Monday, January 24, 2011

Life Sucks.

Life sucks. Some days. Not every day. But there are moments when, even though things have gone pretty good all day long, melancholy sets in and life--for a few minutes, anyway--sucks.

So what do you do when you look around and are satisfied with absolutely nothing? And I mean, Nuh-theeeeng. Zero. Zip. Nada. Your husband is busy doing his own thing. Your child is playing by himself, when he should have that always-present playmate. The dog is having trouble deciding whether she wants to be outside or inside. Some projects are completed. (And though there is satisfaction in the completion, there is also a let down of activity.) People griping about stuff over which you have no control. Laundry is piling up. Bedroom is a mess. Bathrooms are dirty. And absolutely NOTHING seems right in the world, let alone in life!

Hey, even the most optimistic people have their down moments. The realists have them even more. And those pessimists? Good is about as elusive as a snow ball in Miami. And since I consider myself an optimistic realist, I do have a few down times. More so in the last several months. The blues are gettin' sung a lot more in my mind. Unfortunately.

So what do I do? Really. I have no real answers here. I have my faith. I have an awesome support system. Wonderful family and friends. But sometimes, in moments, it seems that absolutely nothing will help. It seems, in those moments, that despair and melancholy are now a permanent and increasingly present fixture in my life. And I do NOT like it! I don't like feeling sad. I don't like feeling blue. I don't like crying. This is not like me!

I can't stand it when people are continually complaining about their life. The kind of day they are having. Their kids. Their husband. I can't stand it! I want to scream at them, "Appreciate what you have! This may be the last day you'll have to spend with your child!" I have never liked hearing those constant complainers. And now, I fear, I am becoming one. Oh, the agony of becoming someone you don't like!

I'm not going to ask what else could go wrong. I know there are many, many things that could go wrong. I always cringe when someone asks that. Life has taught me--through observation and experience--that there are countless things that could still go wrong. And if you are wondering that when you experience small and inconsequential trials, what on earth will you be thinking when major trials come your way? I assure you that things can DEFINITELY get worse.

I guess really, if I'm honest with myself, I can admit that I'm having a pity party and didn't bother to invite anyone else. But, I don't like parties of one! I like it when I'm surrounded by friends. Good times. Laughter. Love. But when I am feeling blue, down, sad, depressed... I don't want anyone else with me. And I don't like it and I don't know what to do about it.

Please don't tell me to pray about it. Read my Bible more. Go to church more. Fellowship more. Really? I do those things faithfully. I don't want your pity or your sympathy. I don't want pat answers. I don't want you to tell me I need counseling or drugs (though honestly, drugs sound really tempting at times!). Actually, I don't really know what I want. Well, yes, I do. I want to be able to re-wind and live December 17, 2005 - May 24, 2010 over and over and over and over and over again. Until I can be with ALL of my family again, I'm afraid there will be many days when I will think, "Life sucks."

Life is Like Baking a Cake

I've said this before, and I'll say it again: Life is like baking a cake. Baking cakes requires exact measurements and procedures. Cookies and brownies are much more forgiving. But cakes? The recipe writer knows what she's doing. She put together the best to get the best. Follow her advice.

The best cakes include the best ingredients. Good cake flour, premium butter and oils, grade A milk and eggs, pure vanilla extract, and sugar. These are the things you have control over. Your choices and decisions. Your education. Your friends. Your lifestyle choices. The better you choose with these, the better your life will be. Choose less than the best and you'll still have a pretty good cake, but it might not turn out exactly right.

We are given talents and intelligence (some of us more than others!) and choices. Depending on how we handle these will determine how good our lives will turn out. We may still experience some measure of success, but if we don't make the best choices, our lives will not turn out exactly right. Exactly as God intended. He makes the best available, but if we choose something different, things won't turn out right. Did you know that there really is a difference between good flour and cheap flour? It determines the texture and lightness of the cake. Choose an inferior flour and your cake won't rise. Choose an inferior lifestyle, and YOU won't rise. Choose the best and you'll be your best.

Then there are those things over which we have little or no control. With baking; things like humidity, faulty appliances, and interruptions. With life; things like death, job loss, sickness. You can't really control these things, but you can make adjustments to accommodate them. The more knowledgeable about these possibilities and the better prepared you are for them, the more likely you'll be to overcome these little obstacles. If you aren't prepared, again the cake may be pretty good, but it won't turn out exactly right.

When hard times come--and they WILL come--it is best if you are prepared. Our preparedness makes getting over the obstacles of life much easier. If we think hard times won't come our way, we won't be prepared. And we will fail. If your oven bakes at a lower temperature, and you know that it does, you can make accommodations for your cake. If not, your cake will not be done and may be inedible. Yuck! Have you ever seen an underdone cake? It falls flat and turns dull and mushy. If the cake is over cooked, it is hard and may taste burnt. Like life, be ready to make adjustments. If adjustments aren't made, life may look, feel, and taste bad.

Then there's the recipe. It tells what all is needed and how to put all the ingredients together to get your best product. There is a recipe for life. It's called the Bible. It's not hard to read. It just takes time. And like a recipe, you need to read the entire thing through or you may miss something important. If you read the recipe and follow it, you'll get a great cake. If you read the Bible and follow it, your life will be exactly how it was intended.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Perspective

The writer of the letter was tired of people telling her to "get over" her daughter's death. Here is...

My Perspective

Just in case you are wondering when she will make her appearance, the "old" Dana is never coming back. She is no longer here. She died along with Jacob.

Losing Jacob has changed me forever. I will never be the same person that I was. I will never view things, situations, or people the way that I did before. And this may surprise you... I don't even WANT to be that Dana. And the loss is so completely profound that I could not be the same even if I DID want to be.

I can't "get on with my life." My life has been inexorably altered. Jacob's birth was life-changing. His life and battle with pulmonary hypertension were part of the everyday fabric of my life. How could his death be anything less than catastrophic? I will never "get over it," but I am learning to live with the pain and the loss.

Do not try to think that you understand. You don't. Do not try to tell me how I should cope. You have no idea. Do not try to tell me what I should or shouldn't do. I am doing exactly what I need to do. If you want to know how to help, let me heal the way I need to heal. Listen to me talk or sit there while I say nothing. Allow me to talk about Jacob, but don't push me on things I don't want to tell you. You may not like what I say if pushed too far.

Accept me for who I am now and who I will be, but don't expect the "old" Dana to ever come back. She, like Jacob, is gone. If you have the chance to see me in heaven, with my entire family reunited, then you can expect to see a different Dana. But she, too, will be different than any Dana you've ever experienced.