Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Struck Dumb

Ask my husband - I can "win" just about any argument by the shear speed of my words.  He can't keep up.  If I slowed down - he would win.  I used that a lot as a teenager.  A quick sharp tongue could lash the most undeserving and the deserving.  Using that on anyone at any time has escaped me as an adult.
 Maybe it was pregnancy that zapped my brain cells (although I was quite a bear during Cara's pregnancy). Maybe it is just having children around in general. Could be that my language has been watered down to "stinky" and "tushy"?  I don't even say "hate" unless I want to get a look from Cara (that's just one of my things, doesn't have to be yours).  I think there is another possibility. . . I am momentarily Struck Dumb.

Have you ever left a discussion and thought of one million comebacks that you could have said? Struck Dumb.  How about finding no fault in a new friend but then all of the sudden seeing what is really there? Struck Dumb.  Ever felt insulted but only in hindsight? Struck Dumb.
Being insatiably thirsty for information right now, I have set my sights on the Bible.  Focusing in on women in the Bible, I have devoured 3 books.  I hit a wall one day (well, end of the shelf) at the library in my search to continue learning.  Scanning the shelves (side note - there is no way they should allow a Shannon Doherty book that close to literature about my Savior!) for a book to satisfy my general need for knowledge popped out.  "100 Most Fascinating People in the Bible".  Feeling the need to fill in the gaps felt while reading my last book, I checked it out.  The book I read before this one made references to things that I did not remember.  Obviously the author was assuming that I knew the Bible front to back. I don't, yet.  So when you say things like "He was like Elijah" and leave it at that, I am lost. 
In Alphabetical order - this book is hard to follow. It is really more of a reference book.  The "J" section is incredibly long. From Jacob, to a bunch of Joseph's and John's of course you can't skip JESUS, I was working my way through them when I hit John the Baptist.
Elizabeth and Zechariah were "elderly"  and childless when the angel Gabriel told Zechariah that they would have a son. He would be named John (known as John the Baptist) and would, among other wonderful things, ready the people for the coming of Jesus.  (Luke 1:8-25).  In verse 18, Zechariah questions the angel in what must have been more like true disbelief than pure confusion based on what happens in the next 2 verses.  In verse 20 the angel says "And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” That is exactly what happened. He came out of the temple and could not speak.

Let's go back to my "100 People" book and the "J" section.

My book has different wording to describe what happened to Zechariah. On page 41 in the opening paragraph about John the Baptist it says ". . .his father doubted the angel's words and was STRUCK DUMB as a punishment".  This made me laugh.  The wording is hilarious to me, but very simple - "struck dumb".  I am sure there are more interpretations of the words used to describe his condition but this one seemed so true as an explanation for my inability to connect my brain and mouth when I feel they should be raging!

To clarify, no I don't think God is punishing me by striking me dumb.  I don't think there is any real relationship between my experience and Zechariah.  I believe mine is more like training.  God has used my choke collar a few good times and tightened so I could feel, over the years, Him leading me to hold back my speech. 

There is a relationship between the wording.  That is exactly how I feel after an incident that enrages me only after I have taken 4 steps away from it.  Had that person needed my "guidance" at the time, He would have released my dumb-ness.  Recently, there was no other explanation for my lack of wits and words except for being struck dumb.  My children were being insulted and corrected by someone that I had just met.  You can mess with me but you will not mess with my kids.   If you love my kids and have been in their lives for a long time, you can feel free.  But you do it out of love or the need for safety - not because you are spreading your "children should be little adults" rules all around and mine were in your path.  Seriously I felt like (without ever having really experienced one) I had a seizure.  I stuttered, my face froze, mouth wide open, I was in shock.  When I finally got my words back I decided it was time to make an exit.  I directed it at Cara and gave them the 5 minute warning to clean up. 

WHY GOD?!?!? Why didn't you let me lay into this person!?!?!? I know there is a good reason! I have not sought another attempt to put myself in that situation again.  I know that my brain is already way too full of sinful words and plans for me to control on my own.  Some days I think it would just feel really good to have my power of explosive words back! Don't you ever have really bad days and you think "the next person to even look at me wrong is going to get it".  Seemingly daring people with your eyes to even look at you the wrong way.  I felt this way at Target a few weeks ago.  No one even looked at me in that aisle.  No eye contact.  Wow, I thanked God for them, because they had no idea!  Now, I thank God for the work he has done in me (still a work in progress) that allows people to view HIS love through me.  It is genuine, cannot be faked, and not forced.

Following your next meeting, outing or family gathering that results in a tirade of killer words and thoughts only 5 minutes too late. . . grab your coffee, your stress ball, and consider yourself Struck Dumb.  Its' a good thing.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Should You Handle The Truth?

Maybe I watch too much TV. Maybe I need some fast acting anti-anxiety patch to apply, but there are definitely times when I get this feeling.  A feeling that there is something out there, something big, that I don't know. Of course there is a lot out there that I don't know (don't tell Cara and Natalie though).  I mean something like a major dose of dishonesty, a back stabbing moment from someone you trusted, or a major ground shaking revelation.  Should we know? Could there be something out there that is just a smidge past the plain nose on our face that we don't see? 

We all curse poor Eve every time her descendant Aunt Flo makes an appearance.  Even more cursing begins when the oxytocin (or pitocin for those of us that need a nudge) starts flowing and the pain of bringing another life into the world hits us ladies.  It is, in many minds, her fault that this world is not perfect and painless.  She got the wrap but I guarantee if she had not done it, someone else would have.  She was just the first contestant on "Don't Eat From That Tree". A lot is debated about this event: Was Adam there with her the whole time? Was it an Apple or a Fig? Where was that dang tree? Why did she do it?  One thing we know - her wants over took her obedience.  Who wouldn't want to know EVERYTHING!?!? Or are we better off not knowing?

Riding home from work in the car one day I was listening to Dr. Laura. She is known for her very conservative opinions and advice. What she said that day shocked me.  She told someone NOT to tell their spouse about an affair.  Her * (asterisk) on that comment was, if it was a one time thing, and not going to happen again and you did not get caught, don't tell.  Telling would be to relieve the guilt of the offending partner and serve no purpose to the victimized spouse.  So if you learned your lesson, kick some kitty litter over it, jump out of the litter box and keep going (<---my metaphor, not hers).
I started thinking... I would want to know! That would KILL me if there was someone else out there that knew, even if it was just the "other woman".  I would die if others close to me knew.  I should know something like this. Or did Dr. Laura have a point? Do we need to know EVERYTHING?

New Years Day 2003 I woke up in terrible pain.  That aforementioned descendant of Eve had arrived and in different fashion.  Carter I had been trying to get pregnant for a year to no avail.  The days leading up to the new year I was feeling some pregnancy symptoms. One was definitely a sign for me because it had been one for my sister.  On New Years Eve I took a pregnancy test... negative.  I still did not drink that night with my dinner at Outback, planning to retest in the morning.  The next morning I could barely stand.  I called off our plans for dinner with my family. I called out of work the next day.  I went to my regular doctor, they had no explanation.  Life went on and I did not know what to think of it.
You see, I went through a "phase" early in 2003 where I cried every morning in the shower. Finally after going through this for a few weeks, I asked for help. I started taking Prozac and my irregular cycles became miraculously regular for 3 months.  I thought prozac was a magical gynecological healer. Again, life went on and I did not know what to think of it. . . . . until after I had Cara.

A little over a year later on February 9, 2004 I finally got my two pink lines. First positive test I had ever seen. After she was born in October I suffered from what started as Baby Blues and turned into full on depression complete with "I'm not taking medicine I don't want to feel better" RED FLAG!!!  One thing in my life was constant, my cycle, for 3 months, like clock work.  2/9/2004 was when I got my first two pink lines but it was not my first pregnancy.

Would it have been better for me to have confirmation on that one test I took that New Year's Eve?  How would I have felt knowing what I had just lost?  How freaking nuts would I have been not getting pregnant again until a year later?!?!? I can answer that one! I would have been a complete lunatic! Each month! For an entire YEAR! In between Cara and Natalie I did suffer two confirmed miscarriages.  The 2nd one they offered testing to see if there was an explanation.  The results were - no explanation.  Then my OB looked at Carter and I and said "Do you want to know if it was a boy or a girl?" Before I could get out the sound the letter N makes, Carter said Yes and the Dr. answered with "It was a girl".  Did I need to know that?  Doesn't matter because I did know and there it was, information that hurt too badly to process.

I truly believe there is some information that we are spared for very good reasons.  With technology, we are able to go out there and get a lot of it, are we meant to know?  On Facebook, excessive sharing comes to mind.  Did I need to know that person was at PetSmart?
In the Beth Moore book I read, she shared a story about a young lady that had finally ended an engagement that she felt was bad.  She had suspicions that he had been seeing someone else or at least being inappropriate with another woman.  So she used her knowledge and busted into his email.  She found what she was looking for.  Did that feel any better? To know specifically what was going on?  She could have spared herself the self-worth damage and just trusted her instincts and her God that she did the right thing.

Would we really like to know what is said about us behind closed doors? Things possibly said in anger and frustrations. Things that they did not mean to say but it came out anyway?  Untruths that could kill our self-esteem that are not intended to make us a better person? We know that we can be frustrated with someone and go from mad to over it in a matter of hours.  Can we just accept that they got over it?

There has to be a balance between being a sitting duck and digging beyond the knowledge we were meant to have.  It is a struggle for me when I get these feelings.  I still want to know but I know that when it is time for me to know, I will. And the time will be right and I will be able to handle it.  I'm not saying there is anything to know.  At times there does seem to be a sixth sense but it is not always correct.  I would feel like a fool if there was something going on right under my nose and I did not see it.  Could I be spared of that foolish feeling if it was not something I absolutely had to know? Of course we CAN handle the truth, but should we?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Was That "Being Still" or Did I Pass Out?

As Christmas approached we had a lot of job leads but no offers.  Christmas morning at Granny's was almost sacked by snow for us folk with 2 mountains in between us and the destination.  We made it just fine to this holiday tradition. It was the first Christmas that I can remember that was not at Granny's house.  One thing we have learned in the last year or two is that it is not the location, it is the people.  We all fit into Granny's high end apartment home just fine.  Breakfast was just as it always was even with the major adjustments.  This was our first Christmas without Grandaddy.  The third without Dad.  The kids took over every room in that 2 bedroom apartment playing with their gifts.  They adjust much better than we do.

After around 2 weeks of Carter being unemployed I shut down. I was so afraid of doing something or saying something out of emotion and stress. It started showing on the outside.  I was holding in all of those emotions with all of my might. My acid reflux got worse. I was using my inhaler for what I thought were asthma episodes.  Turns out it was just tightness in my chest.  More anxiety and panic than airway constriction. 

At times my mind would seem to go blank.  That started right before Thanksgiving. I was talking to my mom on the phone and could not get a certain word right.  I was aware of what I wanted to say but my brain knew that was not what came out of my mouth. I brushed that off, until it happened again with my brother in law Kevin at Thanksgiving Dinner.  I was standing in the garage and I was trying to explain to him that the small fridge was the one I had in "college".  Did not feel right so I tried to say it again. Nope still not right. I got aggravated and a lot un-nerved and said "What did I just say? I know it was not right!"  He said "I don't know but it sounded like something that started with a "P".  Finally I described it as "the place you go to after high school". My brain broke free and then I finally said it.  To say I felt crazy is an understatement but Kevin is familiar with that.  

This would not be the last time it would happen. In fact it continues to happen but now I also blank and don't understand what people are saying. Whether it is something on TV or someone in front of me, or listening to myself talk, my brain freaks out at random times and stops connecting.  I'm not sure how to combat this new and odd stress symptom.  I think I am going to try and not freak out when it happens. Maybe if I relax it will unfreeze my brain faster. Ha!  Laugh about it and follow with a big sigh.  That has become a common expression in the last year for all of my family.

With Christmas gone, next was New Year's Day.  A day in my mind that I did not want to face without an offer for Carter. I was quietly anticipating a worrisome week.  Pushing back the thoughts of what we would do if there was no offer and the severance pay runs out.  Can't go there unless it is absolutely needed. 

No one was obviously at work on Sunday.  There goes Monday, no one wants to work the day after they get back from the Christmas holiday, not even HR.  Tuesday begins, I start trying to get the house in order, keeping myself busy.  I sort laundry.  After weeks of jumping every time I heard Carter's cell ring, I did not hear this one.  What I heard was Carter coming up the stairs. He burst through our bedroom door with the phone on his ear, points at the phone and gives me a thumbs up with the biggest smile.  OHL was making him an offer. A very nice offer, unbelievable.  I don't mean that it was more salary than we were anticipating - it was the relocation that was hard to believe.  They were making it possible for the girls to finish the school year here, and much more.

So for the 2nd time, we are moving to Nashville. Of course we did not go the first time, we ended up in Atlanta.  Then ended up back here.  From that experience in 2007/2008 I learned that you never know what is going to happen.  

So much to think about and plan for. Mostly it has been a hurry up and wait game.  I keep going back to the shut down mode. If I let go, I roll over a million scenarios that seem like a waste of time.  Trying to let it out one at a time, at appropriate times is my new goal.

All praise to God for bringing us through this experience without a scratch. Carter and I spent time together, he spent time with the girls.  They were more upset that he got a job because he could not eat lunch with them at school or after Pre-K.  It was a great time living in that "hold" world.  This part, because of our personalities, will be the marriage strain.  I am not good at being apart from him.  We differ in our opinions on everything when it comes to moving.  Knowing that, more praise will be thrown to God if we survive this part without loss of major body parts/organs. 

Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God"
I am pretty sure that I was "being still" in some sense of the meaning. It seemed there was no other choice.  I stopped talking to God at length. Just mostly an every once in a while check in "hey! I'm still here patiently waiting for You to do Your thing". I feel more like a majority of the time I was playing dead or unconscious.  Keeping it in perspective, that is an improvement for me. I want problems fixed yesterday and fixed correctly.  Not so sure how much of it was peace and calm and how much was clenching and squeezing.  It was done though, without my mouth ripping and tearing through this tough time.

Thank you for your prayers and support during this interesting chapter in our lives.  Now I can go back in my hole for a few days - I finally finished this blog!