Monday, March 15, 2010

Momma Bear, Father God

"A mother bear with cubs is at their most aggressive state... Mother bears are dedicated to their cubs, yet stern so they learn to survive out on their own when they are old enough. "

How does the Momma Bear protect her young from empathy? How does she protect her young from the pain she feels herself? The frustration of the unpredictability of MS? The physical pain as well as the depression and anxiety?

Last night Julia was asking me what the weather would be like today so she could have her clothes ready to go in the morning. I simply said T-shirt and jeans should work. I was in the middle of putting fresh sheets on my bed and I was limping around with leg pain. She knew I was not feeling well, but I was trying to keep up a front, at least until she got upstairs. She saw right though me. I turned back to put the blanket on the bed and she fell into tears. After a few minutes she was able to tell me that she hated it when I did not feel well. I could see the worry in her eyes. We have slowly started to see her understand exactly what MS means to our family. I told her that it was ok to be upset and it was ok to cry, but that we needed to let go of these worries and not let them consume us. We needed to realize there would be good days and bad days. I told her I was not a quitter and that this was not going to get the best of me. We came up with a solution to her worries. She was to go upstairs and write down all the feelings she was having and then to take a deep breath with each one. When she released that breath she was to release that worry. I told her to picture blowing that worry right out of her body.

I though this was going to be successful, until a little while later when James went upstairs to tuck them in. I asked him to take a couple extra minutes with her and see if she would open up. The tears and sobs came pouring out...he was able to calm her after a while, but my heart was broken. One of my most favorite things about Julia is her ability to empathize with people. She has had this quality all her life and I find it so admirable. But with that quality can come the weight of the world on her shoulders.

How do I teach my child empathy as well as the ability to let go? How do I teach her not to feel what I am feeling? How do I give her these tools when I feel so ill-equipped to handle it all myself? Where do I put these feelings of pain, anxiety, & disappointment? Do I just keep putting on that smiley face and charge forward? These are the things that rattle in my brain at 3:30 am...trying to fix the my world in the darkness. No sleep makes for a vulnerable Momma Bear.

My friend Lori gave me a book called "Streams in the Desert" (such a great devotional as my Auntie Jo also gave me this same book a few years ago) and today's reading is from Isaiah. "Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob...I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp with many teeth" Isaiah 41:14-15 Now just reading this on the surface I thought what the heck does that mean? The devotional goes on to say that God can take a worm (a delicate and easily bruised creature) and make it into a threshing tool that can cut through rock and not be broken. He can take an individual who has the weakness of a worm and with His Spirit endow that person with strength enough to make a profound mark on history. It goes on to say that a "worm" should take heart as God can makes us stronger than our circumstances and turn each situation to our good.

This seems especially fitting today. My heart hurts for my sweet Julia. My body hurts me. My mind is not where is should be. Therefore, I hand it all willingly over to the only One who can take it from me and I try to let it go.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

In honor of Karla

I have been struggling the past week and a half to find words to describe how I feel about my high school friend's passing. I have wanted to write my thoughts down and let them go. I have sat many times to write and the words just do not come to me.

I am conflicted in many of my thoughts. I want to be mad, sad...I want to kick and scream from the rooftop that LIFE IS NOT FAIR!! I want to curl into a ball and cry...I want this to be a bad dream. At the same time I feel like I need to run out and grab life by the horns and give it a good shake. I need to live the moment...smell the flowers, enjoy the sunshine and then the pitter patter of the rain. I need to squeeze my babies and fill them with every ounce of love I have...just in case. I want to call and write all the people I know to tell them how much I love them, how wonderful they are and how I am blessed to have them. I want to have NO REGRETS!

Well life is certainly not fair and no one ever said it would be...but life is also what we make it. We can choose to hide. We can choose to be mad and sad. We can choose to throw a temper tantrum when things do not go our way. That may feel good for a moment, but what's next?

What if we choose to show our face, if we choose to smile, if we choose to laugh and to sing? What if we choose to dance and not care if anyone is watching? What if we choose to enjoy each day we have, no matter what it brings? What if we choose to LOVE BIG and to GIVE MORE and to BE HAPPY? What will happen next?

I think about how my friend Karla lived. She had a zest for life. She had a huge heart. She had a beautiful smile. I think that is what I will remember most, her smile. So in the words of Charlie Chaplin and in honor of my friend Karla who is in Heaven smiling down I choose to smile.

"Smile though your heart is aching, Smile even though it's breaking.
When there are clouds in the sky you'll get by.
If you smile through your pain and sorrow, Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun shining through For you.
Light up your face with gladness, Hide every trace of sadness.
Although a tear may be ever so near That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying.
You'll find that life is still worthwhile-
If you just smile."