Nonexistent Plan B

About 2 months ago I moved home, it feels like so much longer than that but alas it has only been 2 months. I moved home because I had to, I was poor and my parents were paying my bills and I couldn’t get a job so I had to move home and back in with the folks.

I had conflicting feelings about it and I continue to have conflicting feelings about it. I like living rent free but I know I cannot live here forever.

Plan A when I moved home was to live here while working part time and doing CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education, Chaplaincy in a hospital). I’ve only interviewed with 2 CPE sites. One was St. Joe and the other was St. Luke’s. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to get St. Joe because they told me to look elsewhere. I received confirmation of this just a few days ago. I still haven’t heard from St. Luke’s.

I did get a job, that might conflict with these two CPE sites because they have classes on Mondays and I have been told that for this job I would have to work a Monday but I have also been told that you can trade shifts with people so I’m sure I could make it work if St. Luke’s takes me.

The thing is I never thought I wouldn’t get a placement. I never thought it might not happen so I have no Plan B.

St Joe has provided a Plan B. They have asked me if I would like to be considered for their year-long extended CPE that would start in January 2013 and end December 2013. I have asked for more information because I might need a Plan B.

Have you ever heard of “leap of faith?” A leap of faith is when you jump into something with faith and hopefully God will catch you. Hopefully what you hope for will happen. I jumped without a net and it turns out that God isn’t in the pool. ūüôā

I know, no matter what happens (CPE in the fall or not) that God is there but maybe he isn’t in my pool, he’s in the pool next to it. Maybe I’ve made a leap into the deep end and God wanted me in the shallow end. I don’t know (I know I’m stretching the metaphor but just go with me).

God has plans for all of us. I believe that when we get off track God can just¬†maneuver¬†us back onto the plan. It’s like we have taken an unnecessary¬†detour¬†but God will get us back to where we are supposed to be. In the end we still get to the same place but it may have taken us longer to get there, than originally planned.

If I don’t get a CPE does that mean I’m on an unnecessary detour? Probably not. I’m sure God will have some reason for me not getting a CPE, even if I have no idea what that is.

I don’t have a Plan B but as I wait for St Luke’s to tell me, yay or nay, I will begin to think about what that Plan might be.

My Plan A included possibly volunteering at one of the non-profits in the area so maybe Plan B will just include a more active role in volunteering than I originally thought. Maybe Plan B will include searching out churches in the area that would welcome a healing group like the one I have developed. Maybe Plan B will include joining a group or two at Knox.

Plan B’s options are endless. Isn’t there some quote that says when we make plans God laughs. Apparently what Woody Allen said was, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”¬†

I’m not really laughing but when your plan fails, when God is in the shallow end, you swim to the surface and move on. You make new plans and swim to the shallow end to meet God.

Time to find a Plan B.


Opening Ceremonies

I’ll be honest I absolutely enjoyed the Opening Ceremonies last night! It was fun and funny and what I love about the Brits.

When you think about the UK what do you think about? I think about all the amazing things they have given us: great literature, music, TV shows to rip off, and amazing scenery. I think they did a great job representing their country.

Almost all of my friends on facebook disagree but I think Great Britain did a great job entertaining us last night. They have been entertaining us for years and they continued to do so last night. Mr Bean was awesome as was the Queen. What an awesome sport to go along with the whole Bond thing. Can you imagine a US president ever doing that? Of course not. Yet the most dignified person chose to participate and to show her support in a way that was truly hilarious and fun loving. Go the Queen.

I also loved how much children were part of the show. The children who sang the anthem while signing, cool. The children that were part of the whole nightmare, Mary Poppins, Voldemort thing; awesome. Great Britain does things differently than the US but that’s what makes them Great Britain. I thought it was pretty awesome.

I also teared up when the tour of nations began. Can you imagine reaching the¬†pinnacle¬†of your sport and being able to walk in front of the world and show that you’ve made it? Can you imagine the pure joy of walking out there. Athletes that weren’t there, complained that they couldn’t make it because they were participating in their event the next morning and were worried that standing for that long before doing their event would be¬†detrimental¬†to them. They’re probably right, I’ve never been an athlete so who am I to tell them that they should¬†participate¬†but can you imagine being at the Olympics and not celebrating that you made it by being in the Opening Ceremony?

I can’t imagine not walking in it. The pride that must shine through them all had me tearing up and cheering for all of them, “you made it.”

I was in awe of the Opening Ceremonies, this was the only year that actually held my attention. Go Brits!

The Olympics are the only time in history where I like to hoot and holler for my country. I rarely think the US has got it right or that they are more deserving of things than others. I don’t think that they are more deserving than other countries of winning at the Olympics but I cannot help cheering them on throughout the events I like to watch and when I look at the medal boards I can’t help but get excited when the US has more medals.

The Olympics is the only event where I feel this much pride. I’ll be watching throughout the Olympics and really paying attention to the swimming, gymnastics, maybe beach volleyball. I may feel patriotic but it only comes in small bits and only for the sports I can stand to watch ūüėČ

Go Olympians and be proud that you made it this far!

Restless Night’s Sleep


Have you ever had a night’s sleep that should be called a long night of really short naps? I had such a night’s sleep last night. I fell asleep to one of my favorite shows and woke up 90 minutes later when the show had changed to something I hadn’t watched before with actors with really annoying high voices. (Maybe Sheldon from¬†The Big Bang Theory was right and women’s brains are trained to wake up at higher pitches.)

About 30 minutes later I was awake again so I got up and turned on the fan, thinking the temperature of the room was too hot and that was why I couldn’t sleep.

90 minutes later I woke up after a really crazy dream, a dream I don’t even remember.

90 minutes later I’m awake again. This pattern repeated several times throughout the night.

Now, I’ve been going to therapy for about 8 years. I went right after a traumatic event and stopped when I moved back home a few months ago.

Therapy gave me a lot of tools to use in my life and one thing is to process what’s going on in my life. If something happens (like a restless night sleep with one character repeated over and over) I try to process what is going on. So if someone is repeated in my dreams and in each dream there is anxiety around this person and I actually know this person I will try to process our last few interactions.

Did I say something I regret?

Did I do something I regret?

Did they do something that made me upset?

And so on and so forth.

Turns out that I did something, a couple somethings, that I regret and if I don’t want another restless night sleep I have a few things to do.

The first is to go to the person and to admit what I regret. In my experience two things usually happen when I go to them: 1) they don’t remember the incident or 2) they had no problem with my behavior or actions. But in reality I’m not going to them for their benefit. The truth is I am going to them to absolve myself. I’m going to them because I feel like I have wronged them and feel like I need forgiveness and because I don’t want another restless night’s sleep.

The second is go to myself and figure out why I did it or why I regret the action. In my experience one of two things usually happen: 1) I find a pattern in my life that I would like to change or 2) I find a pattern in a particular relationship and try to fix it.

In this situation, I did a harmless act that the person had expressly asked me not to. In a small way I abused our relationship. It was nothing huge. I did one of the following things (I’m not telling you which): tickled them after they asked me not to, took photos of them after they asked me not to, or kept singing to the radio after they asked me not to.

The second act was equally trivial but equally upsetting to my system. We were on the highway and I was following said person. This person was going the speed limit which to my California ways seems just wrong. So I sped past them without even a wave. A small act indeed but apparently one I regret.

The trouble with regretting actions is that until you fix them you will continue to feel upset and that the other person could have no reason to help you fix the situation. They may have been hurt by your actions and feel like they need to hold on to it for a bit longer. Or they may not be ready to resolve the situation.

In my experience if you go to a person, seek their forgiveness and seek reconciliation then you can usually get some relief. In situations where the person is not offering reconciliation you can still get some peace because you have done everything you can. In situations where the goal is reconciliation you may not get relief until the situation is resolved but this will most likely take more than an apology.

You may need to show that you are trustworthy again. If you really seek reconciliation you will need to do whatever that person seeks or needs to know that you are trustworthy.

For instance, in my own past I have had people let me down constantly. And because of this I have abandonment issues. I know that I have these issues. I know that people are not as reliable as I would like them to be. I know that if someone is late that doesn’t mean that they have forgotten about me, even though it feels that way. I know that if someone says they will call at a specific time and that they don’t that I will immediately think that they have forgotten about me. If someone is late to pick me up I will think that they forgot to come get me. I know I have this issue. It is an issue that has stayed with me because it has happened so many times.

My own father forgot me at the dentist once. My mom had dropped me off and it was my dad’s job to pick me up. He forgot where I was and since this was in a time before cell phones I had no way to reach him and he had no way to reach me. I was at the dentist until it was closing time and they were closing. I went outside to wait for him. One of the nurses asked me if I wanted a ride home but I declined because I knew my dad would be mad if when he finally figured it out I wasn’t there. So I sat in the parking lot waiting for my dad to show up.

This was one of the few times my dad forgot me but others have forgot me as well so I have serious abandonment issues. So if you are my friend or family or we are in a relationship of some sort please call when you say you will or please send me a text letting me know that you will be late. If you don’t I become a bundle of nerves and it really freaks me out. I actually have a panic like response. It’s close to a panic attack but not exactly. As I have aged I have learned certain tactics to help me get through the situation but its just better if you just let me know that you are running late.

Because I am aware of this issue I try to give people a little grace. I give about a 15 minute grace period and if you are late beyond that and do not let me know then I start to freak out. It’s not pretty and it can be really annoying to the people around me. If you are supposed to take me somewhere I try to figure out a way to get there without you. If you were supposed to call I try to busy myself with another task until you do call. Usually there is some pacing involved for the next 15 minutes and then I just give up and either go to the place myself or call you. So my average grace period is 30 minutes but know that if you get to that 30 minute mark I’m upset. I may not tell you that I’m upset but know that I am.

This abandonment issue was triggered for me before I even met up with the person that I feel I have wronged. I didn’t tell them that I was upset but I felt like I had let it go when they finally did contact me. It was past the 30 minute grace period but I knew that I wasn’t going to be alone in my pursuits so I thought I had let it go.

But maybe I didn’t. Do you ever do something to someone else and then wonder later why it was so important for you to do it? Maybe in a small way I was getting back at this person for how they made me feel earlier that night. And maybe it’s not the act itself that I regret but possibly what fueled my act.

Did I let the anger of being abandoned rule my actions? Did I let a small act become bigger by not talking about it? Did I keep this person at arms length by not telling them that they had upset me?

Probably. Well crap. This issue is much bigger than I originally thought and will require much more on my part. Now I will have to be honest with the person, even more honest than I was planning on being. I was planning on being regretful of my actions and seeking forgiveness but now I might need to explain a bit more. Dang it.

With growth always comes more work and more vulnerability. Why can’t it ever be less work and less vulnerability?

More work to be done…….

Say Hello to Grandma For Me

My mom is leaving in the morning for a trip to Denver, Co. For 26 years of my life I would travel with my parents to see my 2 grandmas and my various aunts and uncles and cousins for approximately 2 weeks. We would trade time between my dad’s mom and my mom’s mom, Grandma Waggoner/Summers and Grandma Shirley respectively. It was always a great time. Grandma Summers had a great tv and video collection and an amazing¬†culinary skill. She made the best cookies and meals I have ever had, although most of what she made I cannot eat today.

Grandma Shirley had the amazing pool and all the little debbie’s you could eat. My grandfather, a man I never got the chance to meet, built the house and the indoor pool with his bare hands. It is a house full of memories and history and it means absolutely nothing without Grandma Shirley in it.

When we traveled to my Grandma Summers funeral in May we went to see Grandma Shirley at the home and to visit the house my grandfather built. ¬†It was an empty experience. The first day we visited Grandma Shirley in the home she wasn’t herself. She didn’t make any sense and she kept playing with a doll. It was so hard to see. It is so hard to remember. It was really hard because even though she had no idea who we were there were still attributes that I recognized. When she was talking she used the same hand gestures and when she was trying to think of something, something none of us could comprehend she looked down and focused like she used to when telling a story.

The second day we visited her was a little better. When we got there she was lethargic which in my mind was better than the playing with the doll day we had experienced the day earlier. We were quite a bigger group so we went out into another area and after Grandma had a little nap she came to join us. She was so much better. She wasn’t completely there but she was more in the room than she had been previously. She and I had a conversation that I could follow and she asked my older sister why she was so sad. It was a great little moment and a truly saddening moment as well. Grandma’s here but she’s not and the moments that she’s here makes up for the moments when she’s not but it makes the moments that she’s not even harder to deal with.

After we saw Grandma at the home we went back to the house where I spent so many summers playing games, and talking with Grandma and walking around the lake across the street. The house was empty without her. Most of her things were still there but she wasn’t. It was the shell of what it used to be, just like she is.

My mother is leaving in the morning for a short trip to see her mom, a trip that will be gut wrenching, a trip that might not be any fun at all. As I hugged her good-bye (because she’s leaving before I get up) I wanted to say, “Say hello to Grandma for me” but then I rethought it. My Grandma may not even recognize her own daughter let alone remember who I am.

I try not to hate anything in this world but I HATE¬†ALZHEIMER’S! I hate it with everything that is inside of me. Alzheimer’s has stolen my grandmother, a woman I love with my whole heart.

So I’m weeping again, what a joy (sarcasm). There are times when I live in denial about my grandma being for all intents and purposes gone. I live in that place and then reality slams into me like a bus and I have no choice but to stare into it and deal with it. I have no choice but to sit in the pain and let it wash over me. If I ignore it now, it will only get harder to deal with.

I learned that lesson the hard way. If you stuff your feelings, your realities, your emotions and never deal with it, it will explode all over you. So you have to deal with it when it comes up. I wasn’t going to write this post because I feel like I have written it so many times over the last few months but I decided that my need to process was more important than my need to write something interesting for my readers to partake.

Deal with your stuff when it happens because stuffing it doesn’t make it go away, it just makes it harder to deal with in the end.

So I’m sitting in my room, listening to a Third Day CD and weeping. I’ll live through this pain which is the triumph I give to you today. 8 years ago I never would have allowed myself cry. I would have had an anxiety attack, lying on the ground not being able to breathe, not feeling safe and all because I believed that if I started crying or if I sat in the pain I would never get out of it. The truth is that is not true. If you deal with pain it cannot overcome you. If you allow yourself to deal with the sadness or disappointment when it comes or anger when it hits or whatever emotion you shy away from, if you allow yourself to deal with it when it happens it cannot overcome you.

8 years ago I was on the highest level of depression meds you can be on and I decided to stop taking them. I decided that not feeling anything was not okay and I started a journey of feeling things when they happen and not being afraid of emotions.

Right now my heart hurts but I am dealing with it and not allowing it to overcome me. That is the good news. The situation sucks but it is not overpowering me. I am sad but I know that I will not stay sad forever.

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