Do Wha Diddy Diddy Dumb Diddy Doo …

Well there’s an eye catching little title. Nothing to do with this post.

Except for that first word, “do.”

And perhaps, the “Wha.”.

(Leave it to me to get something obscure from a song lyric).

The “do” and the “wha” refers to the “do what?” of my life.  Because so often I’m questioning what I do or don’t do. Am I doing right? And if I’m doing right, am I doing right?

Let me explain. And I’d better hurry up, before I lose you. One of my primary issues is keeping boundaries. And it’s not just the fact that people can take advantage of me. I volunteer myself and my resources. Nobody asked! It’s “What do YOU need?” versus “What do I need?” Then, when everybody’s happy, and I do mean ev.er.y.body, then  I’ll sit down and do my stuff. Complaining all the while, don’tcha know. But to do otherwise, to ignore someone’s need, to leave someone unsatisfied, feels very selfish, and just plain wrong. Sound familiar? (Cough: Martha)

This hurts me. Because after a while I’m feeling disjointed, disoriented, disorganized, and dissatisfied. It’s feeling like life is out of control. My laundry is weeks overdue, I haven’t made that phone call or done my writing, and I’m neglecting my job search and exploration. But maybe that’s the point. In seeing to someone else’s needs, I get to put off the things I need to do, or face, or feel. But that only works for so long. Soon I am in dire straits, and worse, blaming you.

So what is my business? How do I know? What is my responsibility, to you, or to me?

To know this, it starts with prayer. A common prayer of mine is the prayer Paul prayed at the time he was converted to Christianity (and isn’t that putting it mildly?). Having persecuted Jesus and His followers,, and having just condoned the stoning of Stephen, Paul (as Saul) meets Jesus on the road to Damascus.

And he trembling and astonished said, Lord,what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. (Acts 9:6)

Simple, huh? Just ask God, and He will lead.

So why don’t I do it? Why don’t I make a habit of taking the time, first thing in the morning, to ask what He’d like me to do during my day? Why don’t I pause, before I say “yes,” or volunteer myself? It only takes a moment. Is it because I think I know better what’s best? Is it because I enjoy that adrenaline rush that says “Ooh, what have I gotten myself into?” “It sure has gotten hot in here.” Or, “Where’s the fire extinguisher?”

But there are concrete things He’s asked of me. I don’t need to pause and wait to be told; it’s in the Book. I can pray for others, one of the finest things that can be done for another human being. I can study and meditate upon God’s word. I can serve in my local church. I can spend time with other people the Lord has given me. And I can do my laundry.

Ok, perhaps that last was my mother talking. But you get the gist. There are many things I don’t make time for, and end up a mess. And if you’re like me, you’re spending time recuperating from time with others as much as you’re actually spending time with them (see: introvert). Maybe more. So you still don’t get things done.

It doesn’t mean I can’t drop everything in the event of an emergency, but it does mean that God has specific tasks for me. He has helped me, through a long history of anxiety, depression, and bipolar illness, to figure out what I need to do to take care of myself. He has helped me to know when it’s time to take steps forward in my recovery, and when I’ve taken on too much. He’s given me specific people, family and friends who know me well. They can see if I am “off,” they can give me that refreshing of the spirit that only a true friend can give, and it is mutual, I hope. If I’m neglecting all of that, or ignoring red flags, a lot of sour notes will ensue. And it’s not just me on the piano, or the Mexican food I just ate.

This is not to mention the fact that if my “good deeds” do proceed from my flesh, and not from the Spirit’s call, it’s not worth a whole lot. I am thoughtful of the following scripture in Romans 8:5-8:

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

There is a whole lot in that there little portion of scripture! Among other things, it makes me evaluate things: Is my motive selfish, even when I appear to be focused on others? Am I looking to be comfortable, to be honored, to be liked? Am I trying, in my flesh, to make others happy? Maybe God’s intent is for that person to seek their own solution, or to sit with their own discomfort. Or, more than likely, for them to turn to Him, rather than to this friend who wants to make “aw better.” Sometimes, making it easier on someone else is not making it easier. It’s not just the two-year-old who needs to know they can do it themselves. And sometimes the attempt to “mother” someone does more harm than good. After all, “mother” and “smother” are pretty close.

Of course, there is such a thing as analyzing something to death. Sometimes I am procrastinating. Sometimes I am “enabling.”

But sometimes, I’m just loving.

And isn’t that what Christ has begged for us to do all along? As it is written:

And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 2 John 5:

 

 

Ulla – Beyond the Yellow Brick Road

I hate to write this. And after many revisions, trying to articulate this clearly, I am just going to click “Publish,” and call it good. After one more read, then I will. And then one more.

Our Dear Ulla, a fellow bipolar blogger known as “Blahpolar,” who entertained us, saddened us, instructed us, inflamed us, embarrassed us, left us. She took her life, and now she’s gone.

I loved you right away, Ulla, loved reading your irreverent prose. The F bombs, the rants, the things we all want to say but can’t. The extremes of anger and sadness. I wanted to loosen my lips, but not THAT much. Being around it, I started to think it. I have no way to explain, only that it wasn’t good for me and the life I was trying to live. So I left off reading your daily blog. I tried reading you once a week, but I couldn’t. I tried to help, but my solution being God and godly things made you REALLY mad. You had your reasons, and I understood, but that was all I had to offer. So I popped in now and then, said hi, reminded you I still cared, but was it enough?

Ulla was as out there as anyone with bipolar could be. She called herself the bipolar dyke. I know some of my Christian friends would wonder, how can you love someone like that, who is out and proud and loud and bipolar and gay and “heathen,”and what if you catch it? Funny, huh? Not really. After all, there but for the grace of God my desire and passion could be for a woman. It can’t be an easy road. My response is more a tilt of the head, and then, so, what else are you about?

As everyone, I was shocked to find out you had left us, Ulla. Let’s just say it right out, you killed yourself. Why? I am so surprised at your choice. You were so strong, so determined! You had a purpose and that purpose was keeping US alive. Oh Ulla. What tipped you over the edge? But I understand, too. When you’re that depressed, you DON’T have a choice over your thoughts, your morbidity, and yes, your choices. And you, my friend, I am sure you looked at the whole thing practically, logically. I don’t believe you were one bit impulsive or emotional about it.

Where are you now? According to my faith, once you are gone you are gone, and if you’ve not chosen Jesus, you are really gone, to Hell, with no way back. But how could I tell you that? Besides, you knew, right? You’d been steeped in religion at one point in your life. I think. Am I remembering right? And shouldn’t I have said something, directly to you, sooner, more emphatically, more empathetically? I had my blogs about salvation, did you read them? But I should have said, Ulla, please, listen to ME. I should have begged, or at least, been a bother.

Then again, maybe you did know the Lord. Maybe you didn’t land in Hell. I believe that those of us who commit suicide ARE ill, and God takes that into account. Oh Lord. Oh Ulla.

And in some religions, it is GOOD to pray you into that good place. It is believed that you can take someone ordinarily destined for Hell, and pray for them, and they will go to Heaven. I know God can do anything, does do miracles. So I pray. Lord, have mercy. Lord, the ones I love, they didn’t understand. Lord, have mercy. It can’t hurt to pray, God wants us to pray, so I pray, Lord, have mercy.

Ulla, I am just so sorry I didn’t continue to be your friend. Survivor’s guilt, they call it. But not just that. I shoulda coulda woulda. You would now be telling me, F___ guilt. But there are some things I am actually guilty of. And you really were a friend to me. You did reach out to me. Or did I you? Regardless, we hit it off. And nothing I said was unacceptable, I was in a bad spot and you were my friend. And vice versa. I really should have done more. I’m so sorry Ulla. We are all asking, is there anything we could have done differently? Something that would have made you stay for one more day, a day things might have turned around for you? Oh yes I know this is totally self-centered of me, but would you please come back?

Ulla Ulla it just seems that if you had held on a little longer, you might have been okay. ECT does not work right away, you know that.  😦 What was it that tipped you over the edge? And was it the best decision? But how could it be?

That is one thing that haunts me. Whenever I find out that someone has committed suicide, I am so sad and horrified, but a part of me is envious, because I have what you have. And that thing that I have is the occasional hatred of life, so strong it can be overwhelming,  it can be all I can think of. The desire to leave, so strong.

But what you didn’t have is what I do have. The hope that no matter how bad things get, I have a future. A future in Heaven. I have Someone Who loves me, will love me forever. No matter who or what happens in my life, I have an assurance that is real enough that nothing else matters. Not my pain, not my misery, nor the endless days. And eventually those days change, and I am happy again, and can move forward. Write again, smile again, hope again. See that I matter.

I pray, as I said, that your endless days ended in Heaven. I pray that I can be a better friend.

But more than that, I wish you were here Ulla. You are so missed. I wish you were here.

 

 

 

Whyy oh whine, AKA: I want my mommy!

Why do we cry when we’re angry?

(Because we want to kill something, and we know we can’t?)

And why do I try to accomplish ANYthing on a Monday?

Today on my list I had planned to try – again! – to get some insurance issues taken care of. I say “try” because this is not the first time I have found myself in tears because of these people. But what I am is MAD, not sad. Ok, maybe sad, too…

Every three months I get BOTOX® shots in my neck for my spasmodic torticollis. I found out that I can get reimbursed for the money I paid for the medicine by the BOTOX® folks, but I need certain documentation from the insurance company – which I can’t seem to get. I am also having a problem with how the doctor’s office billed me the first time, so there’s that.

We’re talking times two procedures! So theoretically I have $700. floating in front of my face like a carrot. And I sure could use those dollars to pay on my crredit cards! (I should write about credit cards. Talk about crying!)

So who am I going to bellyache at? The insurance company? The people who manufacture the BOTOX® ?

No. They aren’t going to help.

What I need is a “person.” Someone who can help me navigate the red tape  😦 Is there such a person? Cuz I am not going to get far crying! Urgh! I hate crying! Especially when it comes to having to do adult things!

(There. Ya feel better now?)

(A little)

(Does anyone out there feel sorry for me?)

(A little.)

(Good, do ya think you could send me the $700?)

I’m falling for you, Baby …

Ok, perhaps that’s a weak title, but I’m hoping it’s win-some enough to win-some readers. Besides, my original title was a mis-heard song lyric, and no one would have gotten it anyway. In my estimation, lame is better than “just plain wrong!”

But I digress (as always).

Much to my dismay, someone on Facebook posted a photo of the first Fall leaf they’d seen in New England this year, and it’s (checks watch) August 6th! Really??

“Heaven help us!” I thought. “Will Winter be soon upon us?”

And then I remembered. I don’t have to worry about Winter anymore. I live in the great State of Florida, where oranges grow and tourists flourish!

Back in Maine, the prospect of Winter had grown more and more dreadful to me each year. Emphasis on the dread. The previous two years had really outdone themselves, with record snowfalls and frigid temperatures.  So in the Summer of ’15 I said “Nevermore!” and got on a fast track of getting rid of my things, literally giving away most of what I had, and keeping just enough to fit into my Ford Focus. I just could not take another snowstorm, another head-itching hat, another “you’ll be towed if you don’t move your cah!”

And I had known for a while that God was moving me on. It wasn’t just the weather. It was my heart. So I started making plans for my escape. I was Florida bound! And here I am! I arrived in Jacksonville in October of last year, and have not had one regret.

Okay, maybe some. I miss my friends and family, my church, the Spring and Summer in Maine. Susan’s Fish and Chips. Amato’s Italian Sandwiches…

Doesn’t it always come down to food, lol.

Besides, Winter here in Florida is COLD! But it’s worth it, it’s worth it! Not bikini weather, but that’s okay; you won’t see me in a bikini this side of glory anyway! Ok, ever!

Then again, I’m not living in the Southern part of Florida. Some even tell me that Jacksonville isn’t Florida. It’s fine, I believe I’m where God wants me to be. I’ve found a good church, some writing buddies, and some good friends. God is good.

But having seen the picture of that red spotted leaf, I have mixed feelings. I have taken so many pictures of Fall colors; I adore the smell of those leaves, the proverbial crunch underfoot, and the first few nips of cold on my nose. I went through the same pangs of regret when I heard about the flowers up there this Spring, the many hikes and activities, and the Summertime blue of the ocean. Yes, there are beautiful beaches here, but they’re not like the rocky crags of Maine, her pebbled shores, and the ice ice cold of her waters. Here, there aren’t many white sails, lazy fishing boats, and lush green islands rising up against the horizon. It’s pretty, but it’s different.

So if I sound a little sappy, indulge me, if you will; it’s rare. Most of the time I’m really happy with being in Florida. I finally get my Florida Orange license plate! I get to be that irritating tourist behind the wheel! Finally I am where I’ve wanted to be for so many years, and God has been so good to me! I enjoy the adventure of “I’ve never been there! Let’s go!” And of finally giving in to God’s will.

But I don’t plan on getting over the things I’ve left behind. I miss my BFF beyond measure, and other friends. My church “Up North” cannot be duplicated; I wouldn’t even try.

And those Italian sandwiches…

xo

 

Writing is as writers do

I’m channeling Forrest Gump’s “Stupid is as stupid does,” chiding myself for not writing what I’m “supposed to be” writing, and instead imposing my whining upon you, Dear Reader.

I worked on my writing a lot last month during Nano Camp (related to “National Novel Writing Month). It’s a young adult Christian novel, speaking of imposing. The stupid thing insists upon being written, though I am NOT a young adult novelist, nor even a novelist, really, if being published counts. I had started the book back in February? April? November? I forget … and had gotten in I think 15,000 words. So, for the July Nano Camp I brought it up to around 50k. It’s still a mess! I bought Scrivener, so I am hoping to get it into a more cohesive mess. One can hope.

But back to my point. I am looking online for spreadsheets to help me chart my lack of progress … HAHAHA! I came across this one, the Wrting And Revision Tracker by Jamie Raintree, and it looks good. And then there’s always Facebook, if I run out of ideas for putting things off. There’s also eating, bathing, and cleaning. 

The point again being that I’m not writing, yet, this month! And I really want to. There are probably another 10k words to be written, and a major rewrite/edit that needs to be done. There is a contest I’d like to enter with it (drums fingers). But here I am talking to you, sigh.

Anyway all this to say hi, there, my name is Procrastination, and how are you?

Seriously, how are you?

xo