Monday, February 22, 2010

A lasting aftereffect of trouble

Why are scars shiny? Shiny usually connotes something good, something new and exciting. Birthday parties. Little girl's patent leather shoes. Sunlight. In contrast, scars and their stories are often rife with pain. You may hear the story of a scar told with great bravado and excitement. At the time, few people would express such pleasurable opinions about the activity that caused the scar.

Being a widow has taught me a thing or two about scars. Science tells us that scars never completely go away. The scar left by Ron's death has not gone away. In time, I'm sure, I'll continue to see changes in its appearance. I have already noticed a change in the pain. I feel myself and the scar changing. But it will never be gone. There's a part of me forever irreparable because of what happened.

But is my injury, my pain, really a scar? A scar does not form until the would is completely healed. I am not completely healed. I am moving through my grief, but I'm not sure that part of me will ever be healed. I am moving forward and looking to the future. Maybe what I have isn't a scar after all. I'm left with a weakened spot. That weakness allows memories to sneak in and open the wound again. Scars are physical marks that show healing has occurred. My healing is not all in the past. I will have many more moments of healing. But maybe, just maybe, there's some shiny skin peeking through.

Scar tissue is different than the original tissue of the skin. And I am different than I was before I was on my own. That thought no longer scares me. I used to worry that when I got done changing no one would recognize what was left. Underneath it all I'm still me. A lot has changed. Some parts are very different. Look at all I've learned. I am more confident, independent, and willing to take on whatever life tosses my way. My experience would not have been the same without all the pressure applied in the last year and a half. Ron's death prepared me for so much that I never would have felt comfortable with before.

I prefer to think of scar in the etymological sense. The word "scar" is derived from the Greek word schara, meaning place of fire (fireplace). And if that's true, when I'm left with a scar from this experience, I hope there's still fire left in me.

Gratuitous song reference: Scars by Papa Roach
I tear my heart open, I sew myself shut

My weakness is that I care too much
And our scars remind us that the past is real
I tear my heart open just to feel

Friday, February 19, 2010

Things that make me laugh, smile, be grateful

  • Mom was getting a perm the other day. Munchkin and I stopped in to see her and share some deliciousness from the bistro next door to the salon. Mom had all kinds of tiny blue rollers in her hair and Munchkin says, "Nana, you have batteries in your hair!"
  • Being asked by my father to create a custom crocheted project. He's participating in a Community Theater production and needed a British Judge's wig. Seems he told the costume department he was pretty sure his daughter could crochet one. Seems he was right.
  • Munchkin singing Figaro. Here's an example of the song. Munchkin's version is MUCH cuter.
  • Modern Family. Love, LOVE, LOVE this show.
  • A truly fantastic tax refund.
  • Shopping at consignment shops and finding LOADS of things for both myself and the munchkin. It's so nice to be able to replenish the basics in my wardrobe thanks to the afore noted tax refund.
  • A certain little girl in her beautiful new glasses. Thanks to that special person that paid for them.
  • Lady Antebellum. I know they've been around for years now, but this is the first time I've heard them and I think they're fantastic. I never buy CDs anymore and I'll be buying this one.
  • The fact that I'm slowly becoming better at keeping my house clean. I'm getting more regular about cleaning things up and also beginning to tackle projects like my closet, sorting through the Munchkin's old clothes, the spare bedroom, and the dreaded lower level.
  • Just living my life and knowing that I'm finally in a position where I feel like the world isn't going to fall in on me.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Leaning toward the light

A friend recently sent me this email:
"Night time is painful. There's the loneliness of being in a dark room. It's very conflicting--hiding under the covers is all I want to do all day, but if I fall asleep, which I always do, there's the threat of a new day. It's a no win situation."
As I responded to her I began to wonder, "What is it that makes us afraid of the dark?"

And I thought about how we began this life in darkness. Genesis 1:1-4 (King James Version) states,
"1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness."
Verse 4 says that God felt the light was good. From this, are we supposed to believe that the darkness is bad, or at least not as good as the light? Other mentions of darkness in The Bible would lead me to believe darkness is not the desirable state.

Psalm 88:1-6 (KJV) tells us,
"1 O lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee: 2 Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry; 3 For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave. 4 I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength: 5 Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand. 6 Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps."
Again we are told that the darkness in verse 6 is not where our salvation lies.

Proverbs 4:19 (KJV) brings up another reason many people fear the dark. This verse declares,
"The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble."
I don't believe that many of us are truly afraid of the dark. Our fear lies in what the dark may hide. We sense a lack of preparation on our part. Suddenly, one of the senses most of us rely on most heavily is gone.

Could we have prepared for the darkness if we had been forewarned?

And I'm not just referring to a spiritual darkness. How many of us live in a self-imposed darkness of ignorance, abuse, doubt, or any other detrimental emotion? What would it take to pull us out of that and begin living a new kind of life?

We are not often warned about impending darkness nor are we given an opportunity to prepare ourselves for it. The only thing we can do is be aware that darkness exists and continue to believe that it does not have to be a permanent state.

Plants automatically grow toward the light. Begin your journey and lean toward it yourself.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Walking with a friend

Recently I've spent a lot of time on the phone and online with a dear friend who has needed some encouragement. She's going through a rough time and is often unsure of herself and her path. Talking with her has taken me back to experiences from my first marriage. Yes, for those of you who don't know, I was married before (to my high school sweetheart) and it did not end well.

But this woman, this wonderful friend of mine, has found so much in such a short time. Where I apparently had an operation to remove my spine while I was married to my disaster, she has found hers. Not that she ever really lost it, but some of the moves I've seen her make in the past few months astonish and inspire me.

She's building a life on her own for her children. She is doing everything within her power to make their lives the safest and most consistent she possibly can. Heck, when I was in her position, I wasn't able to do that and all I had to deal with was myself.

And I watch her do what she feels is floundering. All I can think is, "This woman has incredible grace and class under pressure." She knows what she will and won't accept, and she's going for it.
She seems to think that some of the advice I've given along the way is helpful. We talk on a regular basis, vent about our bad days, and share our triumphs. She pats me on the back and encourages me and tells me what a great job I'm doing. We are there for each other. We both routinely walk to the edge of the insanity cliff and contemplate what it would take to push us over the edge. And when one gets too close to that edge, the other one pulls her back again.

Some friends rely on manicures and spa days together. We rely on the every day. Because every day is all we've got. Each day is its own moment. Each day holds the answer and is the grand mystery as well.

I just hope she realizes that there's no one I'd rather explore those mysteries and answers with.