Sunday, November 30, 2014

Day 545

November 30, 2014
Day 545

The last few hours of November...can I go to sleep tonight and not wake until Feb. 21?  Yeah, I know...

It's just hitting me so hard right now.  I totally unloaded on my friend, Sarah, yesterday, when I went to have my hair done.  She made the mistake of asking me, "How are you doing, really/"  And I told her.  I told her that I'm depressed.  Last year at this time I was wrapped in a cocoon of grief, but this year I don't have that protective covering.  Everywhere I look it's Christmas, Christmas, Christmas - which is fine.  Christmas is a good thing.  The kids and I spent all of Friday and some of Saturday getting the decorations up.  If it were up to me, I'd skip it, but I can't, of course.  And that's a good thing.  There's a reason we celebrate.  But...

This year I'm seeing couples everywhere.  Why did I never realize before how couple-oriented Christmas really is?  Smiling couples on tv basking in a firelight glow (before turning to one another and exchanging diamond jewelry) or surprising the other with a car in the driveway donned with a 40 pound bow (do people really do that with the bow?  I've never seen it.  But then, I've never been given a car for a Christmas gift, either), couples indulgently sipping their coffee on the couch while watching their 2.7 children merrily tear into Christmas loot...

I've been trying to force myself into the Christmas spirit by listening to holiday music but about every other song has to do with wanting to see a loved one (well, I guess I could relate to those, but I know the songs aren't talking about death) or the joys of love at Christmastime...sigh...

Poor Sarah is going through a messy divorce so she could easily relate and we had a real time of life-is-so-stinky before settling into some "real" talk.  She's such an encourager to me.  In fact, I now have a series of 7 articles she sent me on the Christian and dating/remarriage sitting in my in-box as a result of our conversation.

I'll get through it.  I'm actually having some pretty deep thoughts right now about celebrating Christmas while crushed in spirit which I may expound on later.  I know that even in this brokenness and pain the message of Christmas still rings true and is perhaps even more applicable now than in other, happier, years.


I did get through Thanksgiving just fine.  Last year we did something totally out of the ordinary and went to visit friends because I thought it might be easier on the kids - and because these friends invited us and I genuinely like them and enjoy spending time with them.  I was afraid that trying to do what we've always done and not having Paul there would be unbearable for all of us.  But afterwards the kids begged me to stay home at Christmas and we did. They wanted the familiarity of tradition.

So this year we went up to my parents' for Thanksgiving.  And it was nice, quiet (well, as quiet as it is with a half dozen children), and relaxing - just the  8 of us.  It was snowy and cold, which was kind of different.  I'm sure, in 43 years of life, I've experienced other snowy Thanksgivings but the only one I can remember is when I was somewhere around third grade and even then it wasn't all that much snow.

Two nights before Thanksgiving the Des Moines area GARB churches hosted a joint Thanksgiving musical thing with a combined orchestra and choir and congregational singing up at Faith.  We all went and met up with Will.  I really, really enjoyed the evening.  For the first six or seven years that I lived in western Iowa with Paul the Omaha area churches would gather together at Thanksgiving time and I have such fond memories of those services.  Even though I'm not the least bit musically inclined I still really appreciate these kind of endeavors.  I hope this becomes an annual event.


Maybe one of the reasons I was so thankful Tuesday night to be up at Faith was the distraction it provided.  I had a rather upsetting event occur earlier that day.  I had to order a water shut-off for a town resident.  It should have happened a few days earlier but I forgot that the payment deadline had passed and then our water guy forgot to do the shut-off when I first asked, so, anyway, it finally happened on Tuesday.

I, of course, got a phone call.  But this was, by far, the nastiest encounter I've ever had with a disgruntled (to put it mildly - "enraged" would be a more apt term) resident.  Eventually, he started telling me I was a "piece of work" and "needed to be fired" which made me laugh.  I have tried to quit this job so many times!  But from there he launched into a personal attack and began calling me filthy, vile names.  I hung up on him.  I don't have to listen to that. 

It was upsetting to me, of course.  It made me fearful for my safety, to the point that I told the mayor I would not be the one to turn this guy's water back on whenever it was he decided to pay up.  But it also made me really, really sad.

It made me sad because I know that Paul would not have stood for this.  He would have marched down to this guy's house, poked him in the chest and said, "I will not have you talking to my wife that way."  That's who he was.  I saw him do it before with his own father.  And now - I have nobody to stand up for me.  I felt defenseless.

But then, as I drove up to the college that evening I suddenly thought of  Psalm 68:5, "Father to the fatherless, defender of widows--this is God, whose dwelling is holy."  There are other verses with similar messages in Scripture, as well.  I'm not defenseless.  No, God is not going to go ring this jerk's doorbell and remonstrate with him for his offensive behavior - which would give me a certain sense of satisfaction.  But at the same time, I'm not so sure I'd want to be in this guy's shoes right about now.  God makes it pretty clear that nobody is to be picking on or taking advantage of the widow or orphan.


I have a new bathroom floor and baseboard now.  Friday night I met Will at Menards.  By then the black Friday crowds had thinned and it wasn't too bad.  We picked out what we needed and that evening he and Sam ripped out the old floor and spent most of yesterday installing the new.  I went with a different look for the floor because it was on sale but also, during Christmas break we're going to do something I found on Pinterest called, "planking" to one of the walls.  It's basically gluing pieces of wood, kind of like a wood floor, to a wall for a rustic look.  In our case, this will also serve to cover up some bad drywalling.  So I went with a wood-look linoleum and white baseboard.  Will kept commenting about how much better he liked this.  I think it makes the bathroom look bigger since it's lighter in color.  But I have to fight the urge to throw down a rag rug on top it.  It's a bathroom, not a kitchen!

Sam was so eager to be of help and Will was such a good teacher.  I could hear him gently giving instructions throughout the day.  It reminded me of another twosome that used to work on our houses together and that made me smile.  As I said on Facebook, Paul's legacy continues through his sons.


I have more to write but I am getting really sleepy.  Tomorrow is my monthly grocery shopping day and it would be nice to have my wits somewhat about me and be somewhat alert as I go drop $1000 (it's not only groceries - it's my Walmart and other misc. stuff, too).

Here's a Sam funny to end with: Today I was dishing up the Littles' and Ben' lunch.  I don't know what it is like to eat hot food except for the occasional meal out with friends.  That's what used to be nice about date nights but those obviously aren't happening anymore.  By the time I got each of the kids their plate of food, chopped up their roast into non-chokable pieces, and got their other food and drink, the first one served was ready for seconds!  Sam asked for more and Lizzie pointed out to him that I had not eaten yet and he should really be patient and let me get my own food next (I love that girl more every day).  Sam looked at her and seriously protested, "You act like you care more about Mom than us!"

It's funny but a few alarm bells are sounding in my brain at the same time!












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