Thinking about the homeless during this virus outbreak brought one of my favorite hymns and my ignorance of not realizing for 46 years that Christ’s story of The Good Samaritan was indeed about Jesus and the Golden Rule. At the well, Christ’s disciples asked what good could come from Samaria. This inquiry parallels the question, “What good could come from Nazareth? Both were questions posed by a disciple. Are we all not ignorant and biased? Of course, we are. We are human. At Kroger yesterday, I heard rumors of people snatching masks and sanitizers from one another’s own hands. What??? I will take precautions for the virus, but I will not allow it to consume me. If I get it and die, I will be with my Savior and my loved ones who proceeded me. If I don’t, I will help others who didn’t pass. I have seen people that I love die. Mom and Granny’s passings though not pleasant were marked by a calm knowing on their faces. “Death comes to us all”-Braveheart. The Savior is with us all. He overcame death. And, if the LDS part of this hymn bothers you, get over yourself.
I think that I bought into Robert’s idea that I am an alien and Troy’s idea that I am an Archangel for several reasons. Who wants to be ordinary? Just an ordinary human with ordinary problems? Everyone wants to be treated like they are different, because we are all different. Yet, we fear the unknown in others and in ourselves. If I was an alien, I could come up with some bizarrely fashionable look or maybe parade around like a human all day as if I were the proverbial fly on the wall that everyone wants to be. Big Brother at its finest. I could teleport or zap my foes with a ray gun or be kissed by William Shatner. I could go up into space and see that the outline of states and countries as resembled tiny Native American beads. I could morph into anyone or anything without the pressure of bills and rent and waving to that person that I don’t care for yet seek their approval anyway. I could be a fearless version of me.
On the other hand if I were an angel, I COULD have the wish of my heart if I ever decided what that is. What is the wish of my heart? Isn’t that a tricky question. The most difficult exam I had in all of my years was a makeup test for the book The Heart of Darkness. When I asked my teacher for the essay question, he slyly looked at me and replied, “You make it up and then answer it. You have fifty-five minutes. What??? I thought that this man truly could do alien things like go to the moon for cheese and crackers. Though I was young and wanted to impress him, I still do that people pleasing crap. I didn’t want to choose a super easy question, because I was full of hubris or a difficult one, because it would limit my writing capabilities thus my argument would be weaker. So, what is the wish of my heart? Well, that depends on how boldly I could let myself go to the throne of God. And, as an angel, I could help everyone with tireless energy without getting mixed up in their emotions. I would be like a grandmother who gets to enjoy her grandchildren but pass them off to her child to take care of at the end of the day. I could enjoy the lush beauty of the earth and the wonderful presence of the All Mighty. I would never be under the condemnation of sin. I would never disappoint God or be angry with Him. In fact, I would never have any emotions. God would give me my daily assignments. I would complete them, and God would give me a pat on my halo and let me keep my wings for another day.
Unfortunately, I am human. I feel more emotions in five minutes than the sky has stars. I hate it. There’s a saying where I live, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. It will change.” That saying easily and perfectly describes my moods. I used to say I am sorry constantly. Mom would get on me for saying it, and I would apologize for that. I am too old for this shit anymore. It takes brass balls to say this is who I am. Take it or leave it. So hard, because I have lost so many and so much. I am a woman grieving. Yes, I am grieving for my husband, my aunt, and my parents, but I am, also, grieving for all of the years that I have lost while living in fear, all of the happiness that escaped me, all of the children I have lost, all of the years I won’t get back, all of the friendships that I destroyed, my inability to live a normal life, my abusers who I can’t beat with a baseball bat, because I want to destroy the person that they were when they were raping me and not the dusty, old shells of yesteryear. I feel like Rachel, a thousand years dead, screaming and crying for the children two and under murdered by a Roman madman. Everyone sees and hears, but not one person does anything to help. At this moment, I may be invisible, but I choosing to live unapologetically me.
Recently, at another horrible first (and last) time doctor’s visit, I noticed a wall hanging that read, “Not all who wander are lost.” I slipped back onto my chair as every polite Southern Belle should. Within moments, I shot out of my seat with phone in hand to snap several series of photos of this and several other hangings.
As I slapped back down into my seat, I noticed that I was humming a distant memory. Suddenly, I was a nine year old sitting slumped over my piano playing a Christmas song unfamiliar to me. Granny had never played it. Mom had never even hummed while pulling homemade cream candy. I was getting bored with one elbow on the instrument’s ledge yet still trying the words and tune together as they mixed in an intriguing way. So tucked away was I in my cacophony cocoon, that I whipped around as my older sister walked up behind me singing the melody.
“I wonder as I wander out under the sky. How Jesus, our Savior, did come forth to die.” Maybe it was because I was just a nine year old kid, maybe it was because the most poignant moment of all my Christmases had been spoken during an almost silent speech by a cartoon boy, or maybe it was the first time that I had been hiding a pregnant belly during the holidays, but something caught hold of me in a good way, a very good way.
Church had not rung true for me yet no matter how many bells or how many dunks or how many potlucks. Nature did. Wandering in nature was where I found God. As I would stare up into the sky, it wasn’t a “if He made all the beautiful stars, why would He make me” ordeal (nod to Bill Paxton in Tombstone). No. What I wondered as I wandered was if He made me, how amazingly blessed I was I that He made the sun, the moon, and the stars at which I would marvel my whole life.
I live in wonder.
I dedicate this writing to my husband and his first and last sweet text to me. I miss you. I get it now, honey. Rest in God’s Peace.
I am not good at crying. I was never comfortable with it. Growing up, when I cried, I was either told to shut up and take it, to be quiet, that I looked funny doing it, or that it made me look ugly. For the last ten years, the ten years since Mom’s passing, I have rarely cried. Now, as I am my dying husband’s care giver, I cry often…not only for what I will lose, but for all that I have lost. My virginity at age five. My son at age fourteen. My hope at age 21. I cry for a father who helped so many and hurt so few. Those few being us, his own family. I cry for my perfectly imperfect mother…a woman who lived in and past fear. I cry for my brother who forced reality down so far that it had no choice but to come bursting up. I cry for my sister. I just cry for all she believes she has lost. I cry for my husband, my one great love, as I watch him try to stay Army strong and dignified. Illness has no dignity. I know as I have been sick most of my life. Death has dignity. Not the moments leading up to it but the passing itself. I held Granny’s hand as she stroked out, then stared into something that I could not see, smiled, and commented that now, after a lifetime of being a stalwart Christian, now she understood. As they say in the South, a Lady always knows when it’s time to leave. I realized while writing this truth that I am no Lady, but I am a woman…a perfectly flawed and naked to my soul, human. You may not like what I have written. You may be uncomfortable with it. But, I have been one acquainted with the world of untruths for far too long. Mulder had it wrong. The truth is not out there, rather it is in us. And, so is God.
Mila is my husband’s service dog and our therapy dog. She is a rescue and a purebred American Bully. Our Uppity Puppity has numerous adventures and has even fought off intruders in our home. In a peaceful sleep on my leg now, I am amazed at her ability to be quietly present at all times…while Robert, my husband, and I are here. No, she is not a barker when we are away or even when we are home, but we are sure that she has many interesting adventures through her magic collar while we are out having our own. Stay tuned for more about Mila the Uppity Puppity.
Where there is life, there is hope.
Thanks for joining me!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton