Her absence was felt more keenly than I care to admit. I see my beautiful niece smile. She is a picture of her mother– my sister. We are all walking where so many have walked before…..uncharted territory. No maps. No gps. No cell phone. We’re on our own. What’s the right thing to do? In my experience, that question can be a trap. The right thing…..the right thing…..Must we always do the “right thing”? As I see the unbearable pain etched in my brother-in-law’s face, I see that this dance we’re doing is better if done in the dark. Don’t think…..just feel inside you. I never in a million years would have guessed that my family would be at this juncture in life. Burying my beautiful sister far too early. And now….clawing our way through the dark…..hoping to find the way. I truly believe that I will never get over my sister dying. But I will…..eventually….. learn to live with her loss. May our family continue to be there for each other and love, love, love.
The following was written by my sister, Johnna Anna a few days ago. Today is six months that we have been without our sister Rhonda Lynn. I am extremely blessed to have grown up in a family with four sisters. Johnna, Rhonda, Donna, Sonya
Four strong walls that together made a fortress. Together the four provided security and safe haven, standing together arms locked against the winds of change that wanted to wreck us. We found comfort knowing we were together clinging to each other. Our lives so entwined, our hopes and fears guarded within those walls. No matter what, as long as we were together we could do anything, go anywhere because we knew that fortress would still stand. We comforted each other, we hurt each other, we cried, we laughed and we were always the four. But now, we are three. Life feels unsure and scary again. We don’t have our 4th to help hold us together. Life will never be the same. It feels empty and it hurts so bad. And now we must learn to stand together as three.
Have you ever been afraid to be happy? I find that while I have had some difficult challenges through my life, the challenge to embrace being happy is harder than I thought. My brain, which has a habit of running every possible scenario through its caterpillar-like fibers, lulls me into feeling that if I am happy– the “other shoe will drop.” This terrifies me!!
For the past two weeks, my depression has taken a vacation. (I have not sent him a card!! lol ) I don’t remember the last time I was without my familiar companion. The feeling is new. Tentative. Fresh. Who am I kidding?? It is wondrous!!! But— I can’t shake the feeling of the “other shoe dropping”. So I hope as I charter beautiful waters, I enjoy the moments–not marring them by worry. Because we all know that eventually the “other shoe will drop”. It happens to everyone. So onward, one day a time.
when you can jump outside the line
whistle as you go
and leave no one left behind
but tell them so they’ll know
runs thru my head
like icing on cake
myriads of me
dragged through a rake.
ripping like shreds
so nothing makes sense
a confusion of sorts
bolstering my defense
what’s wrong with me?
when will it cease?
shutting the door
will it yield peace?
tell me who you are, open up my eyes
been blinded too many years, please from me don’t hide
for you are light and love, send it now on me
so i can see your smile, and better i will be
Why is it that it always takes a tragedy to wake us up? Can’t we all live a life that is caring, selfless, and kind? Why do we always need a kick in the butt to make us see? I know for me, I’ve had many times where I have “sat back” to take stock of my life. I would see areas I lack in and would make mental goals to do better in these places I lack. But somehow my resolutions faded into the mist that sometimes seeps into my soul.
I think about humanity and the depths of depravity we can sink to. How can one human do horrible things to another human? It doesn’t make sense to me. Is it that hard to be kind to others? You know, we can never tell for sure what is going on in someone else’s life. In my opinion, it’s a good idea to give others the benefit of the doubt….. you know? I mean, if someone is at a cash register acting like a total whack job; it can be extremely trying to our thinning patience. But if we smile and treat the individual with kindness it will make a difference–if not in the whacko, then in us. I am learning that if we pour out ourselves, even in the smallest of ways, I believe it always makes a difference in us and hopefully to someone else as well. So the next time someone ruffles our feathers- take a deep breath, smile, and be kind.
(Disclaimer–While all of the previous thoughts are wildly beneficial; I must also confess that I have what you would say, “lost it” a time or two. I’m a work in progress. 🙂 )
I never really thought about the lives of truck drivers much. Really, the only thinking I had was that the truck was in my way as I drove! Six years ago I married the sweetest man alive who happens to be a truck driver. Over these years, I traveled with him many times on the road. I always had my camera ready to chronicle our journeys. I thought it would be good to give you all a small taste of the life of an American Truck Driver. (Please note that the quality of many of the photos may be skewed a bit as they were taken from inside the truck behind the windshield covered with bugs.)
Dress the same, hair is blah, no make-up, no one stand out- that’s wrong you know. Don’t talk back or speak your mind; that’s not allowed here. Wake up early before the sun; being a sloth is a sin. Begin the day of endless work, but first don’t forget to pray. If you do you’re in disgrace. Get your kids up, dress them well, make sure their room is clean. Make them breakfast, wipe it up; now let the school work begin. Teaching five different kids is what’s required, whether you believe in homeschooling or not. Frustrated here, this is hard; I’m not a teacher you know. While they’re learning, make sure you’re busy doing something good. Sewing my clothes, making floral wreaths and arrangements, crocheting baby clothes, cooking from scratch, cleaning every detail of my home in order to escape shame in front of all. Go to church three times a week with your toddlers at your feet. Keep them quiet, or else. Weed the gardens, plant the vegetables- make it perfect you know. Gather the harvest, wash them all clean, sort them into their piles. Canning all you are able to; so tired from the day. Kids need bathed, stories need read; tuck the kids in bed. Can rest come? No- not ever. Omgoodness I forgot– do the laundry! (For seven people) All the while, tamp down the terror occupying my head that I’ll never be enough.
So while I acknowledge that the prior chores I listed are in and of themselves a good thing. What I am contending is that when religious leaders misuse scriptures and twist them to say what they want to manipulate good, earnest people is despicable. To be required to perform more duties that cannot reasonably fit in a day to be deemed “holy” or “close to God” is sick. I want people to understand that this happened every day, all day. My mind never had a moment’s peace. The church services were long and arduous making it was difficult to keep small children quiet. Every action was “spiritualized”. It was as if there was a constant hammer ready to pound me. God is not like that. He is merciful. I used to know this before the “lord’s farm”. It is taking me much time to get it to sink in. I will keep at it though.
© Frédéric Georges Martin more about Ursa Major and Orion