Mr. Bill and Miz Mona

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Beer and circuses

Not one of my better days...

Like what seems like the entire, fracking world, I am on Facebook. Started out innocently enough, I wanted to communicate with my children and grandchildren who are scattered from here to there. Actually, it started with a MySpace which I couldn't seem to stick with...just wasn't working. Then my daughter suggested Facebook. Oh, Lord.

Now, I am not the most tech savvy woman on the planet (keep the snide comments to yourselves, children) but neither am I a complete luddite. I felt my way along, got inundated with requests for bags of fertilizer and announcements of newborn fish(??), offers to have me join a mafia or adopt a cause- all the dohickeys available to people that, as near as I can tell, must be independently wealthy and have household staff to take care of the vacuuming and the toilet-plunging, cooking and lawn mowing. Figured out how to block/ignore these, finally got over the guilt and quit sending messages of apology.

As time passed, my Friends list increased, I learned how to dodge invasive applications (sneaky bastards) and I figured out how to look for stuff. I found a support group for people who are diagnosed bipolar. Links and suggestions, lurking and commenting, I began to get comfortable. I read blogs and about-me's, histories, poetry and bad jokes, looked at photo albums and artwork. And made some friends.

There is a huge number of people out there, who, like me, wrestle with mental health issues. Such a nice euphemism, isn't it? My technical diagnosis falls in the bipolar family combined with fibromyalgia, not a "mental" illness per se, but still one that affects my state of mind as well as my body. These folks have reached out to one another to give and receive peer support. It takes one to know one, so to speak.

The other day I was communicating with a woman I met thru this online community and she got the mistaken impression that I was way ahead of her as far as not having to struggle against the darkness of depression anymore. After disabusing her of that notion with a few pithy descriptions of my current state of being, I told her I didn't want her to think that it was all beer and circuses at the Casselman house.

There are times when we desperately need to get our complaints, trials and pain out in the open. To be transparent, let some light into the dark and grungy closets where we try to hide all that crap we don't know what to do with. "Airing our grievances." And then we need to leave them out there for the sun and the rain and the wind to cleanse them. Let the colors fade away, the toxins leach out, the dust and ashes of death and destruction be blown far, far away. Let the poison go.

Sometimes it is so hard to do! As filthy and festered and painful as these things may be, they are familiar. They are ours in a way that may have come to define who and what we are. Sometimes the attempts we made in the past to clean out the closet have been met with ridicule or even violent rejection. Fearful of this, we keep our filth hidden, suffering illness and pain, wasting away inside. Even worse, we may mask the pain, seal up the closets and paint over their very existence until we are but a hollow shell of a person with nothing alive left inside.

My goal is to clean out my closets. I want all that garbage gone in a definite and substantial way. I want those spaces to be filled with light and life and the fragrance of the Presence of God, the Head of the Homemaking Department in my life. And along the way, I want to help others do the same thing.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Volcanos, earthquakes and tsunamis

Acts of God.
That is what these things are often called in insurance fine print and news reports, but is that accurate? Romans 8:22 says"...that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth..."

Global warming, the position of the moon, alien invaders...Humans like explanations. We want to know why and we want to know now! Toddlers learning to talk tend toward a couple of words that, in my opinion, really express the innermost heart of people- no, why and mine. Control and explanation.

"Says who?"
"You and what army?"
"Who put you in charge of my life?"

I love to watch those science shows that give you insight into the workings of creation. Whales and oceans and atoms and electrons. Gravity, chemical interaction, cause and effect. They scratch an itch in my brain, make me feel like I understand the how, why and wherefore of what goes on around me. But do I?
Do I actually know more? Really? Or is it like a child's blankie, held onto as a protection against the Great Unknown?
It seems to me that, the more we discover, the more we find out that we can't really explain. What holds molecules together? Why is water wet? How does my nose smell things? How big is a black hole?
Explanations are forthcoming, deep and wise and lengthy. But eventually, if you keep asking, like the small child, "But WHY?"  the answers run out and someone says in exasperation, "BECAUSE!!"

Clear back in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden (yes, I believe in that stuff) there were two trees that God told us to leave alone- the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. And which one did we get suckered into? Bingo! Knowledge! And we have been at it ever since. Here we are, in a perfect world with a perfect relationship with God and we think we need to find out what's what from a tree. God was right there. Did we ask Him our whys? Nope. Listened to a liar and went to a tree. How dumb can you get and still breathe?
I struggle nearly every day with why. Oh, and how, I musn't forget how.  I am trying hard to learn how to ask for life, for peace that surpasses knowing, for grace and mercy and for empathy toward others. Acceptance, forgiveness, strength for the day, but I always seem to come back around to why. "But I don't understand, Father- why??"

Today, again, I ask for Your help, Spirit. Help me to trust and obey, help me to release my obsession with why and instead look for the answer that comes from Who. Help me to understand that sometimes I just need to be still and know that God is God and that this is enough for today.

God bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What do you do when you don't know what to do?

Psalms 46:10 says,"Be still and know that I am God."
Sounds simple enough. Sort of. 

In the New American Standard Version it is,"Cease your striving and know that I am God."
Be still. Cease striving. Quit pushing and prodding and    just. be. still.       
and know.

Know what?   That God is God.
I am not.

There are so many things that I don't have an answer for, that I cannot untangle. It is hard for me to leave a puzzle unsolved, a question unanswered. Goes against the grain.
I like to talk things out, fix the problem and move on. Life doesn't always work that way, though. Some problems actually cannot be solved, some problems cannot be fixed. At least, not by me.
That is the trick, isn't it? To quit trying to find the right angle of approach, the way through the maze and to the cheese of a solution.
I hate that.
 Makes me feel like a failure.

But that isn't the way God seems to look at it.

Be still.
Not hold still, be still.    Silent, inside and out. Not straining, not striving, not trying. 
Be still. Like quiet water. Reflective. Pure. Clean.
Empty of self, open to the Spirit.   Ready to know.
That word speaks to me of intimacy. Not just a passing acquaintance but rather a long-standing relationship.
The kind that doesn't always have to use words to communicate. Where a smile or a wink or gesture can tell a whole story of familiarity.Where explanation may not happen, but there is still trust. An understanding of character that does not insist on knowing every detail of why and why not.
To be known.
Understood. Appreciated. Valued.

And what do I know?

That He is GOD.

All knowing
All powerful
All wise and all loving
The First and the Last
The list goes on and on

How I struggle with that!!
My head and my heart argue back and forth, "WHY??" I cry, or "Why NOT??"
And there isn't always an answer. And when the answer doesn't come and doesn't come and doesn't come and the problem won't go away, won't untangle, won't be solved (by me).
The little Voice in my spirit whispers,
"Be still. Cease your striving. Know Me. Trust me. Be still."

"Be still......"

Thursday, March 10, 2011

And for my next performance...

What a day! Woke up to a phone call from the youngest daughter, currently in Florida, needing someone to talk to. They had a thunderstorm going on and got a tornado warning to go with it and my little Alaskan was a little freaked. Talked for an hour or so until the all clear was sounded on Base.
She can handle power outages, 60 below temps and blizzards but this tornado thing was a new one!
 Scary is entirely a matter of experience and perspective, isn't it?

 I remember back when the kids were little and we lived in Seward. Summertime and we were having a real problem with black bears in everyone's trash cans in town. I was talking to Bill's stepmom in Phoenix, telling her about the problem, making sure our Newfoundland, Radar, went out with the kids, checking the yard in the evening, paying attention so as not to lose one of the kids to a hungry bear, etc. Bea was all concerned about this horrible situation we were dealing with and I am reassuring her, not such a big deal, just have to pay attention, 140lb dog looking after them and so on.
Conversation continues and she is telling me about black widow infestations in their back yard and scorpions and rattlesnakes at her daughter's place being so bad she carried a stick when she walked down the driveway to the mailbox. I am entirely creeped out by these problems and expressing my concern, she reassures me that it is entirely normal, no big deal, etc, etc...
Well, we got tickled and started giggling. Bears in the yard are a fact of life in Alaska and something we just deal with. In Arizona, black widow spiders, scorpions and rattlesnakes are normal. But to each of us, what the other was dealing with was horrible and scary. Hmmm.

What scary thing do you have in your life that you deal with because it is just a fact of life?  An invisible illness like lupus or fibromyalgia? A mental illness diagnosis or a disabled spouse?
We all have our own rattlesnakes and black bears that try to consume or destroy us when we are not careful.
For me it is fibromyalgia and depression (the manic side rarely makes an appearance).
I plan to talk in future days about my varying levels of success in dealing with these things, but for tonight I think this is it. Midnight is here and I have my WAR (Wellness and Restoration) support group tomorrow morning.

Good night and God bless you!
May His angels watch over you this night!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Is this entirely necessary?

It has been way too long since I tried to capture some of my random thoughts here.
I have been doing a lot of blog reading lately, everything from sewing to upcycling, gardening to greenhouse construction, herbal treatments to alternative medicine. Some of them are fascinating, some, not so much.

What the heck makes people blog? And what makes people read them?
It is a brand new thing, this blogging. Anyone, and I mean anyone, can be in print with the potential for being read by anyone in the world with internet access. It's amazing, isn't it? This window into the lives and enthusiasms of countless people and what's more, with opportunity to comment, for heaven's sake! Fascinating.

 So, here I am.

When Bill decides to write he takes you on a ride into the wild and wooly world of his imagination. I have more of a tendency toward soapboxes and opinions with the occasional foray into Bible-thumping or self-revelation. I keep being told that I should write but I have a hard time getting started and then, once I start, I have a hard time stopping. This should be interesting.

 I expect as I explore the world of blog I shall learn lots of interesting things about all these lovely buttons and tabs. A geek I most assuredly am not! I hope I don't bore you to sobs as I go along.

 Good night, God bless and may His angels watch over you until we meet again!