Oct 24, 2014

Well, I DID say I was "ready"...........

It's been a while since I blogged.  It's been a while since I felt like myself.  It's been a tumultuous and busy time.
 It's been quite a year.

God always hears you, and occasionally I even hear Him.  I could tell big changes were coming when I blogged about my 49th year.  I said I didn't know what was next but that I was "ready".  As always, He made me put my money where my mouth was.  

So, I found fulfillment helping loved ones on hospice care, something that once I thought about it, I had basically been doing in one way or another for many years.  I like it.  People find a peace once they get the worst news they possibly could.  You are there to help.  You cannot fix anything, and that takes the pressure off.  All you are there for is to, well, be there.  There is a joy and peace that comes to me in just helping them enjoy each day they have left.  Remembering, hearing their stories, sorting through pictures and getting their houses in order, so to speak.  What this entails is as individual as they are, and has always made me feel blessed.  Never more than this year.

Then I lost my job because of this, and almost had a nervous breakdown, but no cigar.  Thanks to constant reruns of Sex and The City and a 10 lb. bag of M&Ms, I held onto my sanity by my fingernails.  It took me 10 days to get over the shock.  But then I remembered that I had said I was ready.

So there I was with a house in the middle of a remodel I would now not be able to complete, and a new, improved relationship with my father that I was still working on, a new grandbaby, and two boys and two dogs who still depended on me to put food in front of them and keep them in clothes and rabies shots.  I can honestly say that I seriously considered just staying bed and seeing what happened.  For about a week I only got out of it to pretend like everything was fine until the boys went to school and then again when they came home.  But that was not really an option.  Even I knew that.  The angel forced me out of bed a couple of days, made me get dressed and then put me to work pounding nail out of boards that he wanted to re-use on a rental house.  He said mindless work was good for the soul.  He was right.  I also prayed a lot.  If I remember correctly, the prayer I prayed most often, through days and nights of not being able to sleep went like this:  
Dear God,
I don't even know what to do here. 
I mean, I don't even know how this happened.
God, I have no idea what to do, which way to go, how to proceed.
In fact, God, I don't even CARE what I should do, which way I should go, or whether I proceed or not!!!
I mean, this is really bad!!!!!
If you will just show me what you want me to do, I will do it!!!!
It doesn't even matter what it is!!
Just show me.
I will do it.
Fade to comatose, or perhaps even zombie-like state of consciousness.
NOT SLEEP.  Healing, restorative, the boon we all crave, sleep.

I began to feel some peace.  And then, I saw this post from Kelsey, which was about how when we are weak, then God can make us strong.  There is no doubt in my mind that it was meant for me to see, THEN, and I cannot thank her enough for doing it THEN, even though she had no idea what I was going through.  I would not be surprised if it has affected many others.  It made accepting the food, money and household items which my friends and loved ones kept piling on me MUCH easier to take without feeling an inch tall. I hate needing help!!!!  I give help, I do not need help.  Well.........okay, I needed help.  How could I need help??  Insert mad crying here, some kicking, screaming into pillows (so as not to disturb the kids or the neighbors).   Pride can be our worst enemy sometimes, and you should consider the blessing that those who are able to give receive as well as your own blessing in receiving such things.

Once I decided to go with the flow of these rapids in the river of my life, things got a lot easier.  Isn't that what I always say to do?  Sometimes we just have to take our own advice.  I have found out that I am a better giver than I am a receiver.  Who knew?  Shut up.  hahaha

So I grabbed the bull by the horns, called my dad and cried.  

He urged me, as he had been doing for the last year or more, to sell everything and move into his empty house down by my beloved "rock bottom river".  "Honey, just sell everything and come down here.  We'll take care of you."  He had to say it a few times as I considered turning my whole life upside down ("What life do you speak of, exactly?" said the voice in my head), weighed how the boys would take the news ("Do they have a choice?" that maddening voice continued) and wondered who in God's name would buy my house in the condition it was in (What about that stellar house flipper right here in town?" the voice shot down my every argument).  

I considered it seriously.  I had lots of family down there.  I had old friends who were still in the area.  I knew the lay of the land, I knew which way the wind blew.  I knew that no Democrat had held public office for many, many years.  (For the sake of honesty I must state here that I don't actually hate democrats. In fact, there are some that I love, but I would never give them my checkbook.   I do actually hate the tax rate increases they constantly burden the rest of us, and even themselves with.  I'm not even going to mention what they did to insurance, because I don't think I have to.  Bless their little suicidal hearts.  And as long as we're on the subject, for God's sake, don't forget to vote!!!)  I literally could no longer afford to live where I was anyway, and now I would never be able to even keep up, which is all I had been doing for years.  I had to face the truth.

I started seeing it all happen, if only I had the guts to take the first step.  If.  All I had to do was pick up the phone and offer a good business man a good deal.  Even though I did not feel in a position of strength.  Just pick up the phone and see what happened.  That's all.  Just ask.

So I took the biggest step and called the stellar guy. He bought my house within a week.  He came and looked at that mess and didn't blink an eye.  Score one for having the guts to take a chance.  When you are too scared to start, just tell yourself that it doesn't hurt to ask.  It really doesn't hurt.  AT ALL.

I broached the subject with the boys, who took it better than I had hoped.  After all, it wasn't like we were moving to somewhere they had never been before or didn't know anyone.

Then things just started coming together.  Like, within a month I had packed up or sold most of everything I had ever owned, and lost 15 pounds.  My brother rented a U-Haul, drove 5 hours up to help us load it, turned right around, got right back in the truck, and took us home.  There he helped us unload and then drove the U-Haul back and went to his own home in the early hours of the morning.  He would not accept a dime and his only comment was "No big deal.  You keep your money, you'll need it."  This was AFTER he had bought me enough canned goods, dry goods and goodies to last me almost a year.  Yeah.  Somebody's getting a Superman shirt for Christmas this year.   I guess if I hadn't agreed to it he and my dad would have somehow forced me in a scheme to make me think it was all my idea.  They know me that well.  But I was sensible and rode the rapids.  It's just how we roll.  Eventually. Once we run out of M&Ms at least.

See that fog ahead?  This is a perfect metaphor for my life during the month of August in 2014.

At no other time in my life would I have accepted help from Dad.  I would even go so far as to say that at no other time in my life was he in a position to offer it.  The last few years I knew God was working in my life, but I was unclear on what he wanted me to do.  He slammed the door shut on the one thing I thought was stable in my life and left me no other choice but to do what I would never have done on my own.  Even though I almost had a nervous breakdown and could possibly have let it go and just kept eating M&Ms and watched crap tv until the men in white coats came to take me away, in retrospect it was one of the BEST thing that has ever happened to me.  I'm not even going to go into the relief I feel on a daily basis when I think about still going into that building and sitting all day, every day, getting more out of shape and more hateful by the hour.  Because that would be beneath me.  It really would.  I thank God that is no longer my life.

Instead, now I drive into town on roads that look like this.

Admire scenery like this.

 A trip to the park.
 In the foreground of this shot is a memorial to George Washington Carver, who started his education here.
 There are fish and ducks to feed.

Southern Missouri is recognizable by the running water everywhere, over rocks that makes the water look clear
 All of these were taken at the city park in Neosho, Missouri.
I have always loved the houses made from the stones that occur naturally in the area.

Once you live near running water, you will never feel at home away from it.  The noise it makes, the way the sun dances off of it, the sense of purpose.  It never leaves you.  It marks your soul and makes you realize how fast time is always moving.

When I get bored, I try to figure out that the house at up these stairs looks like.  One day I will find the street it is on from the other side, on the top of the hill.  I figure it will be easier than climbing all those stairs and scaring them to death unexpectedly, or getting thrown back down them.  

See those stairs on the left side of the picture?
They lead to this house.  It's all you can see with the leaves on the trees, but it looks like it would be worth the climb, were you rude enough to invade their privacy, which I am not.
But it looks REALLY COOL!!!!  Perhaps someday I will "know" this house.

On my way back home I get to go by this, which is one of my favorite parts.  It's a civil war fence, which confederate soldiers hid behind during the war right outside of Newtonia, and where cannon balls and spoons and such are still uncovered when the field behind is plowed each spring.

Ok, it's beginning to fall apart in places, but have some respect, it's OLD.

To top it all off, this stands at the courthouse where I registered to vote.

What's not to love?  I was meant to be here!!
If all that were not enough, which it is, this is my view, from the front porch in my little village.
A calm place to be, where I can hear the voices of my youth and see the people who knew me when.  Before I was an adult or anybody's mother.  When I was just me.  The people who knew you when you were young always will.  That's a fact.

From the driveway.  That field just got bailed and contains cows.  I like cows.

So life goes on.  Growing up with a father from SW Missouri and a mother from NE Missouri, (part hill-billy, part WASP) my heart was always split.  No matter how glad I was to be going to one place, I was always sad to be leaving the other.  You can't be two places at once, but two places can share equal space in your heart.  To choose one over the other would be impossible.  It would be like loving one child more than another.  Impossible.  You love each one for different things, in different ways, but not more than any other.  There is room for both.  Now there is time for both.  I remain ready, and God continues His work on me.  Here I have time and space to consider just what I have been readied for, and I thank Him for it.  I wouldn't change a single thing that has brought me here.  They boys have settled in and are learning to love two places at the same time also.  This has only added to their lives, not taken anything away. The dogs seem happy too, although they seem terrified to leave the yard, which only works in my favor.  Even that loose end has been tied up.  Only God, as Patty would say.  Only God could have done all this.