Showing posts from 2016

Blue Christmas

The tree is up. Stockings are hung. Most of the gifts are purchased and wrapping will begin in a day or two. My kids are safe and will be with me for Christmas. I have the next two weeks off. We will have (too much) food and we will have a lot of fun, I have no doubt. I am blessed, and I know it. I'm thankful.

But I am also deeply sad. Sometimes I find it difficult not to just break down and cry. I put on a carefully cheerful mask every day and I prop it up with smiles and laughter. Sometimes I even feel those happy feelings. Then darkness comes and I'm tired; I go to my room and settle in with my dogs, and the tears come.
I guess it would be wrong to start a post like this and not explain why I feel the way I do, but the truth is, I don't really understand it myself. Maybe that's why I'm writing this, to work it out and try to comprehend it. Terrible things have happened in the world - Syria, Aleppo, and South Sudan are a few examples. I think of the people who ar…

Rachel Weeping

"The Lord spoke to me again, saying: In Ramah there is bitter weeping - Rachel is weeping for her children and cannot be comforted, for they are no more." Jeremiah 31:15

Alton Sterling was thirty seven years old when he was shot and killed by police in Baton Rouge, after he was tasered and pinned to the ground by two officers on July 6th, 2016. Philando Castile was thirty two. He was shot and bled to death in his car in St Paul. He and his girlfriend were pulled over for a broken tail-light. Both Sterling and Castile were legally armed. In Sterling's case, Louisiana is an open carry state. Castile had a concealed-carry permit. The two men had one more thing in common. They were both black. 
Video of Alton Sterling's shooting exists. I watched it, and afterward, wished I had not. People must bear witness to these crimes, I know, but I will not soon forget hearing him ask in confusion, "What'd I do wrong?" as he is tasered and shoved over the hood of a ca…

Reflections on Love

It is February 13th. The stores are filled with roses, bouquets, beautiful boxes of candy and chocolates of every description; bakery windows are stuffed with heart-shaped cakes, cookies, and pink-frosted confections. Red streamers, glittering pink and red banners, teddy-bears, plushy bunnies and puppies, and even jewelry are prominently displayed everywhere I look. Valentine's Day is at hand, and here I am, single.

Valentine's Day as we celebrate it today is a holiday for lovers. Sweethearts buy each other flowers, candy, and other gifts. They make plans, have dinner, or go away for the weekend. Couples get engaged on Valentine's Day. There is a coalition of singles, an unspoken cadre of the unattached, who are supposed to be anti-Valentine's Day. They make plans to pig out on pizza and bash the idea of love and relationships. My married, or coupled, friends are careful not to talk about their Valentine's plans when I'm around. They don't talk about the gi…

Receiving the mark

Sharing again my thoughts on Ash Wednesday, written years ago. Now, I need to find a church and receive the ashes, begin my wilderness journey, and come closer to Christ.

Receiving the Mark On Ash Wednesday the Christian world begins its wilderness journey with Christ in commemoration of his forty days in the desert. At my church, the Sanctuary is quiet as we come forward in long, solemn lines to receive the ashes. Before me, I hear the ministers whisper about how we are all made of dust and must therefore return to dust – exhorting us to repent and believe what the Gospels have taught us. I pray the prayer of contrition, confess my sins before God. I stand with the rest, my forehead bare, waiting. Knowing that the season of Lent begins in that moment, when the minister’s finger draws the midnight-black cross on my skin, marking me as a follower of Jesus, as one who stands in solidarity with the Son of Man in his long suffering, his work for human-kind, and his violent death on a rough…

The cost of living with RA

The only thing I regret about having taken a new job is that I had to miss my quarterly rheumatology appointment today. I have rescheduled it for a month from now; by then, I will have the sick time built up to cover it, and I hope that my health insurance will have kicked in as well. I may need to put it off for another month, though. It is possible that coverage won't begin until April 1. Knowing that I will have excellent coverage greatly helps my stress level, which keeps me feeling pretty good, but I hurt for people who don't have the same opportunities.

I completed my taxes on Sunday afternoon, and because I spend a lot on medications and health-care, I decided to itemize those costs and see if I qualified for a deduction. I did - costs needed to be more than $3700 and they were. My out of pocket costs for health care and medication exceeded the $3700 limit. In checking that number, I saw how much my insurance policy had paid for my care. My Enbrel alone cost the company…

The beginning in the end, part II

Here's an update on the ending I'm experiencing due to the recent loss of my job with the church. On Friday, January 8th, I interviewed with a local community college for a position with one of their distance education campuses. The following Wednesday, I got a call back asking me to attend a second interview. I did, and was offered the job. What's more, I found that my level of experience and education put me at a salary level similar to the job that is ending. The benefits are much better, and there is the added bonus of not having to worry about whether my position will continue to be funded. For the past six years at the church, and for the almost-eight years before that at the mission, there was the almost daily worry of whether the money would hold out.

I know that the job market is tough and has been for a long time now. I know that there are lots of folks out there who have been searching for months and cannot find employment that meets their financial needs. I kno…

The beginning in the end

In 2004, William Bridges wrote Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes. The subject of the book is exactly what it seems to be; Bridges explores the changes we experience in life and how we tend to handle them. During the course of the book, Bridges suggests that before there can be a beginning, there must be an ending. In other words, something old has to stop before something new can begin. Thus the title of this post, "The Beginning in the End." And also, if you're a fan of the TV show Bones - I am - then you recognize it as a nod to the 22nd episode of the fifth season. In that episode, nearly everyone who worked together at the Jeffersonian scatters for the four corners of the earth. It is the end (seemingly) of a very successful team and partnership.

I started working at Cherokee Church in 2009. It was another beginning in an ending. My 18 year marriage was dissolving and I needed full-time work to support my kids. In order to come to Cherokee, I had to rel…