Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief

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I’ve started talking to a new spiritual director. This is the first time I’ve worked with a male, although I’m not sure that matters. Anyhow, his name is Bob and he seems a bit more traditional. He gave me a booklet that he wrote about dozens of ways to bring prayer into your life. Last week, I went to Vegas for two nights with my friend Ann from Chicago. I started to read his book on the way to the airport and tried to implement some of his ideas.

The first was called the “flash” prayer. When people/ideas come across you (in any way whatsoever), just do a quick prayer. So I thought about that and found that it was pretty easy to come up with prayers at any second of the day. I boarded the plane and DUH! How about praying for the pilots? I’m sure lots of people do that when traveling in the air, but I have been out of the habit.

When switching planes, I was stuck in the waiting area. The TV was on and there were the repetitive stories about some of the NFL players and their recent problems with domestic violence. I had been watching the stories for days and had fleeting thoughts and comments, but mostly know what a terribly complicated topic it all is. Child and spousal abuse has been around since human beings have been around and it is hard to understand how it all happens. Instead of watching the footage yet another time, I decided to send up a flash prayer for all of them and their families.

What else is on TV these days? Isis. War. Again, concepts I can’t even begin to understand or offer any kind of intelligent opinion on to discuss with other people. I have zero idea on how to make all that madness stop. And again, it hit me. Why not just send out a flash prayer? I felt so much better after doing that. I can’t contribute anything meaningful to a solution, but somehow I felt helpful by offering up small prayers.

Completely unrelated to the prayer topic, I was sitting in the waiting area and chatting with a bunch of 20 something year olds. A woman was talking about seeing a very old woman get her knitting needles taken away at security because they could be considered dangerous weapons. That somehow streamed into a conversation about what happens to dogs and cats that travel on planes, which then somehow led into the idea that all the cats are probably in the cockpits with the pilots. It got sillier then imagining the pilots who are, of course, allergic to cats and sneezing while trying to fly the plane. Then one guy triumphantly announced how that explains the bumpy flights. “FURBULANCE” is the correct term, rather than turbulence. Ok, so we were all pretty tired, but it was funny at the time.

Back to prayer suggestion number two. That one was called “signal” prayers. The idea is to pick some sort of signal that you come across several times a day to remind you to pray. I came up with my text notification. I have it set for that little bell that goes off. My one client always says, “Tink? Is that you?” which cracks me up every time. So I figured that every time I hear the tinkle, I will say a flash prayer. Then I thought I was smarter than anything when I combined the two kinds of prayer in my smart, little head. I will say a flash prayer for whoever texts me! I was feeling proud of myself for that one.

What a timely thing to have happen. I got a text this morning that absolutely deserved a prayer. My son Colin is looking for a used car so he gave me the ads he had circled. I called the first one and the car was already gone. No surprise because it was a great deal. The second ad had a phone number that said it was for texting. So this morning I texted the number and I quote: “Do u still have the car?” While meeting with my spiritual director, I got a response back. It said, and I quote: “Stop F*****G bugging (me) you dumb A*S B**CH.” Whoa. I was shocked. Then I laughed. I decided not to respond, just say a little prayer. They paid for an ad to sell a car, put their phone number in, and then responded like that to a request. Holy cow. You gotta laugh, right?

If you have any good prayer stories, feel free to share them. And if you know of any good used cars for sale, send me a text. A nice one, please.

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More Ups and Downs

So I’m on my dream vacation and I meet my daughter and her family for brunch in South Carolina. Frankie has been with them on vacation for nine days, the first time we’ve been apart that long. Reports were that he was the hit of the week-long family reunion they were at. He was dancing with 75 year old women when no other men would, so he was well loved and made a big deal of.

Then he hit the brick wall. By the time we met up in South Carolina, he was in tears and beside himself. Said his back hurt and that he hadn’t been able to eat. He did a great job trying to figure it out with me. “How do I know if I’m homesick? What does my stomach have to do with being homesick? Why is this happening?” He decided he wanted to come home. The only thing is, I couldn’t logistically pull it off. For dozens of details, I won’t want to bore you with, I couldn’t keep him in South Carolina with me. He got in the car to head back to Georgia and was a good sport about it, but I cried the minute he drove away. I am his mom. I am supposed to make everything better.

I told him we would get him out on Monday morning and back home, two days earlier than he was supposed to come back. That seemed to help him. However, then the nightmare of phone calls started and I discovered in spite of paying the extra money for trip insurance, they wouldn’t help me in the slightest. It would have cost me another $800 to get him and my grandson back. Another tough phone conversation. I let him down again. And again he was a good sport.

Wednesday, they were scheduled to arrive at 12:45. I worked til noon then hopped in the car. I had this dreaded feeling that I was going to be late. I was frantic. The check-in lady told me the plane hadn’t landed yet when I got there at 12:20. I get my boarding pass and headed to security. When Frankie flew to Georgia, I nailed my son-in-law about making sure he was there on time so when he got off the plane he immediately saw a face he knew. And he was there. On time.

While I’m in security I get a phone call. It’s Southwest. The plane had landed almost a half hour early and the flight attendant was waiting there with the two boys. I told him I was stuck in security and he told me to wait and he would bring the boys to me. A million things flashed through my mind. This 10 and 6 year old were brave enough to fly across the states. I only had to be there on time so they didn’t get off the plane and feel even a second of panic. Now I know the plane landed early, but still. I felt AWFUL. Let Frankie down. AGAIN.

When I saw them come around the corner, we all hugged, although Frankie is still not fond of that. But right there in the middle of the airport, he opens up his suitcase. He bought me a necklace with the word “LOVE” on it and he walked over and chained it around my neck. Right there in the middle of the airport. He couldn’t wait to give it to me. I was filled with love and tears. He’s a champ. He’s forgiving. He lets me be human. He’s the love of my life.