Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Day 441


August 19, 2014

Day 441


I am so, SO tired today.  I took Will shopping for all the college stuff he's going to need that I couldn't get on my  own this summer while he was gone.  Ben insisted on tagging along, which was fine.  It took a lot longer than I had anticipated, though.  I'm worn out.


We were riding around in Will's car all day and after about an hour, the AC decided to conk out.  That was terrible!  I do not do well in heat at all.  Will isn't bothered by it a bit.  I suggested that maybe we ought to have it looked at and he looked at me, horrified.  Why would he want to spend money on his air conditioning?  Maybe he doesn't think he needs it, but if he gets a girlfriend this year, she probably would not be appreciative of sweaty armpits and wind-blown hair after riding around with him.  Maybe he'll only date when it's cold out. 


I've known for the last month or so I need to have my van aligned.  I bought four brand new tires last fall and I had to replace two of them last month.  But it's not so easy for me to take my van in for work.  I can't sit around and wait all day long but everyone I know lives so far away from me, it would be asking an awful lot of people to accompany me to the mechanics, back home, and then come get me again to take me to go get my repaired van.  If I didn't have any choice, I guess I'd have to ask, but that's going to be a very last resort.  So, anyway, Will came home the other night and commented that my front tires aren't looking too great now.  Oh, it just makes me so mad - they were brand new last November.  How can they be bald already?  Things suddenly clicked in my little brain that I really ought to have the alignment done during these few days that he's home so he could be the one to take me to the mechanic's.


So this morning we dropped my van off in Indianola.  There's a shop there I really like.  They've always seemed to be so honest in the few dealings I've had with them.  I told them I needed the alignment, the oil changed, and I'd like them to check out the guts to make sure nothing's in imminent danger of going bad.  Since Paul died I just have this terrible fear of something happening to my van and being stranded.  I bought AAA coverage, but I'd still be without a vehicle after getting it towed somewhere.  What do people DO without a husband to rescue them?


Around 1 I got a call from the mechanic.  My tie rods are bad which may or may not be causing my alignment issue, my water pump is leaking (I had no clue), the front tires had to be replaced (their words).  I sighed and told them to do it all.  It's going to cost me over $700 which makes me sick.  I know if Paul were alive it wouldn't cost nearly so much.  I remember him talking about replacing those very parts in other vehicles we've had.  But I don't have much choice at the moment, do I?


I tried to convince myself that I should just be thankful that I have the money to do the work.  And I am.  But money concerns are at the top of my list these days.


I woke up Sun. morning literally panicking over my finances.  I do that from time to time.  I almost wonder if it's a Satanic thing.  Ben turns 18 in a couple of months which means he'll be ineligible for Survivor's benefits anymore.  I don't think I have a tremendous lot to worry about since he'll then qualify for Disability.  I believe that amount will be equal to or even greater than what comes in for Survivors.  But I don't know how long it will take for things to get switched over. I may be short a few months while we wait for everything to kick in.   I need to get down to Ottumwa and visit the Social Security office.  The girls needs cards with their new names and I'd like to find out what's what with Ben.  But then in 3 years I will lose David's portion when he turns 18.  How am I going to survive without that money?  It's not like my financial responsibilities to the child end when they turn 18, even though the money stops then.


I just find myself so topsy turvy in my mind.  I feel like I need to be making some decisions and plans for my future, but at the same time I don't want to.  I have no peace or assurance about taking any particular direction whether it's staying put for the time being, going back to college, or putting the Littles in school and getting a full time job once David graduates.  These days I am praying for peace and guidance, but so far I'm experiencing confusion and distress.


Maybe there's a little part of me that's mad, too.  I don't want to have to make these kind of decisions.  This wasn't how it was supposed to be.  I was supposed to be a full-time homeschooling mom forever while Paul supported us. That was our plan!  While I managed our daily finances, everything still ultimately rested with him and I find myself kind of angry at times that I don't have him to bear that final responsibility anymore.  There are moments that I am even resentful that Paul got to escape all this and I got stuck with ALL of it.  He never has to worry about another thing in his life while my worry and responsibility load more than doubled with his departure.


Maybe I should quit typing now.  It doesn't sound like I'm in the best frame of mind to be publicly sharing just what's on mine.


The good thing is that when these times of worry and stress arise, I do find it easier as time goes on to quickly remind myself of the nature of God.  For whatever reason, He wants me alone and bearing this load right now.  I have to remind myself that if I feel like I am bearing it alone than that is my fault.  So what is the nature of God?  These came from a study we did in Sunday School a few years ago.  I've been going through it again with Marcia for the last year.  It's a study written by Dr. Jim Berg, entitled, Taking Time to Quiet Your Soul.  It's not written specifically for those experiencing grief, but boy, have I found it helpful in the midst of my grieving season.


God is good, always! That means...


A. He will always meet my genuine needs - always! - Philippians 4:13, Matthew 6:31-33

B. He will always forgive my sin - always! 1 John 1:9, Psalm 51, Isaiah 66:2b


C. He is always up to something good in my life - always! Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:26-34


D. He will always love me personally - always! Romans 8:35-39, Jeremiah 31:3, John 17:23


E. He will always give me the grace I need - always! 2 Corinthians 9:8, 1 Corinthians 15:10, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10


God is always great - always! That means...


A. He is always in control of all things - always! Psalm 103:19, Isaiah 14:27, Isaiah 46:9-10


B. He is always present with me - always! Psalm 139:7-12, Isaiah 41:10, Jeremiah 23:24


C. He is always the same - always! Malachi 3:6a, Hebrews 1:10-12


D. He is always trustworthy - always! 2Timothy 2:13, Psalm 36:5, Numbers 23:19, Deuteronomy 7:9, Deuteronomy 31:8


E. He is always wise in what He does - always! Romans 11:33, Colossians 2:3, Revelation 15:3-4


I feel like I should write these out on a card and just carry it around with me.  That way I can whip it out when I get to feeling overwhelmed.




As mentioned, Will is home.  Already, he's fixed my kitchen light, a bathroom towel bar, and the weedeater!  When he got home Friday night the first thing he wanted to do was eat.  As he was shoveling forkfuls of my crazy chicken casserole (chicken, spiral noodles, spices, soup, bacon, and cheese) in he exclaimed, "This is SO good!"  I was surprised to hear him say that because one of the high points about camp has been the wonderful food they serve.  I told him I thought he'd be missing camp food, having to come home.  Will said it was great - at first.  But he was eating the same thing over and over and over at camp and soon got tired of it.  I had never thought about that before.  They serve the same meals for all the youth camps and the five family camps all follow the same menu too.  I guess that would get old after awhile - kind of like the Israelite's manna in the desert.


Later, we were sitting in my room catching up and I was filling him on things.  I said something about the possibility of me dying.  Will looked me straight in the eye and said with great conviction, "You can't die now.  It would completely ruin my life if you died."


Awww!  He's not an overly sentimental or expressive young man and it felt like we were finally having a moment there.  Then reality dawned.  Will is the named guardian of his brothers if something happens to me.  My death would greatly interfere with his college plans.  I said as much and Will nodded.  I protested, "I thought you were saying that my death would ruin your life!"

Will shrugged and commented, "I've adjusted to living without Dad.  I can live without you, too."




He's not completely cold hearted.  Yesterday he was unpacking all his stuff from camp.  I was pretty surprised when he tossed a camp t shirt on my desk.  He'd thought of me and bought me a pink IRBC shirt all on his own!  He even got the size right.  I may keep him after all.




I had a couple of  emails from the school counselor at Pleasantville today.  It tickled me.  He had some questions about homeschooling because there is now another family in the district interested in dual-enrolling their homeschooled teenager like we did with Will.  Apparently they had some questions on how to do it and the counselor wasn't sure how to answer them.  Evidently, Will must have broken some ground when he played football and took classes at the high school.  I remember one of his teachers telling me that Will had "made a difference" at the school and "forever changed the way we view homeschooling."    I was pleased to hear the praise at the time, but a little baffled, too.  Surely, in all the years homeschooling has been happening Will is not the first homeschooler to pass through their doors!  It is a small district, though, so maybe...I think there is still just a lot of ignorance with those involved solely in traditional schooling.  I've never sensed any hostility like we did when I took Ben out of public school over in Western Iowa, though.  One of the questions for me today was if Will had an actual high school diploma!  Of course, I've been steeped in all this stuff for the past decade, so the answers are obvious to me.  But I suppose they wouldn't be for those not used to it.



The other night I couldn't fall asleep right away.  I've been going to bed a little bit earlier because I got convicted about a tv show I was staying up late to watch every night.  The show really isn't God-honoring in any way and it just bothered me more and more.  Plus, I knew sleep is something I could definitely use more of.  So anyway, I was in bed earlier, but couldn't shut my mind off yet.  I remembered how about  a year ago I had a similar night so  I had mentally gone over Paul's body in my mind, seeing if I could remember how each and every part of his body felt to my touch.  I did it again the other night, curious if time has dulled any of the memory of my senses.


It hasn't.  As soon as I would think about some particular spot - the back of his knee, his big toe, the upper right side of his back - no matter  how insignificant of a spot, I could immediately "feel" it again in my mind.  All those thousands of times I had touched him completely embedded into my memory bank.


How long will that last  I wonder?  If 14 months has not dulled my memory, will 14 years?  Will it take marrying again and learning another man's body for my senses to forget how Paul felt?


And here again I find myself torn between the past and future.  I don't want to forget how Paul felt.  But at the same time, the thought of never moving forward, of never loving again, of never being held by someone else also seems equally unbearable.


This is why my focus needs to be on right now, right here.  All the worrying, planning, and hoping about the future is not going to meet my present needs.  My present need is to really learn the list I copied into this post earlier!  It's recognizing that God will take care of the future, but right now, I have things to experience and  learn in the present.


Right now, there's a lot in my present that isn't fun or enjoyable.  There's a lot of hard work, pain,  loneliness, and just plain, difficult days.  But whether I see it or not, this present is fashioning my future.  It's molding me, whether I want to be molded or not. I think the Apostle Paul referred to it once as the "refiner's fire."


The future will take care of itself.  I have confidence that God will give me the wisdom to know what steps to take and when to take them.  He's lead me this far already - I know He's not going to abandon me mid-journey.  I've only got one shot to do this present right, though.  I don't want to mess it up.



And in my immediate present?  I have haircuts and baths to give, a kitchen to clean, and small people to get to bed.  David is insisting that we must have a "family game night" and I am so tired that all I can think about is going to bed.  Sometimes my present seems to last for  a very, very long time...





































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