Laughter After Tears

Two of my all time favorite artists in one video-you can’t beat that with a stick! And as I was led to this song, I knew exactly what to write about. I have learned, once again, that through intense emotional pain we can grow leaps and bounds in our faith, relationships and overall mental health. I spent the past few days in bed, albeit sick with the flu-but depressed and anxious about the chance that my marriage could fail miserably, and at any moment.

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Because I am a grown woman, and have plenty of life experience-I know that I can cling to Jesus during the desert places, praise His name and look forward to a beautiful lesson and blessing that would surely follow.

It always does.

We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes.”
JOHN F. KENNEDY

As miserable as I was, I immediately felt shame; I thought of the least of these.

I have lived half of my life as one of the least of these.

There are times where life is so good, when I am surrounded by love-my social calendar full, and a peace that surpasses all understanding. Actually, He has answered my prayers-I live a quiet, creative and authentic life, and I owe every single step toward my recovery, every breakthrough and success to God. To Him goes the honor and glory. But what happens when you have become accustomed to this life well-lived, and the bubble bursts, leaving you blindsided? Do you question God? Do you find yourself shell shocked and incredulous? Do you feel hopeless?

Some were fools; they rebelled and suffered for their sins. They couldn’t stand the thought of food, and they were knocking on death’s door.
“Lord help!,” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. Let them offer sacrifices of Thanksgiving and sing joyfully about his glorious acts!
-Psalm 80

Dwain and I are fine, and mea culpa-I was being incredibly sensitive. Yet when we argue, I shut down completely-although I am much better than I used to be. I’ve gone from hysterically phoning my therapist, to not crying at all.
Yet I cease to function or care-and that isn’t the place we need to be-yet I know Abba is pruning me-as He does to all of his children. I know in my secret places that something amazing will come out of the melee.

Call out to Jesus.

He wants you to trust Him. You are so very special to God-each and every one of you.

You Took Me Dancing

 

I wasn’t prepared to write about love.  Today was more of a Grown Ass Woman, by Sharon Lewis kind of a day.  My neighbor told me the pitchfork in my garden was a hazard, as I sipped my morning coffee on our front porch.  Then the dude at the park actually chased me on a front loader, to tell me Jesse needed to be on a leash.  I wanted to say:

I am a GROWN ASS WOMAN.  THERE IS NO ONE IN THIS PARK.  I HAVE BEEN HIKING HERE SINCE BEFORE YOU WERE BORN…GET THE FUNK OUT OF MY FACE.

Luckily?  I was in a pretty good mood, so I walked away.  There is something about people telling me what to do: do I look as if I am mentally handicapped?  Probably.  Do I think people mean well?  Some do, some just get a rise out of the power they hold over others.

Well, you know what happens when you make plans, right?  God laughs himself silly.  Don’t get me wrong, I would much rather have his guidance than leave myself to my own machinations.  He always picks the song-so here goes nothing.

One thing I haven’t done in forever, and one thing I really, really miss doing?

Dancing, baby.

Last night my husband put the blues station on, and, as a result?  I danced my buttocks off, and quite honestly I had no intention of stopping.

Ok, honey.  Time to calm down, you’re getting the dog all riled up.

Has it come to this?  No dancing after 7 p.m.?

It took the lift right out of my loafers.  🙂

Dwain doesn’t dance, and I mean, no way-no how.  I couldn’t get him to join me on the floor-well, once at our wedding.  After six shots of Cuervo.

Who needs a club to strut your stuff?

And, by the way, Jesse likes to lead.

Don’t Kill My Vibe

There is a change in the direction of the wind-and I am not sure if I am thrilled, or in hyperventilation mode.  For the last, say, twenty years I have had the house to myself in the mornings.  Here’s a dirty little secret:  I have a really hard time waking up.  While I am much better than just a few years ago, I remain sullen, stumbling and incoherent-a literal sloth moving at invisible increments to what is most important in life at this hour of the day-coffee, and as much of it as I can get until my eyes begin to focus, the joe melts the icy cobwebs of brain matter away and I am free once more.

My better half has a new work schedule in which he works from home in the wee hours of daylight.  I would be lying if I said it not comforting to have my man around the house every day, yet there are issues and I will address them forthright. 

The first morning didn’t go well, no, not well at all.  We have one, yes that’s correct, one bathroom in the entire house.  I have been known to pee my britches while awaiting my voiding privileges, and have actually been in mid-pee when Dwain’s baritone voice yells, “HURRY UP, I’VE GOTTA GET IN THERE!!!!”  Seriously?  For the love of Harry, don’t my intestines count?  At all?

The other issue is the feline community.  My husband can not stop himself from terrorizing my cat community.  What began as a small prank here and there has turned into a full blown assault campaign on what were at one time, perfectly normal cats.  I bought my dog a life size Easter bunny at Walmart.  Okay, I risked my life for that dog (Walmart is scary, even on a good day-why, I could have been kidnapped by alien reptilians, or worse!!!!) and he loves that stuffed pink monstrosity more than life itself.  Dwain waits until I am out of earshot, and then he pounces.  Poor Reign, my indoor/outdoor kitty, came to the door while I was in the kitchen.  He meowed his little head off and my husband opened the inside door.  He proceeded to stick the big, pink behemoth right in Reign’s face, which caused the cat to back flip over my porch plants and run like his hair was on fire.  You guessed it, Dwain collapsed on the floor in tears, laughing so hard I feared he would dehydrate.  And now?  I am left with a cat who thinks he’s tripping every time the bunny enters the picture.  Reign actually almost climbed the ceiling to avoid Bonnie the bunny, his ears back, tail puffed out.  For crying out loud, it’s MORNING-I can’t abide by these antics, and he can take the cat to the vet for Ativan, not my circus, not my monkeys.

Actually, there isn’t a third thing.  But haven’t I been tortured enough?   🙂

She (Part 3)

So, we left off on the day before my biopsy for cervical cancer. Dwain had stopped in, and he was persona non grata with my mother and sister, who travelled to Schaefferstown to drop mom off; she wanted to be with me, and I was thrilled to have her. Thank God she was in the ladies room when the love of my life came to the door with flowers. We had decided to not see each other, for reasons that were both obvious, and ubiquitous. My heart raced when I heard his muffler, from miles away-he drove a beat up Chevy pick up, baby blue, and to be honest? I was shocked he hadn’t heeded my NO, but deliriously happy at the same time.

I had married Dwain’s boss two weeks before. While on the honeymoon on Cape Cod, Karl had lost his cool and jacked me up against the wall, by my neck. He was angry that I had ordered a bottle of champagne. Two days later he left me in a restaurant twenty miles away from our cottage, and I knew by day three that I would leave him. Cancer has a way of jolting you out of your stupor, and having it leaves one scattered, frightened and incredibly raw-but somehow, hearing the doctor say, “You have cancer,” instigates an incredible will to live-and on your own terms at that.

The next day, at the Good Samaritan hospital in Lebanon, I was in a room with my mother, prepping for my surgery. I wanted Karl to leave, I didn’t understand why he was there, and his attempts at comfort were not wanted, nor appreciated by me.

“Mom, tell him to leave, please,” I begged. Alas, she didn’t know the whole story, and she shushed me with a “He is your husband, sweetheart, he needs to be here.” After a requested shot of Ativan, I became, shall we say, unruly. I called Karl a “Cock shell,” and although my mother, along with the nurses who surrounded me and the anesthesiologist thought this to be hilarious, in my mind the words made sense. I was calling him a dick, in my own drugged out and terrified way.

I was in bed for a day afterwards. As the weeks went by awaiting a prognoses, I grew irritable and withdrawn. Karl’s brother, who lived in Pittsburgh with the rest of the extended family, drove down to stay with me-he was my closest friend at the time, and he knew nothing of what took place on the honeymoon. I couldn’t bare to tell him.

One morning, while Greg and I were deciding where to go for breakfast, the surgeon called. I jumped when the phone rang. Dr. Lape went on to tell me that the cancer was in situ, localized and at Stage I. I was going to recover, survive…….besides myself with hope I phoned my then husband at work.

“It hasn’t spread, I will be okay, no chemo-they believe they got it all!.”

And for years, until I miscarried Dwain’s child, I was not privy to the information that would break my heart. The doctor told Karl, believing he would be the one to break the news.

“You just didn’t want to have children, you bitch.”

And that was the beginning of the end. I ran out the door, put the keys in my Chevette and drove. I put 100 miles on the speedometer, and ended up a mile from home-in the arms of the man I could no longer deny.

To be continued……..

The Lonely Nights Are Over….

Whilst hiking with my main man Jesse today, I was writing this blog in my head. I was hesitant to write this, as I know most of you out there are thinking: Two days…the dude was gone for TWO DAYS!! And, as expected, I have come to appreciate the quiet, the sleeping in a bed alone (really, we know who’s the bed slob now, I don’t move at all :)) But I miss his presence, the joy and laughter he brings, the smell of him….

Last evening I had my BFF over for dinner. Jason is very busy, and that had always been my reason for not asking him to socialize more often. However, lately I am drawn to his company, and he to mine. We met three years ago at work, where we were Direct Support Providers for those with Intellectual Disabilities, Autism, Down Syndrome….some of the very best moments in my life. It was love at first sight-the handsome man with the crazy sense of humor, who took his avocation very seriously, but knew when to laugh at the insanity of a day in the life of a case worker. He worked the overnight, and I would come in to relieve him-he would emerge from Earl’s (a former boxer who suffered from head trauma related dementia)room sweaty and exhausted. I brought him baked goods and cried the day he was transferred.

Before you think there’s no way this thing we have could be platonic, think again. Jason is gay, in a committed relationship-and I, as you all know, am head over heels in love with my husband, my Charlie Brown and Daniel Boone all wrapped up into one glorious heap of male anatomy. He gives me the shivas. 🙂

Back to Jason, who has absolutely everything in common with moi. We drove the exact same jeep, loved hiking (he has hiked the Appalachian Trail, twice) music, books, Jesus and food. We are both foodies who revel in the newest available spice, clean eating and more than a little chocolate. He is the Jeff to my Mutt, and I love him more than words could say.

I have always found comfort in my relationships with gay men. Not only is there no chance in hell of them hitting on you ((no offense to my female friends)) there is a commonality of compassion that I find extraordinarily lacking in the world these days. He hears me, but he listens on a level that most folks don’t. We hold hands when we walk, and cry over the injustice and hypocrisy that we see in this ever-changing landscape of humanity. Our hearts break in unison, and the comfort of knowing you have a friend who will always enlighten, uplift and behold you?

I am the luckiest woman alive…and for that I will give the glory to God.

I Wake Up Alone..

I wake up, go down for coffee and find his note. As I turn to the sink, I see it, the Pez dispenser we use like an Elf on the Shelf-sitting on the counter, meant to make me laugh. I cry crocodile tears instead, and move into the living room-where pictures of the two of us crowd the bay window, dining room table, grandmother’s desk.

Still, I am weeping. The Eagle flies over our home, as if to say, “You are not alone, not really, take heart.”

Dwain left for Pittsburgh today, at five a.m. A business convention, putting hundreds of miles between us-and we are forlorn. We have only been apart twice in our 27 years together-both hunting trips I begged him to go on, as I love him and want him to enjoy this life we live. The last was a trip to Idaho, I had bought him a stuffed penguin, and he sent pictures of himself, from Yellowstone, always with the toy-he didn’t tell me about the scary monsters until he returned. Wolves on every side of the canyon, howling at his shape meandering across the fields. I tell him I don’t want to know, I say it’s time you are home, I sigh with relief and go back to sleep. It is one in the morning and he has just returned from the airport.

“You didn’t even miss me, ” he says. I stare at him blankly, the idea of sleep lulling me towards our bed.

“What did you expect? That I would be drunk on the floor in a pool of blood?”
No, he says, but you could be more excited that I am home.

This time? I will scream from the rooftops, dance him an Irish jig, cling to the smell of him that makes me crazy and hot all in the same moment.

Wherever is your heart, I call home.