Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday Musings--More Than You Wanted to Know

Just some random thoughts... Some silly... Some serious... A few a bit personal...

I cannot watch The Biggest Loser without crying. I can so relate to their stories.

We went to the Jason Gray/Rush of Fools/Big Daddy Weave concert last Friday. Ben lost his tooth in the car on the way to the concert. In the middle of the concert, he started crying because he's afraid that Daddy is going to die. It was an emotional time for all of us. Still, it was great to go. The music was incredible and the message was very relevant.

We saw downhere last Wednesday. The band was awesome. The audience was awful. Most people were gracious, but a few were really, really rude.

I think downhere's "Hope is Rising" would make a great marching band song. There's lots going on in the song. Plus, I think right after Jeremy's drumroll is the place to have the band turn, face the audience, lift those horns and bring it home. Sigh.

I was arranging "Hope is Rising" as a marching band song while I was in the car. I missed my turn home. Hmmm. Maybe that's because I have no idea how to arrange music.

I like intertwining "Manic Monday" by the Bengals with downhere's "Bleed for This Love." It's a funky little duet I do with Marc.

Marc: Out of solid rock, I made a river.
Lori: Six o'clock already I was just in the middle of a dream.
Marc: To a desert drought, I brought the rain.
Lori: I was kissing Valentino by a crystal-blue Italian stream.

I think Marc would be a lot of fun to sing and dance with. I don't sing all that well, and I definitely don't dance, but if I had to pick someone to sing and dance with, it would be him. Well, except, you know, I'd be way to shy to actually ever sing or dance in front of Marc.

OK, actually, the person I most want to sing and dance with is Ben, but Marc comes in 2nd.

What about Ron? Well, Ron's not a singing and dancing kind of guy, but he'll slow dance with me on occasion.

I may end up dancing with Ron on Saturday. We're going to his 20-year high school reunion. Yes, I'm a cradle-robber. Actually, I'm only 4 years older than Ron. This is the year for my 20-year college reunion. We're not going to my reunion.

I bought a little black dress for the reunion. I have never owned a little black dress. Although I'm still pretty chunky, it's actually a flattering dress, despite being little. Let's hope I don't hyperventilate when I wear it in public.

I was at Target and found a cute pink polka-dot bra at a nice price. When I checked out, I purposely chose the 50-something female cashier. You know what happens next. The teenage guy opens the register next to me and waves me over. When he picked up the pink bra and stumbled for the tag, my face suddenly was the same color as the bra. There was no real reason for me to be embarrassed, but I was anyway.

That reminds me of an embarrassing check out from years ago. I bought an ovulation prediction device. It's basically a big box that screams I'm going to have sex with my husband and try to make a baby. The teenage boy ringing me up pointed out that it was $20 off with my frequent shopper card. I didn't have my card. He swiped his. The marketing people had to have been scratching their heads over a teenage boy buying something like that.

For the record, the embarrassment was worth it. The kit worked. Now we have Ben. :-)

I'm thinking that's more than anyone ever wanted to know about me, so I'll stop here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Too many emotions

I struggle today with emotions that have just come flooding through since I admitted to myself (and you) the doubts I have. It started Sunday night/Monday morning when Ron woke up at about 3am and was disoriented. He started to feed the dogs. His disorientation may have been caused by medication, or it may have been caused by cancer progressing to his brain. We just don't know. I just lost it. I couldn't sleep after that.

I remember when my grandmother was dying. The last time I saw her, I was about 11, she pleaded with me to get a gun and kill her. I remember hugging my dad for the last time when I was 5. He died in the hospital, so I didn't see him struggle. I was 26 when my step-father died. He died at home. I wasn't living there, but I cam home when I could to help my mom. I am the one who walked into his room and discovered that he had died. He was 6'2". He weighed about 80lbs when he died. I remember his agony.

I understand that death is a part of life. I understand that everyone goes through sorrow and despair. However, I am still afraid. Is God punishing me? Is He disciplining me? Am I surrounding myself with love to the extent that I'm ignoring His message to me?

At about 4:30am, Monday morning, I removed my Facebook account and downhere account. I didn't mean to do anything so melodramatic. I didn't realize my posts on the downhere board would change, and I didn't think anyone would notice the Facebook thing. I just didn't want to be influenced by outside thoughts. Plus, I knew my doubts and bitterness were about to come spewing out. I didn't want to risk my posting something stupid on the downhere boards, especially with a new album coming out for them and the potential for a lot of new people to join the boards. I figured limiting my outbursts to my own blog was prudent.

The kind of funny thing about all of this is that I picked the worst week to try and remove Christian music from my life. Jason Gray just released his new album. Downhere's album came out Tuesday. We had plans to see Downhere in Decatur on Wednesday and Jason Gray tonight. Skipping Jason's concert isn't an option. It's just a few minutes away, and we promised Ben. I had planned on skipping the Downhere concert. We weren't taking Ben since it was 3 hours away and on a school night. However, Ron wanted to go, so we did.

I did enjoy the Downhere concert. There is no way to listen to their music and not feel closer to God. It's just impossible for me to do. I felt bad for the guys though. It was a rough crowd. It was mainly a youth group event, and a lot of the kids were just really, really rude. So many people were moved by the music, but a few jerks made it difficult for everyone else to enjoy themselves. I found out after the show that one kid heckled Jason the entire show. Wow.

I really enjoyed seeing everyone after the show, but felt guilty as I knew I was holding back a big secret. What was I supposed to say? "Great show. Great new album. I'm not sure I believe the Gospel anymore. Have a good evening. Drive safely." Doesn't quite work, does it?

So, today, I'm not isolating myself as much as I had planned. I've listened to Ending is Beginning a lot. Although I have had plenty of opportunity to listen to the album, I had never heard Hope is Rising until Tuesday night. Ron was reading the lyrics on the album and told me that there was a song that I really needed to hear. Wow. I am so blown away by how Jason so eloquently writes what is on my heart. I've joked about this before. I think I deserve a writing credit!!! ;-) Seriously though, how appropriate is this song...

"I've lost all my earthly optimism
That it's going to be alright
That the good will win this fight....

The dream became despair
The love became a lie

Just now, I've reached the end of my line
Just now, I'm too tired to keep on trying"

I'm amazed at how precisely Jason has captured my despair. It's nothing short of amazing.

Now, I suppose, all I need to do is find the hope.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Is The Gospel True?

That's the question that goes through my head today. Is it true? Is the love for real? I just don't know. Is it all just a big lie? I can't pretend anymore. I can't put on a big "C" on my chest and play Christian cheerleader. Everything is not OK. It's not going to be OK. I'm too tired for the facade. The doubts have just come crashing though. My grandfather died when my mother was 6. My dad died when I was 5. My son is 5 and... My pastor says this is merely a coincidence. I call it some kind of curse.

I think about the Old Testament. I see the suffering. I see the anger and punishment that God displays. How can I believe in both the Old Testament and the New Testament? How can God be the God of both? If God is angry at me, how will I know if I declare with blind optimism declare that He loves me? Maybe He is trying to discipline me, but I have been defiantly putting my fingers in my ears while singing my nice Christian songs.

God is good. I am not. Is there grace? Is there hope? I don't know. If there is, I can't find it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Does God Love Me? Not So Much

It was a rough night. I didn't get much sleep. This morning, I have been thinking about whether God loves me. My answer? No. If He does, He is awfully angry with me. I can't pretend anymore. I can't ignore the pain in my heart that tells me that He abandoned me some time ago. So, I'm shutting down some of the outside world. No more church. No more CCM. No more Facebook, Twitter, downhere boards, etc. Just me, God, and the Bible. We'll see if He has any mercy or grace for me. I doubt it. I think there just comes a time where a person is too blanketed by sin to be redeemed. God has shut the door on me.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

BFLFW--Principle 3: Joy Yourself

Leave it to me to take weeks to figure out how to post about joy. You can see this is a problem for me. Actually, it's something my husband and I have talked about quite frequently lately. What gives us joy? What makes us happy? Honestly, that's been hard to answer lately.

I think one of the phases you go through when facing terminal illness is a time where you just shut off your feelings to everything. Ron was told he was terminally ill when he was first diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully, he's survived longer than anyone thought possible. However, it's also meant we've had to deal with the ups and downs of this for 2.5 years. This summer, Ron was in the hospital for approximately 30 days. It got to the point that I didn't know if he would survive or not. I think after being overwhelmed by fear, sadness, anger, biterness, etc., everything just shut down.

I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. I think it gives my mind and body a break from all the drama. However, it does make joy elusive. What gives me joy? Not much.

I haven't completely turned into a robot though, so a few things have snuck into my heart and allowed me to feel something. KLOVE played the song "Here I Am" by my favorite band, downhere. Then, Jon Rivers announced that the guys were going to perform a few songs on KLOVE on September 23rd--the day their new album comes out. That news made me break down and cry. I had sent a message to Jon Rivers about downhere. I prayed that they would be on KLOVE, and now they are. Plus, their song is one of Jon Rivers "future favorites" on 20 The Countdown Magazine. I'm just thrilled.

Also on the music scene, Jason Gray's new album is out. I just downloaded it today and haven't listened to it yet, but I love New Way to Live. It's such a great song and so powerful for me. I've waited for a long time for this song to be released. I'm very thrilled to finally have it.

I've also been spending time running. I love to run. I really love to cross finish lines, so I race. I really enjoy weightlifting. I don't know why, but I do. I now have awesome biceps and triceps. (The bottom part of my arm is still flabby, but I'm getting better.) Sometimes lately, running and lifting seem more like chores instead of joy, but I'm still doing them. They are both good activities for my physical and emotional health, so I'm going to keep doing them even when I don't really feel like it. I don't debate about whether or not I'm going to bathe or brush my teeth. I no longer debate about exercising. I just do it. I'll talk more about that next week.

Spending time with friends is also such a joyful activity, but something I've not made the time to do lately. My friends can turn my mood around so easily. Why do I not do a better job to make time for them?

Simple things like reading a book or magazine, having a small piece of chocolate, singing with the radio in the car, petting my dogs, etc. Things things also bring me joy.

My son has been doing imitiations of cartoon characters lately. He's actually pretty good. Sometimes he has Ron and I falling about ourselves laughing. For 5 years old, the boy has an incredibly sense of humor. Ben brings me a lot of joy.

My husband brings me joy. A few days ago we celebrated our 8th anniversary. We had a real date. We went to a fancy restaurant and saw a musical. It was a very romantic evening. I just loved being with him. Sometimes it's difficult to let my husband bring me joy. It's easy for my heart to start closing off to him. It's easy to push him away. I honestly cannot fathom losing him, but something deep inside me is just so afraid. That's why it's hard to let myself experience joy from him. It's difficult to stay so vulnerable. Sometimes it's easier to harden my heart and shut off the love I have for him. It just doesn't work though. I love him too much, and that love just can't be shut out. It just comes gushing through. When that love comes through, sometimes the other emotions find me too. That's alright. I'll deal with each one as it comes.

So, what does joy have to do with weight loss? Well, I think when you have real joy in your life, you don't need to keep trying to make yourself happy with temporary pleasures, such as eating junk food. Having real joy in your life doesn't guarantee perfect eating. If it did, there'd only be one principle in this program and the book would be really short. :-) Finding what gives you joy just helps you understand you better, and that is really what this is all about.

Next week, and I do mean next week, I'm going to write about Getting the Job Done.