Time Changes Much

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Sometimes each little cut on my heart, all the wounds from the past, just ache at once. Even the healed ones light up with phantom pains as the newest still bleed and throb.

“It’s difficult to keep a soft heart when you get hurt. The tendency is to withdraw. Press on. Soft hearts are easily bruised, but survive, while hard hearts crack and crack completely.”

~Eric Wilson, Author

The Temperature of a Heart

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Ready for a super cliche, super typical, song stuffed post?

If you’ve never read my “bio”, it’s located at the top-ish area of this blog, it’s a tab labeled “Meet That Quiet Girl”. You’ll see a very brief explanation of who I am, just the tiniest glimpse into the scars on my heart from careless people who earned my trust, got me to let them in, only to prove every fear I had, and leave behind a mess for me to clean up. I’ve spent years of my life trying to take down my walls, let people see me for who I am, learn to trust again, be vulnerable, wear my heart on my sleeve sometimes because despite all it’s scars, it’s beautiful. I’ve been fighting, with God’s help, to keep my heart soft, to keep it from growing cold.

I’ve been back-stabbed, betrayed, left behind, forgotten, rejected. And I survived.

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I held my mom’s hand as she got a new IV put in, the day before she died. I watched tears stream down her face from the pain, but her hand was barely strong enough to grip mine. I watched the oxygen meter count down as she breathed her last breath. And I survived.

And last night, I looked into the eyes of someone I care about with every fiber of what’s left of my heart, and saw…emptiness. Listened to the words I was promised, assured, that I would never have to hear cross their lips. Seven years of friendship came crashing down around me, and all I could think was, it’s happening again. I can’t go through this again. I can’t loose you. I can’t survive this again. You promised me you were different, you asked me to trust you.. You lied to me.  

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How many times can a heart be broken before it’s beyond repair? God’s answer is that nothing is impossible in Him. And I know that to be true. I fight the old nagging voices, telling me that by now surely I must know that no one can be trusted. No one stands true to their word. A promise is a promise, no matter how much time passes, it remains.

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I don’t make many promises. “I promise” are words I use very rarely, very exclusively, because of this. And when so many have been made to me, and so many broken, it becomes so hard to trust.

I’ve never understood why heartbreak can cause actual, physical pain, but I assure you, it does. It feels like a sickening heat in the depths of my chest, at the base of my lungs, burning. A heat that chills your bones and makes your lungs shudder.

As I was at work today, feeling this, unable to focus on my work, my thought storm was interrupted by a compliment from the patient I was with.

“You know, you have such a kind spirit. A very soothing countenance. I can tell you’re a very kind and thoughtful person.”

Tears welled. How is it that a total stranger can catch me in my worst moments and see something worthwhile in me, yet the ones I let into my heart seem to find it so easy to leave?

Later, from coworkers today;

“You’re beautiful, you know.”

“Everyone needs someone like you in their lives, you’re such a genuine, kind, calming person.”

But I don’t feel like that person right now. I just feel deadened, chilled from the inside out. I don’t even feel real, as if I’m just a figment in someones imagination, and they’ve stopped writing my storyline.

These songs that I’m sticking in random places here are ones I’ve always felt connected to, with what I’ve been through. They always seem so relevant. And listening to them holds me back from letting my mind twist itself into an endless knot of frustration.

So, there you have it. A cliche, “my heart, ow” blog post complete with songs that support the emotional state of the blog writer. Oh so original.

Nevertheless, here it is. The temperature of my heart. Injured muscles feel warm to the touch, but my heart burns with ice. Maybe it will grow warm yet again one day… Maybe.

Can I be honest?

This post may or may not be very long, include multiple, seemingly unrelated topics, and appear somewhat disjointed. You have been forewarned.

I heard a song the other day one Air1. It was incredible, it set a fire in my mind, a chain reaction that lead to the most electrifying, thrilling thoughts about Heaven. Allow me to share with you the gist of the thoughts it inspired within my lil’ head.

We often think of Heaven for what will be there when we arrive. The untouched, pure nature, the animals, the people we miss, and of course, more than any of that, finally being with our Creator. And that is AWESOME. But there’s a part of Heaven I never even considered in depth until hearing this song.

We’ll be there. The real us. Not the sin hampered, war torn version of us that is present currently, but the part of us that is true and perfect. Everything truly good about us, the things that were knit into our being by God, those little glimmers of what we are truly meant to be when fully realized in Jesus will finally be set completely free of temptation, sin, and the weight of the burdens of this world.

Yes, Jesus has already freed us from sin, but how many of us have had those many, many times when we tried to rely on our own strength to fight temptation and failed miserably? *raises hand*  We are free from sin, but sin still has and influence on our lives, whether through our own actions or indirectly through the actions of others. Take a few moments to just sit and imagine being totally yourself, minus every sinful thought you’ve ever had, minus every memory of every failure, every unkind thought that ever crossed your mind. The freedom of no longer having to guard your heart, your eyes, your ears, and your mind from the evils of this world. Total freedom. Totality of redemption. The fullness of perfection. The weightlessness of your soul, no longer oppressed by a hostile world, or poisoned by the unavoidable inundation of crude humor, language and images.

I don’t know about you, but that is extremely exciting to me.

With that in mind, please enjoy the song. 🙂

If, at this point you’ve wondered about the title and warning at the beginning of this post, “Be honest about what?”, here it is.

I haven’t actually sat down and spent time in my Bible in …. I’m not even sure. A while.

I haven’t spent true, quality time praying and talking/listening to God in almost as long. Not counting the three or four times I’ve cried myself to sleep while talking to God recently, or the times I’ve spent maybe 20 minutes in prayer in my car before work.

Related to the above, I’ve cried myself to sleep a lot lately. Actually, I’ve just plan cried a lot.

I have been struggling so hard to be positive, to put effort into my friendships, to even reply to text messages.

Now, I consider myself to be somewhat of a smart cookie. (Is that a phrase? Or is it tough cookie? Because cookies should be soft, tough cookies are gross…) I know that if I solved the first problem (spending time in God’s Word), the other ones would pretty much take care of themselves. I know this. Truly. How can I experience the peace of God when I don’t spend time seeking His face? Answer, I can’t. I must seek His presence if I want to be lifted from this depressive state I’m currently in. But will you, whomever you may be, please pray for me? Even if it’s just a quick little prayer while you’re reading this post, it would be appreciated.

I miss my mom. I miss home cooked food. I miss having time to make my own home cooked food. I miss having someone to talk about “girl stuff” with. That’s what I’m crying over. I miss the life I used to have. Before the loss. I feel crushed under the weight of that loss sometimes.

We finally had her stone engraved and placed. It’s beautiful, but, they only put one “T” in Matthew. Not that big of a deal, you say? No one will notice? That’s true. But I cried about it for almost 30 minutes when I noticed it.

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I wanted it to be perfect. Does she care if there’s a T missing from Matthew? Nooo. But still, it bothered me that much. Less so now, but still… It’s there.

I feel like a total train wreck on the inside lately, and I miss being a child. Being able to just break down and cry whenever and wherever you are when you feel overwhelmed, and it be socially acceptable. Adults aren’t allowed to break down. Adults have to be… “adult” about it. Take it in stride. Keep on keeping on. But I feel like I just need a week to break down, fall apart completely, and start from scratch, much like I did when I was off work for two weeks after my mom died.

But I can’t do that. I have to keep going. Keep smiling. It may be a dark night, but there is a dawn approaching. I can’t see it yet, but through the promises of Christ, I know it’s coming. I have hope.

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.

~Isaiah 42:3 (Matthew 12:20 as well.)

I may be a bruised weed, but He will mend me and set me straight and tall again.

Rough Days, Sleepless Nights

Last night I was kept awake until 5am with nightmares bordering on hallucinations, due to a mild fever. Eventually I managed to fall asleep and slept until 2pm, waking with an insane hunger and being short of oxygen because of the congestion in my lungs.

So, entire holiday weekend taken up by sickness. Yayyyy. Literally nothing I had planned/needed to accomplish has been done. Nothing. Very annoyed by that, but, can’t do anything about it.

Spending several days at home unable to do anything but watch TV and eat things may have been good for me physically, I’m sure I needed the break. But mentally and emotionally hasn’t been good at all. I honestly hadn’t realized how much the business of a full time job, running errands and keeping the house up has kept my mind away from both the continuing grief of being without a mom and the desire for relationship. About four people I know got engaged in the last few months, several people I went to youth groups with or worked with (who are younger than me) are married and about to have their first child. One of my close friends just celebrated her one year anniversary and my cousin’s was today.

Being without my mom has actually made it worse in a way. She was one of the people who never got tired of encouraging me that “my prince will come”, constantly reminding me that I am beautiful and I am desirable. You never realize how valuable that gentle reminder is until it’s gone. God has been so faithful to remind me of these things both through scripture and the kindness of random people I meet. He has not left me through this. If anything, He’s helped me draw closer to Him and learn to long for His word even more. But nothing takes the place of a mother’s love. God designed it that way, and I know He cries with me. He’s holding my heart together when I don’t have the strength to.

Seeing my Dad without his bride is one of the most painful things I’ve experienced. It is not good for man to be alone. (Gen. 2:18) As I’ve written about before, few is the number of people “created for singleness”, God designed us for that intimate relationship. It teaches us to be more selfless, to put their needs above ours, but it also provides companionship in a world where few are trustworthy. “Till death do us part” is a vow that guarantees that even on your worst day, you’ll still have at least one companion by your side. Until death, that is. Marriage is such a beautiful union of two imperfect people learning to love one another with Christlike love. And that makes the loss of a spouse all the more painful. I’ve seen my Dad hurt before, but seeing him lonely is so much worse. He tries to hide it, to smile and be silly and just keep on going. But I can see it in his eyes.

I have no doubt that God has a plan for all of this. I know He’s got a man for me, and I’m certain He won’t leave my Dad lonely forever. He’s already used our testimony in the lives of those around us, people are amazed by the joy we continue to have despite the loss. God has blessed us with a peace that passes understanding and He comforts us in our mourning. We still have our really hard days, but we are making it.

Today just happens to be one of those really hard days…

~TQG

Ambulances

Ever since November 22, 2014 I have had an emotional reaction to seeing ambulances running lights and siren to or from an incident. I’ve always made it a point to pray for police officers when I see them running code or stopping a car, having family members and friends in law enforcement makes you more sensitive to the dangers of their job. And I’ve always made a point to pray for the people I see involved in car accidents along the road, but it hasn’t been until now how important ambulances, EMS, and EMT’s are. My mom wasn’t currently in critical condition when she took her last ride in an ambulance, but that ride marked the last time she traveled anywhere, the last time she sat in a brand new recliner her parents had purchased for her, which had only arrived hours before.

There is something sobering about putting yourself in another persons/family’s shoes. What does that ambulance ride mean for them? I remember looking through the blinds in the computer room of my house, watching them roll my mom, who laughed and joked with them the whole way, out to the ambulance and load her in. I remember a sense of just, complete denial. “This isn’t necessary. She’s being over dramatic. She could have walked out to a car on her own. She’s fine. She’ll be back in no time, she’s getting better.” But as much as my brain tried to convince me that everything was fine, my heart was heavy. I spent the rest of that day alone in the house, listening to the clocks tick, wondering what it would be like to live in a house without her and trying to convince myself that wasn’t going to happen.

And that’s what comes to me every time I see an ambulance. So I take a few moments and pray for them, for the EMT’s, the family. Because I know what it’s like to feel like you’re floating in an ocean of unknown.

I say all this as a reminder, to you, my loyal readers. It’s very easy to get to the point in your life where you just motor along, totally absorbed in your life and your mission and your purpose. Taking time to set all the “you” aside and put yourself in another’s position, pray for them not with pity, but with empathy, is something indescribably valuable. Not only is prayer powerful, and you are no doubt having an impact on their life as they fight the battle of this world, but opening yourself up to another’s struggle helps you better appreciate your own blessings. At least, it has for me.

Second, lesser thought for you along similar lines… I’ve been going on long walks lately, about 2.5 miles. Last time I did this, about half way through, I realized that I was walking along staring at the ground. For good reason, the route I take is quite rocky and uneven in places, and I don’t like twisted ankles. But, when I realized this and looked up, took in the scene around me and looked ahead instead of right where I was, I instantly felt better. Like, emotionally and physically felt a lot better. As it turns out, looking down slightly constricts your air ways, so you feel very slightly light headed if you’re doing something strenuous and looking down the whole time (oops). Seeing the light of the sun and the wind in the trees always makes me a happier person in general. I’m way too tired at the moment to make some great life lesson out of this about not getting caught up in the struggles of the day. Instead, just, look around at how beautiful everything is when you walk and… y’know.. Breathe.. normally… It helps, I promise!

I think I’ll head towards the bed now. heh…

~TQG

Jumping In

Starting back to work this evening with a sneeze. Or two. Or ten. Was kept awake much of last night with a cold, and broke out the cold meds this morning. Lots of vitamin C, zinc, cranberry juice, coffee, and water. And so far I have emptied and repurposed one box of tissue. They make great mini trash cans once they’re empty! … I’ll go to work smelling like vaporizing chest rub rather than perfume… Sadly…

These last few days have been a huge struggle. I miss my mom. It all feels so unreal, like a bad dream. The grief roller coaster is rough, laughing one minute and feeling like your chest is about to crack open from sadness the next. Stress of the unknown is constantly knocking at our door as we try and figure out how to manage bill payment. There are 11 different medical bills all needing paid. Eleven. And not little bills either. And on top of that, electric, water, internet, mortgage (why is there a T in that word??) and phone bills. All of this I knew existed before, but never had to sit down and look at the numbers… I’m glad I’m learning it now, but it’s still a lot to take in.

Literally just now I’m getting a text from my manager asking if I can come in early… *sighs* Thus begins my jump off the cliff of real life.

Next Chapter Of Adulthood

Less than one month of 2014 left, and today I started the somewhat daunting but also exciting task of becoming my Dad’s personal accountant. Together we are delving into the dark chasm of bills and debts and setting up a special bill paying schedule for me to work from, so that I may take on my new role as payer of the bills. Though this is a pretty big task, I’m actually happy about it. It’s something I’d have to learn to do eventually, but this way I’m learning it while I still have someone to help crunch numbers and build budgets. Someone who actually knows how.

The last.. two weeks? Has been quite a roller coaster. Lots of family and friends in town, dropping food by, spending time with us, keeping our minds busy. But this week we are mostly (but not totally!) alone as far as company goes. Which is good, we aren’t very good company when we’re trying to pay bills. (Paying bills can make one a bit gwumpy.)

My parents and I have always had a very close relationship. And now that we’re missing one, my Dad and I have stuck close. Both of us have been having dreams lately, dreams that try and convince us that Mom is still alive. Mine often include Mom showing up and saying the doctor’s lied to us, and that she survived, and when I wake up, I feel like I’m still dreaming. It doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t feel real.

So often I see or hear of something really fun or cute, and my first thought is “I need to save that and show it to Mom!”. Or I’ll get dressed, and want to ask her opinion on my outfit. But I can’t. And every time my brain makes that subconscious suggestion, the reality of her loss hits me again.

She was 47. Way, way too young to spend her last week of life in a hospital bed, getting stuck with needles multiple times a day. I held her hand for some of those needles. And I was there, in the room when she died. Every memory of that night sits at the edge of my mind, nagging at me. Threatening to show up while I sleep.

The first three days next week, I’ll be home alone for most of the day. I’m intending to go to the gym a lot, read a lot, do laundry and clean. But even so, neither my Dad nor I have any desire to be alone right now. We’ll see how it goes…

 

Just The Beginning

And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures…had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

~C. S. Lewis