Working with Angels

I remember once, at a group home where I used to work, celebrating the fact that a client actually used the toilet instead of her chair. The next time wasn’t quite as spectacular, but there for a minute, we were All-Stars. 

When I went off to work I jokingly (or not) told my hubby that it was a good day if I didn’t get poop actually ON me. That night, I told of the amazing feat of my lady actually using the bathroom facilities for a change. I knew he wanted to support me, but his face had kind of a blank look whenever I shared this kind of news. Fair enough. I didn’t fully appreciate the goings-on at his place of employment, but I was glad to see him happy. Probably the same way he does me. 

Sometimes when I’ve had a client with me out in the community, people have said something like “It takes a special kind of person to do that kind of work.” I appreciate it. I guess it does take a special something to do this work, but no more special than any other job that requires a lot of emotional weight-lifting, along with the usual physical manipulations of assisting an up-to 250 lb. infant/toddler go through their daily activities…

I mean, everything that an infant or toddler relies on their parents for, our clients depend on us to do for and with them. There’s kind of an inside joke among myself and my co-workers, that the bosses get us to start working there for super low pay, knowing that we’ll fall in love with our charges and basically put up with (no pay increases ever) any Managerial shenanigans so that we can be sure the clients are getting cared for by people who genuinely care about them. It’s the Hotel California trick. 

When we moved across the country last year, I was of course really sad that my older boy wasn’t coming with us, I still am every day. But he assured me that he  was a Big Boy and didn’t need me anymore.  So I gave him the benefit of the doubt,  and we moved. 

But deep inside of me, where I hadn’t even realized they were hiding, were my feelings about leaving behind “my” (non-verbal) little client. I really love working with the individuals who don’t speak. Possibly because of my personal experience in having to read body language as a child, and also because I know that they are the most vulnerable of any people group. 

The lady I had been working with before we moved was just as close to being an actual angel as I’ve ever seen. It’s not that she was beautiful by society’s standards, but her spirit shone through. When she was happy, her entire body shook with joy. And she was happy a lot when I was there. She loved going to church with me and her roommate, and the people at church fell in love with her, too.

Some of the other staff at the group home would get irritated with me because when she saw me come in, the world stopped and she did her kind of lurching goose-step over to me and hugged me fiercely. She watched for me to arrive, and would have hugged me all day if I would have let her. It was really nice. Like having a daughter, I suppose.

But then we had to move. Leaving that  sweet little girl behind was more difficult than I’d expected. Times when I’ve been home-sick, her smiling face has always come to mind. 

I know she is ok. The staff there are very compassionate and capable of caring for her, complicated medical issues and all. But I’ll probably never forget her, and I can’t wait to see her in her perfect new body in Heaven…

I was back home briefly over the summer, and the first thought  was to go see my special friend. Then I thought it through. And decided it would be selfish as hell for me to stop by & then leave again. So I didn’t go by the house where she lives. 

I know for sure that the rewards of this field of work are monetarily minimal. But the intangible rewards can make it surprisingly easy. I’m amazed when I think of the trust I’m given, when caring for my clients. Whether it’s pushing a wheelchair, coloring a craft, changing their pants/diapers for the umpteenth time or going through the “feelings” flash cards again, it is a privilege. 

Just another phenomenal blessing of sobriety. 

“And for that, I am responsible.”

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12 Steps & Christianity

​Are the 12 steps for a Christian? 

Can they be used in a Christ like manner to bring us to a closer walk with Him? I say yes…the steps are Biblical in nature and this is how I view them as a Christian. 

1. I am a sinner. My life is broken and chaotic.  

2. Jesus I believe (trust in, rely on, adhere to) the fact that you can restore me to right thinking, action, speech, and relieve me from self destruction. 

3. Jesus I turn my will and my life over to You. 

4. I look to the past mistakes (sins) I look to the past victories and assess them all. 

5. I share with God, myself and a trusted individual those things of my past. I confess and bring them to the light of exposure in humility. 

6. I become ready to have God remove these defects of character. This sin nature. 

7. I become willing to allow Him to remove my shortcomings. Those things that don’t glorify Him. We all fall short yet in Him by His grace they can be removed. 

8. We make a list of those we have harmed and become willing to make amends. Sometimes it is just by the change that He produces that we becoming a living testimony, a blessing a true amends to family and friends whom or sins or shortcomings have affected. Also there might be financial amends but we should not let that hinder us from taking this step which releases us and mends our fears of the past. 

9. We begin to work with Him on the amends and the healing process. This takes time, prayer and humility. 

10. Daily we take into account our actions and reactions, if we fall short we promptly admit it. Honesty open-mindedness and willingness is a key to unlock this step. We don’t always have to be right we should be willing to admit our faults. This will free us from sliding down the wrong road. 

11. We pray, we continue to search His will for us through the meditation of His Word, and we seek the power of the Holy Spirit to carry His will out in our day to day life. 

12. Having been set free or a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps we carry this message and practice these principles in all our affairs. We walk the walk not just talk the talk. Spiritual progress.  

I’m definitely not a person who holds perfect adherence to these principles yet they to me are filled with Spirit and Truth and if worked in order continually can produce right relationship, right standing, or in biblical terms righteousness with Christ Who is our Righteousness. But that’s all contingent upon our spiritual maintenance. If this helps someone praise God. Be blessed and be a blessing.

I didn’t know what I didn’t know

My Dad told me that getting sober is about growing up. One of the first things that I can remember becoming clear to me in those early days was that I didn’t know everything. The next step seems to have been realizing that it wasn’t important for me to be RIGHT. That’s been an on going lesson. 

When I became a Mother, I knew that I had no idea how to care for my child. I’d worked at Day Cares, and even become a certified Nanny at one point, but in the position I found myself when I became a parent,  I realized that I was pretty much clueless. I knew how to put on a diaper, sure, but there was so much more about which I had no idea. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Now, almost 24 years later, I am convinced that I have no clue. By the grace of God my boys have turned out as healthy as they are. 

When I began working the steps with my Sponsor, I was apprehensive, having heard lots of those who’d come to the rooms before me talking about their struggles. Of course, I hadn’t begun my Stepwork, so I thought those people were a bunch of cry-babies. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. But I soon found out. 

When I was still calling the shots in my life, in Party Girl mode, I was always looking for something new. Something exciting. For a long time, the chemicals were enough to bring me to new and exciting lands (if only hallucinatory). After a while that wasn’t enough, so I chose more exciting places and more dangerous people with whom to run around. I suppose it was the adrenaline rush along with whatever drugs I used that made for an acceptable escape from the mundane and the depression that was a constant companion. I knew how to create distractions for myself, even if they were increasingly perilous. I was untouchable. 

I didn’t know what I didn’t know. 

Of course one can only live in that level of (drama) for so long before it starts to catch up with them. I don’t recall anyone talking to me about my drinking or using, but I suspect that’s just because I’d decided that wasn’t going to hear it.  More than likely, there were at least a couple of times that folks cared enough to try to get through my hard head. But I was skating along with relative ease, at the time. I refused to see the place that this lifestyle was taking me. I suspect that much of my cavalier attitude regarding the impending crash-and-burn was due to my complete lack of self-worth and my confidence that the hell I was living in was unavoidable.  I didn’t know what I didn’t know. 

I’ve been unable to avoid the political sh*t-storm in recent weeks, try as I have. This post was prompted by learning the truth about a situation that had been sold as a seriously unfathomable act by a candidate. The original information wasn’t (clearly) reported as having been (spun) by their adversary, so I took it as the truth. It was pretty outrageous. I thought this person was as big a scumbag as I’d already decided that their opponent was. Then I stumbled across the truth. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
It’s my own fault. I’m too comfortable hearing about unethical behavior to actually look into it, to find the truth. Laziness, I guess. But as the Day of Reckoning draws nearer, I’ve begun to concede that I ought to gather some information before I go pull a lever. I lot of times in the past I’ve been able to just watch for my associates (politically in-the-know people) to summarize the facts, and go from that. But this time it’s just not that easy. I’m beginning to know what I don’t know. Once you know a thing, you cannot unknow it. As much as I prefer to be ignorant about the goings-on of the “powers that be”, I’m coming to believe that not only is ignorance NOT bliss (crazy, right?), but that ignorance in these matters may give me something else to answer for in the Grand Scheme of things. And that list is already WAY TOO long for my liking. 

Let’s get busy and learn about the people who are vying for control of our great country. Four years in the hands of an idiot has proven to be more costly than we the people can afford. 

July 25th

​July 25, 2016

16 years ago today…

…my youngest child came screaming into the world. Oh, wait, maybe it was ME that was screaming. At any rate, my baby is 16 today. So many things have happened in 16 years. When he was born we were living in the Florida panhandle, loving the life, with a pier behind our place for fishing. Then we moved back to Indiana, where E has remained for most of his life. There were several moves while in Indiana, for financial reasons, mostly. The last place we lived was a small town about halfway between Columbus, IN and Indy. I think it has 2 stop lights. 

Then last year we moved across the country to the place we currently reside. I suppose it’s easy to forget how difficult the teen years are, because our brain is able to “forget” extremely difficult periods. At least mine is. I know that when I was 15, I had just begun to investigate what would be the “solution” for what ailed me: alcohol and drugs.  There wasn’t much talk, back then, at least where we were, about eating disorders and depression in teenagers, so it’s understandable that nothing much was done. I presented as a teen full of angst, I’m sure, moody as hell, and unhappy with the world. Dad diagnosed me with the “poor me’s” which is likely what he heard growing up. Maybe my attitude problem was an actual illness, that could be addressed and gotten past. But nobody thought that way, then, and there. 

I’ve told my son that as miserable as he may be, he ought to try to imagine feeling like that every day instead of occasionally, and without any medication to regulate his brain chemistry. I’m sure if I lived today as a teenager, as much publicity as self-harm and suicide get, I’d be right on that bandwagon.  What better way to lash out at uninterested parents, or worse (and usually the case), to try to release some of the emotional pain growing inside? 

I’m told that one of the things that causes people to self-harm is the way that the chemicals in the brain respond to pain, with endorphins or dopamine, or whichever of those feel-good chemicals. That makes sense. Internal, or external, we’re going to find some way to escape the pain.
So, moving to a new place at 15 years old, might not be a big deal for a well-adjusted, emotionally stable (is there such a thing, at 15??) kid. Considering the things that life has handed him, I think my boy has adjusted as well as anyone else in his circumstances would.  

Moving at this time was one of those “jump and know that God will catch me” things. I’m not gonna say that I don’t think we were supposed to move here, as hard as it has been. I mean, really, things are tough all over, right? My husband and I believe that God allowed this move, if not willed it. And before we moved, I specifically asked the boy if he was ok with it. He said yes (3 months of summer break was a motivator). If we’d have known then what we know now, I’m not sure any of us would have agreed, but move we did, and getting settled, we are. 

So, my boy is celebrating his 16th birthday with his big brother, back in Indiana. I know that’s probably the best gift he could have received, as much as he loves his Bubby. 
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Update: My boy came back home, and I, for one, was READY for him to be back. It was nice having the place to ourselves, but much nicer having him here. At HOME. 

I’m glad E got to hang out with his brother, and one of my best friends, and my Mom…I know he had been “homesick”, and really looked forward to the trip. But I’m also pretty sure that his dreams of how a visit “back home” would be, weren’t too close to how things actually went. 

So, now, I have a 16-year-old again. I wish things had been different when my elder son (B) was 16. I was an emotional trainwreck,  then, and it seemed best for B to go stay with my mother for a time. The continual fighting between the two boys was like plunging a knife deep into the back of someone who’d already been beaten to a pulp. It tore my heart out, and I just didn’t know what else to do.  I have deep regrets about that period of time. I know I did my best, but my best at the time seems to have been pretty poor. 

In spite of me being such a mess, B has grown up to be a tremendously sensitive, insightful, and compassionate individual. He lives with some of the same inner dragons as I do, and I see him working it out. I’m proud of the man he is becoming. And I pray for him.

My younger son is a Highly Sensitive Person, and by that I mean he feels things more intensely, (including textures) and even his hearing is much better than most.  He is thoughtful and caring and smart to the extent that it’s a handicap. E is the guy that his friends come to when they need a shoulder to cry on. High School is super challenging, as it is for everyone, but I know he will find the strength to rise above the difficulties. And I pray for him. 

I thank God for each of my children, every day. And I pray that He will lead and guide them as they continue to find their way in the world. 

UPDATED Update:

Since I haven’t gotten this posted yet, I want to add some more…

In spite of everything else, this school year looks to be better than last year for E. He’s finding his people, and involved in something that he loves. I’ve changed jobs recently, from one that I loved my co-workers but couldn’t live on the money, to a place where I’m not sure about the co-workers (not that it matters) but eventually we will catch up on the bills and be able to LIVE again.  And it’s the same kind of work that I was doing at the last place. I know how to do it. It’s caring for people that seemingly no one else cares to, or wants to care for. To be fair, it’s not something everyone CAN do, I guess. 

But, here we are. I’m growing fond of our new home. My son appears to be less unhappy here, and my husband enjoys his work, and also he’s making progress in the corporate ladder-climbing thing. So, I’ve been slacking on my writing, and I thought I’d get this up while I’m thinking of it.

Happy Fall, Y’all!

Religion vs. Spirituality

pexels-photo-1245066Like a lot of folks, ​I remember being beat up and put down, physically, emotionally, and spiritually for such a very long time. Some of my misery came from my own poor choices, to be sure, but a lot of it was a response to trauma and/or mental illness.

Regardless the causes, the blackness where my spirit had been eventually became too much for me to bear. No amount of self-medicating was enough to relieve the pain. So I began investigating options.

I found my way to a place where they said they wanted to care for and help me. They told me about a Savior who loved me, and then they shamed me for having scrapes and bruises. Their words and actions told me that my wounds were my own fault: I’d not sought God enough, I’d not suffered enough, I hadn’t conformed enough for them to give me the love I so desperately needed…so I changed my hair, my clothes, my makeup, prayed more, I cried more, and I did my best to be who they seemed to want me to be.

None of that was enough for the people I met there, who claimed to represent HIM. And I didn’t know any better than to believe them.

I left there more wretched than I’d arrived. I left with no hope, where at least when I had arrived, I had a glimmer of hope. I went to other places where “God-loving” people congregated. The results were the same.

Having once had an ENCOUNTER with the Spirit of God (and the feeling of complete love and acceptance in SPITE of my sins), I knew that the problem here wasn’t HIM. But these folks were seriously doing me more harm than good, so I had to go.

I went back to the gutter where I’d crawled out from, back to the mire. This slow death was familiar; at least there was no false hope. Nothing to cause me to think that life could be better, and simultaneously rip out what little there was left of my heart and soul.

This is the story of a sick and dying person who sought help from pious, uncaring  religious people.

The street life sent me seeking the safety of a loving God. Churchianity sent me back to the streets. At least I knew what to expect, there, and was familiar with what came next.

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Once mental illness, addiction and spiritual bankruptcy had adequately broken me, (or more to the point, I found a REASON to live that was greater than what I’d ever had before) I started looking for a spiritual solution. Again.

Thankfully, I was allowed to observe someone I’d admired, as he began to climb up out of a similar place of pain and misery. He had tried to find answers in traditional religion, as well. But, like me, he had come out of the church seeking for MORE.

I mean, when you think of God, at least in America, don’t you usually first think “church”?

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Anyway, I found that when I began to earnestly seek to know Who God really is, He showed Himself to me. I bought a new Bible, w/o the highlighting that someone else had influenced. I looked for the FULL picture of God’s personality. Is He angry? Not usually. Does He want to discipline his children? No, actually. He goes to GREAT lengths to keep from having to do so.

A thing that I learned about God is that our idea of Him is MASSIVELY affected by our relationship  (or lack) with our earthly dad. It was a turning point for me when I looked at God and purposely did not impose my ideas of human men onto Him.

Today I am still learning and growing. I know for a fact that God loves me and is on my side. Like a strongwilled child, sometimes I may rage on, wanting MY WAY. He lets me rage. He loves me too much to let me have my way, a lot of the time. When I am finally exhausted from struggling, He holds me and gives me good things.

Firstly, seek Him. Learn about Jesus. Dont put too much stock into what most folks tell you. People will always let us down. He NEVER has, and NEVER shall.

God didn’t send His son to condemn the world, but that through (Jesus) the world might be saved.