Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Following the right path...

Now, I'm not someone who believes "everything happens for a reason."  I really do believe that random shit just occurs, and part of life is figuring out how to get through it with at least a modicum of grace.  I dislike the notion of a God that would have people suffer the agonies that they do suffer ON PURPOSE.  What would be the point of that? I believe in free will and that people sometimes make terrible mistakes, or do terrible things to others simply because they can.  Where's God in all of that?  I don't know.

However, that being said, I do also believe in...hmm, I don't know quite the right word for it.  I believe that life shouldn't be TOO hard, and that if I'm on the right path, doing the right thing, things tend to fall into place.  Like, for example, my wedding.  We basically looked at one place (it happened the be the chapel on the college campus where I grew up), talked to one DJ, had the college caterers, talked to one florist, one photographer, one baker, etc.  It all fell into place, and I firmly believe that that is because this was the right thing.  Well, that and I'm not tremendously detail-oriented, so I honestly didn't care all that much.

So, I decided I need to find a therapist, what with going BATSHIT CRAZY a few weeks ago.  I'm better now, but really, it was a bit scary and showed me that things are far closer to the surface than I'd realized. I don't think I'm always the best judged though.  I was verbalizing some of my interior monologue to my husband the other day, and he just stared at me and then said "YOU ARE SO ANXIOUS!"  I told him later, "No, I wasn't any more anxious than usual...I just don't usually tell you about it." I've been very, very blessed in my life to have had some amazing therapists.  They kept me together and really helped me not only stay alive, but learn how to live. I've had a lot of therapy though, and there's also the small matter of a Masters in Counseling and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology.  And, you know, being a therapist.  So, I need someone with skill and experience.  Of course, they need to take my insurance.  And perhaps the biggest hurdle of all, I need to be able to fit into their schedule, and them into mine.  So far I've called three people, and it's not going to work out with any of them.  One recommended a group in town, so I've got a call in there.  It's a bit nerve-wracking.  I guess I'm questioning myself - is this not the right path, since it's not falling into place?  I know I can go talk to my new priest, which Dorothy assures me Is Done, but he can't be a therapist to me, and I'm not quite sure what it is I need right now.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The excitement never ends around here!

So, on New Year's Eve, my delightful daughter was eating a snack.  The snack was peanuts.  About 10 minutes after she ate, her face and lips got all puffy.  When you call your pediatrician's office saying "My kid ate peanuts and now her lips are swollen" they, well, they freak out.  We went in for the bloodwork.  All negative.  We had a first round of skin testing: peanuts, tree nuts, environmental stuff, other food stuff...all negative.  We had a second round of skin testing, all negative.  We came on Friday for her peanut challenge.  She had another peanut scratch test, with fresh peanut.  It was so negative it was smaller than the negative control!  We all figured this would be a no-brainer, and started the challenge.  They started with 1/2 a peanut.  And within 2 minutes, her cheeks were BRIGHT red, the left more than the right, but both of them.  I called in the nurses, and they said "Oh" and we stopped the challenge.  They gave her Zyrtec and monitored her for a 1/2 hour or so, but that's all that happened.  Because it's weird, we go back in a few weeks for another peanut challenge.  I just don't quite know what to think, but it's weird.  I hate the non-knowing place.  I want to be sure, one way or the other!!  I can't quite wrap my head around it, to be sure.

In other news...let's see.  It's school vacation week here!   I had really hoped to go away but DH's company was bought out by The Man recently, and he has no vacation time yet.  And we have other things planned for the summer, so we need to hoard it anyway.  So, we'll both be working.  I need to figure something out for Thursday, as we have about a 20 minute gap between when he has to leave for work and I get home from work.  I am sure we can find a babysitter in the neighborhood, I just need to get off my behind and do it!

I am so unmotivated to be doing any craft work these days.  I'm not taking pictures either.  After the emotional 10 days I just wrote about, we had some excitement with a friend having some complications with a C-section.  I took care of her kids during this, and it was pretty scary for a bit, so that took up the week.  Mama and baby are fine, and baby girl is ADORABLE.  I do need to get knitting!!  Both my sons are obsessed with ninjas right now, and I believe McCall patterns are on sale this week, so I may try and do some sewing.

I am feeling really good about our new priest at our church.  I'm not sure it's going to be enough to keep DH there, but that's okay.  I think this guy is really pretty amazing, and I've found his sermons resonate really strongly with me, and give me a lot to think about.  Today he talked about doubt and how it's an essential part of the resurrection experience.

Okay, enough for now.  I had my geek book club over on Friday night and we had friends over yesterday...I am exhausted!  TIME FOR BED!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Whoa, poor neglected blog!!

Oh my goodness, it's been far too long since posting on this blog!!  I think the main issue is simply that life is very full and very busy!  Turns out working is taking time and energy, who knew, HAHA.  Just kidding.  Work is amazing - I'm so lucky to get to do the work I do, but it can be hard, and sometimes depressing.

I've not been doing much in the creative world at all.  Almost no knitting - I meant to finish a baby sweater and time got away from and the baby is arriving TOMORROW!  Yikes.  Gotta get moving on it. Step one - figuring out where it is.

There's been a whole bunch of other stuff going on though, and I'd like to ramble a bit about it, to see if I can make some sense of it all.

So - DH and I are still not in the same place on all this church stuff.  He told me that the place we've landed (an Episcopal church two towns over from us) just is the wrong place for him.  I think the Episcopal church in general is not the right place for him.  It's hard, because it's really the first time in our marriage (coming up on 12 years) that we've just been so...far apart on something that feels so important to both of us.  I had an interesting moment.  A few weeks ago the Bishop was speaking.  Oh, back story, the priest of 12 years left at the beginning of January, and the new guy started a couple of weeks ago, more about that in a moment. Anyway, so the Bishop was talking about transitions and said "Do you believe that God is working in your life at this moment." My immediate reaction, I have to say, was "NO. I don't believe that AT ALL."  I am still very unsure about the whole God concept - I recently described myself as an agnostic, but practicing, Christian with a strong Bhuddist bent.  So, no, I don't know that I believe that.  But I thought about what it might mean if I *did* believe it, and realized that it would mean that I could trust that DH is on his own journey, whatever that might be, as I am on mine, and that even if our journeys take us in different directions, it's okay.

So the new guy started and I think he is FANTASTIC.  Smart, well read, humble, human, holy...I believe he has so much to offer our church, and me.  I'm pondering getting in touch with him to see if he'd be willing to talk with me 1-to-1.  I don't know, is that done?

Anyway, fast-foward to a week and a half ago.  I have this stuffed tiger from my childhood, named Amy.  She is, well, very special to me.  My daughter found her on my armoire and got her down and was playing with her.  Somehow, she misplaced her.  I. Was. Devastated.  Way, way beyond all appropriateness about this.  It felt to me like someone had died, I was mourning the same way I mourned my grandfather, the way I imagine I'll mourn my parents some day.  Devastated.

Now, I have perspective, and I was able to keep saying to my little girl, "I'm not mad, it's not your fault, I'm just sad."  She was devastated as well.  No lack of empathy in that one, for sure.  And, I get it. It's just a thing. It's NOT that I lost my parents, or my husband, or a child, or anything like that.  Just a thing. But I was trying to articulate why it hurt so very much, and there are a number of reasons.  One, I just felt stupid and careless. No one likes losing things, but I am so controlling and anxious, it really sets me off and I get, well, crazy.  Also, I had several childhood things that I lost when my HALEB (that's "heroin addicted loser ex-boyfriend) forfeit a storage space we share, using the money for the payment to buy drugs.  Among other things, I lost a quilt that my mother made from the fabric she made a bunch of clothes for me as  kid.  I still mourn that loss, years later.  Amy is all I have left from my childhood.  That, and a necklace that I don't trust myself not to lose, so my mom still has it for me.   So I'm really sensitive to losing things.

Also, I went through some truly horrific things as a child, and Amy is what got me through.  When I really thought I would die from it all, she was what I held on to, literally and emotionally.  The thought that she could be gone was unbearable to me.  Part of what is so striking to me was my struggle with hope.  We kept thinking "she's got to be here SOMEWHERE" but we looked everywhere we could think of (and, basic truth, the lost thing is always in the last place you look), and no Amy.  DH couldn't figure out why I was so distraught and unwilling to consider the possibility of hope.  I realized that for me, hope was too painful.  I could not bear it, so I felt that I had to just accept she was gone, for good, and not coming back.  As the days went on, we couldn't think of new places to look and DH started to lose hope too.

Now here's where it gets a little spiritual and all.  I've been praying.  I do yoga, every morning when I'm in the groove, and I end with praying.  I'm doing this spiritual practice where my prayer begins and ends with "thank you." I use the word God as my shorthard for my complicated beliefs, and I give thanks every day.  I've been praying for help with all of my pain - not that Amy would be returned to me (though of course I wanted that), but for help living with the hole that had been ripped in me.  My mom taught me this new agey technique of muscle testing, where you use a form of applied kinesiology to ask yourself questions.  On Friday, I asked myself, "Will she be found?" "Yes." "Today?" "No." Tomorrow?""No." "Sunday?" "Yes."  I told myself I was an IDIOT and that of course she would not be found.

This morning, Sunday, I did yoga and again prayed for help in carrying my pain.  I took a shower and as I got out, I prayed again.  "Hey, God. I know I keep bugging you, but please.  I can't do this. It's too hard.  I'm not going to ask for her to be returned.  Just help me deal, help me stop making my family crazy.  Please help me carry this."  I stepped out of the bathroom, turned and looked at my dresser, and there she was, at the very back, behind a pile of clothes.

As far as I can figure, my daughter carefully put Amy back where she found her, by standing on a chair and tossing her onto the dresser.

I immediately burst into tears, called my husband in, and showed him, and showed the kids.  Because, seriously, I've been a freakin' nutcase ALL WEEK and I've made them crazy too.  Everyone was happy, and I felt like I could breath for the first time in 9 days.

I've spent most of today (when I wasn't off teaching the Easter story at Sunday school) pondering what to make of all of this.  First and foremost, it shows me that if I can be ripped open like this, I've got some healing to do, both around my childhood stuff and around my HALEB.  I never truly dealt with the abuse I suffered at his hands. As soon as he was gone, I shut the door, and not too long after, I met my husband and life took off.  So, I've got some work to do, and I need to figure out how to do it. Man, stupid PTSD.

But, it feels very connected to this whole struggle around faith and spirituality that I'm going through as well.  My rational self doesn't believe in a personified God who hears and answers prayers like this.  And yet...and yet...my intuitive self knew something.  Do I think God put Amy there? No.  Do I wonder if some diving hand turned my head to say "LOOK! She's right there." I...don't know.  Do I think the very act of praying for comfort and help creates that comfort and a help within me? Yes. Yes, I do.

So, that's probably enough for my first post back after a good 6 weeks away. I'll try to be more regular, maybe this can be a place to ponder and wonder about this journey.