“The Great Commission”

*This is not a Christian blog;  it is a blog about my life and I go to church.

Have you ever felt like you absolutely have to say something? Like you really might regret saying something but you will also regret not saying it, if you stay silent?

I was sitting in Sunday school today with my husband and the topic of the lesson was “The Great Commission.” This is a passage about spreading the gospel to the world. The lesson began with introspection about why some people may not feel qualified to do this; why some of them feel like they are not good enough. A flood of memories hit me like a ton of bricks and my heart beat in my throat because I knew I was getting ready to not “fit in with the Jones'”. I said, “I think that we forget that we are called to love everyone.” I threw out a proposal: “I can get people in this door but I don’t know if they will be accepted or ran off.” I also threw out a situation: “What would happen if a single mother showed up with pink hair, tattoos, and, maybe, identified as homosexual.” Some people began to get a little bit defensive and went from “I am not worthy/good enough” to “I am on a higher level than that person” and “It would be really hard to talk to that person.” I replied that there is always something that someone has in common with another person, you just have to be willing to find it. One person hinted that I could bring that person but they would probably not be open anyway…maybe they should not be in church. Some people were very kind and stood up for that person. It kind of took over the class discussion (I kind of felt bad about this because it takes a long time to plan a lesson).

…One very bubbly person said that she would be so friendly that she hoped that she would not scare her away and that I should bring her…

My heart was in my throat again and I replied that that person was myself, other than the homosexual part, but I added it because it was relevant. I told my story: When I went back to my mother’s church, after many years, I was a single mom of four, sometimes wild, children. I had blonde and black hair, several piercings, and tattoos. I was pretty much alone in a crowd and an outcast among so many people that I grew up around; others just looked at me and hoped or knew that they would not have a reason to speak to me.  I really grew to hate small talk; nobody really cared about how my day was or how the kids were, they just felt better about themselves if they gave me two minutes of their day. Like I told the person who commented that they would have nothing in common with “that girl”, there is always something that you can find in common with another person. I mentioned that now that I am married and look “normal” (whatever that is), people think that I am new (I have been around the church, since 8th grade).

I worked so hard to be accepted, to be seen as successful, more than I was. Three college degrees later, I know that I am no better than any other human being. I know that God did not stutter when he told us to love our neighbors… there are no clauses about how “thy neighbor” should look, or behave, or that they should be straight. I would not want to be judged the way that people have judged me. I believe that the scriptures say to “judge not” and “to love our neighbor”… maybe I should say that “your neighbor” is not just your neighbor in your suburban neighborhood, who is easy to relate to. At work, I’ve rolled up my sleeves or taken off my jacket, when I have had meetings with parents who may think that I am anything more than I am. At church, I have learned to cover up and to try to fit in with “the Jones'”.

Contrary to what the person said about being ready to be in church, I was there. (I have a very persistent mother.) I wanted to be a part of something but everyone took me at face value. I sat alone, I ate alone or with my mom, I dated a guy, once, but he told me that I was not godly enough and he had a reputation (I think he was just a regular ol’ jerk who needed an excuse). I am very gritty but I would think that other people would have taken the hint and left.

The moral of the story is that it is sexy to reach out to people who are across the boarder or the ocean, and that is a noble thing to do… It is not so sexy to reach out to people who are in the “bad parts of town” or to those who may require help (who has time for that right?). Some people who will go to places like Africa or Cambodia will not go to north Tulsa. Some people will play the “I’m Not Worthy Game” until you put someone in front of them that makes them play the “Holier than Thou” game, even if that person would eat their words with a spoon.

I am thankful for the people who expressed gratitude and told their stories, because I seldom speak in crowds, and I usually avoid my past like the plague.

 

 

 

Ghosts

Halloween is my favorite holiday because I love to dress up and I love to see people with their guard down about appearance. I love how some people are even more themselves, when they can hide behind costumes and makeup. I love candy and sweets and community… and kids out and not staring at screens.

Have you ever been in a place that you have returned to, many times, over the course of your life and you just feel like so many versions of yourself collide? It is like ghosts of your past have come to walk with you.

I took my boys out Trick-or-Treating, for the first time in two years, last night. I had missed it and I felt a little bit sad on Halloween, two years in a row. I even amazon-d them costumes, the year before last, they literally had “mom’s choice” and it was so cheesy-bad that it was hilarious; they went along with it, for me. I am thankful that my brother took them last year.

I asked my husband to get the kids ready and to take them to my grandma’s in Mannford, Oklahoma, so that I could make the forty-minute drive, after work. I pretty much grew up n that little town. My grandparents have lived in the same place, ever since I was born, and I have done Halloween there more times than I can count. The people in the little town always give out the best candy and go all out with decorations.  My husband had to leave and my oldest went with friends, as “Homestuck” characters, so I had a very calm walk with the other three.

My grandma always works at her church’s trunk-or-treat. It used to be so much bigger, with a pumpkin patch and more than 20 cars and games, but the area has grown older and people have moved on. My grandma and her friends made up the four cars that still met there and gave out candy like they have for so many years. My grandma, always the social butterfly, was talking with her friends and my son was giving candy from, his backpack, to kids that were going to her car, when I arrived to trade off with my husband. Later, when he got up, he saw that there was a large bag of candy behind him. I hugged my grandma and some of my family that arrived, then, walked back to grandma’s block, with the kids, and we started on the path that I have walked at least 20 times in my life, at different pivotal points. Some of the people that gave my kids candy, gave me candy, when I was small. I couldn’t help but close my eyes and remember going as princesses and witches and pumpkins. We stopped at the kids grandparents house (my ex’s parents). They are always the same, nice, gaming and video nerds that they’ve always been. They’ve never been anything but nice and caring to the kids. I am pretty sure that they have not heard from the kid’s dad in as long as it has been since I have. They invited us in and their house was like a time capsule. I remember walking down the same hall and looking in the same mirror, as a senior in high school, pregnant with my first child. I sat in that living room with my oldest two and their dad and opened Christmas presents and sat through, I don’t know how many,  boring football games that I did not make time to understand. We left to finish trick-or-treating and I think they were surprised to get a big bear-hug from me. We continued walking and made it around my grandma’s block and made our way back to the church, to cut through the yard, and make it to the next block. My kids and I jumped the same ditches that I made a point to leap over, every chance that I got, on my walks to and from high school. We walked past an overgrown honeysuckle bush and my son said something about how someone should get rid of the bush because it covered the sidewalk. For a second, I was a teenager, 17, walking past that bush, in the spring, smelling the flowers and thinking “not today” and “I’ll live as long as these flowers” (I met the kid’s dad before the flowers died). I told the kids that the bush was special and that someone should trim it back because the flowers are pretty and smell sweet. We walked through another neighborhood, where I spent so much time. My grandparent’s best friend’s, Charlotte and Joe, lived in this neighborhood. I used to walk there with my mom every Halloween. Charlotte always had us come in and her house always smelled like wood, sweet tobacco, and antiques; not bad, just a smell that I grew up with and connect to old friends smoking, laughing, and watching television, while I played with antique toys and explored a plethora of nick-knacks. Charlotte has had Alzheimer’s for years now and Joe is still his sweet self that loves to hunt and studies birds. Their house looked empty but I went back to a time when I was dressed as a princess, carrying an overfilled bag of candy, on their porch, for a second. I told my second son about Charlotte and my voice cracked, unexpectedly, when I told him that she has had Alzheimer’s for a while now. He made me feel better when he asked if those are some of the people that I work with and asked how speech pathologists help them, if they forget everything.  I explained as we walked for a little while and then spent some time mindfully walking with my ghosts and reflecting. I think that I was supposed to be there, at that moment, with those memories. It was a nice distraction from the previous portion of the day.

I had been dreading talking to my work about having to be gone, for at least a couple of weeks, for my upcoming surgery. I have been pushing for clients and very frustrated about being so “strapped for cash” when I need to work and get clinical fellowship hours. My supervisor and I were meeting and she was talking about how they need to help get my schedule filled out and it just came out; it probably sounded crazy that I was so matter-of-fact about it but I have really tried to disconnect myself and focus on just being at work or with my kids or husband, when I am not alone. It isn’t ethical for me to fill up my schedule with clients who need me and then leave them hanging or for someone else to manage them. That being said, I am pretty broke and trying to figure out how to cover my surgery and it is weighing pretty heavy on me. The unethical “devil on my shoulder” is kicking me because  I am pretty sure that I have sabotaged myself until I have recovered from surgery. I am paid per client and my husband is having surgery on his nose next week and will be out for the week. I have considered posting as house cleaning help, on Craigslist, or taking a holiday position at one of the stores in the mall. I kind of hope that I have surgery before I would finish being trained for a weekend job though. I usually make things work, this won’t be any different. It is just kind of frustrating to still have to worry about money so much. That is kind of what all of that school was for. Everything works out, in the end. I would love to be able to talk to those ghosts and to tell them to worry less and to just enjoy every moment; maybe that is good advice for now. Just breathe and be “in the now”.

Revelations:

I have often looked at my life and asked “Why?”

Why do I end up in positions that others have never experienced?

“I just never listen.”

That is what some would say.

Why I end up with things like a broken foot, a broken heart, or a broken home.

I broke my foot, when I should have been sitting.

My heart was broken, when I should not have given it away.

My home was broken, because of choices that were made; good girls don’t graduate high-school seven months pregnant.

I am older now, my years are decades.

I see things differently and through eyes that cannot unsee, although, I am grateful for this perspective.

I still don’t listen.

I broke my  foot because I danced. I danced when there was no music, because of the way that it made me feel.

My heart was always mine and it is a diamond; the trials were just the pressure that it needed to transform from a softer material.

My home is strong, my children are good people, and those who proved to be lighthouses through every storm, are the people that I am proud to call “mine”. Those who entered in the midst of a storm and held on for dear life are my heros.

Sometimes…

Sometimes, we are not graceful with broken bodies, hearts under pressure, or chaotic lives.

Sometimes, the dance is worth the pain.

Sometimes, not listening is the best thing that we can do for ourselves.

 

 

 

 

On the Table:

“I want to lay all my cards out on the table and walk away with no regrets.”

I am at a point in my life where I have just gotten out of graduate school and I am working with a population that I love, in my chosen field. My four children are all over ten and much easier now. My husband is thankful to have his wife home, after 2.5 years of my being back and forth, and we can’t get enough of just being together. We were looking at moving out of a rougher side of town and maybe buying a house in a year. I was ready to live “The American Dream” and enjoy the peace, because I have never really just had “that quiet  suburban  life” that I probably just imagine that other people have.

I guess that that was not what life had in store for me. A routine appointment turned into a specialist appointment, which turned into a biopsy with positive margins. The scene is kind of leading up to this dramatic procedure where they put me to sleep, complete a biopsy and send the tissue to pathology. Pathology will call my doctor, in the surgery suite, and tell her if they find cancer or not. If I wake up with a uterus it means that I have cancer and will need further treatment; if I wake up and have had a hysterectomy, it means that I am safe. I kind of have to pray that the pathologist’s eyes will be open and that their mind will be clear because, if there is cancer that they miss, and the doctor cuts through it, it could spread throughout my abdomen. This was a decision that I made with my doctor, with many factors accounted for. I am done having children and I have had  anxiety about not knowing what lies beyond the margins of my last biopsy/not having all of the information. (I am “Type A” “INTJ”, not having information is a big deal).

I don’t know when the surgery is going to be. I am waiting on insurance to give the green light. Pathology and my gynecologist are ready. My husband is having surgery on November 7th, on his nose, so I kind of hope that he gets to heal a little bit, before having to worry about me. I also really hate that I am going to have to be a burden to my new job; I have my own clients now and finding coverage for a clinician can be difficult. As long as they are able to do a laparoscopic hysterectomy, I should not be out too long; if there is extra scar tissue, they have to go through the abdomen. I waited tables 12 days after my last c section, so I think that I can make it work. Honestly, if I just wake up from whatever they have to do and hear that I don’t have cancer, I will be great.

Introductions:

A new chapter in life deserves a new blog. I am a clinical fellow speech language pathologist (CF-SLP), which means that I am in my first 1200 hours, and I am enjoying being home after spending 2.5 years between Hammond, LA and Tulsa, Oklahoma, in order to complete graduate school. After the floods, in Louisiana, last year, I was not sure if I would actually graduate, as I lost everything that I ever did in my field, in a car accident, involving several feet of water, but, a year ago today, I completed my comprehensive exams. When I began my last semester, with nothing but other people’s notes, I had this necklace that said, “She said she would, So she did”, hence the name of my blog.

If I had to use one word to describe myself, I would have to say “grit” or maybe “contrary”. This does not mean “graceful”, “courageous”, “adventurous”, or to even be “strong”… “Resilient” may work… weeds are also resilient.  I just believe in pushing forward and it has helped me survive statistics. I am a “Type-A”, “INTJ”, wallflower kind of person, who is really not shy; I just get lost in analysis.

I plan on posting about my various interests and life in general. I love to study the brain, especially as it relates to disorders in my field (speech pathology). I also love to talk autism, feeding therapy, AAC devices, and play therapy. I will also post about my children and husband and probably talk about health conditions that impact my life.Not that I am going anywhere soon but if something were to happen to me, I would like someone who knows me to be able to read this in my voice. My “She said she would’s” are different this year but I have my necklace on and I plan on adding,”So she did”, to the items on my plate.