#KeepYourEyesOffTheClock

This has been on my heart, because I have several friends who have lost their husband ~or boyfriend ~or a child in the past few years, and even just this past year. Well meaning people who have NO idea what this feels like, will always remind us to ‘move on’. Duh! Of course, we get up every day of every year with that sword drawn. And it IS offered to us timein the spirit of love, because they just want the old US back. What they don’t understand is that we are forever changed. Period. There is a huge chunk of who we were, that is now gone. And for those around us, it terrifies them. They just want us to be happy, to be whole, to be who they remember us to be.

Okay, if you are on the side of loss, please remember there is NO timetable on grief, and a very real likelihood that you will never stop missing them. (nor do we want to.) What we can do, is re-invent ourselves. The part of you that loved them and built a life around them, is now safely stored in your heart. Go to ‘visit’, cry and scream or whatever you need to do, then shut the door and go LIVE in their honor. Go back again whenever you need to, but just for a visit. No, It will never end ~ it is a journey for the rest of your days on planet earth. BUT Oh how blessed you are to have had so great a love, that there is such a void left without them. No shame in that, no shame at all. Hold your head high and keep your eyes off the clock. Love is NOT a matter of TIME. It is a matter of the heart.

And for those of you who love us, and wish we would be whatever it is we USED to be, don’t remind us that we are NOT. We know this. We know we are widows. We know we are childless. We know we are barren. There are no words you can say that will change this fact, so just walk beside us. Grow with us from this new plot of soil in which we are planted. BE that ‘dirt friend’. The one who can handle our messes and our dirty ugly sobs and unplanned meltdowns ~ and another holiday season without someone at our table. Just please DON’T tell us to just ‘get over it’ – don’t tell us ‘time’s up’. Love is NOT a matter of TIME. It is a matter of the heart.

‪#‎DedicatedToMyGrievingFriends‬

#UnansweredQuestions

Today my question I  have for God, is – when is enough enough? I have learned it is perfectly okay for me to ask Him a question and even a hard one! He is up for the challenge; He IS God after all. Sometimes we put Him in a tiny box, as if He can’t handle our big challenging questions or concerns. If I can’t ask HIM, then really – who CAN I ask that could possibly give me an answer! UGH!

I look at the world – the big one out there, and the one in my own small corner. There are life threatening storms, terrorists, disease that could wipe out millions, PTSD, bullying, cutting, suicide, untimely deaths of loved ones, and the one that haunts my thoughts – cancer. Cancer took the life of my husband and now threatens the life of some I dearly love. Cancer IS terrorism; it is a violent attempt against a person.

This is one of those issue when I say again – when is enough enough? If  you thought I was going to end this blog with some great answer that connects all the dots and makes it all make sense, you’d be wrong. I have no answers, thus why I am asking God. I feel like He is silent. I feel like He would somehow expect me to already know; to search my own heart for truth. Kind of like when a child is building a lego set, asks you for help, and you say – figure it out for yourself. We do that because we know there is joy in the solving of the lego mystery and joy in the completed project. I do not see or sense joy in the answer to MY question. Sometimes the answers are a long time coming, and some times they just don’t come.

IF some questions have NO answers, then what would be important is my response to the unanswered question. If the cancer I see having violent attempts against the ones I love, can’t be rationalized  – then I need to dig pretty deep inside myself to see how to deal with its aftermath. And, how to get through it. Cancer IS a journey; of THAT I am sure. Whether it is your personal journey of having the disease, or you are the one walking beside someone with it  – it is a long, hard road and paved with fear, apprehension, and the dreaded unanswered questions of where? when? how? and WHY?

The only way I can walk this road out with those who need me to be strong for them is, to be strong for them. I can’t make the cancer my focus. I can’t be obsessed with answers I cannot find. I can’t make up a happy ending. I can’t pretend this terrorist disease is not armed, locked, and loaded. I won’t offer answers I do NOT have. I won’t make things up to fill in awkward silent spaces.

What I CAN do is take a deep breath – pray my guts out – do whatever humanly possible to be encouraging and supportive and uplifting – THIS is where I came up with my “dirt friend” theory  – sometimes when we have no answers, it is best to just get right smack in the dirt pile your  loved one is in, and sit there with them. Dirt at its best (and worst), is dirty. THAT is the point. Don’t be afraid to get down in the deepest darkest hole with someone who is suffering – it isn’t so much about the answer to the question – it is more about who stuck it out with you through the muddy trek.

I may be rambling,and that is because my friend with cancer is today sitting in the ER with some other random painful ailment – and it caused my “when is enough enough” question to surface. In my rambling I have remembered – its okay that I don’t know. And just because it makes no sense and there are no reasons that are logical to me, does NOT mean God does not care, or that He is not paying attention. Sometimes (or all the time….) – LIFE HAPPENS. It rains on ALL of our heads. Why is it raining? I don’t know. But I shall sit in the dirt pile (which is now more like MUD) with my friends….and THAT in itself is enough.

#LoveWillAlwaysTrumpUnansweredQuestions

#LoveWillAlwaysBeEnoughdirt

#HerNameIsRoxanneAndHerHomeIsTheStreet

I wasn’t going to share this, but feel I should. Maybe for no other reason than for us all to realize the homeless man or woman or child in the street, has a name.

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Her name is Roxanne. She lives in the streets of Hollywood; she sleeps under signs that advertise the next great movie coming out. She sometimes sleeps in the parking lot of a beautiful cathedral church. Where we (me and Aida) found her, was an alley. She may not be able to walk well, or stand long – I don’t know. Whenever we have seen her, she is laying flat out on the sidewalk. You can’t meet someone like Roxanne without being changed. She had a little section of the alley lined with her own trash – broken objects, bags of garbage, cups, plastic forks – that kind of stuff. She was laying on a filthy blanket that she had laid out to look like a bed. On the top of her organized trash, was a vase with plastic flowers in it. It still makes me cry – she was trying to create herself a home!

I was so honored to talk to her – we talked about God, how He knew exactly where she was….as I was telling her that He cared about her, and wondering what those words might mean to someone down in the drudges of the filth of life, I remembered I had brought her a blanket. I am telling you this because, we all need to understand that God DOES care – I ran to the car to get it. A red and black blanket with my own personal history coming with it. God told me THIS had to be the one I brought to her. It was that gentle pull at your heart that says THIS is what you have to do. I took it over to her, and told her the truth – God told me to give this to you. She gave a little gasp, and said – Oh, I saw this blanket in a movie once (she told me the movie and all about it) – the lady had this blanket/shawl and I really wanted one. It was red and black. I had no words. I just said, well do you see what is happening here? God wants you to know He hasn’t forgotten you. She held my hand, still there laying on the ground, surrounded by garbage. But she had a warm Easter dinner, a blanket only God knew she wanted, and the love of God shining on her dirty face. To me, she was the most beautiful person I had ever met. Roxanne. My new sister in Christ, on Easter 2014. In a back alley in Hollywood.

‪#‎YouCantMakeThisStuffUp ‬ ‪#‎TakeJesusToTheStreets‬ ‪#‎TheStreetsAreFullOfAngelsUnaware‬

#LoveIsASilentLanguageBetweenHearts

Losing someone instantly changes the whole landscape of your life. You can feel lost where you used to feel safe. And there are no words that can change this. You can find comfort and even hope, but life as you know it, is forever altered.

I think if we all truly understood that, we would tread very softly as we try to help those who are suffering the loss. Honestly, from personal experience, words are not always necessary. Acts of love ARE. Just because you have no words, doesn’t mean you should shy away.

Just show up – hug, cry, embrace, bring coffee, make a meal, send a card, give a ride, pick some flowers, bake some cookies, just sit in silence……
I promise you that way down the road, people will remember what you did, more than what you said. Not because words would be wrong, or bad….but there are just some losses that mere words cannot heal. Image


#IfItWasYou

 

 A few weeks ago we went with some people to serve hot food, and give out blankets to homeless people. All I can say is, it felt like a drop in a bucket. I cannot shake it from my mind, nor do I want to. I don’t want to forget.

One older man in a wheelchair couldn’t get to the food line; he was off to the side of the street. When someone went to get him food, and asked him his name , he paused…and sadly said…”I don’t know. No one has asked me that for such a long time.” No, I don’t want to forget.

Another lady whom someone hugged, was overcome with emotion as she tearfully said how she couldn’t remember the last time anyone hugged her. No, I don’t want to forget.

On a different day, when I was going on a fun road trip with a friend, a cardboard sign caught my eye that said – Help me. My heart was moved by the sad look on the young man’s face holding the sign. We turned around and brought him hot food. We parked the car, and walked up to him, which sadly scared him. He turned abruptly to us with an anxious look and said “Am I in trouble?” It was so sad to hear his story of being a homeless veteran of war, with many physical and mental issues. No. I don’t want to forget.

. I want to care for each and every person I see, who is standing on the side of the road holding a sign that says Hungry. Or Help me. Or Homeless. I have heard people say that you can’t tell who really needs help, and some people don’t deserve help. WHAT????? Since when is helping someone contingent on whether or not they deserve it. We ALL could be the man who can’t remember his name, or the lady who never gets hugged, or the desperate single mom with 3 young girls who has no home, or the man standing in the snow hoping for a hot cup of coffee.

Image Please join me in reaching out to the forgotten, the broken, the hopeless, the ones who feel invisible, who are cold, and hungry . One cup of coffee at a time. One hug at a time. One blanket at a time. One encouraging word at a time. One smile at a time. And, IF you are able to do more, feel free. We all can do something, whether small or large…it WILL matter to someone. No, you may not be able to change the world, but you CAN change ONE life.

I want to see their faces in every stranger I pass today, and every day thereafter. No, I don’t want to forget.

 

 

 

 

#HopeIsTheBestGiftOfAll

Contrary to what we would like to believe, not everyone likes Christmas. Not that everyone doesn’t like the elements of the holiday…the gifts, the cookies, the music…etc. The deepest intricate meaning of Christmas is HOPE. And unfortunately, a lot of people are just plum out of hope. Enter ‘oh humbug’ feelings. It’s easy to shrug off and ignore those who are not enjoying the wonder of the season like you. Think Elf – there are those of us (clearing throat….) who truly LOVE Christmas, and would sing at the top of our lungs in the subway (if we lived near one..), and smile till our face hurt. I want to be very sensitive though, to those who simply are – sad. We recently went to an inner city and passed out hot soup and blankets to homeless people. Today I am baking cookies for them. Obviously not all of them, though I wish I could. I want to live out what I think HOPE looks like. It’s easy to talk, give someone a speech or a glib cliche’, but what mankind needs most this Christmas season is to SEE what HOPE looks like. I believe it should look a lot like LOVE.  ImageIf you get a hug (after years of NOT getting one) -that looks like HOPE. If someone asks you your name (after so many years, that you really have to stop and think what it is)- that looks like HOPE. If a stranger offers you a large cup of peppermint hot chocolate (for no reason)- that looks like HOPE. If  you wonder how you are going to buy your child a present (and someone who picked their name off an Angel tree gets that child EXACTLY what they wanted)- that looks like HOPE. If you are lying alone in the dark, in a nursing home (and a stranger appears at your door to sing a song you have long forgotten) – that looks like HOPE. What can we each do to live out the true message of Christmas; that light has shined in the darkness, that music has silenced the fear, that love has given us all a reason to get up, and try, one more time.

#GoBeHopeToSomeone