|MY FOUR MEN|
Friday started out as a bad day. That's saying a lot considering the days we have been having. Have I mentioned that Dave is home right now (on sick leave from work)? That's not what made the week bad but it's part of why I'm acting so crazy lately. His health needs some attention right now so he's taking time off to take care of some things. It's kind of like a maternity leave except there's no cute little baby around. Just us. This is also a practice run for retirement. The hard part is trying to focus on just the things that need to be taken care of right now while thinking about our future. Medically speaking, it's pretty scary to think about because it seems like once we pull that thread of health issues, it all starts to unravel. That's why a lot of people are reluctant to go to the doctor. Once you get one diagnosis, others follow in lock-step until one day you realize that the highlight of your week is visiting one doctor or another. Our list of specialist keeps growing. Trying to find joy in life in the midst of all those -ologists can be a challenge.
Our lives as Christians are supposed to prepare us for times like these. We know that if we rely on our frail human minds to make all of our decisions we will go down all sorts of roads that aren't even on the map. We know that as we rely on God and his promises we will be in a much better position to enjoy life. After 60 years of experience we know that every one of God's promises are available to us and he has never let us down. We also know that as our Creator, God knows us and loves us more than we can possibly understand. In fact, it's designed that way. If we knew and understood everything God did we would be, well--God. Knowing all this we can "forget" this and get caught up in the whirlpool of our troubles and never see our way out.
We really love to do things with friends. It seems like we always need them more than they need us. We'll go through spurts of asking friends to do stuff, etc. but then feel that they don't ask us enough. Maybe they don't really like us, that's what we think. It all stems back from childhood when we both had loneliness issues--who doesn't have childhood issues? It seemed like we didn't quite measure up to others, always trying just a little harder than other people to be liked. This is really going deep and I don't want to disclose too much lest you think I'm human or something... Anyway, part of our MO when we feel down is that we feel like we don't have friends. We can feel abandoned by God and that leads to us feeling all alone in the world with just each other. And sometimes each other isn't enough.
Friday was starting out to be that kind of a day. We had been feeling pretty overwhelmed by all the things we had been going through and didn't allow ourselves to reach out to God because we hadn't "heard" from him in a while. That almost makes me laugh because when it comes to listening to God, we sometimes stick our fingers in our ears, shout "lalalala" and do everything in our power NOT to hear him. Then we get pissed off at God because he's not helping us. When we actually do sit down and read our devotional with scripture and pray and journal and all the other stuff that actually gets our mind straight life is so much more manageable. All the answers are there for us so I don't know what we think we're doing when we arrogantly tell God that we're tired of waiting for his help and that we will now take over the controls of our life because at least then we know things will be done right. We must look like two year olds having tantrums sometimes...or always.
Once more, back to Friday. It was about 10 am and I was well into a roiling pity party. The kind where I throw whatever is handy just because it feels so good to throw something across the room. The other day I threw a pomegranate in the kitchen--twice--and while it felt really great to do that, it was a MESS to clean up. The poor dogs ran for cover and Dave, bless him, did help me clean up. Friday morning I didn't have a lot to throw because I was in the bedroom but I suffice it to say I was in a REALLY BAD place. I was feeling bad physically, emotionally and spiritually. I wanted to just get into the car and drive away. As I was deciding where to go and what to do I heard a knock. No car out front so figured it was Dave making some noise in the studio. Another knock and then Dave went to the door. There was our oldest offspring home for a quick weekend. I'm always glad to see Mike, but on Friday he looked like an angel. I was so glad to see him. It's like God had sent him to me. We went out for pancakes, looked at some of the pictures I've been sorting and had a stress-less visit. He and Dave worked outside a bit. Then some friends called and invited us out to dinner. Friday afternoon Mike went with us to do some errands. I wanted to get an accessory to go with the dress I planned to wear to dinner. Dave, Mike and I ended up at a trendy little shop in River Park and they helped me pick out a jacket/shawl/fringie/Stevie Nicks kind of thing. I've never been shopping with my hubby and son and it was so fun. Both of them picking out stuff for me to look at, making suggestions and generally making me feel like a queen was a once in a lifetime (so far) thing. Fun time! Friday evening while Mike was visiting a Fresno friend, Dave and I went to one of the nicest restaurants in town with some of our nicest friends. We spent too much money but it was less than a therapy session.
This brings me to another paragraph. This is why blogs are so great. It's all subjective so I can add paragraphs whenever I need to. The experience we had Friday night with our friends Gary and Sue reminded us of another time in our lives when we were rescued by friends. In the spring of 1993 as Dave was finishing up his last semester at Seminary, he got encephalitis and ended in the hospital. This triggered some bottled up body memories of his from when he had polio and encephalitis when he was 3 years old. Since he was only 3 at the time and his dad was deathly ill at the same time, a lot of those memories were safely locked away in his scared, little brain. This was a stressful time for his own family and the scars of that time are carried by each of them. As Dave's 1993 illness progressed, emotionally he was again three years old. Since Emilie was only 5 at the time, Dave's brother Dale and his wife Julie came and got her and cared for her in San Jose. The boys were in school and were "farmed out" locally. Having Emilie gone was one of the emotional triggers for Dave--abandonment--which is what he felt when he was separated from his parents for days as he was in isolation. ANYWAY, this is a whole other BOOK and I just want to make one point among thousands. In 1993, after the hospitalization, and all that the illness entailed Dave went into a deep depression. The kind where people say--"we'd all be better off dead". I was scared so I sent him off to an elderly mentor of his which did help some. However, he was still pretty bad off. We had some friends, Mark and Alice who asked us if we would like to get out and see a movie. YES! We would bring the kids to their house and their daughter would babysit and we'd go out. BUT, we couldn't find our keys (Matt had been playing with them in his bed!) and it got too late to see the movie. When we finally found them I called to cancel and they said, just come to our place and we'll do something else. We ended up going out for ice cream but what Mark and Alice did for us that night we will never forget. They sat across from us and listened as Dave opened up. They didn't say stuff like, "But Dave, you're so strong. you'll get through this. They let him be vulnerable. They believed what he said and they let him talk. Most people thought Dave was tough and immune to depression so they wouldn't "allow" him to express himself the way he needed to. Mark and Alice said very little but I will never forget looking at them as they listened, with love, to Dave. I was surprised at how much he opened up to them. That wasn't his MO back then. That's what Gary and Sue did last Friday night.
That's the kind of support that we felt from our sons this weekend as Matt showed up on Saturday. They had planned to meet up in Fresno and go to Huntington for the weekend but what they really did was give their old parents a shot in the arm--like a booster shot to keep us going a bit longer! And God used all these events to show us that he was still here for us.