It doesn’t matter how pretty the words are…

It’s never more apparent to me that I don’t belong than on a Sunday morning.

It doesn’t matter how pretty the words are, how “right” they sound, or even what the other person says, if her actions don’t say the same thing, her actions speak louder and clearer than words ever could.

It hurts, and I’m tired of hurting.

I feel torn and I don’t see any solution right now. And goodness knows, I’m a mess and bring all that to the table which no doubt complicates things, but I don’t believe anymore that it’s all me.

So tell me, what criteria do you use when looking for a church?

Busy, Dogs, Instant Access, Panic Attacks

photo (5)Life’s been busy. For whatever reason, writing has not been an easy for the past few months wherever I’ve tried to write…it’s been like banging my head into a wall. It’s been a little easier the past few weeks offline, so we’ll see how it goes here.

Luke and Leia have adjusted to life without Lucy even if I still occasionally look for her in the middle of the night. Luke was diagnosed with cancer in June. It’s fast spreading and there’s not much to be done, other than to keep him comfortable. So far, he is doing okay and does not seem to be in any discomfort.

One of the drawbacks I believe to the instant-information-age we live in is that we think sometimes we know the whole story about a situation or news event when in reality we don’t…we merely know whatever our media outlet of choice is sharing with us, and that information can, and often does, change minute by minute if a situation is ongoing. I can feel myself drawn in and then tossed around as the updates come, anxiety building.

I’m beginning to think that’s not necessarily healthy.

Not that we shouldn’t be informed about what’s going on, but rather that we sit obsessed and brooding over situations (1) that we have no control over; (2) where facts are not being presented but rather ever-changing guesses about what’s happening; and (3) that are emotionally charged and volatile.

Anyway.

I’ve written before here about how Sunday mornings tend to be stressful for me and that hasn’t changed. Last Sunday morning I had a panic attack during church. Yes, there was a trigger. No, it wasn’t the message. It’s only Friday and I can already feel the anxiety building. I don’t really know if I can go back after it or not. The memories and trying to process through them continues to be difficult. Some days I feel like I’m riding an emotional roller coaster…and I’m not enjoying it.

the Sunday morning debate

I debated a great deal with myself this morning about whether or not I was going to church. Even though in my head the reasons to not go outweighed the reasons to go (aside from the best reason to go which I thought about later), I went to church and am thankful I did.

Sunday mornings are always hard on me, in the best of circumstances.

This Sunday came after a tough experience at the Friday night service (comments) and a hard realization about a “friend” yesterday.

The easy path would have been to stay home and hide.

I’ve been taking the easy path for a long time. To anyone looking at me, I appeared to be functioning and fine, while inside I was frozen and incomplete.

Over the past several weeks, fine and functioning are no longer working and if all the crying and waves of strong emotions are any indication, nothing is frozen. It’s awkward and uncomfortable, and even if I’m right and this is where God is leading me,  out of that place where I shut myself down and forgot myself, I am unsure, and every thought and feeling feel unfamiliar and uncomfortable. I would prefer to wait until I’ve figured it out, until I’m healed up more and put back together more.

But it doesn’t appear that there’s any other way to find the truth and with it my heart, than to experience and discover the truth of it’s leading me. But what if this is all wrong? What is the right way to go? What if I’m just imagining all this? Imagining it as an alternative to ending it all?

It’s easier to be strong and to not need. To not feel. Feelings are not reliable, so throw them aside, push them down. The problem is that there’s a part of myself that gets thrown to the wayside as well when I make that choice. And I am not convinced it’s right either.

So maybe taking the easy path is not the best option anymore, maybe it’s time to take the harder path and hold hard to faith, trusting that quiet “voice” that says to keep going even though it hurts.

thoughts on a Monday morning

I don’t belong.

It’s too raw. The two people who do know (because I’m stupid) are uncomfortable around me, often unable to look me in the eye or say much, and especially in a crowd. It’s agonizing because others read those reactions and respond in kind without even thinking about it.

I fight with the anxiety and make it into the building Sunday morning, believing it is the right thing to do.

No one greets me during the greeting time. Or the friend I’ve brought along with me to visit.

No one helps when we don’t have the insert in the bulletin for the responsive reading, either one of us, or when I go looking for one so we can participate.

No one speaks to us as we slip out at the end.

I assure my friend (who knows just enough) that it’s me, not her.  Over lunch we make small talk about my agoraphobia and our mutual hard, painful losses and how they have permanently scarred us.

The first time I ever said the words “I was raped” out loud, the person (one of the two who do know) had no response, not a word, nothing. I felt deep shame for having told. To this day I struggle with talking, preferring to write instead. Because talking about private family business was not allowed back then and consequences dire if it did happen.

No response should have told me something.

It’s not even that there’s anything to be said or done, not now with so time having passed. It’s more about not feeling so alone, so raw in the middle of dealing with it all.

I believed, perhaps foolishly, that facing the truth would bring freedom.

Instead I feel shame.

Shame that it happened. Shame that I’m so repulsive to others because it happened. Shame because I’m so obviously an outcast and unwanted.

Alone.

We meet for coffee

We meet for coffee.

It hurts.

The one person I thought I could confide in, who encouraged me to confide with promises that it would not change anything and that it wasn’t “too much.”

Promises that turn out to be empty and false.

Tentative attempts to talk rebuffed with “you need to trust God more.”

I feel afresh the shame, the regret, the feelings that it was wrong to talk so ingrained for so many years by similar events…tell someone, ask for help, they promise it will be okay, they disappear and become distant.

The tip, though, happened…at church. The person who had done a Bible study with me every Saturday, who had slipped in and sat next to me Sunday after Sunday for over a year stopped acknowledging me. The irony being because I thought she was busy with the children’s care during church, I didn’t even know…until she told me she sat behind me one Sunday (via email), and yet had made no attempt to contact me…no touch on the shoulder as she passed behind me, not one word before I slipped out, nothing.

Then the comments from others like “are you ever going to be okay?” began to take on new meaning and pain.

And if I get an email, phrases like “I hope you’re okay emotionally” ring false and sting.

Once a month we meet for coffee, if she remembers.

It hurts.

32 days

I’m waiting for my new washing machine to be delivered…when I went to buy it yesterday I asked for afternoon delivery and was told it would be between 8 and noon. When I asked for closer to 8 I received “the look” and was told the delivery person would call me in the morning and give me a general idea.
It’s approaching 9:30 and I haven’t heard anything yet.

Since I’m grateful that it’s free delivery, hookup and take-away of the broken machine, I’m just going to be patient especially because I really have no control over what time it arrives.

The weather has also been changing these past few days announcing fall in the desert. Obviously, after a summer of triple digit temperatures and horrible humidity, I’m grateful for soft breezes and temperatures in the double digits. I enjoy the idea of falling leaves and warm colors like pumpkins, bright orange and yellow leaves, and spicy brownish colors like nutmeg and cinnamon…and the smells of fall when baking becomes rediscovered after the hot summer.

Even as I eagerly anticipate all of those things (my pecan tree is still full of leaves), I also dread this time of year. It’s dark later in the morning and earlier in the evenings. There are not many good memories of this time of year from my past. Everyone I loved died in the dark coldness of fall/winter.

And, the holidays* are coming quickly…32 days. No matter what anyone says, holidays are family events. So the next few months will be a constant reminder of all that’s been lost. Add in some realizations of significant changes in relationships** and some new changes coming and I’m having lots of ups and downs lately, although the ups are few and far between and the downs are pretty down.

It’s hard knowing what’s worth fighting for and what just needs to be let go at times. I spent some time with someone recently and realized after that the other person’s impatience with me probably communicated the answer to me in that particular situation. I can also “read” the signs with a few others. I was appalled earlier this week when I realized someone had been “put up” to contacting me. I’m not a project. I will not be outsourced unless I’m involved in the decision. So while I’m not retreating, quickly, it’s also been a vivid reminder of the stupidity of trusting people and trying to be honest and transparent with anyone.

I promised myself I would not endure another holiday season alone and miserable.

32 days.

*FYI I do not consider Halloween to be a holiday.
**Having nothing to do with WWF or anything like that…

There’s a Fine Line

My pastor shared a message about “technolatry” last Sunday.

I was not in attendance but due to the wonders of technology I was able to listen to it via the church website this morning.

I’ve written before about my love/hate relationship with social media. I’m leaning towards the hate at the moment, mostly because I’m frustrated overall these days. I also believe that it’s so easy to get caught up in the gadgets that my focus becomes skewed and they control me not the other way around. (Hello days a few years ago when I planned things around Farmville….)

One of the things he said (rather strongly) was regarding the misuse of email and/or texting to avoid face-to-face serious conversations and/or confrontations (this would be my paraphrase, he said it much more eloquently).

I’ve thought about that quite a bit today, and I don’t agree totally with him. I think there are some things that should only be a face-to-face conversation. No one should break up with someone via any social media tool or via email.  I know there have even been times when I’ve said much to my surprise that an email conversation was not the best avenue of discussion because the subject was very painful and sensitive and I was not able to “read” the other person via email.

I also know that it’s dangerous (and possibly stupid) to write and emotionally charged email and send it at the height of emotion. Some things are best written, left until the next day, and then sent or revised and sent or deleted…whichever is appropriate.

But I also believe that there are some things that are so painful and difficult to talk about that email may become the safest route for doing so…because if I’m sharing something that hard and feel rejected by a look or a tone (whether real or perceived) it can be very damaging.

I’ve had a lot happen in my life over the past two years and it’s been incredibly difficult and painful.

{Bird walk} Today I am acutely aware that I am alone in the world. No matter what anyone tells you, nothing can make up for immediate family. Nothing, no matter how dysfunctional they are. Alone with no one is a very tough spot. No one to talk  you down, no one to tell you it’s going to be okay, no one to sit with you and be quiet, no one to cry with you or tell you to stop being silly…no one there. Rarely does an hour go by that I don’t miss my twin and that connection we shared. Rarely does a night go by that I don’t wish that someone cared whether I live or die. Rarely does a day go by when I don’t wonder what will happen when I die because there’s no one left but me. {End of bird walk}

I have shared extensively via email and perhaps I have over-shared. Because I’m aware of comments that no one knows get back to me and even more so of looks and actions. I’m also not oblivious to the tone in emails which would devastate me if they were to happen in person.

It’s confusing because I also was encouraged to share. Via email.

Lately, the response to emails has been minimal, if at all.

No response is a response.

There’s a fine line.