Wednesday, May 16, 2012

There's Hope For Me, Yet!

My dad and I are very similar, we have a lot in common, he's just got more wisdom and years behind him!

He is loyal to a fault, he will do anything for his friends, anytime.  He's pretty stubborn, and has a short fuse with a big temper but he's quick to forgive and even quicker to apologize.  He sounds awesome, doesn't he?!?  Well, he is a pretty cool dude and I'm lucky to call him dad!

Because Dad and I are so much alike, the other day when I called him to complain about this woman who only calls me when she needs something, I expected him to jump right on board and agree with me how bad she was.

I said "dad, she drives me nuts!  she calls me when she needs something, but she never just calls to say hi!"  I then explained to him how I'd had enough and lost my cool with her.  "Finally, I just told her, 'look, I'm sick of you calling when you need me so why don't we just cut our losses.  I don't want you calling me anymore and I don't want us to be friends anymore,' do you blame me Dad?"

I expected him to be all "get her baby!" but instead he said "maybe that's the only way she knows how to reach out to you."

"Uh, what?"  I stuttered in shock...

"Well, not everyone knows how to be a friend, maybe she's reaching out to you the only way she knows how," he continues.

"Uhhhh...."  I said.

"Just because you know how you think a friendship should work, doesn't mean that everyone does, and it doesn't even mean you're always right.  I love you baby, but maybe she's being a friend the only way she knows how and you need to give her a chance."

"Well, crap, dad!"

"I don't blame you for being mad though,"  He tries to say comfortingly.

All I wanted was him to tell me how much I rocked and he had to get all paternal and wise on me!

I have since apologized to this woman and she was very gracious to forgive me and to continue on with only calling me when she needs something, so basically nothing has changed.  I guess all is right with us, but it still irritates me to no end, I just don't yell at her about it now.

I told you he had more wisdom and years on me, so maybe that's what I have to look forward to!  I can tell you, 20+ years ago he wouldn't have been so smart either, so there's hope for me yet!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Everything I Can Do, Is Pray

Last week was rough, there's no other way to say it.  Along with some of my own personal life hiccups, several of my closest friends were struggling in their lives as well.  Each day, I woke up with almost a smirk asking "what do you have for me today" because each day seemed to bring it's own brand of hell, the week that just kept on coming!  I told Keith, every time I get one fire put out a whole new fire come blazing my way!

I am the type of person who who loves my friends dearly.  Friends are the family we choose for ourselves and I've chosen wisely.  I'm blessed enough that they've chosen me back, so when one of them hurt I hurt too.  I carry their pain as if it were my own, because they are an extension of me.  I am blessed to be surrounded by amazing friends and I thank God for them.

I have a friend dealing with health problems; cancer, surgery, etc.  I have a friend facing the sickness and ultimate loss of a loved one. One of my closest friends lost one of the greatest men that anyone was blessed to know, I'm proud to say she and I were close enough that I was able to call him family too.  There are a myriad of other issues friends are struggling with that are hurting my heart, but the fact is, I can't make it go away for any of them.

I have attempted comforting, I've tried to be supportive, and I've repeatedly said "I'll pray for you."  Saying those words once seemed so generic, and I wonder how many people really, genuinely, mean it when they say it, or if they just say it when there's nothing else to say.

Sadly, I have to admit that I was once one of the people who would say it because there was nothing else I could say.  I'm sure I rarely followed through, but it sounded good when I said it.  It filled a gap when I couldn't find anything else that would work.

I once told my aunt, "it feels so empty that all I can do, is say 'I'll pray for you."

She replied, "but that's everything."

"What?  It's nothing, when people are HURTING, all I can do is say 'I'll pray for you'."  I replied.

"You're not doing it right then.  If all you do is SAY you'll pray for someone, that's nothing.  If you ACTUALLY spend time in PRAYER, that's everything.  GOD IS OUR EVERYTHING and you are asking our creator to help those in need."  She continued, "You are going before the Lord on someones behalf, and asking the Almighty to step in at a time when they need it the most."

I sat there quietly, thinking to myself how right she was and how wrong I'd been.  She was right, I was doing it all wrong.  I was using the words "I'll pray for you" as comfort, not as action.  I made a promise to God, at that moment as I prayed with my aunt, that I would never turn such a meaningful promise into generic words of comfort again.  I promised God and to my friends and family, that if I ever say "I'll pray for you" it will be a sincere and genuine promise.

So, last week as I saw some of my nearest and dearest hurting, I prayed for them.  I didn't just say "I'll pray for you," in fact, I didn't even say it to one of them, but I DID it.  I devoted very much prayer time to asking God to comfort, heal, and help these friends.  I begged God to wrap his loving arms around each of them, and me too, and I begged him to show them his love.

My friends are still hurting, and my heart aches for them, but I have no doubt that God is with each of them and me too.  God can weather the storm, and if we stick with him we can too.  So, when I say "I'll pray for you," it's not because that's all I can do, it's because it's EVERYTHING.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I'm Sorry the Mayor Hurt Your Feelings and I'm Sorry That Duke is a Bully

I have a rough draft written about last night's Duke Energy meeting but before I publish it I'm trying to figure out how to edit the venom and profanity.  (This is a Christian based blog, after all.)  I'm bitter, it's no secret, I'm angry, I'm trying to deal with it, and I'm disappointed and hurt, which is what I'm going to write about in this post.

I have been a big supporter of our local mayor.  I haven't always agreed with him, but I've defended him in conversations and online and I had faith that he was truly doing the best job he could do and that he was meant for this job.  I think that a leader should be a good family person and a Godly person first and a politician last, and that's what I believed our mayor to be.  I've read and heard the reports that he's been caught lying and creative budgeting but I truly thought that was a man getting caught being a man and not a politician being caught in a politician's cover up.  I take everything in the media with a grain of salt and there are a lot of people who would like to see Carmel fall so any attacks on the mayor, I believed to be an attack because of Carmel's status.

I've always sort of believed the city council to be a group of power hungry, social climbers, with no real talent or skills.  I worked for the government (not in Carmel) and our city council was made up of just that.  A bunch of talking heads, who were nicely dressed, with no authority and zero ability.  That was my experience, I may be wrong and I believe that some (probably very few) city council members are people who want to make a difference but my general opinion isn't that one. So, when I emailed my city council person I didn't have great expectations and I got even less than I expected.  Ironically enough, since the bar was set so low, I was surprised.  I emailed and got and got a pretty snotty reply telling me that I had no leverage and no one does, against Duke.  (I'm calling BS, but I'll get to that later!)  I was also advised to keep a level head, even though the email was particularly calm (promise it's true!).  Lastly, I was then told how this particular council person and the mayor had used their "good working relationship" to persuade Duke to make some changes because a neighborhood down the road asked them for help.  (A large, very expensive neighborhood...hmmm).

I'd like to be clear that all I was asking my local government to help me do was have Duke adhere to the letter they released with THEIR plans clearly explained in black and white.  I am not, and have not been asking them to make changes, I haven't asked them to stop, I haven't asked anything other than to follow through and be accountable for what they said.  I asked them to stop making excuses on why the letter was completely different than their plans.  I asked them to TELL THE TRUTH.  I asked nothing more than I ask of my children, family, and friends.  I asked our officials for nothing other than to help hold Duke accountable.

Last night, my very intuitive eight year old, Hadley, asked why I had been crying.  She's scared with all of the changes that have been going on and this thing with Duke isn't making it better on any of us.  She's created her own worst case scenario and has fears that I can't calm.

"Are you okay now mommy?"  She asked.

"I'm okay sweetie...you know this pregnancy makes me crazy!"  (I'm shameless when it comes to this pregnancy and the things I blame on it!)

"Why were you crying?  I knew you were crying when I came in."

"It's okay, honey, I just get overwhelmed sometimes and cry"  I told her.

"Is it because it's going to be dangerous to have that power pole so close to my bedroom?  Are you scared a drunk driver will hit it into my room?"

"Umm...no, that's not exactly what I was crying about."

"Well, that's what scares me.  It's my biggest fear"  She tearfully tells me.  It's comments like that, that break my heart and make the momma bear want to claw someone's eyeballs out!

"Well sweetie, that's not going to happen.  Mommy and Daddy will always keep you safe"  (we hope)

"Then why were you crying?"  she pushed.

"I promised you I'd always tell the truth, so here it is.  I was crying because I'm so sad that our world is driven by money and not people.  I was crying because I saw what the tree trimmers did on 116th st. and I'm sure that's what they'll do here.  I was crying because I hate when bullies win.  I was crying because my local government let me down.  It hurts when you trust and support someone and they betray you.  And, most of all I was crying because daddy worked so hard to buy us this house and Duke has taken a piece of the joy out of it, while our mayor and city council watched and did nothing.  My feelings are hurt because I feel like a lot of people who should care don't."

Then, Hadley smiled.  "Well, at least we are all safe and we have each other.  And, Mommy, I love you and I'm sorry that the mayor hurt your feelings and I'm sorry that Duke is a bully."  From the mouth of babes, right there!

Hadley and I cried together a few more minutes and she expressed several more fears that broke my heart.  I kept my fears quiet and did my best to calm hers.  I went to bed last night begging God to comfort my precious daughter and protect my family and my unborn child from this stress and anxiety.  I begged Him to protect this pregnancy, as I already have a couple of strikes against me and I know this isn't helping. I prayed for peace and comfort for my family and for me.

I'd love to say I slept peacefully and woke up renewed, but that just wouldn't be the truth.  I woke up with a heavy heart and I've devoted a lot of my day to choking back tears.  I have faith that God is in control, I just really wish I could feel some genuine comfort and peace.  In God's time...In God's time...