25 September 2007

It's Been A While

I cried a lot today. This afternoon mostly. I'm frustrated and felt like I should write the stuff that I'm thinking down. I don't know if it will even help or make sense. It might just make me cry more, but I need some sort of order, even if it's in the form of sentences--grammatically correct or not.

Several months ago, my parents told me that my grandma (my Dad's mom) has been depressed and his brothers and sister (who live near her) were concerned and decided to visit the doctor with her. A few weeks ago the doctors were able to determine that she has ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). I don't know much about the disease just that it breaks down your muscle function and is a possible cause of her depression. It's really hard to think of my grandmother as weak. She has always been very strong. I recall not more than five years ago seeing her chase a stray calf back into the pasture (did I mention she lives on a Dairy farm). Also within the past five years her doctor told her she had some of the strongest bones he'd seen (I don't recall if he said "ever" or in a woman her age). This was when she broke her neck! I wasn't scared. She's always been strong. She worked in the garden regularly, always doing something. She was a local librarian for 30 years (more I think). And now she has difficulty swallowing and has a chair with a lift because it's hard for her to get up.

My parents went to visit this last week and when they returned they strongly suggested that my sisters and brother and I try to visit as soon as possible. My mom offered to help with expenses which is going to make it possible. Sunday and Monday I had tentatively planned to go with my sister, her husband and their four kids in late November or early December (they wanted to wait for their newborn to have her first immunizations). But my other sister was frustrated because she could either go right away or wait until January because she is nearing the end of her pregnancy. Well, today they both decided to go in two weeks. The week that my photography class ends, my auto class begins and over the weekend that I am moving. So, I called my brother to see if he might want to come at a later time with me. He's considering going the same time as them (they didn't plan it, it's just what works best). Plus, it would be less inconvenient at work for me to wait until November to take the time off.

So, I'm struggling with the fact that I may have to go do this alone. I don't get to spend time with all three of my siblings and their kids (it's been 3 years since we've all been in one place at one time). And I'm worried that I'm being selfish. I'm trying to stick with my class even if it is an elective. Follow through with the Auto class, even if it is offered in the spring. Keep my original moving plans because that's what I committed to. I'm frustrated and disappointed and feel selfish. And I don't blame anybody. Well, maybe me. But I don't know how else to respond. Right now I'm hoping that somebody else will be able to travel with me. I've wanted to visit my family in Kansas for quite some time now but have not made it a priority. I know that I am blessed to still have all four of my grandparents living and I know that that won't be true for always. I want to relish the time that I do have with them.

I think I've run out of things to say. Please pray that I get to go to Kansas at the right time.


20 April 2007

"I can't help..."

The following was posted on a Virginia Tech website set-up to receive condolences for the tragedy that befell them on April 16th:

..I don’t believe in any religion, but in this tragedy I can’t help saying “God bless”.

God bless you all and rest in peace.

And to all the victim’s families,
I am deeply sorry and sadden by your losses.


April 20, 2007, 12:06pm • Pa-ju city, South Korea

I was truly struck by this person's opening sentence. "I don't believe in any religion, but in this tragedy I can't help saying 'God bless.' " Even without the background of religion, this person senses and asks for God to bless. I know He will.

This person can't help saying "God bless." I just can't get over that phrase. It is powerful. God is powerful.

God shows himself in tragedy, in sorrow, in sympathy, in hope, in love, in nature, in literature, in art, in blogs, in music, in smiles, in tears, in phone calls and text messages, in weddings and funerals. I can't help but notice Him and recognize Him in every facet of my life. He is ever-present. Even if we don't say "God bless," He blesses. Even if we don't say His name, He listens. He knows our names and planned our lives to the final breath. He has given us purpose and direction. We just have to listen to His "still, small voice." He will lead us. He is faithful.

I can't help but think about the students, faculty, alumni, friends and family of Virginia Tech. I can't help but cry for the loss of life. I can't help but pray to God that He would send comfort and hope and Truth and love to those who grieve and recover from their loss. I can't help, but I know Someone who can.

"I can't help saying 'God Bless.' "

Today, we are ALL Hokies.

14 March 2007

Remember That Time We Got Tear-Gassed In Nicaragua?

I was visiting my friend, Jana, in Nicaragua (Nick too...but he was taking a nap). So, Jana and I go to the market to get some fruit. As we're about to leave...me carrying a watermelon and her carrying a backpack and canvas bag full of fruit...my eyes start stinging, and I get the taste of fireworks (you know when you can taste sparklers in the air) in my mouth. And at first I think "Oh we're passing a barbecue," or something weird. But then I notice everybody around is walking, or running, away. So...we try to get away from it. First we walk into a little salon place at the market. But it's all more or less open air, so they are trying to get away from this stinging feeling too (I'm crying and spitting). Worst thing, was seeing a little kid crying--not understanding (not that the rest of us understood). So, we kept walking. Bear in mind, I'm still carrying a big watermelon. And just walk, hoping to get away from this substance...whatever it was. We finally get to some back exit of the market and are away from the "horror." But we still don't necessarily know what it is. And I spit the whole way back, and we just hope it wasn't some sort of chemical agent and worry about how far it spread and we worry about poor Nick, locked in the house, cause it's gated and we took the keys. Finally we make it back, Nick's fine (still asleep, I think) and we turn on the radio and call Jana's boss, who has a tv, to see if we can find out anything. Later Jana's boss calls back and tells us two guys were arrested for throwing cans of tear gas into the market. Oh and I just remembered, that right before this happened at the market, we witnessed an altercation between a drunk guy and his girlfriend...we were trying to walk around this situation. Big sigh---we're not going to die. Still spitting (like a camel).

22 February 2007

I See You

I see you in a girl who hugs her friend so long it seems they haven't seen each other in years,
when it's been less than a day.
I see you in a boy who makes his mom a gift that's not amazing,
but they both love it just the same.

I see you in a tree--it's silhouette;
I hear you in the breeze, rustling the leaves;
I know you in the quiet moments--in the words I read, the words you breathe.

I hear you in a friend who calls each day just to say, "Hey"--or stops by unannounced on a rainy day.
I hear you in a song and then another and another and in words spoken in prayer.

I see you in a tree--it's silhouette;
I hear you in the breeze, rustling the leaves;
I know you in the quiet moments--in the words I read, the words you breathe.

I long to know you better--you know me best.
I know you because you are always with me--you're the only one who never leaves--you're always right next to me, in front & behind me.

I see you in a tree--it's silhouette;
I hear you in the breeze, rustling the leaves;
I know you in the quiet moments--in the words I read, the words you breathe.

I see you.