Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Afraid of Writing

It’s been almost a month since I’ve blogged, which is unusual for me. I blame three weeks of that on having my grandkids with me. There is some truth to that, but the bigger truth is that I’m scared to write.

I write from my heart. From my experiences. It’s always been that way. I’m not good at making stuff up or having someone give me a topic. It has to mean something to me.

I’ve had folks tell me to write and not post it. While journaling has been a powerful therapeutic tool for decades, I’m also an extreme extrovert. Things don’t mean half as much until I share it with someone.

I’ve learned over the years (the hard way) that when you put something out there, you invite people’s opinions whether you want them or not. Going public requires being willing to have people disagree with you.

In theory, I’m totally fine with agreeing to disagree with people.

Something is different now. I thought the last election caused a lot of division. But this pandemic makes that look minor. As if that wasn’t enough, the protests and riots started. (I’m not commenting on the necessity of it, just the unfortunate timing.)

Talk about division.

I tend to try to find truth on every side of a situation. I think the way you talk sometimes is more important than the content (sometimes). I’ve been preaching about communicating without being divisive for quite a while.

Something is different now.

I wonder if it’s just my perception, but if my fear is coming out these days, it’s the aloneness I feel because I don’t know how to connect with people like I used to. Even people I’m close to.

It seems like the polar opposites have moved miles further apart when I didn’t even think that was possible. No matter what I would say, I know people I care about will be pissed off or offended. Side A. Side B. And the worst would probably be saying anything remotely in the middle.

I think that would be hated most of all.

So I haven’t blogged.

I hope it’s ok to blog about not blogging.


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Don’t Do This to Your Family

I have been teaching/lecturing/educating for a while now about having your affairs in order, no matter what your age. People that have had to deal with the aftermath of a death that wasn’t prepared for will be the first ones to make sure they don’t do the same thing to their loved ones. Most of the rest of the population will say they don’t want to be a burden after they are gone.

I did have one client though that told me he has a cantakorus relationship with his son and he can’t wait to stick it to him after he’s gone.

Luckily, most people aren’t like that.

I have been working on the case of a woman who died recently. No, it wasn’t COVID19. I had worked with her previously while she transitioned to a smaller home and then I wanted to start getting her organized. She was very stubborn and frankly, also a bit nasty. She didn’t have any intentions of cooperating.

I just spoke to her attorney. She told me she had several times recommended many of the same things but she had refused to change any of her plans to make it simpler or easier.

Now, I grew fond of her and am truly sad she is gone. But I also have cursed her several times in the last week. There is no reason that taking care of her affairs had to be this difficult. It is exhausting and maddening.

It makes me more passionate than ever about my job. I keep trying to help PREVENT this from happening. I speak loud and long about taking steps before you are old, and before you have a medical emergency. You will get better care every step of the way. You will be able to focus on the crisis when it comes, without having to add panic to the mix.

I try not to be too judgmental, but I just have to say this before it burns out of my skull. I think it is selfish to not be responsible with these things. I haven’t come across a good reason yet to not be prepared. It can be very detrimental to your well-being, and it is definitely overwhelming for the people you eventually leave behind.

DO NOT DO THIS TO YOUR FAMILY!

Get prepared. Get informed. Don’t be lazy. Don’t think you will do this “later.”

One of the advantages of doing things early in the game is that you can slow down the process so it doesn’t drown you. About two years before my dad died, we started working on his notebook. (This notebook is the now the model I use when teaching and doing workshops.)

Every couple of weeks we would tackle one task. We started closing bank accounts until he eventually only had one checking and one savings account. We spoke to a financial advisor and slowly cashed in his investments. There weren’t many and they weren’t large, but such things can be a nightmare for an executor later on, especially if they go into probate.

I could list many more things. But I can’t stress enough, DO IT NOW. Do it for yourself and for God’s sake if you have aging parents, DO IT YESTERDAY.

It’s not very painful unless you wait. If it isn’t done, you have a headache every day and fantasize about jumping off a cliff.

Okay, I’m stepping off my soapbox. Please, give it some serious thought. And reach out to me if you need guidance.


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Back to Music Roots

I have a thumb drive in my car with all my music on it. It is, of course, organized by genre, and then alphabetically by artist, then by song. I happen to be on my Christian music files and I have to believe that it is not by coincidence. I find I’m needing the tunes and the songs as I greatly miss the spiritually fufilling act of singing.

It is usually also a walk down memory lane. In my conservative days, I loved Steve Green and Sandi Patty. They have highly trained voices. I was able to meet Steve Green when I was in college. Many years ago, I was able to meet Sandi Patty. Both of them were my “conservative Christian music” idols.

I’m enclosing a link to one of my most favorite songs. It is a duet with Sandi Patty and Darnell Harris. I love the words, but the music and harmony give me chills every time I hear it. Once I was able to sing it in church. I can’t even remember who I sang it with, but it was like a dream come true. We did a good job, but I guarantee it was nothing like the recording. I mean NOTHING.

I listened today as I sat in a drive-thru line. I tried to sing along but I am so terribly rusty. I had goosebumps though. Then I listened to it again silently and soaked it in. I had goosebumps again, from head to toe.

Now that I found the link for this blog, I just listened to it again. Goosebumps, from start to finish. And this time I cried.

My soul is so thirsty with this pandemic. My extrovert needs are starving. We just got a piano in our house today that we rescued from the garbage down the street. I’m going to start playing every day and I’m going to start with the Christian music I have.

I believe all music comes from God, but this kind of music is feeding me the most.

Sandi Patty also has a song that says, “We love to lift our voices Lord, because every time we do, we’re singing Your song to You.”

Singing is deeply spiritual to me and I’m so grateful that it came to me today. I needed it desperately.


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What is There to Say in a Pandemic?

I saw a really cute graphic that had two cartoons side by side. One said “introvert” and it had a stick person sitting comfortably in front of a TV/computer thing. The other had “extrovert” and the stick person was screaming and beating their head on a wall.

Even though I am a writer, I am an extrovert. Well, that is an understatement. I am an extrovert times a hundred. Even a beautiful sunset means little to me until I share it with another human. For years I thought there was something wrong with me, but now I understand it is just how I breathe.

That is my biggest struggle with the situation we are living in. I do what I can to refuel but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult. Thank God I am still able to do Physical Therapy. I get my temp taken and wear a mask. I’ve grown very fond of my therapist. She works me hard and gives me a lot of her time. She also has a sense of humor. When she asks me to walk backward and then forgets to tell me to stop and I run into a chair, she laughs with me. I asked another patient to tell me when to stop and she agreed. She said Nancy is clearly out to get me.

I also started going down my database (starting with “A” as a true OCD) and checking out accuracy on businesses and then connecting with friends, family, and clients. I hadn’t talked to my college pals in years. We are doing a Zoom reunion tomorrow night. More than one person called me a bright spot in the gloom so that felt great. I’m only on the letter “F” so we’ll see how far I’ll get before we are “released.”

But I have to admit, combined with the five weeks of almost-quarantine after surgery that occurred before COVID19, it is starting to get to me. I wake up with the Groundhog Day feeling so many others have. I find myself blocking video on Zoom business meetings because I start to tear up without warning. It’s not usually full out crying, but I do shed a drop or two. Or three.

Even when dealing with crisis/emergency clients, I wasn’t thinking about the fact that all the outside agencies have also changed their protocols. My normal feeling of competence and the accompanying confidence I’ve developed because of that is wavering on both counts.

And what makes me want to hit my head on the wall harder, is that I’m no worse off than anyone else. Everyone is hit with this. There is no one I can call who isn’t coping themselves. It is almost embarrassing to call anyone, no matter how much they love me, to vent. I don’t want to add to anyone’s already over-burdened lives.

It just occurred to me that even though writing is an introverted activity, it is also a source of venting and purging. So whoever reader you are, thanks for entertaining my feelings. And I think for today I will imagine there are lots of readers, even if there is not even one. I will let myself feel like I’ve connected to many and hope that puts a bit of substance back in my gas tank.

Thinking of all of you as you journey through this.


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No Virus Talk

Instead of talking about the usual virus stuff, (haven’t you had enough of it too?) I thought I would just share some laughs. I didn’t want to write about the craziness in our world or the enormous amount of self-constraint I need not to harm any of the men in my household, so just some light-hearted humor.

In fact, that reminds me of a chuckle. My niece sent me a message on Facebook with a picture of the three munchkins from Oz who sing “The Lollipop Guild.” I thought it was odd but we both love the movie. Those three are funny just to look at. But the next message was the best. “Hoping all the boys there are still alive…” Doubly funny. One because she gets the angst of all the testosterone in the house, and two because of implying the three of them look like the guild boys.

Now let me explain the picture. We went in the hot tub the other day and found this thing on the seat. What the heck? It is the arm of some sort of plastic dude. We haven’t had any kids or toys in the hot tub since… cripes, maybe July. So where has it been all this time? We wondered briefly if someone was messing with us. Anyhow, we had a good laugh about the horror of finding a severed limb in your hot tub. Now, that’s a bad day.

Today, I royally smashed my pinkie and almost fell over from how bad it hurt. (Stop laughing, that’s not the funny part.) It actually bled for a bit which I was not expecting. Anyhow, I asked Tim if he could get me a bandaid. Just a little one I said. It’s my pinky.

He brought a little one but insisted on a good size gob of first aid gel, which I thought was a bit over the top. Then he moves me into the best lighting in the house. He said he needed the counter as well so he could work with someplace to put his things. I kept my mouth shut (I know, it’s a miracle) but I wanted to say, “For God’s sake, it’s a bandaid, not surgery!” I couldn’t believe how serious he was about his mission.

Here’s the funny part. He screwed it up. The bandaid got folded over and he cursed. I could no longer contain myself. I laughed and laughed. He said I was mean and went out to the garage. I went to the door and yelled out, “I love you, honey” to which he yelled back, “Shut up!” (which I also thought was funny).

He was kidding and he gave me permission to write this. I told him thanks for the writing material and he again said, “Shut up!”

Last but not least, we were talking to my friend Star on the phone. We had the speakerphone on because privacy is a thing of the past. We might as well put the speaker on. He is always a welcome call in our house because he is hilarious. Anyhow, he was brave enough to go to the bank to deposit his paycheck so we were having our daily chat. Next thing we know, he has pulled into our driveway. We hung up and went to the window. He yelled hello to us and chatted from his car. We were laughing so hard at our surprise, more-than-six-feet-away visitor.

I think these stories don’t translate on paper nearly as well as I was hoping they would. We certainly found humor in them. Maybe some of you are bored enough that you will laugh too.


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Snow-vember revisited

We are in West Seneca and in the eye of the latest snowstorm. I have been reposting blogs from years ago on a different site and I was reminded about a much bigger storm we had a few years ago so let’s take a trip down memory lane. It was dubbed “Snow-vember” and we had seven feet of snow dumped on us in one shot.

“A picture is worth a thousand words.

That is my backyard. The fence is about five feet and the snow is almost at the top. Here is another one.

That little black dot is the mirror of our car. We are still not dug out from that. And if the outside perils aren’t enough to deal with, this is my favorite picture of all.

That, my friends, is my kitchen ceiling. The bathroom, basement and upstairs bedroom also have water damage.

My neighbor across the street has been laid up for five weeks after knee surgery. Two houses down, my neighbor is very sick with his third bout of cancer. And about 10 minutes away, my daughter-in-law is on bed rest with a high-risk pregnancy. She has been hospitalized several times. I am praying my heart out that nothing happens while she is unable to get to an emergency room if needed. I will take my problems any day.

But what is my point?

Tuesday, the Sabres decided not to cancel their game. I guess the show must go on. They put a sentence or two on their website telling fans to respect the driving bans in their neighborhood. I thought it was a poor decision, but didn’t dwell on it.

But then yesterday, I heard the Bills were offering to pay people to shovel their stadium for the game on Sunday. I went ballistic. What the hell is wrong with the priorities of our society? There is a damn driving ban in Orchard Park (where the stadium is). Are they kidding? How about they get people together to help dig out the people who are stranded? Especially those with medical issues! The football stadium? They are ticketing people out on the roads. I AM TOTALLY DISGUSTED.

Now I will really go out on a limb here and risk pissing people off. I’m pretty liberally minded, but how about some common sense? How about using prison inmates to do some shoveling? Or even some welfare and unemployed folks who are physically able to work? There are so many areas that have zero snow, or barely a dusting. So let’s gather them and help each other out. But not to shovel out the stadium. Let’s get our priorities straight people!

Ok, I am going back to my shovel now… lol. Really not trying to offend anyone, but some things just have to be said.”

Here I am several years later. There are a lot of great people out there. Unfortunately, I still think society at large has some messed up priorities. Sigh. Also, good to be reminded that I have been opinionated for a very, very long time…Lol.


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Guest Writer

Welcome Kris Louis of parentingwithkris.com . Her blog is self-explanatory. As a “clutter cleaner” by profession, I can certainly attest to the importance of her message. Enjoy!

Photo via Rawpixel

A Stress-Free Guide to Selling Your Home as a Parent

If you’re a busy parent with a home on the market, you’re probably feeling more than a little overwhelmed right now. Between prepping your home for sale and keeping it spotless for showings, the cleaning and decluttering projects never seem to end! However, selling your home doesn’t have to be as stressful as it may initially seem. Some careful planning and a good maintenance plan will help you keep mess to a minimum and ensure your home is always sparkling clean when potential buyers pop by for a visit.

Be Prepared for Last-Minute Showings

When buyers are on their way for a showing, you might have just 30 minutes to tidy up and get everyone out of the house. Be ready for these frantic cleaning sessions with a cleaning to-do list. For example, Old Salt Farm recommends a 20-minute cleaning plan that involves shining the kitchen sink, sweeping the floor, picking up clutter, and emptying household trash cans. If you have the time, try to vacuum high-traffic areas to give your home that extra “wow” factor. A stick vacuum, many of which are lightweight and cordless, can make all the difference. Before you purchase anything, take some time to check out reviews to find a top-notch stick vacuum. Eventually, you and your family will have this procedure down to a science!

Deep Clean Everything

Before you even put your home on the market, give it a deep clean from top to bottom. You’ll find it much easier to control everyday messes when you start with a clean slate. Scrub down every inch of the bathroom, wash the kitchen cabinets, spot-clean carpet stains, wipe the baseboards, vacuum under furniture, and organize every storage area in your home. A good deep clean will help you tackle stains, odors, and built-up grime once and for all.

After everything is clean, get in the habit of tidying up as you go about your day. Put the dishes in the dishwasher after every meal, wipe down the counters immediately after cooking, and make the beds first thing in the morning — and get your kids to help!

Reduce the Potential for Mess

What’s easier than cleaning all the time? Preventing mess from occurring in the first place! One of the best ways to reduce the potential for mess is to declutter as much as possible. Remove knick-knacks from tabletops, dressers, bookshelves, and coffee tables, and get your kids to pack up some of their toys until after your move. You may even want to rent a storage unit to get excess furniture out of your house. Not only will this make vacuuming easier, but it will also help your home appear bigger and brighter.

If your kids tend to destroy every room that they set foot in, consider blocking off certain areas of your house. Clean any rooms that your family doesn’t need to use every day, like your second bathroom or home office, and tell your kids that these are off-limits. This way, you won’t have to clean your house top-to-bottom before every showing!

Stick to Easy Upgrades

Certain upgrades can help your home sell faster and for more money, but don’t go overboard. Do some research into your local real estate market to find out what kinds of upgrades other sellers are making to their homes. If you’re in a seller’s market, NOLO suggests that you might not have to do much to impress your potential buyers.

Stick to simple, quick upgrades, like replacing the hardware on your kitchen cabinets, refreshing the grout in your bathroom, hanging a new shower curtain, and giving your front door a fresh coat of paint. Placing a couple of flowerpots on your front porch is a great way to improve your curb appeal without investing major time into gardening and landscaping. If your children’s rooms are painted in bright pink or lime green — or any other crazy color — consider repainting with a crowd-pleasing shade of light blue.

Selling a home with kids isn’t as hard as it seems. Declutter, deep clean, make a few simple upgrades, and be prepared with a last-minute cleaning plan. While you may run into some hiccups in the beginning, your family is bound to develop an efficient cleanup system by the time you find a buyer for your home.


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Varsity Hockey

Frankie is in his tenth year of playing hockey. Nine of those years we were anticipating finally being able to play at school. It has arrived and it is the first year that I dread going to the games and have been disgusted with the process.

A few games ago, we were at an away game and boo’d the ref a couple of times. Next thing we know, the “supervisor” for our section told us that she was instructed to tell us to tone it down. Who knew a section even had a supervisor? The real surprise was when a few minutes later a police officer was pacing behind the bleachers. I was shocked. Were they kidding?

Now that I’m paying attention, I’ve noticed that all the varsity games have police there. And I’m starting to understand why.

Image result for image of a hockey fight

Last night, we were approaching the end of the last period. We were losing by several goals so we knew we weren’t going to catch up. Once again, a fight broke out near our goalie. I would guess a high percentage of fights are around the goalie. Goalies are considered absolutely off limits. After the fight started, the circle around the players just got bigger. I saw the other team push our players from behind, another no-no. Then our players enlarged the circle again and pushed the other side from behind. On and on it goes. Frankie wasn’t in the mix, but I still felt sick watching it.

The punches started flying behind the net. It seemed to go on forever. I had a moment of panic when it occurred to me the refs actually might not be able to contain it. Literally, a riot could start before you know it. The refs eventually got it under control and six kids were in the penalty box, three from each team.

And that’s not the bad part.

At one point, I turned around to say something to our friends. There was a mother in the back row from the other team, kinda short, a little chubby. She says to me, “Did you just say something to me?” It was a bit pissy, but I really didn’t catch on at first. I just answered no and then we exchanged a couple more phrases. I realized she was antsy to start a fight with me. Hell, she would have kicked my ass. I’ve never been in a fight in my life.

Soon another parent from her team came walking by and summoned her. She was like, “Hell yes, I’ll come.” Off they went. Eventually, you hear all the stories from around the rink.

One parent from our team was standing behind the glass behind our goalie. He was trying to tell the refs a player was repeatedly elbowing our goalie in the head. He got kicked out. I’m not sure if the referee or the rink kicked him out, but you can’t yell to the referees, no matter what you are saying.

Secondly, the crazy woman from the bleachers by me was fighting at the other end of the rink with our goalie’s mother. It was something like, “Your kid was elbowing my kid in the head. I will press charges.” The other mom was like, “Bring it on, bitch” or something like that.

After a big scene on the ice, the refs and team captains take forever to sort things out. While that was happening, crazy lady came back to the bleachers. She apparently got tired of fighting with the goalie’s mom. It was time for the next victim. Next to us was the bleacher of high school kids.

I feel old when I say this, but they are obnoxious as hell. They are loud. They boo every time the other team scores. They yell every time our players check the other team. They give me a headache. But they are teenagers. It’s what they do. They aren’t doing anything bad, they are just loud and annoying.

Crazy mom starts yelling at them to stop taunting the players. The kids are yelling back but she starts threatening them. I see one of our kids say, “Are you really going to beat up a little girl?” By this time, my friend and I ran to get the cop. He saunters over which made me mad but he eventually got there. By this time, the mom was trying to climb over the bleachers and saying things like, “Come on you little bitches, I will kick your asses.”

The cop promptly kicked all the teenagers out without even asking questions. Two adults then got up and told the cop that it was the mother who was instigating. He kicked her out too.

At the end of the game, the other team’s parents were walking out laughing about their parent getting kicked out. I finally said, “It really isn’t funny for a parent to threaten a minor like that.” They just looked at me and that was the end of that.

Later, the player from the other team was laughing and asked the cop, “So where did you take my mom this time?” Yea, really funny.

I asked Frankie when he get home if he knew any of that happened. He said he doesn’t pay attention because most of those parents get drunk in the parking lot before the game.

The only thing I have to say is this:

WHAT THE FUCK?


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Not Fun To Write

This is not a fun blog to write and I’ve been struggling all week with how to word it. Let me start by saying that I do not blog with the intention of airing my dirty laundry, or anyone else’s. I write mostly for two reasons.

  1. Writing helps me to process what is happening in my life. It is for my own mental health.
  2. It appears to help other people process things in their own lives. Being able to identify with someone who is brave enough to voice their inward thoughts and feelings moves them along in their own growth. That is why I say all this work (the books I’ve written, blogs, my career path) are the lemonade I have attempted to make with the lemons I have been handed (mostly the deaths of the people I loved dearly).

Obviously then, the goal is to heal, not to hurt. I am completely aware that when you post anything on the Internet, you are making yourself vulnerable and subject to criticism. I’ve never been a fan of that but I understand it comes with the territory.

What I find disturbing, is when people use my writing to hurt me, or even worse my family. It has come to my attention that “people” (I don’t know who or exactly how many) have been telling my kids that I write awful things about them on my blogs.

The worst part of that is why the hell someone would do that? What motive do they have? It can’t possibly be for the good of my kids. It only hurts them to think the one that cares for them is not actually caring for them. And how could it be good to try to create division in someone’s home? The only motive that makes sense is that that reader doesn’t like me and wants my kids not to like me either. That is selfishness of the worst kind- hurting others for your own “gain” if you could even call it that. Or maybe the reader just wants to hurt me? If so, congrats! Hurting my kids is about the shittiest thing you can do. Any mother knows there is no worse pain than seeing your kids hurt.

What else sucks is that telling my loved ones that I trash them is completely untrue and false. I do write about the struggles of parenthood at times. I do write (rarely) about things my kids do that are hurtful. But the intent is not to bash, it is to learn and grow and heal from. Any parent recognizes the truth in that. When you look at the big picture of my writing, most things are positive when it comes to them.

When I was approached by one of my kids with this idea that I am “negative” about them, I responded with two things.

  1. I reminded them that a couple of years ago I had a SPECT image done of my brain. (Blogged about that, too.) It uncovered that I have “refractory depression” which means lifelong depression and also resistant to treatment. My “negative” slant in life (my ability to identify often with pain) is part of my hard wiring, not part of a plan to hurt the people I love.
  2. I read an excerpt from my PUBLISHED BOOK that spoke to the high heavens about how I feel about them and the deep love I feel for them, proving that I do not go around trashing them. It was obvious to them at that point, that the sources who were feeding them information had completely misrepresented me. Perhaps in the future, they will ask their “sources” to be silent, or maybe they will read for themselves before assuming the gossip is true.

Although I was surprised to even know that many people bother to read my blog, I do have a couple of things to say to those readers who are doing so in order to hurt my family. First, why don’t you contact me personally instead of hurting my kids? Or better yet, why don’t you post comments on my blogs and see what kind of reactions you get? Just because I share my rawest emotions, doesn’t mean it is easy to be that vulnerable for the world to see and criticize. It isn’t. So instead of attacking me behind my back, have the courage to speak up. If you can’t match my bravery, then stand down.

Lastly, shame on you. My family has been through enough heartache. Stop spewing poison. Whatever reasons you think you have, they are not appropriate. Our family may not be perfect, but we are all here together. We have been since Tim died. We have survived and we love each other. LEAVE US ALONE.


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God and Human Emotion

Image result for images of the bible

Last Sunday’s sermon had me crying through at least half of it. I’m not exactly sure why, but I have some ideas that might have contributed to my reaction. The message came from an interesting passage in Hosea.

It’s not one of those things that is talked about very often, but God was really ticked off at “His People” and sent Hosea to tell them so. In spite of God’s consistent and constant love and provision, Israel was going through the teenage phase. (Clue number 1 to my reaction.) Yes, I know that rebellion and separation are the developmental tasks of a teenager. I honestly believed mine wouldn’t go through it the same way because there was a time when we were incredibly close. Plus, I would give my life for him. Why would he rebel against that?

Anyway, back to God. He was done with them, finished. If they cried out for help again, He wasn’t going to help them. In fact, He was going to let them go to a place where they would be “devoured.” Pastor Debi asked if we have ever reached that point with someone in our lives. She didn’t really indicate that would be wrong, just that it happens. In fact, she said that sometimes you have to protect yourself from vulnerability from those who repeatedly harm you in some way. (Clue number 2.)

She said God’s heart was breaking. He was absolutely heartbroken. (Clue number 3.) I know what that feels like, but I wasn’t even consciously thinking of myself. It genuinely made me cry to think of God in that way.

No sooner had God thrown up His angry hands when He recanted. Of course He will come to their aid. Of course He will forgive them. God’s love is persistent. No matter what.

Debi pointed out that for those folks think that God is big, out there, and so far removed from us, we are actually made in His image. That includes the full spectrum of human emotions. That includes the phase of being totally pissed off.

I have often told clients that sometimes it is not about what we choose to do, but why we choose to do it. At one point in my life, it was my spiritual growth to stand up for myself. When I was in my twenties and just entering the therapy world, I was a nightmare for my family. Every word uttered became introspection for me and I needed to declare my conclusions to the world, especially if it was about them.

Later, I realized my spiritual growth was to stop judging so much. I tried to be the next Mother Theresa. No matter what, I would respond with love and kindness. Even if that meant being a doormat, so be it. It was what God called me to be.

Now I am balancing the two (I think). I am learning to draw boundaries with people who consistently hurt me. Even if it means walking away, I am doing it. But I am trying to remain open to whatever happens if they come back to me. I don’t think it will be hard though. I’ve always been like butter if someone offers me a genuine apology. I’m emotionally learning the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation, even though it’s a concept I’ve known intellectually for years.

It’s a half-baked thought, but I wondered if the entire universe/world/earth goes through the same phases. The Old Testament God is pretty tough to grapple with sometimes. There’s a lot of events like entire armies being drowned in the sea in the name of justice. Then the New Testament comes along and Jesus blows it all away in the water. He is one big heart. His biggest beef was with the Pharisees, the avid churchgoers and leaders. He hung out with the prostitutes instead.

Anyhow, lots of food for thought. Thanks again Pastor Debi for the push to keep growing.