Wednesday, August 28, 2013

There is beauty in the journey...

On Sunday I fly away
to Italy
where I will meet five strangers
and embark on a 10 day Strenuous-- Strenuous Plus Hut to Hut Hike
in the Dolomite Mountains.

I'm nervous
I've never flown internationally before
by myself.

I don't speak Italian.
I depend a lot on my husband.

As the time draws near
Emotions well up in me
and I ask myself

Why am I doing this?

When my mother died, 
she left three fat envelopes filled with cash in her dresser drawer.
One for each of her children.

I knew I wanted to spend my gift in a spectacular way
A once in a lifetime way.
And so I chose the Dolomite Mountains.

Months ago,
as I planned the trip
and prayed
it felt right.

Now, it feels stressful
because I'm leaving my son
to start his 8th grade year  
without me.
I'm his venting machine
his biggest advocate.

Now, it feels stressful
as I leave our bathroom half way remodeled 
and our upstairs in total disarray.
My home is not in order.

Now, it feels stressful
as I've dealt  
with many doctor appointments for Josh
and made plans for his care
and write out a will
just encase something happens
while both his parents are gone.

My husband is meeting me in Venice
after I hike.

Thanks to mom.

But, it feels stressful
as we have to make unexpected purchases
and pay surprise bills
this month.
Our money is tight.

Why am I spending this gift this way?

And it feels stressful 
knowing what's ahead for us this year.
A major surgery for Josh
A full time job for me
a  long ministry trip for my husband in Africa
tight finances
and all those things yet unseen.

Then I remind myself of my solo hikes
and backpack trips
and how I know 
God watches over me.
I have felt His eyes on me.

And I remind myself 
how happy my mother would be 
knowing how I spent her money.
She was a generous woman.

And I remind myself
God LOVES my son
and has miraculously
 brought him to his 13th year.

And I remind myself
God directs us
and walks with us
and life is very short.

And I remind myself
 I'm learning to live in the now 
and not the future.
When the future arrives
He will be there.

So I vow to take each day
each moment
as an adventure.

And I vow to 
pinch myself 
to make sure I'm not dreaming 
as I traverse the base of rugged limestone mountains
as I get lost on the streets of Venice
and sip a glass of wine in a Sienna cafe
with my husband 
and have him all to myself.

God made beauty
God wants us to rest

Life is not always just about 
fighting through
and hardship 
and challenges.
Though it OFTEN feels that way.

There is beauty in the journey
and I will search for it.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Meltdown...

Being 13 years old is tough.

But how much harder is it for some?

A tree house meltdown.
30 minutes of words mixed with sobbing tears...

"I hate my life."
"I hate that I had cancer."
"It's so unfair."
"I just want to be a normal boy."
"Why? Why? Why?"
"I can't stop my brain from thinking about Why?"
"It will never go away."
"I hate having a trach."
" I want to swim."
"I want to play regular sports."
"I just want to be a normal boy."
"I feel guilty."
"My sisters have been scarred from my cancer."
"I feel guilty."
" You have to take me to all these doctor appointments."
"Why did I get cancer?"
"I hate when people pity me."
"I just want it to stop."
"I hurt everyday."
"It feels like someone is inside of me ripping me apart."
"Even when I play on the computer, I still HURT. It doesn't take it away."
"I just want it all to stop."
"It will never go away."
"I just want to be a normal boy."
"Why?  Why did I get cancer."
"I know there's not an answer."
"It's so unfair."
"Why? I can't stop thinking about why."
"I just want it to all go away."

As the tears subsided, merciful sleep crept in and took over...

My mother's death made me vulnerable. My mother's death made me strong.

It's been a year since my mother died.   

She has missed: 

the beautiful redemptive wedding of her first granddaughter,  
falling in love with her second granddaughter's sweet boyfriend, 
her third granddaughter finding her niche in the love of earth, 
her fourth granddaughter's college soccer season and first year, 
her only grandson's growth, 
her youngest son's precious baby girl, 
another Christmas and another New Year.  

Life continues. 
My heart aches.  
My heart soars.

So much as changed in this one year.  
So much as changed in me.

My mother's death made me vulnerable.
My mother's death made me strong.

An old relationship has ended... for now.  
I changed the dance steps.  
I was weary of being run over, dominated. 
The trampling of my very person-hood.  

My mother's death made me vulnerable.
My mother's death made me strong.    
I stood up for me. 

My mother's death prompted me to stop serving in the childhood cancer world.   
Taking a break sometimes feels wrong.  
The church preaches "serve, serve, serve" 
Am I being selfish?

I'm healing.    
It doesn't come easy.  
And children continue to be diagnosed, children continue to suffer. 
I look away...for now. 

I give of myself in other ways.  
By loving a dear friend in deep, deep pain. 
By loving my husband.  
By loving my son. 
By encouraging and loving my daughters.

My Mother's death made me vulnerable.
My Mother's death made me strong. 
I choose healing.

It's been a year since my mother died.
Three months since my father and I have fallen apart.  
It's complicated.  

With my father's wrong behavior towards me in May, 
Childhood memories crashed to the forefront of my mind.
Suddenly, I stood in my mother's place.
Domineering, aggressive, combative, angry behavior. 
I am not my mother.    
I will break the cycle. 

And I forgive, but I will stay safe. 

My Mother's death made me vulnerable.
My Mother's death made me strong.