Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Conclusion

Yeah, so nothing has changed in the last year or so except that S***** is now parroting more and more of her husband's moronic conclusions.

Example... last year, I stated God is big enough that He doesn't need me to defend Him. (ie... be a bigot and bully on someone else's social networking page because a stranger to them states they do not believe in Him.) That's not the same as saying I don't have a responsibility to spread the Gospel. But MY call involves less scripture quoting and more way of life living. The way I see it, quoting scripture to someone who does not accept or believe its validity is like speaking old world French to a Mexican peasant. They might pick up on a few similar words, but over all, you're not going to get your message across. So don't speak. Show. Live. Do. Whenever possible, SHUT UP.

So yeah... here's the last part of the message exchange from last night.

Marisa, M*** did not contact you, I did with M***s blessing. The reason I did this was to make peace with you. The Bible tells us to be at peace with all men. So I simply was doing what God had lead me to do. I was not even making an attempt to restart our friendship, just peace. We both believe that season has passed. I simply want us to be cordial when we are in the same room with each other. God has each of us on this earth to worship Him and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm sorry your views on God not needing our help is what separates us, but that's between you and God. We are praying for you. Love in Christ, S*****
P.S. I will not contact you again since we understand how you feel. 


My Response:


Our views on God not needing our help are not what separates us. M*** is what separates us. Until he learns to be responsible for himself, false apologies are wasted. Keep your apologies between you and God. Neither of you have learned how to be honest. I'm glad you agree we have no need to be in each other's lives. But DO NOT expect me to be false and pretend for others to see.
Thank you for the offer to not contact us again. M*** burned the bridge, I swept up the ashes. Let the dead bury their own dead.


Yeah, I went ahead and blocked her. Childish or no, I will have the last word in their untimely, self-righteous, make themselves feel better game. They (figuratively) came, uninvited, to my door and tried to manipulate their way to an open door. I see no reason to even give them the chance to get a foot in the door.

I had come to accept and admit that I am still angry well before this latest load of crap showed up in my inbox today. I also realized my assumption last night was wrong. They're house sitting for Apostle B while he's out of state visiting another son. They want to go to ACF (instead of drive 30 min to their current church) without having to deal with their own crap. *snerk* or, as has historically been the case, he screwed up Apostle's computer and knows he can't just call Charlie to fix it.

Yes, I'm angry. Still. I know I have to deal with that... but also know that's between me and God. They aren't a part of it at all. I also know I did the right thing in *gasps* rejecting their request. He's a bully. I know now he has no problems continuing to be a bully and he's teaching his wife to follow along. The lingering questions about doing the right thing are gone.

God does tell us AS FAR AS IS POSSIBLE to live at peace with one another (a detail they conveniently left out). It is possible for me to do this by not acknowledging their existence. I know I don't have it in me to let them off the hook. I know I may never reach a place of grasping the minor details involved in loving unconditionally, forgiving as I've been forgiven and still holding my brothers and sisters in Christ accountable for their actions. I'm too honest to BS for their comfort. And like it or not, I will always more easily forgive people who don't share my beliefs because they shouldn't be held to a higher standard than people (who often) act as if salvation somehow makes them superior. We're not called to correct ANYONE else but our fellows in Jesus... and that's supposed to be done in love... not by consigning them to hell for not defending your childish behavior. M*** didn't blow up because I didn't defend God. M*** blew up because I betrayed him by not defending M***. He needs to learn the difference and swallow that massive OMG I'm the shiznit for God pride of his.

I've got a long way to go to find my own peace in this. It's bad enough I still habitually dissociate such things and stuff them in the darkest corner of my mental attic. I don't have the energy to offer them a peace I don't have. If I don't have it, I can't offer it.

And yes, I really do wish I could unleash Stephanie on them. It would make this oh so much easier... until I had to deal with the result. It's when I'm most deeply hurt or this incredibly angry that I miss The Crew the most. It would be an instant emotionally gratifying moment to consider What Would Stephanie Do rather than what my Savior would do.... and would probably inject a measure of humor I can't quite find just yet.

I'll get there. Soon, I hope. I think I'm on too many journeys at once.




Monday, January 24, 2011

If This is a Test, I'd Really Like to Pass


Received a message tonight from a couple who, up until about a year ago, were close friends of the family. I'm not going into all the details about how it started or all that occurred... but truly was neither prepared for nor even wanting to hear from them. I know I'm trying to deal with this resentment stuff... and I know putting something out of your mind isn't the same thing as dealing with it... but while I'm not exactly angry anymore, I can't honestly say the depth of the hurt has healed. I don't know if I handled it well... but can at least say I handled it honestly. Only time will tell if we can come to an amicable peace. For now, I'm not interested in friendship.

The following is the message I received:  

The last time M*** & I came to ACF I know we didn't speak and things were kind of awkward I believe on both sides. We really hated that. Anything we have said or done to hurt you we apologize for and am very sorry. As brothers and sisters in Christ we are instructed to love each other with the unconditional love of Christ. We still love you all and would love for us to be on friendly terms; if you can find it in your hearts to be so as well. We are all in this for one reason and that is to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are walking in darkness. We hope this finds you and your family doing well. We heard you got a house and are so happy for you - heating and air finally! Hope to hear from you soon. Love in Christ. M*** and S*****

My response:

I appreciate your message.
The last time you came to ACF, I am sorry if I gave the impression I was awkward or uncomfortable around you. I believe that to be friendly with someone who has made it clear you are neither worthy of them nor welcome in their lives is a form of hypocrisy and I was unwilling to behave in a hypocritical manner. For me, it was not awkward, just a sad reality.
Our love for you both has not changed. There are however things we believe differently. One of those things is that Charlie and I have been through enough in our years together to know we cannot be friends with someone capable of turning on a dime and willfully being cruel. It's understood that we are not to trust man above God, but relationship requires some degree of trust. Sadly, that's not something we are in a position to offer at this time.
For what it's worth, M*** hasn't been blocked to this or any family member's account since shortly after the last discussion. Given the fact that I was blocked then this account was used to continue to judge and speak curses to me and members of my family, I don't think it appropriate for M*** to use this account to contact me.
M*** is welcome to contact Charlie via message or phone call, but I am not comfortable continuing a conversation that should occur between the heads of households affected. If there is resolution to be found, that would be the right way to do it.
We do love and continue to pray for God's blessings in your life and hope all is well with you. Thank you for your concern and joy on our behalf.
Love in Christ to you both,
Marisa


All this is made more complicated by the fact that one of these people is the son of another close family friend. Until a couple of months ago, he knew nothing of what happened. One day, when Charlie was working on Apostle B's computer, the subject of his son came up and Charlie gave him an abbreviated explanation of events. I'm almost afraid he's been after his son to resolve it... though it would admittedly make Apostle's traditional Super Bowl party a less festive occasion if we were all to be there... his son is 50 and is more than old enough to deal with his own stuff without Dad stepping in.

Part of me hopes I'm wrong in that suspicion. It'd be nice if this came up because they honestly recognize what they did was wrong. But even if that's the case... it doesn't change my lack of interest in re-opening a door I've been content to leave closed.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hunting License

Over the years, I've written quite a lot of stories about the kids, about my childhood, about my side of the family... but not so much about Charlie's family.

There's a reason for this... most of the stories are of the variety that would make many people find them difficult, if not impossible to believe...

Like the time Daddy (Charlie Sr.) and his brother Jerry (One of the dozen or so Jerry Feathers in the family) went hunting.

Unlike most hunters I know, they didn't go to a hunt club or stake out a spot, put up a deer stand and make a big deal out of it. No... they simply drove to a liquor store, then a convenience store then into the Francis Marion National Forest, parked their car on the side of the road and waited for a deer to cross.

They were dragging their doe (a traditional no-no unless a specified "doe day") to the car when the Game Warden pulled up and got out of his truck to talk to them.
"What are y'all doin'?"
Daddy spoke without slowing his and Jerry's movement toward their car. "Trying to get this deer to the car."
"Y'all know you're supposed to have a hunting license dontcha?"
"Yessir."
"I don't suppose you guys have a hunting license?"
Still without breaking stride, Daddy said, "Yessir. Sure do."
"Would you mind if I see it?"
At this point they stopped dragging the deer, stood up and looked each other in the eye. Then Daddy turned, lifted his gun, pointed it at the Game Warden and said "It's right there in the end of this barrel. Can you see it?"
"Yeah, I see it just fine."
The Game Warden then turned, got back into his truck and left. Daddy and Jerry got the deer to the car and loaded her up.

That week, Charlie had venison jerky.

True Story.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

At a Loss

Received a message tonight from the mother of the family our favorite schizophrenic has attached to recently. She and I are planning to sit down over coffee and talk, I hope by the weekend.

What a year ago was a somewhat comical but frustrating young man has become a person in full hallucinations with an attitude toward women (all scripturally based, of course) that makes it clear he's violence waiting to happen.

I don't know what, if anything, can be done to intervene before someone gets hurt... especially my friend and her family.

Can't quite capture the feelings that come from understanding the depth to which he believes his delusions, his desperation and fear... while also understanding the damage he could do to himself or someone else if he keeps barreling down the road he's on.

He's not asking for help. He doesn't want anymore 'deceivers' in his life... but I don't know that I could live with myself if he blows and it could have been prevented.

Going to pray, go to bed and try to lay this down... Put my friends and Tim in God's hands and accept I'm powerless to change anything tonight by worrying. Maybe nothing can be done for him right now anyway... but I can be a friend to those his illness is affecting and, I hope, offer support and strength as they seek to do the right thing.



Pitter Patter

The boy kittens have been gone less than 3 hours and I already miss the tiny stampede of thumps provided by 3 sets of paws tearing around the house. Okay, so they kept me up last night. I wasn't terribly appreciative in the wee hours of the morning... but there is no doubt that Charlie and I have a particular weakness for the running sounds of little feet... webbed, padded, furry or plump with 5 pink toes and a sagging diaper between the legs. *sighs*

Charlie refused to get out of the car when we transferred ownership of 'Tater and Plymouth (they'll keep their names. yay!) earlier today. "I've said all the goodbye I can handle." So, while their new owner and I snuggled the kittens and chatted, he sat in the front seat of the car determinedly working on his puzzles. He'll pout longer than their mother, no doubt.

Autumn, the little girl, grew tired of playing with her brothers about 3 am this morning and managed to claw her way up under the covers to curl at my feet. It's astounding the amount of heat a 1 pound ball of fur can generate. After about 15 minutes, I set her back on the floor and tried again to to go to sleep. She was curled behind my knees less than 3 minutes later. I once again set her on the floor, pleaded with her Mama to cut me a break and tried again to sleep. Soon I had a fluffy heating pad curled at my stomach... and gave in. I figured if I tried putting her on the floor one more time I'd find her wrapped around my face in short order.

I've been telling Daniel, her actual owner, to take her to his room at night for a week now. She Will Sleep With Him Tonight. Adorable though she may be, I do not need extra reasons to wake in a puddle of sweat all night.

Elena and Dora will be mobile soon enough. Within weeks Elena will be crawling and Dora (already the same size as her slightly older cousin) will be able to use the walker and it will get very interesting around the Feathers house.

Already, both babies recognize Grandpa's "I'm gonna get you" growl and begin squirming in anticipation of tickling when they hear it. Reminds me so much of the days when he was able to crawl around after our toddler daughters growling "Fee-fi-fo-fum! I'm gonna get Kristen (Becka or Rachel) some!" They'd take off at a run, squealing and giggling, only to stop in a corner and dance on their tiptoes waiting for Daddy to pounce.

By the time the boys were toddlers, crawling wasn't an option for Charlie anymore... but the game continued. When Krys called me one day to tell me she'd caught herself doing the 'fee-fi-fo-fum' with Dora, it brought a sweet moment of feeling we'd passed on a tradition of sorts.

Packing is getting done. Not at the pace I'd prefer... but Krys, Steve and Becka will be spending as much of their days off as they can helping out. Between us, we can knock out most of the house. Rachel is mostly helping with the babies right now but is also taking care of her room. The boys are handling packing the passive collection of books throughout the house and their own rooms. Whatever isn't done by next Friday, when we start moving things in, will get done with help from people at church over the weekend. Yes, I've asked for help. Now I just need to specify the days I need it and deal with the decision.

The last two days, despite last night's lack of sleep, have allowed me a chance to catch up on some rest. I'm a little more confident in my body's ability to tackle what remains of my room, the kitchen, garage, etc... with Charlie and the kid's help, of course. The big stuff, will get moved over the course of next weekend and we're gathering boxes enough to have everything in the big items packed up and out of the way.

The new house has tile in the kitchen and bathrooms and wood laminate flooring everywhere else. I'm so excited about not having to deal with carpeting anymore... beyond the berber on the screened porch. We're making plans for the unfinished room.  John and Charlie want it to be their workshop area... once we get heat to the room, it will also house the bunnies and ratties... I'll admit, I'm hoping it will allow room enough for the large guinea pig cage... it would be nice to find a pair of babies to adopt in the spring.

Thank you GOD our landlady is animal tolerant! Her only concern was cat's claws on the new flooring. No problem. The only one who scratches is also the one who gets her claws clipped... and we'll do the same for her daughter if and when the need arises. I'm so excited we've not had to worry at all about sending any of the furry or, in Luna's case, feathered family members elsewhere.

Last night's news included a story about a family in Beaufort who got a visit from the Extreme Makeover team. It was nice to watch the story and not have a pang of wistfulness that they aren't coming here. Emotionally, we've let go of this house now and are enjoying the dreams and plans of a future (at least 5 years, until John graduates) in a new home that meets our needs... no demolition involved.

I should get back to the packing. It looks like I'll have to repack the books. Did I neglect to explain to the boys it is possible to fit books in a box as you would a bookcase? Good Gravy guys! It looks like they just tossed them in and popped the tops on. If I repack (or help them repack), it'll free up at lest 2 big produce type boxes for the shelves they need to tackle tonight.

Things are moving along... slowly perhaps... but they're moving. We'll get there.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

It Works Both Ways

I'm so very tired.

I also feel guilty complaining about being so tired... because seriously... so much in the last week has gone so RIGHT and with such beauty and grace, I shouldn't have any complaints at all.

Should... such a crappy, guilt-inducing word.

One of these days I'll remember that when I'm exhausted and my defenses are weak, THAT's when I need to go the extra step to offer grace to others... despite the unfairness of it never working like that in my favor. *rolls eyes*

Also trying to accept the reality that some people will always demand a level of respect and blind obedience they have not earned... some people will have double standards about apologies and accountability and no matter how emotionally gratifying it would be to never give an inch to such people, the reality is that it does me harm... it's that whole resentment thing all over again.

Seriously, if you expect me to sit quietly while you tell me how wrong I am, don't interrupt and turn it back on me when I explain how you added to the conflict. Don't tell me to be a grown-up when you refuse it yourself.

RAWR

This was not meant to be the direction of this post... but then bottling it up is what leads to episodes like this morning's... better out than in... even if I don't like the way it comes out. That's what blogging is for. I write so I don't kill people.

It's rather tempting to whine to God that it would be nice to get past this move before reminding me how much resentment still needs to go... but then, that would be like asking to remain in chains a little longer. Kinda stupid really.

But... but... *sighs* can I at least ask... wait, no... I know I can ask anything...

Can I please receive a break from military rigidity, subtle blame games and belittling assumptions until my body has had a chance to rest and recover? I will not disobey You, Father... but I might slip and suggest someone stick his head up his butt and jump.

And that would not be helpful at all.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Things To Do

Saturday Jan. 15
  • Meet Landlady, tour the house, SIGN LEASE (Speaking in faith here)
  • Call Nora and Ben, get everyone else's numbers.
  • Post to facebook (yes, that pathetic)
  • Call Momma... that'll take a little time.
  • Allow time for random flailing and squealing and release of pent up energy.
  • Start sorting out kid's rooms. Categories: Trash, Sell, Storage, Must Have.
  • Buy extra trash bags, packing tape, a birthday card for Momma and print out photos of the babies to send her.
  • Breathe
  • Re-focus kids. Use threats if necessary.
  • Breathe
  • Collapse in total exhaustion.
  • Remember that I have to get back up and finish the line-up for Sunday Worship.
Sunday Jan. 16
  • Church
  • Resist the urge to gush... don't give Apostle B reason to gently confiscate the microphone.
  • Rest
  • Resist urge to tackle everything at once
  • Re-focus kids on their rooms
  • Load bags with anything the temperamental washer and dryer object to handling.
  • Gather necessities for laundromat
  • Have a group Wii fit session... laugh at each other and brag about high scores.
  • Threaten kids with marshmallows in a slingshot when their rooms aren't done
  • Collapse in exhaustion.
Monday Jan. 17
  • Leave Charlie in charge of the kids finishing their rooms
  • Pray for their safety and sanity
  • Mail Momma's package.
  • Pile the car (and maybe krys' jeep) with laundry, head to laudromat
  • Wash, knit, dry, read, sort, fold, rinse and repeat
  • Finish kid's rooms when I get home
  • Sort the now clean items into Storage and Must Haves.
  • Send everyone off to their various electronics or books and try to exercise without an audience. 
  • Nap?
  • Place ad on Craigslist for Yard Sale on the 22nd.
  • Place ad for 'Tater and Plymouth *sniffles*sighs*
  • Hang with the grand babies.
  • Daydream about arranging a whole new home and GARDEN *glee*
  • Attempt to get mania under control and sleep
Tuesday Jan. 18
  • Gather more boxes
  • Hang with the babies
  • Putter around doing odd bits of sorting
  • Attempt to clear up the obstacle course that is the Master bedroom
  • NAP
  • Praise and Worship practice
  • Make To-Do list for the next few days
  • Don't try to think too far ahead and get freaked out.
Hopefully Wednesday will involve lots of resting and small amounts of random puttering and sorting.

That's the plan anyway...

Maybe I'll come back to the entry and strike out the completed items.

Maybe I'll delete the evidence of my grandiose plans.

Maybe I'll give myself room to do what is possible and trust the rest will still get accomplished without much violence or bloodshed or babbling in a corner huddled in the fetal position.

Yeah, that sounds about right.




Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Season of Letting Go

Our pastor has been teaching a lot in the last few weeks about expecting the unexpected. Earlier a friend posted in his status: "when you ask for God's Will to be done, expect that it won't be what you expected". So appropriate for right now in my family's life.

Oh, warning... rambling ahead.

For me, some of the unexpected is in realizing how much letting go of things there is to do. The house, my kids growing up and moving out on their own, the possibility of kids not just moving to other states for school (eventually) but knowing Rachel is planning a 2 year mission trip that could quite possibly take her to other countries. Daniel will be entering high school (at long last) in the fall... John is facing changes that will affect us all.

I'm still growing up. That's obvious.

I'm a bundle of nerves about tomorrow's walk-through and meeting our potential land lady. I'm an even bigger bundle of nerves about John's spelling Bee. You know, that silly kid didn't even tell us they were having one. He just came home crowing about taking first place for the school.

He's been having such a rough time lately. Over the winter break we had to sit him down and explain that if things didn't begin to improve, we would have to consider an inpatient treatment program. His outbursts were getting more and more violent.

Then this morning, after raising my voice at both boys for growling at me when I asked for the third time they acknowledge their alarm clocks and get out of bed... John came to me after getting dressed and apologized. "I set the alarm early because I want Daniel and I to have enough time to both take a shower and get dressed... but I stayed up too late last night and didn't want to get up this morning. That was my fault and I'm sorry. I'm going to try going to bed earlier tonight so that doesn't happen again. I'm sorry I was grouchy and rude."

Wow.

It's not the first time he's taken responsibility for his actions. Realizing he'd reached a place where Dad and I were beyond our ability and understanding seems to have made something click. He's recognizing more and more that his actions affect not just himself but others and his emotional state when upset isn't an excuse to be rude or hateful. But something about his handling of this morning left me in awe. I know adults incapable of explaining themselves and apologizing the way he did today. And he did so knowing that his behavior or admitting to his behavior didn't lessen his worth. He hugged me, I told him I was proud of him and he went off to what ended up being a really good day at school. A rarity on days when the morning starts out badly.

He's really growing up. I'd better get used to treating him like a young man rather than the baby of the family... especially considering Dad's taking him out to purchase a 1 year anniversary gift for his girlfriend. *face palm* I don't have the energy to go into that tonight.

Arugh... trying to get into the habit of writing with some regularity but having little success with coherent posts. I'm kind of a stickler for the beginning, middle and end style of writing...

There is so much going through this melon of mine... it's going to take time and practice to improve at putting it into words worth reading. There are plans and goals for this year I'd like to discuss... stories about the kid's younger years to share... manic ramblings about the process of moving to pour out... but pushing myself usually backfires... so I'll let go for now.

It's good practice.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Forest for the Trees

Usually I'm pretty good at seeing both the details of a situation and the big picture. It's something I've taken pride in over the years. Perhaps a little too much pride as it seems I've been missing the big picture for awhile now.

The pride of owning a home has been somewhat blinding. In truth, letting go of this house and ownership of it has been coming for years. Deep down Charlie and I have known this but stuffed it away and tried to ignore the truth.

I'm a little jacked up on cold remedies and not sure I can make a lot of sense... but if i listed the pros and cons... there would simply be no contest. As much as I've loved the last 10 years here, this house has become a far bigger headache than it could ever be worth... especially in the last 4 years.

The idea of a ranch-style house, all on one level is very appealing right now. Charlie feels segregated from the family when he can't make the trip down then back up the stairs. It would give his knees a break. It would be easier also for our almost 12 year old rottie, Sugar who has suffered from joint problems her whole life, thanks to the mistreatment at the hands of her original owners.

More and more homes, especially older ones like those we're looking at, have hardwood or tile throughout the common areas and carpet only in bedrooms. This would ease a lot of our allergy issues and make keeping up with animal fur far more easy and energy efficient... Anything that can reduce a few bills would be welcome right now.

This house we're praying for right now has a screened in porch... meaning Daniel can stop hating on the poor duck. It's not Luna's fault he's a poop machine. With a screened in porch, Luna will have plenty of yard and not leave his droppings right outside the back door. Plus, poultry droppings are an excellent fertilizer and this way, they'll get deposited where they'll do some good rather than the cement deck we have now.

As far as my plants... the only thing I'll have to leave behind in the magnolia. *sighs*... that's okay. The other house has trees and even has winter blooming camellias, which I've wanted for years. Everything else, can be dug up, potted and transferred without a problem.

Granted, the house isn't in our hands yet. Waiting for a call back from someone who probably won't be free to call before evening has me on pins and needles... but even if that's not the house we end up with, there are still a lot like it available.

Packing is a daunting task. Krys and Steve have offered to help. That blew me away... I'm ill-accustomed to tackling such tasks with actual assistance. Not sure I'll know how to tell them to help!

This week, I'm focusing on gathering boxes and going through my own bedroom. Next week we'll sort out the rest of the house and garage into categories: Take, Storage, Yard Sale, Trash. We'll get a storage unit next week and begin moving things there.

I'm hoping weather will permit yard sales on the 22 and 29th of January. I'll post to Freecycle that anything left in the driveway after 4pm January 29 is free for the taking.

Krys and Steve have Jeeps and we can borrow Jerry's truck again if need be for moving things and trips to the dump.

I look around at the clutter of this house... at my haphazard "art wall" above the headboard, the doorway where we've measured 10 years worth of kid's growth, the permanent marker scribbles outside my bathroom door drawn by a 3 year-old John, the hundreds and hundreds of books (harder even than craft materials to let go), yarn and various incarnations of wool everywhere...

It's going to be a big job.

If I let it, it can be cathartic and cleansing.

I don't know where we're going yet... but I do know we'll get there.

If I can put together a plan and lists to go along with it, I can get through this with a minimum of twitching and confusion. Really... I can do it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Resentment

Rachel and I watched Carrie Fisher's one woman show the other night. Hers is an interesting story of growing up in show business with all the dysfunction that goes with it. Near the end of the show, Ms. Fisher said "Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to drop dead."

Man.

I've recently had occasion to remind a couple of people of the wisdom in that statement but as per usual, the fact that it's stuck in my head is because I need to remember it.

Yesterday, Becka had a comment exchange with a friend whose family has been helping out a certain vagrant schizophrenic. (For the less caustic version, go here)Turns out, a year later, nothing has changed apart from our family being the only one to allow him quarter for more than a day or two.

When I heard about yesterday's incident, my first reaction was schadenfreude. I can't seem to help getting a little bit of enjoyment out of hearing of his continued struggles to bring the rest of the world into his delusional world. Okay, that's not totally true... depending on the day, I get a lot of enjoyment from it. When Krys told me last week of running into him and asking if God was still watching, I didn't even try to disguise my laughter.

A year later, it still bothers me that he had such a negative influence on an impressionable John. It bothers me that he speaks of us, the ones who sheltered him for 3 weeks, as the worst family he knows. It doesn't bother me that he says we're crazy... we had 11 people in the house at that time, several of whom needed ministry. It was a madhouse. Besides, a little crazy is what keeps us together and loving one another. It does bother me that he complains that we were too loud for his delicate sensibilities. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

It bothers me that he felt the need to come to me and complain that my pregnant daughter didn't want to get with him and ask what I thought he should do to win her over. I'm bothered he didn't accept the advice to leave her alone. It bothers me that he's gone from church to church (starting with the one we attend) and pushed the leadership to the point that he's been arrested a couple of times. It bothers me that he's outright said such things glorify him to God because he's withstanding persecution in His name. It bothers me that he's a flaming example of why a lot of people hate Christians. It bothers me that he showed up for the dedication of the first working baptistry in our church's 23 year history and disrupted the event screaming at the pastor in the hallway moments before the service began. It flat out makes me angry that sleeping in the cold hasn't humbled him enough to stop manipulating people with "I came to you because you're the only one who's been nice to me."

These and several other things bother me to the point of distraction.

They shouldn't.

I'd rather feel compelled to pray for his restoration and healing when I hear stories of his continued adventures rather than a spiteful sense of glee that he's still wearing out welcome after welcome.

I'd rather think of him with grace and a genuine (meaning I feel it too) hope that he finds true help and becomes the man God really wants him to be. I'd rather see him as God does... as the person he could be, rather than the walking cluster he is now. I'd rather feel a sense of love rather than an aloof sense of choosing love out of obligation where he's concerned. I'd like to believe that if something truly bad were to happen I'd feel sorrow... and right now, I don't think I would.

That really bothers me.

It's not who I want to be.

1 Corinthians 13 is what is commonly called the "Love Chapter".

The Greatest Gift
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.


I truly believe those words. With every fiber of my being do I believe them... especially the highlighted verses. It's how Charlie and I have tried to live our lives... and the degree of "neener neener" that comes up when I think of Tim serves to remind me how easy it is to fall short of that standard.

Limits and boundaries, yes, of course those are needed... but lack of love should never be the issue.

I'm not going to make excuses about being human. Of course I am and of course it's natural for me to have ill feelings toward someone who has hurt or offended me... and when it comes down to it, my feelings (and pride... let's not forget that) were hurt when our gift of love and acceptance was spit upon and did not create the healing transformation for which we'd hoped. I felt a failure when we couldn't withstand his crap and had to take the measure of kicking him out. He broke our perfect streak! (freaking pride...)

Yes, I'm human... and honest enough to know I can be one nasty person when offended.

But I don't want to carry that crap around with me. If I can let go of stuff that's decades old, I should be able to set down the more recent stuff too. It hasn't been around long enough to build up a lot of extra crap to weigh it down and make it stickier. (nice mental image there, Marisa) It's hard to dance in a suit of garbage... and it has a tendency to fly off and stick to anyone close by.

Not that I'm saying Tim is crap. Under the illness is a sensitive kid who could be a wonderful man of God with a little maturity and healing.

But resentment is crap. There are far better emotions and actions on which to spend my energy.

I can't keep word of Tim's latest antics from finding their way to me... but I can consciously choose not to get wound up in it.

I'd rather dance through life without the crappy outer shell, thank you.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

News

I didn't want to post this openly to Facebook just yet...


We were served today with papers letting us know the house has been foreclosed on and we need to move.

We have 30 days to move (which won't be a problem, we have places to go) or find a way to stop the proceedings. We're going to fight.

This has been coming for 6 years. Ever since Charlie made the decision to trust a business partner rather than become a fulltime employee of Mearsk. We've been paying for the decision ever since.

I don't know what the next month will bring... but I know we'll be okay.

I just pray we get to be okay in this house... or at least in a home that won't involve moving the kids from their schools... not in Rachel's senior year and not when John has a support system in his current school.

If you pray, please do so... and keep us in your thoughts.