Dandelions Are Pretty

I took some photos of these outside of my cabin (when I still lived there).  I like to play around with pictures and so most of these are not exactly as I took them, but think of them as artistic renderings.  I was really lucky to get them because it poured down rain later that day, and of course they were all beat up after that.

 

Love?

I read a book called “The Shack” by William P. Young over the last couple of days.  I think it’s one of those books that everyone in “civilized” Christendom will end up reading, like “A Purpose-Filled Life” by Rick Warren was.  I usually shy away from those books, because of my proclivity towards thinking that anything popular must be stupid.  However, I have been humbled in this position before (you can read about this in my “Literary Arrogance” post), and therefore have learned not to judge a book by its popularity.  A friend of mine read it, and it changed her world so much that she bought it and had it shipped to every friend she could think of, including me.  So, then I really didn’t have an excuse not to read the book. 

It is a fictional allegory about the nature of God and how He relates to us, and it gives amazing illustrations on what love really is and what it looks like.  I really needed a refresher course on that.

I told you in my first post of yesterday (sitting around doing nothing has a tendency to make one very prolific) that my boyfriend and I are broken up, and have been since April.  But that we also still have a non-defined relationship and neither of us are clear on where God has planned for us to end up.  And that for the moment, due to circumstances also outlined in yesterday’s first post, I am staying in the apartment off of his mom’s house.  However, the hurts that caused us to break up have continued and the relationship has become more and more strained, with bits of good moments scattered in.

As I read “The Shack”, I realized that my “love”, especially towards him, lately has been very flawed, and I became more and more aware of the damage my demands and requirements have done to him and our relationship.  Many (not all) of the things I was asking of him were and are justified from most people’s standpoints, but that does not justify the harshness, disapproval and anger I have shown to him in trying to get him to meet my expectations.  I felt compelled this morning to apologize for hurting him, because in many ways he has been trying very hard and he has received, in return, my complete unresponsiveness.  God knew I needed to do it today.  Yesterday things were OK; but this morning he had put this wall up against me…it was like he didn’t even want to look at me.  I feel that if I had been in the same place I was yesterday, that would have been it, because I would have seen him today in the same light I have been, and would have treated him in the same way.  But I went in to talk to him under God’s orders and in God’s strength because I still feel I have nothing to give, and I really was humbled at how my “love” was hurting him.  We talked through some more things.  I still don’t know what the future holds, but I think that this was all very necessary.  He apologized as well for his part in everything, and it was the first time both of us have said, “I forgive you.”

What healing words those are!

Nothing to Give

I wrote a very factual post earlier today, but it didn’t really have very much meat.  It had been so long since I wrote one, I think I felt the need for excuses, and since I had pretty good ones, that was easy.  But now I’ve been sitting here with my leg elevated all day like they told me to (I have a staph infection if you didn’t read the earlier post), and that leaves a lot of time for reflection.  OK, so I didn’t actually spend much time reflecting, I just had a sort of an epiphany.  I spent a lot of time surfing the internet and working on a story I am writing, which sometimes turns into reflection for me.

Anyway, I was thinking about my recent life situations and choices.  Everything I have been trying to do lately is because I am at a point where I feel like I have nothing to give.  Not just to other people or whatever…but to jobs and to chores and to basic life functions.  I want to hand over all responsibilities and decision-making to someone else.  This is another reason I decided to live in a tent; less “things” to fool with, less decisions to make, less stuff to do. 

My work environments have been making me crazy.  See, I purposely choose jobs which give me very little responsibility for decision making.  I don’t care about jobs enough to have to figure things out for them.  If you give me a straight-forward task, I will do it well, probably better and faster than most, but I can’t stand it when I start feeling like I am in charge of something.  That’s why when I got to the point managing a Chick-fil-A when I probably could have had my own store, I left.  My philosophy: “It’s just chicken.”  Who really cares about chicken?   Ummm, not me. 

I figured out then, that I did not want positions of authority.  The annoying thing is that they always seem to find me.  People figure out I am not stupid and start giving me real work along with whatever purposefully simple job I have taken on, i.e. repetitive data entry, waiting tables, answering e-mails. 

You may be thinking, “Why don’t you just say no?”  But I DO say no to 90% of the requests.  Example 1: Do you want to take some classes on X for me?  No, I am really not that interested.  Example 2: Will you do some internet marketing for me? No, I have absolutely no skills in that, and am not interested in learning them.

But the 10% that I concede always ends up being enough to make me want to pull my hair out and quit.  I am not sure what to do about this, but it works its way into the rest of my life as well, and I find myself feeling that I have nothing to give to anyone, unless I feel like giving it at that exact moment. 

So, I am in a place now, where I think I feel MORE like I have nothing to give than ever.  Hence the tent.  Very few bills=much less work=fewer requirements for my brain.  Or are there jobs that don’t require you to think?  Because all of the ones I have tried have engaged my thoughts far too much.

Am I the only person with this problem?

I do know that God is who I am supposed to hand all of that decision making to, but I don’t think I am supposed to hand over all of the responsibilities, although that is what I feel like doing. 

So, now, possibly for the first time ever, you get a post before I am trying to pretend I have it figured out.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

My world has been pretty full here lately.  We’ll say that a number of negative things have happened, but God continues to speak through them and to shove some unexpected good things in as well. 

I sort of felt like God warned me in a couple of ways that I was about to go through some difficulty, which is comforting when the difficulty does hit.

In April, my boyfriend and I broke up.  We had been together for 3 1/2 years.  I am probably not going to go into detail on this particular event since it involves someone else as well.  But I will say that I am not sure where the situation will end up.  We still have a relationship that is positive, and, indeed, due to my most recent difficult circumstance (I’ll get to that), I am staying in the apartment off of his mom’s house.

So, needless to say all of that was grandly emotional.  Then after we broke up, my car broke down on my way to church.  Having only recently broken up, I was still in the habit of calling him when I had trouble, so he came and helped me out for 3 days until it all got worked out.

The following circumstance was my decision, so it was not something that “happened” to me, but something I chose.  I decided to move out of my cabin, and the living in a tent plan was reborn.  This decision was come to after a series of conversations with my landlord in which he decided I owed him $400 for something that should in no way have been $400, and for which I could not get him to provide documentation.  I will give him some credit, though – when I put in my notice, he did offer to waive this fee, and subsequently to reduce my rent if I would stay, but I had already made my decision at that point.  The tent decision was very logical to me.  I weighed my options – a) live comfortably, and in no time in the foreseeable future get to do the things I really want to do with any consistancy (write, create, travel) or b) live uncomfortably, and get to do those things.  And so, last week, I vacated the cabin.  But before we get there, I have one more situation to tell you about.

About a week before I was supposed to move out, I decided to take my cat to the vet.  He had been having a cough for a couple of months, but hadn’t had any other symptoms so I didn’t think much of it.  However, in the week or two preceding this, he had started seeming a little lethargic, not eating as much and reluctant to jump.  I decided to take him, in part because someone else was going to have to care for him during my tent living and if he had something contagious, I did not want to spread it to someone else’s pets.  But I did not really think it was that serious.  However, the vet did x-rays, and it was not good.  One entire lung was full of either a mass or fluid, was swollen and pressing on the other lung, which was not entirely clear either.  So, he was functioning on less than one lung.  My vet said they did not have the capabilities to find out what was in the lung, but that I could go to a specialist if I wanted, which, of course, would be very expensive.  The vet was very honest and told me that he really felt that all I would get from a specialist would be a definitive answer about what was wrong and that they would still not be able to do anything.  He told me that there are times when people want to euthanize their pets and he discourages it, but in my case, he would support that decision.  So sad…I cried the whole afternoon.  I have had my Leo for 9 years since he was younger than he should have been taken from his mother, due to poor humane society practices (they came and picked up the mother and left the too-young kittens).  Anyway, I took Leo home, and although I cannot afford the specialist, my vet was going to get the blood test results from my cat and consult with them just so I would have a more educated opinion.  He was supposed to get back to me on Tuesday after Memorial Day.  I was leaving the cabin on Wednesday morning.  Well, on Monday, I was going to take Leo to a friend’s house.  She had agreed to be his foster parent.  I was doing other moving runs, taking my stuff to various generous people’s attics and storage units.  My plan was to take him when I got back.  Only when I got back, I could not find him.  This is very rare, even though he is indoor/outdoor.  He always runs up when I get home.  I called and waited and later on I called and waited.  He never came.  He was just gone.  And he never came back.  They say that cats know when they are about to die, and often go out alone to do it.  He did not act like he felt that bad, but I suppose I was wrong about that.  I feel that if he had been able to come back, he would have.  He’s never once been gone for 2 days before.  So, Wednesday morning came and I had to leave my cabin not knowing where he was and just hoping he was peaceful and that he would not come back to no one and nothing. 

Well, I had a trip scheduled before I began my tent adventure.  A friend of mine and I were going to TX.  She had someone she wanted to visit there, which worked out nicely because I had a wedding I was hoping to go to.  We rented a car, and the plan was that we would drive to Dallas, and then I would take the car and drive to Houston on Saturday for the wedding, then stay the night with my sister who happens to live there and drive back to Dallas on Sunday.  Since my friend was staying with people in Dallas, it would not leave her completely stranded.  Well, on Thursday, I noted that what I thought was a bug bite was getting worse, which is unusual.  I didn’t think much of it until Friday (which happened to be my friend’s birthday) when it was significantly worse.  I went to the minute clinic where they told me I had a staph infection and gave me oral antibiotics, and told me if it does a, b or c that I needed to go to another clinic.  Well, it DID do a and b, so I went to another clinic, where they gave me an antibiotic shot and told me that if it does a, b or c, to go to the emergency room.  Yay.  So, the next day I am supposed to drive to a wedding, not go to the emergency room, although at this point, I can barely walk. 

I talked to my sister, who told me that if I get admitted to the hospital, it is most likely not going to be a short stay, and that I should come to Houston to go to the hospital so that I will be near family since, obviously, my friend was not staying in Dallas forever and then I’d be stuck in a hospital where I didn’t know anyone.  So, instead of my taking the rental car, my friend drove it and we met my sister half-way and I went back with her.  Needless to say, I did not make it to the wedding.

That night (which was Saturday) we went to the ER, and thankfully, they sent me home and said that they would expect the antibiotics to start kicking in (although there was no noticable difference until yesterday!).  So, now I had to figure out how to get back to Dallas to make it back to TN with my friend.  I opted for a bus trip so as not to put everyone out again.  I didn’t bank on the medicine making me sick.  I have never before been car sick in my life, and it was not pleasant on the Greyhound.  At least it gave me the warning I needed to take dramamine on the drive back to TN the next day. 

So, now, remember, I don’t live anywhere.  Tent living is probably not the best idea when you have a full-blown staph infection.  Hence the reason I am now staying in the apartment off of my ex-boyfriend’s mom’s house.  And unbeknownst to me, they moved furniture in here and had the carpets cleaned explicitly because I was going to stay.  I didn’t mean to be so much trouble. 

The friend I went to TX with said maybe this was happening because I am so independent.  Hmmm.  Well, this definitely makes me NOT independent.  I go to the dr. again today to get it all checked out.

However, in the meantime, I do think that God has been opening doors for me in other fronts.  I played my first (music) show in approximately two years in May.  I felt God impress me to submit my works to an event called “Women’s Work” put on by the Tennessee Women’s Theater Project, and was chosen as one of the singer/songwriter’s to play. 

And then I felt compelled to create a specific work of art (I woke up with a picture of exactly what I wanted to do in my head), and it led me to what I think is my favorite type of art to create so far.  And because of this, I felt led to create another piece and take it to a cool little shop here in Nashville to see if they would put it up for sale there.  And they did. 

And then someone randomly sent me a message through my “MySpace” music page, saying they wanted to book shows for me.  If you know me, you know that booking shows is one of my least favorite activities, and one of the reasons I never have shows!  I have my first show for them on July 3rd.  There is a clincher in that I am supposed to draw X number of people, so I have to work that out. 

The point is that God is definitely doing things, and as I said at the beginning of this, He knew I was about to go through hard things.  And I am.  And I feel like the are not finished yet.  But He has also worked some other great things out, and given me wonderful, supportive people in the meantime. 

I’m not really sure what He’s doing, but I know He is doing something.  And if He’s doing it, it’s good.  I’m not saying God has caused the bad things that have happened.  But He’s definitely working in them, and if I let Him, through them.