What the World Needs Now

I had a good day in the ER today, Friday the 13th or not.  This day has always been a good day for me, despite the fear and loathing attached to it.  We were slow today, and that gave me more time to spend with the patients, which brings me to the reason for this blog.  I am seeing so much legalism, judgement and outright hatred coming from people who profess to be “Christians.”  As a matter of fact, it has become so harsh in social media land that I have had to unfriend a handful of people, and these are the very souls that profess to be lovers of all things Christ.

I am a sinner.  I have come a very long way, but I remain a sinner.  I have asked God to guard me against every snare, but I am a victim of my own mind, and when I catch myself judging others, well, I feel shame and 9 out of 10 times?  I have been guilty of the same behavior that irritates me in others.  Today we admitted a woman who had driven straight into a pole, and she was accompanied by the police and EMTs.  She was my age, actually, one year younger.  Her words were slurred and she gave the police officer a hard time about having her blood drawn.  The cop repeated the charges, the protocol, and the penalties attached-at least three times.  I stood there, waiting for her to lose it, as she was none to happy with, well, anyone in the ER.  The nurses whispered, we all came to the same conclusion:  Something is off, she is guilty as sin, how could she have driven with so much medication in her system?  Ambien and Seroquel (relatively strong sedatives) were taken “by mistake.”  She had taken her evening pills in the morning, rather than her vitamins.  Likely story…….

And later, long after the police and EMTs had gone, I stepped into her room.  She had sobered up and I sat at the side of her bed.  Knowing I had words to comfort, I told her the story of an accident many years ago-I had gone out after Thanksgiving dinner, to meet my incredibly irresponsible friend, Bonnie.  I had exactly three dollars in my purse, and we were to meet at 8 p.m. at Houlihan’s.  I was driving my mother’s brand new car, and some time around 11 p.m., I passed the Upper Merion Township building, at 100 mph.  A police chase ensued, and I hit a tree in the center of a field.  I was dazed, but emerged from the car injury free.  It wasn’t until I tripped and hit my head on the torn metal that I cracked my forehead open.  I was walking the street a bloody mess, until the police found me and took me to the Emergency Room.

My parents were called, and when they arrived they were FURIOUS.  It wasn’t until my bloodwork came back free of alcohol that they calmed down.  Drugs of the mickey variety were foundI thought back to the evening, and all I remembered was sitting with a man I had worked with years ago.  I remembered walking outside, I needed some air.  He was with me at that point.  To this day I have no recollection of the hours between nine and eleven.  And let’s just say I know I was drugged, and this time it wasn’t my fault.

The woman began to tear up, then all of the emotion and severity of the situation-the fact that her husband was due any moment, she had to call her insurance company, she was mortified-it all welled up and came out in bits and pieces of hysteria.  Tears dripped down her cheeks; I gave her the number of an attorney.

My point is this:  we are to love one another, (often not easy, often not the case) without judging.  If you are a follower of Christ you should be filled with joy, compassion and a peace that surpasses all understanding.  We are living in the NEW TESTAMENT.  You will know the real Christians by their unabashed love for others, their words, their actions.  I don’t believe that Jesus cares if I cover my head during worship, or if I listen to Hillsong Bethel Music (some say a cult) to worship-he cares about what is in my heart, my devotion to him as my Lord and Savior-and how I treat others, specifically every person I come into contact with.  I am not preaching to the choir, I am singing a song of love, compassion and hope.

Scooter’s Had Enough……

I had my share of boyfriends in high school; as a matter of fact, despite my self-hatred, I attracted the captain of Upper Merion’s Crew team, and by that I mean I hunt him down and used every flirty trick in the book to get him to notice me.  I have always been the aggressor in relationships.  Fact is?  The guys never, ever asked me out, until Villanova-my  freshman year-I was out to prove I wasn’t what I truly believed I was-nothing.

My history with boys was this:  I would pretend to be whatever they were looking for, and in doing so, I lost myself.  I was a follower, a tag-along, a gypsy with no real tribe…but I always had a man in my life because I thought I couldn’t do without one.  To this day, I have dreams that I am man-less, and they are nightmares.  I wake up shaken, lost, and feeling an emptiness that cannot be put in words.  After so many years in therapy, I never quite grasped the reason, and to this day?  I’m thinking it was my need to have a man, any man, interested in and devoted to me only-father stuff if you will.  However, this was not the case on a college campus in the eighties.  The wrong men wanted me and I wanted what I couldn’t have…..it all came to an ugly head one afternoon, when I entered the apartment of my current boyfriend-he just happened to live with my ex.

“Hey Scooter!!!!!,” my last flame (and by that I mean FLAME, I was head over heels in lust, and our flame burned brightly, if only for a few months)

“What did you just call me?,” I asked.  Butch was an instigator, a character, a comedian, and that was part of the draw for me.

“Uh, that’s kind of your nickname in this house,” he responded, a smile creeping up on the right side of his face, he could hardly contain his joy at the time.

Butch went on to tell me that the name ‘Scooter’ was picked because I “scooted from one man to another.”  I had never had a nickname in my life, with the exception of my father calling me ‘Shoof”- apparently that is the sound I made when I sat down as a toddler.  I would sit down after playing and make this, I-am-so-exhausted noise, and it tickled my dad….Anyhooser, I was appalled. 

“Excuse me, but let me make this perfectly clear-you have seven roommates, and I have dated only ONE of these men.  How dare you?  Aren’t you the one who left me because of your desire to date a real whore?  I mean, who the hell are you to judge ME?”

Butch took me to the Senior Dinner Dance, where we danced to ‘Double Dutch Bus” at least ten times, making the DJ run for cover when we appeared, falling down drunk, to make a request.  He made me laugh at myself, and I needed that at the time.  He ended up leaving me for the town floozy, but we “dated” on and off for years.  Usually, we would run into each other at a party or bar, and being the doormat I was at the time?  I would fall for his persuasions each and every time.

I remained smitten, and moving on was hard.  Really hard.  Until the evening, years after graduation (he graduated, I did not) my friends and I went down to South Street, Philadelphia for a night on the town.  Butch was managing the bar we were in, and I saw him through my peripheral vision approaching us.  I will never, ever forget his outfit.  It was a silk jumpsuit with chains, heavy gold chains around his neck.  I had never seen anything so ridiculous in my life.  And that, my friends, is how Scooter got her groove back~

 

 

 

 

 

Home….

cropped-15095550_1812089809073862_3374301090125037312_n.jpgWe are finally here.  Up in the Adirondack Mountains, near lake Pleasant, in the sleepy little town of Wells, New York.  If there are two people who need a vacation, it is my husband and myself.   We began the trip with an argument, which stemmed from my hysteria about leaving my home.  I like to take my time and make sure I have everything.  Dwain likes to leave in such a hurry, that I fear he may spontaneously combust.

Aside from the fact that we were pulled over for a speeding (my weed was right there, in the front seat, my pipe in my purse.  I don’t think I took a breath for ten minutes straight- and after reviewing my husband’s driver’s license, the state trooper asked us this question:

“Can you two tell me what that white powdery substance is in that bag?”

I kid you not.  We looked at one another, completely oblivious to what he possibly could have meant, and we both turned our gaze to the silverware, wrapped in a white napkin, that my husband mistakenly took from a restaurant and has planned on returning since.

After receiving a $250 fine, plus points, we were told to have a great vacation.  The trooper followed us for twenty miles, and it wasn’t until he took an exit ramp that we both screamed- OH MY GOD IN HEAVEN HOW SCARY WAS THAT?????????

I am not a pot head by any stretch of the imagination, I only use it for my CPTSD, but because my career in donating to the Columbian drug cartels only began a few years ago.  I am patiently awaiting availability, as it has been legal in the state for a year, but very little progress has been made.  Hey, it’s Pennsylvania…

So I am sitting here, underneath the amazing pines, on a deck in the forest.  I was born in New York, and I have had the distinct feeling that I am home again, for the first time in way too long.  I brought my father’s ashes, as I couldn’t spread them when my siblings did; fifteen years ago in nearby Lake George.  I knew if I had gone on that trip that my drinking would have led to a very tense, if not tragic melee.  I feel grounded and at peace, and today I saw my very first waterfall-I cried for twenty minutes, the beauty too much for me to contain in my heart.

I won’t be on social media.  I refuse to look at my phone.  No checking of emails.  God is speaking to me and this is what he wants: for me to start concentrating on the good, the pure, the lovely, the laughter-no more tears for now.  I feel as if I am at the precipice of hope, and I know more clearly than ever that Jesus takes such great care to give us these incomprehensible blessings~and I want you to know, He loves you more than you could ever dream, or imagine.

My husband told me this morning that our neighbors were gone for the day.  He has been cavorting whilst naked, fell off the deck (long story) and thrown caution to the wind.  He just approached me with the news that the women have, in fact, been home the entire day.  I have to go, I’m in hysterics……….chow.

I Will Survive………..

As we prepare for vacation, the vacation that was supposed to be a family affair, my heart is heavy.  This sounds like a ridiculous statement, especially considering the hurricanes that have devastated Mexico, Puerto Rico, Texas and Louisiana.  But you see, this only adds to my feelings of despair.

On the phone with my brother yesterday (he really gets me, inside and out, and for that I am incredibly grateful) we discussed the reasons for my anxiety and heartache.  Part of this is an inability to enjoy the good things in life, I am not comfortable with them.  Set on a path of destruction early on in life, I remain my own worst enemy.  But it is so much more than that.  I hate leaving my home, no matter what the destination.  This is the first real vacation my husband and I have ever been on, so why so glum chum?

Trying to pack with a sinus infection, my head throbbing and tears streaming down my cheeks-I find t-shirts I had packed in June, so excited to vacation with my brother, sister and extended family.  These t-shirts were pulled out and put back.  No reason to wear them.  I had dreamed of Craig and I singing together, charades, swimming, getting close to my nieces and nephew.  It wasn’t to be, and the fact or even idea of going to the Adirondack mountains?  It’s just too much for me to bear at this moment in time.

But what if we could turn what could have been into what is and what will be?  I know we need to get away, and even more than that?  We need to relax, as it’s been a roller coaster of a Summer.  Talks of the Tribulation, Rapture (not happening folks, not for years yet-and my source is pretty reliable) and the hideous goings on in this world make me want to bury my head in the sand and cry out to God.

Somehow, some way, He will lead me to a place of peace.  For He knows better than anyone that when I am weak, only then am I strong.

More of You in My Life……

Well, this morning I flew down to Lititz for my orientation and paperwork-I will be working at the Heart of Lancaster, as an Emergency Room volunteer.  Just yesterday, I was trying to think of ways to get out of the meeting for today-I haven’t felt well, but more than that I have been living in a state of mistrust and fear.  Any person suffering with CPTSD will tell you that trusting people is the most difficult thing for one to do, and I am no exception.  My golden retriever is my therapy dog, in every sense of the words.  I feel a state of angst when I am not with him, and I have a touch of agoraphobia.  All of this I have given to him, or so I thought.

Throughout the last month, I have bonded with Missy Deibler, the head of the volunteer department and the hospital chaplain.  Today, she wasn’t her bubbly self, and she confided in me about some health issues that would put me on my knees in despair.  I won’t betray her trust, but she told me that since a bad virus last year (HELP ME JESUS-I DON’T WANT THIS VIRUS-EVER!!!!) that left her unable to smell or taste food.  To a foodie like me?  Well, that would be so crushing a fate, I can’t imagine not tasting food as there isn’t a food group I am not comfortable with.  In all actuality my diet consists of chocolate, fruit and some protein.  I digress……

I tend to look at others as if their life is perfect, and mine is underwhelming.   Until today-when Abba showed me in real time how bad it really could be.  I will take my afflictions over hers, any day.  And her confession only served to make me like her more, relate on a totally different level.

“We are having a service in the chapel at 10:30, if you would like to stay,” she kindly offered.

Before getting up to head in that direction, I ran into a man I went to church with years ago.  He played in our Worship Team Band, and I hadn’t seen him for awhile.  Eventually, he did remember me.  So, I walk into the hospital chapel, and there he is, Ron, sitting with his guitar-we strike up a conversation.  What transpired next cannot be called coincidence, and I can’t divulge the info, but suffice it to say it affected me very, very deeply.  In the end, there were four of us worshipping, and Missy asked that we bring our prayer requests or praises out into the open.  I am quite shy when it comes to praying out loud-I remain nervous and think I will sound lame, or even worse, not like a Christian should.  It was my turn-everyone had spoken really moving prayers, conveying love, discipleship and concern. 

“I want to thank Missy for inviting me to this service.  And I am incredibly excited to be a part of this ministry……..(sob, sob, SOB) I have been so lonely and I am not good at asking for help.”

PUT THE NEEDLE ON THE RECORD, DJ!  Did I really just spew my insecurity and mental health issues in front of my future boss and coworkers?  I expected judgement.  I was waiting for a sigh of disgust.  I wanted to banish myself from the kingdom.  Instead, the chaplain-Missy- put her hand on mine, and held it for the rest of the service.  I took a deep breath on my way out, as people approached me for hugs and kind words.

As sure as my middle name is Ellen, I know in my heart that the Holy Spirit led me to these modern day saints, into a ministry of helping others whose pain is oh so much worse than my own.

How Shelly Got Her Groove Back….

I promise, not one word about fleas, spiritual warfare, or snakes in my kitchen.  Not a peep about my “family of origin” issues (isn’t that a crazy name for a condition, aka, my family made me crazy………?)

Had a talk with the man upstairs.  Of course, this was done after smoking Mary Jane with my dealer, and gal pal extraordinaire.  It doesn’t matter what time of day, what kind of mood I’m in…….how good the weed is-I find myself extremely stoned each and every time I visit.  I use cannabis for medical purposes for my CPTSD.  I .  It hits me hard and  I am literally incapacitated by the grass, I step down off the stoop, I am walking sideways-shoot, better straighten up, don’t need no trouble with Mr. Fuzz…….I am walking in an L shape even after I try to stand tall, I am walking down the street bent over at my waist….oh, that’s right, I have to drive.  Shit.  I find myself unparallel parking, as a random neighbor has boxed me in-we were the only two cars on the street and I scoff.

“That’s all I need.” I better not do a U-turn, just drive all the way down the block, finding that there is no exit, it is a cul de sac and children are everywhere.

I want my life back, Jesus.  What happened to the joy I took at even saying hello to people at the supermarket?  Cashiers I have known for twenty years would stand and smile and talk on and on about the weather, our crummy jobs we’ve had and even, oh even once in a while what their deepest concerns were.  I love people.  I want to be the smile in the room when nobody’s watching, one of the reasons people choose love over hate, an example of human endurance and running the race, walking this journey we call life.  I don’t want to break my spirit watching videos of gloom and doom; my eyes are wide open-or at least as wide as I am willing to open them at this juncture.  I am ready, really and truly ready to fight again.  Full throttle, in your face, love will be thrown in the direction of my enemies.  And forgiveness because I need it for my own well being.

And as randomly as it disappeared, my confidence returns.  I feel joy, peace and my-I won’t call it sunny, but friendly disposition is returning.  My mission is set out for me, and this time I am not about to let God down.

Next Thursday at 2100 hours I will begin my ministry at the Heart of Lancaster Hospital in Lititz, Pennsylvania.  The same ministry I was called to two weeks ago, only this time  my background checks are clean, my attitude is back, and I’m running the distance, I’m going for speed…………

Brand New Dandy, First Class Candy…

Today is a day of heavy rain, but not necessarily a heavy heart.  The house is back to silence, which leaves me to reflect on the journey, and why it happened the way it did.  With all of the pain in this world, it is often frightening to stray from home base, but there are times when God puts you on your knees.  He puts you in a stronghold to protect, enlighten and bring glory to His throne.

I have noticed, over the years, that the worse the relationship was with my narc, the more paranoid I became in general.  What is wrong with me?  Why do I think everyone hates me, doesn’t believe me, or worse-thinks I am unworthy?  Where did those thoughts originate?  In my heart of hearts, I believe first my mother and then my sister, or should I say the Jezebel Spirit, put them there.  She sets out to find you in your weakest, most vulnerable, brokenness.  She will then comfort and soothe, love bomb and caress.  There there, I will take care of things, you are not capable.  There there, just think and say as I do, allow me complete authority and control over you, there there, this will only hurt for a minute……..and then, after she does something loving, a sweet gesture like a gift, or a compliment.  You are ensnared in her trap.  Aww.  Why was I angry with her in the first place?  Man, she was right, I am bipolar………..why would I think my own blood would not love and cherish me?  And, trusting once again, despite millions of reasons not to, she is gone.  You have been abandoned and left to the wolves of regret.  Why did I trust her again?  How could I have been so foolish?  Until one day, well, the JS just rolls you right over.  She shatters your already fractured mind, and you can’t tell anyone, because you have been protecting her for twenty years.  And she will do her best to play the victim to your bullying…….the martyr…….her heart is one of ice and stone, she rages at the truth, slaughters you body, mind and soul.

  What have I DONE?  She leaves you to stew and stew about what you could possibly have done but love her?  You made amends when you got sober, what could be so horrible that she would shun you for weeks, months, Summers…….and it was always you who would send the missive, always in the Fall:

Hey, it’s me.  I think we need to have a talk……after months and months of discard, she manipulates you into thinking you have broken a holy oath of sorts, yet in your weeping you know that nothing, nothing but love has been hurled in her direction.

And then, God forbid, you get sober.  The relationship begins its downward spiral around that time.  When you find a career you love and are good at, when you are finally a CNA, then EMT………and she says to you:

“Michele, isn’t that just glorified babysitting.??” And your heart jumps and lands somewhere between your shoes and last night’s popcorn spill.  I am unworthy.  I am nothing.  I am unlovable.  I will never be a success.  You don’t drink any more, but you have to self harm.  The ugly and mortifying habit is merciless in its compulsion, a form of anxiety mixed with obsessive compulsive behavior.  Your depression worsens, you are sick in bed for weeks at a time, you have lost your will to live, your drive to go on. 

Things go from bad to worse.  They climax over a conspiracy theory and an Adirondack vacation.  You are filled with angst and malaise.  You grieve the loss, then realize you should have been grieving twenty years ago, because that is when you lost the girl, and gained a shell of bitterness, a perpetuating melancholy……and you spend your Summer breaking free, sorting through the chaos with your brother, coming to a place of self-acceptance, peace in your heart, you realize that she is as lost to you as the stars at night.  And you sigh, and pick up the pieces of your shattered psyche…….and make the decision to fight for a loving and peaceful life, with your beloveds, your husband and Jesus.  

Be a lion.  End the cycle of narcissistic abuse and CPTSD.

 

 

It ends here and it ends now.  She cannot have my soul, but she has my love, not Jezebel, no, the twisted sister I left behind.  I pray she finds peace.  I pray she seeks help.  I hope that God will heal her heart and soul.  I pray she learns to let go and let Abba.  And I pray for God’s divine will to be accomplished in her life.

The opposite of love is hate.  Period.