Sunday, January 31, 2016

Day 969

January 31, 2016
Day 969

Well, it did come.  And I got through it.  Not without tears, but I wasn't a sobbing mess like I was afraid I would be.  I didn't stand up to give a testimony, because that would have been pointless - I would have just cried into the microphone.  But I wrote Pastor and Marcia a letter this week and found a card at Hobby Lobby that said something to the effect of, "Heaven is going to be the best place ever because there will never be any good-byes."  I had each of the kids sign it.  I did nearly lose it after church, though.  Pastor was actually sick today and couldn't be there (of all the days!) but Marcia and most of her family were there.  They had her and kids line up in the foyer after church, like she and Pastor would do every single Sunday.  And a couple of her kids hugged me and then Marcia wrapped her arms around me and I leaned my forehead on hers and she said (like she has every single time she's seen me since Paul's death), "I love you, Sarah" and I couldn't say a word back, but just closed my eyes and nodded my head.

But then, fortunately, I think it was time for the potluck meal and I was suddenly surrounded by needy children demanding to know who got to sit where and why couldn't we eat now and why did we have to wait in line, and why couldn't they go sit with their friends and would I please tell their sibling to stop breathing on them and if I was going to cry then it was going to be for an entirely different reason!

Afterwards, I finally got loaded up.  Will rode with Arien because she was coming to our house for rest of the afternoon and evening.  I got halfway down the road and I suddenly realized David wasn't in the van!  I don't think I've ever forgotten a child before, so I'm not going to beat myself up too badly.  Like David said, morosely, when I sped back to church to retrieve him, "After all, I'm just the third child..."

Actually, it worked out well because I guess he was wanting to tell Marcia good-bye and me forgetting him gave him a few extra minutes to do so

We came home and after I dealt with Ellie (a regular occurrence lately) we all watched, "War Room."  I love that movie!  It meant more tears for me, of course...I'm feeling a bit wrung out by now, actually.
Ellie is still being...Ellie.  On top of the many, many lying incidents (although today she actually told me the truth right away - she pointed out to me - when I found lipstick scribbled all over a bedroom chair...I guess I'll give her points where I can) she's showing a great desire to be large and in charge.

There have been a couple of times in recent weeks where's she's put her hands on her hips and informed me, "You're not the boss of me!"  I wish I was a better mom.  It seems to me like a good mom would just smile sweetly and let things like that sail over her head.  Instead, I hear that and it sounds like a challenge to me, so much so that I turn around and say things like, "Uh, wanna bet?"

Yesterday morning we were in a hurry to leave for Woodward so Ben could participate in Sp. Olympics.  Ellie was dragging her feet so I told her to grab a poptart for breakfast.  She said she wanted some orange juice to go with it.  I told her that there wasn't time for that and to just get some water. 

Oh. My. Goodness.

You would think I  had just proposed we forget her birthday this year, throw away all her toys, and make her wear boy clothes from now on.  It turned into this screaming fit

I want orange juice!! 

 You're not getting orange juice.  Drink some water.


You'd better hurry up.  We're leaving.


Lizzie looked at me and asked, "Wouldn't it be quicker to just give her some juice?"

Yep.  I explained to her that it is important that I "win" all these confrontations that Ellie seems to wish to engage in lately.  But honestly and lately,  it sure doesn't feel like winning overly much...

But, I am hopeful that this is just a stage of learning and that, rather than envisioning stripes and jail cells in Ellie's future, I just need to hang on for this bumpy part of her growing.  She may be genuinely delightful in another couple of years.

I hope.
Tomorrow is caucus day.  I had not planned to go this year, ever since I found out BVU has their classes on Monday and Thursday nights.  But this term, my professor is only having us meet on Thursdays.  But I still wasn't going to go because I went the last two or three times and they were kind of boring and crowded.

But then after going to the Cruz rally last weekend I felt kind of guilty about that so I decided I would go.  But this time I'm not taking the kids.  Will will join me when he gets off work.  I really do want to see Cruz win this.

Or I want to see Trump defeated.

Either view works for me, I guess!

We have just been inundated with ads.  I see friends complaining about getting 20-30 political calls in a single day but I haven't gotten a single one.  I do occasionally get telemarketers on my cell phone, but I guess my number isn't on too many lists yet.  But every single day for the past couple of weeks I've been throwing away probably 5-8 political fliers that come in the mail.  And the commercials...oh, my goodness...

Carly Fiorina has a radio ad that has a line in it that's been driving me nuts all week.  I'm not against her as a candidate - I really don't know all that much about her.  But this one radio ad lists her accomplishments and tucked right in the middle of a recitation of the most impressive, is, "And Carly fought cancer and won!"

What?  How is that an accomplishment?  The ad makes it sound like she beat it by sheer force of will.  Cancer couldn't stand up to her, by golly!  I recognize that a good, positive attitude can have a lot to do with how a person's body responds to medical crises, but nobody beats cancer on attitude alone!  I can think of two friends who had great attitudes throughout their entire cancer ordeals and the both still died.  So that commercial bugs me.
And then another one this week was anti-Cruz and that's not why I didn't like it.  But in the ad, the complaint is that Ted Cruz doesn't tithe.  How on earth would someone know that?  That's between a person, God, and the church treasurer.  And even if he doesn't tithe, what possible bearing does that have on a political campaign?  To be perfectly honest, I'm pretty sure there's a real paucity of tithing candidates in any political race anymore.

And then yesterday I was doing a complicated style on Lizzie's head which meant several hours of work (broken up - I'd do a couple rows of twists and then we'd break for awhile).  So I parked the stool in the living room in front of the tv.  Over and over and over again Hilary Clinton ads ran.  I wanted to throw something at the tv.  One ad would show Hilary unabashedly proclaiming that she was, "pro-choice, pro-marriage equality, and pro-healthcare" and proud of it and the next would be one where she claims to have invested her life into fighting for children - making sure they have hope for a better future and access to all of life's possibilities.

It doesn't work both ways.  You don't say you're for baby murdering in one ad and pro-child in the next.

What a wicked woman.

What a wicked world.

Sam said last week one of the boys in his class was talking about how he hoped Bernie Sanders would win.  Sam said he so badly wanted to tell this boy that he really "ought to consider Cruz" (his words) instead, but he didn't have the courage!

I suppose if nothing else, my ranting shows that these ads are working since I remember them and because they raise my blood pressure enough to elicit a response from me.

Well, tomorrow night it will all be over.  All the candidates and media will be headed for New Hampshire.  After that primary, we'll see more than one candidate give a tearful speech in which he or she thanks God, his supporters, his staff, and his family and intones that it's "just not his time" and the field will be narrowed.

That is, if they can get out of Iowa that night.  We've got a blizzard moving in.  They're saying Monday night should be ok, but a blizzard warning goes into effect at 3am on Tuesday for much of the state, including central Iowa.  So they may all be stranded for awhile.

For some, probably mischievous, reason, that thought makes me smile!
Yesterday, on the way up to Woodward for Ben's event, I had my mp3 player plugged into the van's radio and was listening to my music (have I mentioned how much I love having a smart phone?  It is so amazing to have all kinds of tools in one single gadget!  And a couple of weeks ago I got my first regular bill after paying off the new device fees and it was a full $38 less than I've been paying the last two years.  Awesome!). Ellie finally quit screaming about orange juice when we got to the by-pass, 10 minutes from home.  A long ten minutes.  So, then I could actually listen to music.  The song, "Sweet Lorraine" came on.  I remember mentioning this song in a blog post that first summer that Paul was dead.  I still love the song.  It was written by a 94 year old widower about his wife.  He submitted it, handwritten, to a radio station that was having a song-writing promotion and they liked it so much they had it professionally recorded for him.  The simple song goes,

Oh Sweet Lorraine 
I wish we could do 
The good times 
All over again

Oh sweet Lorraine
Life only goes around
But never again

Oh sweet Lorraine
I wish we could do
All the good times all over

Lizzie wanted to know the explanation for the song's lyrics and I told her what he was saying.  She commented that if the author could go back, then maybe he could tell his wife when she was going to die and then they could do something to avoid it from happening.

Her words immediately began to cause my own mind to start spinning and I began to think what life would be like if I could go back and "do the good times all over again."  I thought of the ways I would have been a better wife and a better mom.  I thought of words I never would have said and things I would have said more often.  If I could go back, I would have made sure that Paul never fell asleep the night of June 5th.  I would have held his hand and talked to him all night long just so he'd still be awake when dawn came - and he'd still be alive.

But as quickly as I had those thoughts I also thought of other things I would have done.  There were things that Paul  occasionally said or did that I would not have tolerated if I went back in time.  I would have stood up for myself more in some areas - like with his parents.  And then, if I had done that,  that might have led to other relationship problems that we never had because I was quiet instead.

So, maybe it's a good thing that life "only goes around once, but never again."
This week Ellie made a comment about wishing she had a dad.  It nearly ripped my heart out to hear her say that. I wrote about it on Facebook because it was gnawing at me and I knew I could write something worthwhile about the incident.  And I put a positive spin on it because nobody ever knows how to respond when you post negative things.  And, also, writing what I did (I'll include it below) was actually an encouragement to me because I wrote truth.  It's what I believe and I needed to remind myself of that truth in that moment when I was feeling only hurt for my baby girl.

This was my Facebook post:

"I wish I had a dad." Ellie's matter-of-fact, out-of-the blue statement whipped right through my heart as we stood at the counter together this afternoon, she making her sandwich and me preparing supper. "Why do you wish that?" I asked and my 4 year old replied that everybody else she knows has one. I nodded. It makes sense. Her memories of her fathers - Paul, as well as the man who fostered her in infancy - are faint, if existent at all. Once again, I feel helpless to assuage this hurt in the hearts of my children, a pain that differs for each. I am reminded that no matter how good of a mother I am, I will never replace what they have lost. I point them to God who has promised to father the fatherless but it's not the same as having a daddy in the home who can wrap his big arms around them and love them like only a father can do. I can remind them of God's sovereignty, care, and provision - but it doesn't change the fact that a hole exists in our family.
It isn't fixable - but it is bearable. My children are learning early the truth of John 16:33 - "In this world you will have many troubles..." Life won't be all pain-free. Sometimes it's not fair. Hearts break. All I can do is faithfully point them to the second half of that verse, "But rejoice - for I have overcome the world!" It's temporary. Someday, all wrongs will be righted, we'll be free of these heavy shackles, and good-byes will never again be uttered.
Hope abounds.

This has still been on my mind, several days out, and then today, God spoke to my heart.  It was such a clear thought that I have no doubt where it came from.  I heard Him say to me, "Don't you think that if I wanted your children to have a father - if they needed to have one - they would?  Do you really think I am going to withhold something from them that they need?"  My mind immediately went to Matthew 7:9 where Jesus says, "What man among you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?"  No decent human parent would do something like that, of course.

And God won't either.  In my humanness and in my deep love for my kids, all I see is the hurt and loss.  I see the articles on the importance of fatherhood and I see kids out at the mall perched on their daddy's shoulders and I get fliers from school advertising an upcoming Daddy-daughter dance and I feel so terrible for my children that they don't have someone to fill that place in their heart.  I see my inadequacy as a single parent and know that I will never, ever be able to make up for that loss in their lives.

But God knows.  There are far greater happenings right now than I can possibly imagine.  My kids don't have a dad right now because ...

Well, I don't know the reason, actually.  But God does and He is bigger than all the hurt that surrounds us because of this loss.

And once again, we're back to trust.  For nearly a thousand days I've been pouring words out of a broken and now-healing heart and all of them boil down to really just four words.

Will I trust Him?



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