Posts Tagged ‘Grace Rehabilitation Center’

I really have never been fond of wearing a lot of make up…especially in the summer…for those ladies who have naturally oily skin like I do…it’s a nightmare…However, for years I have covered myself with the stuff…I know my worth, but covering perceived  physical flaws are so much easier to address than the emotional ones I suppose.

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Since make up can’t cover internal issues, I opted for a mask instead. That was my norm for too long.

Yet, afraid that my vulnerability would cause rejection, I used to clam up.  Fear prevented me from being fully open to God and people.  I thought I was protecting my life, but I was dying inside.

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I’m glad God allowed me the grace to address those other issues because now I really could care less whether someone rejects me for being me or not.  I actually consider their rejection of me their loss.  Granted,  I still have a few reservations I am working through, but I can breath so much easier focusing more on who God’s called me to be rather than faking the part to gain popularity with people. (more…)

For years, I blamed my mother for my lack of happiness as a child and in some ways even as an adult. I hung onto those feelings so tight that I believed they were just another part of me- something I couldn’t get rid of no matter how I tried.

I mean why else would I stay away so long?

GUILT

SHAME

SELF-CONDEMNATION

…Yet, as I drove to a place I once called home, I unpacked my heart.

I used my fight or flight instincts all wrong for years.  It doesn’t take much courage to run away. Instead of facing the hard moments head-on, with few exceptions, I took the rode too often taken…

What might have been green once was now only laden with pebbles of broken promises, unfulfilled desires, missed opportunities, and those unfamiliar pieces-fragments of a beat-less heart.

Despite the barrenness of this path, my actions proved I was comfortable with uncomfortable.  It was familiar.

This road led to my new norm.  Though breathing daily, I became one of the dearly departed…

I expected a miracle with my mother’s recovery.  I assumed my faith was enough to reverse the illnesses that mercilessly waged war on her mind and body with each passing day.  But of what I saw was left of her in April brewed something I wish I could reject now.  I wish I hadn’t stuffed it.  I wish I hadn’t retreated.  I wish I had not done what I thought God should have done for me.

I disappeared.

…7 months I remained away…7 months I thought I had peacefully accepted the inevitable, but there had been anything but peace of mind available to me…

I hid that part of me from those I should have held the closest…a brother…I promised to keep in touch…somehow all else superseded that task…a son and daughter… they longed for attention, but a more fitting luxury was to be there, yet not be …potential for new love…snuffed by insecurities bred and nurtured by isolation…promotion just beyond reach…too exhausted to fully comply…I chose to remain detached…

…from my mother, from my family, from my fears, from commitment, from true friendships, from real love, from my calling, from myself, and even from God…

FEAR OF CHANGE was my fuel!

Delays with travel threatened to keep me in my bedroom even on Thanksgiving Day, but that’s when He came to see about me.

My Heavenly Father reminded me I’d been bent for too long…crippled for 18 years… bent by toxic words, vindictive glares, and rages because I was just being me…so at 18, I fled…I intended to never look back…

But how could I look forward when the lure of my past still taunted me day and night?  I was held captive by an unforgiveness that seethed in my heart…

Still, my Redeemer comforted me with His word:

Luke 7:47 New Living Translation 

47 “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”

In order for me to finally move forward, it was time to stand still…no more vanishing acts.

…and with every passing mile, I unpacked my mind.

She clung to life awaiting my return…

When I arrived at Grace, I expected the icy stare from the nurse who saw to my mother’s daily needs.  So as my daughter whittled our names on the register, I promised myself I would not cry.

The prognosis was bleak.

“Let me see if I can speak to you, what’s your name? Who are you?” she sneered flipping through a worn manila folder 2 inches thick.

Her gasp was expected too.  Still, I managed the words, “I’m her daughter.”

In the fours years, my mother had been housed there, she and I’d never met.

Resting the closed folder on her chest with arms folded as if she had a right to protect the details, she sighed, “It’s not good.  Every other day, we think she’s getting ready to pass, but she hangs in there.”

A tear escaped.

I knew why she fought.  The nurse’s olive eyes brightened for a moment as she continued with the details of the medicinal regimen she’d administered to her.  I inhaled her words methodically picking apart those I understood in silence.

Morphine every 8 hours

High Blood Pressure Meds

Ventilator

Feeding Tube

With that, my mind immediately regurgitated memories when she preferred the taste of my daughter’s kid’s meal as she quickly confiscated a handful of fries the moment we entered her room that first time we were there.

She’d been able to eat on her own then.

“Do you want to see her?”

I’m sure her question hadn’t been the reason for my jolt back to the blank corridor where we stood.  Rather, her attempt to shove the few tissues she grabbed from her cart into my trembling hands sparked recognition that I was doing the very thing I promised myself I wouldn’t mere minutes earlier.

Acknowledging her question, I nodded and offered a muddled response of, “I just couldn’t see her like this.”  Her grimace softened as if for at least a minute she understood.

I rested in this glimmer of hope that maybe I wouldn’t be judged for my absence and followed her to the place I’d successfully avoided for so long.

…I unpacked my will

She led me to the room with the number 707 on the door.  The one I’d ironically just passed without taking notice of her name on the placard above the digits that symbolize completion.  I walked in at a little after 5 pm, but the room was serene and dark.  She was sleeping soundly.  Still tiny in comparison to the way I would have preferred to remember her.

Those Cherokee roots were more evident than ever now.  A single band corralled her crimped tresses in a side bun. Coal black strands concealed her true age though few iridescent stragglers remained…She still appeared only 10 years older than I.  As I stood there, I became weak.

So My Father picked me up and carried me the distance I knew I needed to travel…He knew that the shards of brokenness beneath my feet on that road I’d been wandering on before were too painful to endure alone.  Still, He understood my need to revisit that barren place, if only for a final time…to say goodbye…as only a Father could…He consoled me and allowed me to heal as he lowered me at her bedside.

For the first time in a long time, I opened up my heart to my mother.

Running from every other issue in my life had been my norm for nearly 2 decades.  I guess the enemy thought by witnessing my mother’s condition for perhaps the last time I’d continue to feel robbed of my childhood or that I’d turn my anger back on God for her suffering.

Instead, I felt relief.  Soon she would no longer suffer….she’d suffered much longer than I had.  I realized that the pain she inflicted on me was only the residue left from her own similar afflictions she endured as a child.

Though she never was able to mouth the confirmation of her pain to me directly, her eyes said it all.

Before  I visited her, God prepared me.  I came across photos I had never seen…as I flipped through endless albums a progression of life, love, and family were revealed.  With it, the snapshots also exposed an evolution of pain.

She was sexually abused as a child. Now I realize why in many ways her tyrannical behavior towards me was in some ways protective.   She distanced herself from me emotionally and perhaps this is what ingrained in me a fear of intimacy that would take years for me to own.  I could see why she possibly felt responsible for the violations she endured at the hands of the one she should have been able to trust.

Both sequences were simultaneously authentic and counterfeit foreign and familiar to me…authentic and counterfeit…manufactured too shared the same fake smile once my world was interrupted by intolerable cruelty.  It seemed, my last genuine smile was when I was 7 years old.  Hmph…there’s that number again…One such picture that I uncovered of my mother shared that same smile.

She was captured in mid curtsy smiling ear to ear looking straight at the camera in her white laced Sunday’s best!  I wondered at that moment who had been the photographer.  Who brought her so much joy then?  Who was responsible for taking it?  The next shots canvassed were entirely different.  They captured brokenness.  Again I understood the pasted facade for those required at school while others were taken at home never quite held the same enchantment…pictures where she clung to her mother’s leg as if that were her only hope of surviving the storm that raged within her.

That weekend bits and pieces of my mother’s existence were revealed as I fought through the urge to selfishly cling to the cancer that linked us.  I realized with God’s grace that I not only had permission to let the pain of my past go but that I had the obligation to let my mother go as well. So as I gathered the strength to sing in her ear as she did to me before what ailed her surfaced.  The tune was so familiar…I realized why she constantly hummed it…”We only just begun to live…white lace and promises…” I understood that white lace and promises were what we shared once and as I hesitated to close the blinds and turn out the lights to what might have been, I did so beamingly because I knew that we still would share that time again together someday.

©2014 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

Hey Ladies and Gents,

I’m curious. Are you still holding onto past hurts and regrets? How’s that working out for you? Tell me your story below!

Boy have I had the time of my life on this little roller coaster, LITERALLY! No I haven’t gone to the fair yet…that’s scheduled for this weekend, but I mean this Emotional One I’ve been riding for way too long.

Methinks tis time to exit this ride!

 

images (38)  Had a Shakespeare moment!

Have you ever felt like you’ve met “The One” and it would seem that all the stars were aligned and your heart skips a beat when you think of them and then

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LIFE HAPPENS! I mean despite you “knowing” that he or she is “that elusive one,” for whatever reason when you finally grasp the courage to step up to the plate, things just don’t quite add up and you’re left wondering 

Wha Happened??????????????????????????????????????

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Well, for the ladies…sorry guys…if you’re like me…Singleness has the tendency to encourage an addiction to romantic comedies.  Even as I type this I’m realizing how that sounds, but I admit, I’m no hopeless romantic!

 I’m a HOPEFUL one!!!!images (47)

Regardless, I’ve realized today…okay I really realized this weekend that perhaps, therein lies the problem! I guess I can only talk for myself, but I work with mostly women so I’ve heard similar stories, perused other blogs, and it seems the name of the game remains the same:

UNMET EXPECTATIONS=DISAPPOINTMENT

While I’ve been relatively disappointed at times with the way things have gone up and down relationally, this weekend I’ve come to one major conclusion: I’m Impatient!

Now I’d made up my mind a long time ago that when I chose to be chosen again I’d follow where God led me. That makes sense, right?

Sure it does.  Well, I prayed about it for a LOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGGG TIME and my prayers were answered about a year ago. Only, somewhere between me reuniting with my Joseph and my present, I forgot all about the reasons I prayed for him in the first place.

I got looped into this “romantic comedy fantasy of “shoulds.”  That is, I was so completely clueless about “dating again” that I allowed my mind to drift back to what I’d seen and heard “boyfriends” should do and say.  Therefore my expectations were skewed from the start.  Let’s face it, I’d learned enough from my past that friendship, trust, and mutual respect were non-negotiable, but when it came to taking things to the next level, I was all thumbs….and even now I’m still a bit fuzzy.

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It really makes no sense to me because when we were just friends, I could go anywhere with him, talk to him, joke with him, and laugh with him without later feeling self-conscious about whether I “said that” or “did that” right?  It didn’t matter because I didn’t care.  It’s not that I valued his opinion of me any less. Rather I just was so at ease when I was with him that I knew he’d accept me regardless of my flaws.  In fact, when either of us so-called “did or said something wrong” it made our time together that more hilarious!

We had a running joke for years on the days I wore my ever-faithful ponytail…apparently I was the only one at work that didn’t have a sewn-in…of course I’m not hating…you be you and I’ll be me…never had a need for weave thanks to my Cherokee roots!

I digress…anyway…truefriends

In my mind and heart for the past few months, I’ve battled within myself to get back to that place with him only to realize that I’m the one who left it in the first place. In retrospect, he hadn’t changed. His quirky sense of humor was the main reason I enjoyed his company.  It was his somewhat annoyingly comical personality that won my heart before I even knew I’d want to give him permission to handle it.

Now I’m stuck with the reality that the way I’ve been the last few weeks with my all in one minute/scared away the next minute antics has him just as clueless about how I truly feel about him as I’d been at the beginning of this endeavor because I allowed a superficial list of ideals set me up for failure….talk about listening to wrong advice.  I should have listened to my heart right after I listened to God whisper, “He’s my son too”

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Go figure…I’d asked for a Godly man…a good father for my children, and a friend wrapped into one, but it never occurred to me until now that God was on his side too…that just maybe, I had the potential to hurt him, but that God loved him as much as he loved me so He’d chosen to protect his heart as well.  Yes, I realize that given some of the hurts and hurdles I’ve had to overcome, the challenge to “get there” has been daunting…

…So I tried to rush things. I made assumptions.  I fell prey to the “shoulds” of a society that…let’s face it…otherwise, I am completely at odds with…so lately I’ve had to ask myself,

“Why can’t I be myself around him anymore?”

“Why do I find it necessary to always wear make up when I see him?”(as if he hadn’t seen me on my worst day before)

“Why do I feel the need to consider what others will say over what I feel?”

WHY?WHY?WHY?

Because I started out listening to God advice and ended up following my own…I’d failed to realize that God had already reassured me what and who was for me is for me…that He had already authored the end of my story and that every plot twist had been meticulously constructed with both His children’s best interest in mind. Somewhere in the mix, I got selfish…I went ahead of God, went forward and was stuck with bitter water…so now I’ve gone back to My Father and asked for His advice…His word stung as it healed.

2 Kings 2:18 New Living Translation (NLT)

18b “Didn’t I tell you not to go?” he asked.

I admit now that before last weekend…everything in me said don’t go there…delays occurred on both ends, but I was stubborn and did what I wanted to do.

I am grateful for God’s mercy though because like the followers in the text, I looked at the potential and decided to move forward although He’d told me to wait. Yes, this morning, I recalled that the Lord sent me to Ruth 3:18 a couple months ago. Since that time, I dissected that scripture many times, but I never did the obvious. I never waited.  So this morning, I repented and surmised again that God alone knows my end from my beginning.  He alone knows the desires of my heart even when I refuse to admit them.

So while I still enjoy my romantic comedy marathons and I can’t readily erase all the stuff I’ve read about couple “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts,” I’ve learned to rely on a far greater source for my relational advice from now on.  I’ve learned I have the hopeful expectation that He will do me good in my future.  Otherwise I could end up in the right place at the wrong time.

When I consider the consequences of all the wrong advice I’ve followed so far, that’s not a risk I’m willing to take again.

©2014 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

 

Since I embarked on this journey to fully employ the Fruit of the Spirit in my life, oh have I been tested! The past few days have been a plethora of circumstances that anyone else would assume it’s perfectly okay to “lose it.” In fact, I laughed in Bible-study last week when my pastor mentioned that he sometimes “loses it.” I laughed in agreement because I knew I too had that innate tendency. Well, by all accounts if I were a stick of dynamite and my teen son were the lit match this morning, yes, one might conclude my explosion completely justified! Yes, indeed just this morning…wow…I didn’t make it a week since that last post.

  • Now I could say I was frustrated because after the storm, the power went out and when it was restored…every room in my home was lit except our bedrooms, the living room, and my bathroom. That would indeed be true.
  • Or I could mention that I was aggravated because no matter how much I tell my son or daughter, for that matter, to clean their rooms they remain in disarray until I’ve had enough and I go do it.
  • Or I could declare my fury stems directly from the countless times I’ve pleaded with them to only eat in the kitchen and still remnants of corn chips, cookies, and popcorn end up everywhere but the room designed for them time and again.
  • I could state I feel unappreciated, taken for granted, and stressed way the heck out…..YES, ALL OF THOSE THINGS WOULD BE A GREAT START TO THE DRAMA I’VE OBSERVED, LIVED, AND LOATHED FOR WAY TOO LONG!

Well, now that I’ve calmed down a bit…I just scarfed down a Bear Claw from Shipley’s—Ahhh —Sweet Relief—

I’ll go on…as I drove in silence this morning, I wondered why God trusted me with such a responsibility.  I also pondered one of the statements my son made that sent me into that silent mode.

Rewind…As I fed my two dogs and got ready to take them out to do what they do…my son sat at the kitchen table with a look of disgust saying,

“Six months is my limit…mama, these dogs are officially no longer mine!  Can we give ’em back? Can we get rid of them?”

Before I knew it, I said,

“You have never taken care of them!”

After all, he wasn’t the one taking care of them. I was!

I went on to say that he and his sister begged for me to allow them into my home when they were only weeks old….that they would care for them, walk them, and clean up after them…Yet, for nearly three years, I’d been doing all of that!!!!

The whole scenario danced in my head the entire drive to Park View High, but none stuck out more than those words, “Can we give ’em back?”  I considered it of my own children…sure Kayla wasn’t saying much today, but I allowed my anger to fester over all the things that they had done and hadn’t done to spite me…I wanted to get an exchange…surely I received some defective models?

I felt inadequate and again wondered why God felt I was apt enough to be their mom.

A few years ago things were different…they both were so respectful and well-mannered…I wanted to scratch my head, but I knew what I needed to do…God had been showing me for at least two years…first I needed to step back and stop being soooooo busy.  I did that, but God also showed me that I needed to remove the pacifiers! 

Yes, I had a teen son and a pre-teen daughter who had morphed into these monsters that I sometimes didn’t want to even be around.

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How on earth could this be?  Well, a while ago.  God led me to the verse,

A wise woman builds up her house while a foolish one tears it down by her own hand. 

Before, I suppose I had been that wiser woman.  Before I’d been the peculiar parent who was overprotective and wouldn’t allow them to go where they pleased without my approval of the person they traveled with or without a thorough inspection of that person’s home life.

Convicted!  I’d become passive in my parenting!  I’d stood idly by while my son’s grades slipped and his attitude did the same.  I’d once been the mother of all the kids in the neighborhood.

If they stayed over we all prayed together.  I pondered in the few minutes of the drive back and forth between then and now and again wondered how I, the Bible-thumping believer, had allowed the enemy to take hold of my children and perhaps me.

In a moment, I almost let the enemy condemn me for what I hadn’t done because I grieved over what my children had.  I almost allowed satan to think he was running my home.  Time after time I’d retreat to my bedroom for solace…for peace and quiet while technology babysat for this single mom.  I’d planned to take them to the park, skating, to the movies, to play cards…I’d planned to pray for them and with them like we used to do.   I needed to get back to that place, but before this morning, I admit, I really didn’t know how.

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Feeling like a hypocrite, God knew what was in my heart though I was too ashamed to utter another word from my lips.

After dropping my son off at school, I happened to get stuck behind a van that had been mottled with bumper stickers all over the back window and door.  One stood out:

The Few, The Proud, The Moms!

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I tskd and rolled my eyes still sick with contempt.

As I entered the highway, a truck drove by with one bumper sticker in bold red lettering:  MOMS ROCK!

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I sighed to myself considering very literally that rocks are strong while I’d become so weak. 

I noticed my daughter never uttered a word like she normally did when I listened to the Gospel stations…She usually begs me to change it.  Today, she was eerily silent too.  As she exited the vehicle, I had an urge to take a different route. I knew traffic was already hectic the direction I was going so though I was unfamiliar with the area, I been there before and was sure I could remember an easier way out of this mess if I put my mind to it.  I noticed everyone was headed that usual way…so everybody was stuck in the waiting game and getting more frustrated in the process….so with that, I veered left.

And am I glad that I did!  I was able to jump right in where I needed to be.  Until typing this, I hadn’t realized the magnitude of that decision as well as the subsequent reminders God provided me on my journey.

Revelation Moment! images (36)

God wanted me to take a new route to get me where I needed to be….where I’d been before, but had forgotten because it had been so long since I’d traveled it.

God didn’t stop reminding me of His mercy and that He’d made the right decision when He decided to bless me with my children.  In fact, He confirmed it over and over.  As I drove I saw one billboard advertising the marines state: Service comes with Pride and immediately I recalled the bumper sticker I’d seen prior that stated: The Few, The Proud, The Moms!

That’s when I realized that I kind of used to run things in my home like a marine some might say, but despite the normal stuff…my children were well disciplined!

….Discipline…Discipline…the word sounded vaguely familiar, but I knew I could no longer pretend like my lax attitude wasn’t the culprit behind their behavior.

I knew that I needed to not just unplug my ears to listen to what God had been telling me, but I also had to literally unplug the many devices I’d purchased over the years to maintain my own selfish sanity.

I thank God for His patience with me during this Prodigal period.  So with that, I inhaled and as I came to my senses, realized that I had not only been given permission to give my children back to Him but that I’d been obligated to do so.

I must give props where props are due so before I get any further I want you all to know that my son brought the title of this post to mind. It was kinda out of the blue last night while I was cooking when he mentioned it, but I thank God for His timing.

He just came up to me and stated, “Mama, we’ve had it wrong for a long time. You know how everyone is always saying , ‘God doesn’t bless mess’…He does…He blesses us all the time and we’re pretty messed up!

Such wisdom from a child….so glad God thought to bless me with him!

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Of course he was absolutely correct….I’ve even said that old cliche’ myself…but I admit that when I have it was usually with a self-righteous attitude….

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Yep…I thank God for renewing my mind to the realization that I HAVE NOT ARRIVED…so I don’t have to worry about those ugly little thoughts anymore.

Regardless,  what my son so eloquently reminded me was so profound that I literally woke up rejoicing that God’s  mercies are indeed new every morning!

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That said, this is not a license to do whatever you want because you can!  

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Rather, this is reassurance that though God knew the wrong you were going to do before you knew you the wrong you would do, He still chose to unconditionally love YOU…

images (30) EVEN IN YOUR MESS!!!

He loves YOU so much in fact that He took the time to set His thrown aside, step into YOUR shoes, walk through YOUR valleys, carry YOUR cross, and be condemned in YOUR place. He loves YOU enough to lay His life on the line so YOU wouldn’t have to do it. And it wasn’t forced.

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So even when I don’t get this Christian walk right, it’s refreshing to know that God’s love blesses me even while I’m in my mess.

 

My son said it best a few months ago I suppose.

He said,

Mama, you put yourself in a box, and you won’t even let us in.

As painful as the reality of his comment was then, the fact that I’ve lived this way for most of my life is what stung the most.  It’s not something I’m proud of, especially after all I faced this weekend.  So I guess this post is my attempt at prying the lid off that box.

It had been over three years since I’d had the courage to dot the doors of Grace Rehabilitation Center in Cordova. Yes, a trip to the facility would take a little over 2 hours, but that and all the other the excuses I’d led myself to believe were moot once I entered her room. I’d heard the moaning before I turned the corner. And with each exasperated utterance, I felt her pain.

I questioned aloud as I knelt beside her bed,

I wonder if her pain is physical or emotional?

Had my daughter not answered my question I would never have realized the words escaped my mouth, let alone my mind. That afternoon, a nightmare would have been the preferred venue for what I’d encountered.  At least then, I could wake up and exchange the experience for a more picture perfect view of my mother.  Yet, her frailty was real.  As were her dried tears and my fresh ones.

Some reading this might be aware of the strained relationship my mother and I cultured for years before we arrived at this point, but as streams fought pass my once rigid lashes, all the harsh words and deeds from years past no longer mattered.  She’d been forgiven and when she grasped my hand and smiled as I kissed her cheek and caressed her head, I realized that I too had been forgiven.   But, I left that night with regrets.

I replayed my prior visits in my mind on the drive back to Little Rock. I hated seeing her like that. When dementia was mentioned and the words, “no cure” were attached in succession the first time I’d seen her there, though I went into prayer mode, flight mode was also on my agenda.  I refused to see her like that again.  Before, I managed a slight smile when she recognized me and stumbled through the words, “My baby” as I entered with my daughter in tow the second time. The doctors mentioned that she would not be able to do that then.  My prayer was working.

But Look at her now!

The state she was in Sunday brought the guilt of my absence on me like an avalanche. I couldn’t breathe and felt like I didn’t deserve even that simple luxury because that too had been taken for granted as my eyes drifted from my mother and landed on some pulmonary contraption I could not id.

I was in denial for years and honestly had already assumed that the moment I’d entered the facility I too would have been crucified for not showing up sooner and more often.  I was right.

Only, I had been the one wielding the hammer and positioning the nails. I had been the one guilty and the one administering the sentence.

  • I alone condemned myself.
  • I believed that my brother and my cousins thought worse of me because I’d neglected the one who gave birth to me.
  • I believed that my children wouldn’t accept my distance as a suitable means of maintaining my own sanity.
  • I believed that I deserved to be where my mother was.
  • I believed that I hadn’t been the daughter I could have been.
  • I believed that I’d made too many mistakes.
  • I believed that I didn’t deserve forgiveness.

Yes, people, I believed all of these and any number of other negative insinuations that could be drawn from the circumstances, but when I woke up the next day, God reminded me that it really didn’t matter.

…Not what I believed about myself, about my mother, about what others thought….What mattered is my now…that I was able to see her smile…that she acknowledged my presence. That God had forgiven us both.  I was reminded that Christ Resurrection was about so much more than I’d thought. That just as my heart hurt with my mother as she lay there helpless and crying out, Christ looked at me with that same attention to detail and unconditional love. That just as I longed to change places with her so that she would not have to suffer despite what she’d done or not done, Christ had actually done that for me. 

So yes, I’m late in the game and I can’t do a thing about the things that have occurred in my past between my mother, my brother, and even friends that I’ve banned from my box.  I can, however, decide to change the things in my future. If nothing else, this weekend’s trip has taught me that it’s never too late to resurrect the relationships that matter.