Jesus took a good part of my worry away.  I truly do have that peace that surpasses understanding, but I railed at Jesus.

He understood.  He knew that I had mourned the loss of each and every person I had loved in this life.  One by one, my mother, father, best girl friend, and now Scott.  I was estranged from my nieces and nephew-my sister put the Kibosh to any hope of a relationship with them years and years ago. A story for another time.

Kill Jezebel.

I hate myself when I take my pain out on Jesus.  It wrecks me.  My husband pulled in and I fell to my knees-apologizing for the bitter words that had spewed from my fat Irish mouth.  I begged his forgiveness and asked for his mercy.

A few months ago I heard Field McConnel speak about monarch butterflies being a sign of God’s love and protection.  It stuck with me, as there was a monarch out in the middle of Lake Pleasant the moment I spread my father’s ashes.

I had known in that moment it was a God thing.

I walked out on the deck to greet my husband, still sobbing, still unhinged.

My newest adoptee purred at my feet.  She knew something was terribly wrong.  I picked her up and held her close.  She kissed me on every spot on my face, another blessing from above, Maybel is.  I looked down into my garden, and my breath caught again.  A perfect Monarch butterfly, right there before me, and in late September no less.

My tears of sadness turned to tears of joy within moments.  I went back into the house, tried to find the momentum to do, to do something.

Dwain slammed the screen door.  I looked up at him, as if to say, yes?

“Come see.  The garden is full of monarchs.”

And just like that, my afflictions were eclipsed by His glory~

Guard Your Heart

Nothing better than Lucinda when you’re feeling…why, I don’t know what I am feeling, exactly.  A bittersweet mix of gratitude, prayer and high anxiety, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It is becoming obvious to me that some of us woke folks are starting to show signs of battle fatigue.  Some are losing their cool, and others (we are all in different stages of discovering the truth) are losing their religion, literally.  When you realize that the Pope is a satanic pedovore, that there is a dungeon in the Vatican, where they sacrifice children to satan-or that Hillary Rodham Clinton is actually in the exact same league?  Not only are you mustering up each and every crumb of courage in your body, but you are being traumatized-over and over again.

2fc7be94972dcb711088595e7ef2dd5c7dd7efd228bac004e37615c78af2009e

Until I met my friend Kat, I didn’t realize just how far removed I have been from society.   Oh, I have a handful of extremely close friends-but I can count on one finger how many of them know the truth.  And she pretends she doesn’t when her man is around, so, yes, I would say I am very much alone, but didn’t fancy myself lonely until today, on the phone with Katherine.

“I saw the picture of the child that Hillary raped and murdered, Sara.  A woman on Twitter sent it to me, and I can’t sleep.  I can’t believe I saw that picture…”

We spoke for over an hour, taking great solace in the company of another soul who sees reality for what it is, and not what they want you to think it is.  Another human who has broken through the programming we have all had aimed at us since birth.  That’s right:  they have brainwashed us via music, movies and news-nothing, and I mean nothing is as it appears to be.

101aae4eadf34a8d725dd70a1e8fa4daeb6d6c1b3b581732722359d8d7a68462.png

What hurts us both the most?  The cold shoulders, family interventions, wide eyed stares into the abyss-each and every time we open our mouths.  She fought with her husband last night, and her family made her promise not to talk about John F. Kennedy, Jr. again.  You see, she had told her entire brood that he was going to be at the 4th of July festivities, not unlike my experience last Thanksgiving, when I announced to Dwain’s entire family that John would be in the Macy’s Day Parade.

“I’ll never make that mistake again,” I told her.  

Just moments later I realized that I had told you, my 400 followers! that John John would come out in Washington, D.C.-on the fourth of July.

“Shit.”

5f8c58fc2befa0e23f7ccaea41ea7445fb935fe3991fbabb7839825ba5c1bbfb.png

Here’s the deal:  we wouldn’t risk everything in our lives, be it our family’s trust or the job we love, for some whack job’s conspiracy theory.

We know shit.

Things I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, but there is little we can do to spare you the pain we know so well.  God will do that.

And as much as it irritates the shit out of me?

We’ll be here when you need us.

Down to the Jordan Stream

One of the very best tunes I have heard in some time-this music soothes my soul.  I love old things: antiques, vintage clothing, the elderly, and I am reminded of simpler ways, kinder times.

Oh, hold on a second!  My husband is lecturing me about my absolute drive to come to the truth about our world, our society, our government.  

“I don’t know why you do it to yourself.”

“By the way, Tom Hanks is a pedophile,” I retaliate.

“Tom Hanks is a pedophile?” (giggle, guffaw, belch)

I say this with a lightness in my heart that hasn’t been seen since the day I married my man.  I know we are winning the war, the insidious little somethings that gradually grow and eventually manifest into full out plagues.  Sex trafficking.  ANTIFA.  Pedophilia.  Corruption.  Hellyweird…it’s getting to the point that people are waking up, and it encourages me.

Waking up was a process for me that, had I known what lay ahead?  I would have run for the hills.

Ah, Lord, I know I’ve been changed; I said Ah Lord I know I’ve been changed.  The angels in Heaven done signed my name-lyrics I relate to, believe me.  Here’s a little secret that I have been holding on to, wondering in what manner to bring it up in my writing-the closer you come to Jesus, the more you love Him?  Well, the more transformed you become.  I knew something was drastically different when I found myself loving my irritating, self righteous neighbor.  I am convinced she sells information about us all around this block, if you can call two square miles of countryside a “block.”

Yes, out of the blue, right after I became sober, the Grinch’s heart began to soften.  It came as a huge surprise because when I got sober-I got good and pissed.  At everything, really-I was a whirling dervish of RAGE and despondence.  Grief had crept up from the grave, and I went back and forth between crippling sadness over everyone I have lost thus far-especially my father-and the urge to beat the living crap out of anyone who even looked my way.  It’s like someone took you blanky, for crying out loud.  EVERTHING bothers you, my husband’s chewing was so irritating to me that I came close to sending him packing.  You cannot, and I REPEAT, you can NOT grieve, well, anything or anyone if you are using.  And when us addicts have to face pain, what do we do?  We medicate as quickly as possible.  Here’s something many don’t understand: alcoholics and addicts are extremely compassionate, empathetic and sensitive.  I know this for a fact.  I also know that I had, out of self preservation, put up an unsightly wall-against others, including myself.

When I was baptized by water last Easter, I wasn’t expecting any change, as I had been baptized as a child.  When I was saved, my life began anew-so I recommitted myself on a Sunday, in ice cold water-in front of a full church.  I was utterly and completely alone-no husband, family nor friends attended.  The air conditioning was on high, and I embarrassed myself by running from the altar, after having my clothing thrown at me by our Worship minister.  Not a pretty site.  Did I mention I had a sinus infection at the time?

Ah, I have totally veered off of my original point.  You will absolutely believe, deep in your soul, that Jesus is in and with you-when your heart begins to soften.  You stop thinking that you are any better/worse than the next guy.  I repeat that often, I am no better nor worse than my brothers and sisters.  You begin to put others first, and might even find yourself wanting to help others every chance you get-and it feels good and right and perfect.  The rage diminishes.  The cravings vanish.  Jesus sought after you, and you allowed Him into your very being.

So, if you think you’re turning soft, or that the hormones are raging-just call out to Jesus-then you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He will answer~

Down to the Jordan Stream

One of the very best tunes I have heard in some time-this music soothes my soul.  I love old things: antiques, vintage clothing, the elderly, and I am reminded of simpler ways, kinder times.

Oh, hold on a second!  My husband is lecturing me about my absolute drive to come to the truth about our world, our society, our government.  

“I don’t know why you do it to yourself.”

“By the way, Tom Hanks is a pedophile,” I retaliate.

“Tom Hanks is a pedophile?” (giggle, guffaw, belch)

I say this with a lightness in my heart that hasn’t been seen since the day I married my man.  I know we are winning the war, the insidious little somethings that gradually grow and eventually manifest into full out plagues.  Sex trafficking.  ANTIFA.  Pedophilia.  Corruption.  Hellyweird…it’s getting to the point that people are waking up, and it encourages me.

Waking up was a process for me that, had I known what lay ahead?  I would have run for the hills.

Ah, Lord, I know I’ve been changed; I said Ah Lord I know I’ve been changed.  The angels in Heaven done signed my name-lyrics I relate to, believe me.  Here’s a little secret that I have been holding on to, wondering in what manner to bring it up in my writing-the closer you come to Jesus, the more you love Him?  Well, the more transformed you become.  I knew something was drastically different when I found myself loving my irritating, self righteous neighbor.  I am convinced she sells information about us all around this block, if you can call two square miles of countryside a “block.”

Yes, out of the blue, right after I became sober, the Grinch’s heart began to soften.  It came as a huge surprise because when I got sober-I got good and pissed.  At everything, really-I was a whirling dervish of RAGE and despondence.  Grief had crept up from the grave, and I went back and forth between crippling sadness over everyone I have lost thus far-especially my father-and the urge to beat the living crap out of anyone who even looked my way.  It’s like someone took you blanky, for crying out loud.  EVERTHING bothers you, my husband’s chewing was so irritating to me that I came close to sending him packing.  You cannot, and I REPEAT, you can NOT grieve, well, anything or anyone if you are using.  And when us addicts have to face pain, what do we do?  We medicate as quickly as possible.  Here’s something many don’t understand: alcoholics and addicts are extremely compassionate, empathetic and sensitive.  I know this for a fact.  I also know that I had, out of self preservation, put up an unsightly wall-against others, including myself.

When I was baptized by water last Easter, I wasn’t expecting any change, as I had been baptized as a child.  When I was saved, my life began anew-so I recommitted myself on a Sunday, in ice cold water-in front of a full church.  I was utterly and completely alone-no husband, family nor friends attended.  The air conditioning was on high, and I embarrassed myself by running from the altar, after having my clothing thrown at me by our Worship minister.  Not a pretty site.  Did I mention I had a sinus infection at the time?

Ah, I have totally veered off of my original point.  You will absolutely believe, deep in your soul, that Jesus is in and with you-when your heart begins to soften.  You stop thinking that you are any better/worse than the next guy.  I repeat that often, I am no better nor worse than my brothers and sisters.  You begin to put others first, and might even find yourself wanting to help others every chance you get-and it feels good and right and perfect.  The rage diminishes.  The cravings vanish.  Jesus sought after you, and you allowed Him into your very being.

So, if you think you’re turning soft, or that the hormones are raging-just call out to Jesus-then you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He will answer~

The Outer Limits…

Sixteen years ago, my father and then girlfriend Pat (I like to call her DOOM) invited the entire family down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We went down a day late, as I had to work. Dwain, Bud and myself-we put our suitcases in the Jeep at 5 a.m. Poor Bud sitting in the back, for all 10 hours of the trip. We were hopelessly lost in Washington, but used to my husband’s utter helplessness with directions, I drank beer and laughed at the absurdity.

It wasn’t just the Elkins/Hoffman/Malinowski clan gathering at the bi-level vacation house in the dunes, au contraire-Pat and her four perfect children AND their children were said to be coming as well. Dwain and I anticipated the vacation with utter dread, and the only reason we participated at all was so I could spend time with my father, who was quite ill at the time.

The drive was harrowing. As we arrived at the house, I saw my siblings coming toward us-not to greet us, mind you, but to run. To run for their very lives, as they knew with utter certainty that I was about to BLOW MY TOP. You see, DOOM had miscounted the number of bedrooms, and it appeared that Bud, my husband and myself would have to sleep ON A PULL OUT COUCH IN THE KITCHEN.

While my siblings partied on the beach, I went directly to my father.

“Are you SERIOUS?” “Where is she, let me at her,” and UNFUCKINGBELIEVABLE were a few of the comments I spat. Dwain, who had assessed the situation in a matter of seconds, headed for the beach. I poured a gin martini and sat on the deck with my father, who was so heavy hearted, so upset on what would be his very last vacation.

“Daddy, it’s not your fault, really. I guess we would have stayed at a hotel if we had a head’s up, but it is what it is,” I stammered. Meanwhile, at the beach, my husband was busy telling my brother and sister off in seven different languages, which helped…..a little.

Realizing that part of the problem was hormones, I took a hot shower and emerged stronger, calmer if you will. What happened next is legend in the Elkins family-and if you weren’t there, well, you might have trouble believing the pure insanity that followed. When the gang returned, they found my father and I on said deck, drinking what had to be our fifth martini. The following story is true, and it is with incredulity that I write, not sanguine acceptance.

At some point in the evening, I ended up at the tippy top of the Widow’s Walk, screaming at my sister. Over the years I had held a few things in, and for whatever reason, her ass was GRASS in my book. I don’t remember what I said, but I can imagine. My brother tried to calm me, but I had unleased a momentum that was only stopped by the State Police, and here’s where it gets good.

My husband was at the bar downstairs, with my father. He heard a knock on the door, and before he could answer it, two state cops-guns at the ready-demanded to know where the screaming was coming from. They had received more than a few complaints. As the Keystone Cops looked through the home, my father, now drunk as the proverbial skunk, sat watching television-he had no idea that a circus was enfolding in front of him and to this day, I think he knew alright. I also think he didn’t want to deal with it.

So, they find me on the fifth floor deck, and immediately go to arrest me. Balking, my brother pleaded with them. “Just a family argument,” he begged.

“Ma’am, do you know your voice could be heard at headquarters, five miles away?,” one of them asked me.

Before I could answer, my brother rushed me down to the living room and put me to bed. When I awoke the next day, things were a blur, but no one and I mean NO ONE was talking to me.

The moral of the story? Speak your peace. Don’t let things fester. And for the love of God, keep your voice down when all hell breaks loose.

Renew Your Mind, the Rest Will Follow

I could not, for the life of me, get out of my own way today. You know that feeling-when you know, before it happens, that whatever you do/say/touch will be a mother loving nightmare of epic proportions. Yep. I should have known at the gas station, where I sat for ten minutes (no lie) trying to put my seatbelt on. A simple task performed day in and day out, and not once, but twice this happened today. I try not to get hysterical when something isn’t going smoothly-I always think that God may be holding me up for a reason, and that puts things in perspective.

At Walmart, I wore my brand new Batman hat, complete with ears that go up and down and it glows in the dark, the batman signal. It has long pom poms on each side. Incredibly warm. I set out today to make at least one person smile-and I was blessed by the reactions of most people this morning. I would say, ‘watch this’ to a complete stranger, and inevitably? If not a guffaw, a giggle and smile. I want to two of the cashiers that have been there forever. My whole heart goes out to them, they look so fatigued, so defeated. I felt pure joy when the saddest one laughed. In twenty some years, I have not seen her lips turned upward.

At the park, Jesse burst out of his orange hunting coat-whilst jumping in to the creek. This after chasing a heron so majestic it caught my breath. I begged him to go back into the creek and retrieve his coat. He swam right toward the thing, then balked at the idea-he hates this bloody coat. We were just beginning our trek, and as I waded in the Hammer Creek, ice cold water sloshing around in my shit stompers, I cried out to the heavens, “WHY, GOD, WHY???” Instantaneously over myself, I hiked the entire trail with freezing, wet feet. I remembered how hysterical my mother became at even the thought of my feet being wet, screaming – “You’ll get a kidney infection if you walk around in wet feeeeet!!!” That’s when I got teary, and remained emotional for the duration.

I stood at the window and took in the orange and blues, purples and pink of the evening sky. My husband had mentioned our Dylan, the golden retriever who lost his battle with Leukemia in 2015. I tried to hide my tears. Dwain came to comfort. I again began my nostalgic grieving-then, as I praised Him for the perfect Fall evening-a television reporter said these words:

“And after the ending, there is a new beginning.”

Cuffed on a Dirt Road

 

Okay, I have a million different things on my mind, it’s my 26th wedding anniversary, and I forgot my husband’s card.  I have eleventy hundred boxes of cards-as a matter of fact?  I collect them.  I.  heart. cards.  Big time.  I guess I could use one of those, but hey-it’s not the same.  Somehow, spending twenty bucks on a card makes it mean more, and Hallmark?  You have enough of my money, thank you.

Dwain and I have moved mountains since we met, or should I say God has moved mountains for us.  Financial instability,  cancer, anorexia, a motorcycle accident, the almost-divorce, alcoholism and drug addiction, the death of my parents-issues that would normally drive a couple apart, only served to bring us closer.

I wanted to find a way, if underwhelming, to put those years into a blog.  But there aren’t enough hours in the day-I have so many memories, which will turn into stories, perhaps, one day.  So, here’s the Reader’s Digest version, ’cause it’s our day and my man is kicking me in my kidneys.

I was engaged to a decent man.  Or so I thought.  We brought out the worst in one another.  He became abusive on our honeymoon.  He knew I was in love with another man, and despite my pleas, we were married on June 9, 1990.  Allowing myself to be coerced, I made the worst mistake of my life.  I had cervical cancer at the time.  The stress was overwhelming.  I sent Dwain a card from my honeymoon.  

The marriage lasted one week.

1913529_1117294534970628_80384438458204316_n
The biggest challenge and love of my life.

 

I moved in with Dwain not long after.

It was wild, all consuming, raw and passionate love.  We couldn’t keep our hands off one another, it was a sickness-a curse.  When he left the room, I ached.  When he came back?  I swooned.  We are still as passionate and crazy in love.

God protected us from murdering one another over the years.  Alcoholism.  Drug Addiction.  Anorexia.  A shit ton of mental health issues, denied grief and a violent temper-all on my part.  We never laid a hand on one another.  We have never cheated on one another.  Although, I deliberately tried to run him over when I caught him driving his secretary back from lunch one Spring afternoon, years ago.

We were poor.  Dirt poor.  His first wife took everything but his soul.  I was a violent, malicious drunk-and the tears flow every time I think of how I must have wounded him.  There was emotional abuse on both sides.   Cops.  Court orders.  And, finally?  Jesus.

He is the song I sing.  He will always have me, heart and soul.

What a beautiful gift He has given me!