Spiritual Flesh and Blood 8

(A continuation of a story. If you want to start at the beginning, scroll to Spiritual Flesh and Blood 1)

My father’s sermons were not personal for me or my brother or my sister.  We were strangers that lived in his house.  I remember sitting in the pew and hearing my father talk week after week about a loving God.  I remember thinking that my father was a different man, there behind the pulpit.  It was the only time I saw him smile.  He knew the answers and he knew a relationship with God.

His personal demons could not reach his heart, they could only influence his life.  So, their agreement was that they would sit outside the church while he preached and then they returned to his shoulders as he walked out the door.

Wayne was different.  Evil won battle after battle since he was conceived.  Wayne grew up and changed from that plump-faced quiet child who longed for a childhood.  He couldn’t change them, so he joined them.  He accepted the money and the attention and the praise of the world.  He walked through this world blind, always being told how good he was, and he came to believe the empty lies.  But God does not care what the world thinks.  Darkness was upon the face of Wayne.  His life was without purpose and it was void.  Then the Spirit of God moved in the heavens.

The world did not know that when he was born, the angels and demons gathered.  Angel victory stepped forward and shouted, “Proclaim this among the nations:  Prepare for war!  Rouse the warriors!  We are about to conquer this human life for good!

Demon Defeat had won so many battles in this young life but Defeat would soon receive a massive blow that would change the tides of the war on Wayne’s life.  A camel as about to walk through the eye of a needle.  

To be continued…

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Naked People in Heaven

Instant bad mood.  I search around for my screaming phone on the floor under my bed.  The damn alarm clock continues to scream at the top of its lungs.  Slowly gaining control of my sleeping body, I step out of bed, pick up my phone and turn off the alarm.  The pain of waking up.  In heaven, I will roll over and enjoy the waking up process just as much as snuggling into bed and drifting off to sleep.  (That is if we sleep in heaven.)

My world runs about me in fast forward.  Honking impatiently at the slow moving car, spending what we don’t have for the newest item that hits the shelves, driving around our children to some place other than home.  Why do I join the insanity of the crowd?  I do believe in busying oneself with hard work, but that is not what is happening here.  We are all consumed with what does not matter.

Now.  What we want is now.  The admiring stares of those we don’t know.  Now.  The praise of what drives us around.  Now.  Winners of the race.  Packed pantries to overflowing.  Fashonable jewelry on our bodies and extra in the closet.  Fancy modern restaurants.  Everything that our neighbors have.  Our neighbors that we want to be like, not the ones outside of our neighborhood.

But all we think about is now and we laugh at anyone that suggests otherwise.

Ted Turner is famous for a lot of things, one of them is stating what is on his mind.  Hey, I can respect that.  He likes to chose his words so that other people listen.  He doesn’t just fit into the crowd.  I respect that also.  But I wish that someone would tell him, and a whole lot of the rest of the world, that they are on the wrong train.  When Turner quoted, “I’d rather go to hell.  Heaven has got to be boring.”  I wish someone would have asked him, “What do you want most in life?”….”It will be in heaven.”

Heaven is better than being a billionaire.  There is money to spare, Hey, let’s pave these streets with gold.  Heaven is better than pornography!  THERE WILL BE PERFECT BODIES WALKING AROUND NAKED!  And it will be a good thing!  No one will be embarrassed!  (There will be no sin in heaven.  Pornography is a destructive, cruel sin.  The point is, naked bodies will be good….and everywhere.)  Heaven is better than Hawaii.  All the food will be paid in full!  Heaven is better than Christmas!  That baby Jesus, he will be with us!  It doesn’t sound boring to me!

And what will not be in heaven?  Babies without mommies.  Wheelchairs won’t be needed in heaven, or medicine, or hospitals.  There will not be divorce, no one’s heart will be broken.  What have you been through?  What hurts?  What tugs at your heart and makes you cry out, “That is not right!”  God will end it.  He will make all the wrongs undone and he will wipe away that tear.

“Jesus’ miracles are not just a challenge to our minds, but a promise to our hearts, that the world we want is coming.”  Tim Keller.

So, look at this world.  Read the Bible.  Take a look at what is good in this world.  LORD, FIX MY PRIORITIES!  SET MY MIND ON THINGS ETERNAL!  Get ready.  It is going to be the best party of all of eternity.  Don’t throw away your invitation.

Oh, I Am So Sorry. Please Excuse My Oh So Messed Up Body

This article was published in my book, Beautiful Life with Cancer, Hope During the Hard Times in December 2014.

As I lay down in my bed, I am out.  I almost always hit the pillow and it takes me about three minutes and I am asleep.  Often times, parents of little babies and young children teach them bedtime by setting a routine.  Baby gets a bath, read to them, sing one song, and hugs and kisses.  Well, (you can call me weird but I already know that) but I believe I have done this with myself.  Ofcourse I have the getting ready process.  I will spare you that.  It is not as simple and soothing as the baby’s routine.  But I hit the pillow and I start running a list through my head.  My two most popular lists:  1.  What are the decoration changes that I want to make to my house?  2.  What would I change about myself?  Fifteen.  No fourteen.  There are fourteen things I would change.

1. I wish my hair was a little thicker.  2.  No contacts.  Perfect vision would be nice.  3.  No scars around my neck.  4.  No itchy back.  That is right.  No itchy back.  See…I am the lucky one million billion that has a rare condition within a rare condition of MEN2A in which my body deposits protein on the top of my back.  It drives me insane!  It itches all the time.  All the time!  Almost daily, I scratch it until it bleeds.  I have done this since I was a baby.  I wish I did not have that.  5.  Stronger arms.  I work on it.  I do.  I go to the gym when I can and lift weights or as of now, or recently, I have been trying Yoga.  But I’ve been a little weak lately so I don’t push it by going to the gym.  So, I wish I wash’t sick. Wish I could go to the gym.  And wish I had stronger arms.  6.  No scars on my stomach.  7.  No stretch marks.  Nah.  I look at those and wish they weren’t there and then I remember why I have them.  Actually, call me crazy, I’ll keep those.  Worth the memory.  So, 7.  Thinner legs.  (Reinsert gym explanation here and add to it that I do not eat sugar.  Ok.  Yes, I do eat fruit.  And yes, I know that carbs turn to sugar in my body.  Restate that.  I do not eat desserts.  Why?  There is one reason to eat desserts:  They taste good.  There are four reasons not to:  sugar makes me gain weight, not good for my teeth, makes me, and everyone, sick more often by weakening my immune system, and lowers my energy.  Yes, that was absolutely too much to say within parenthesis.)  8.  Perfect teeth.  I hope you think my teeth look perfect, but the front two have crowns from chipping them on the swimming pool.  9.  No veins on my legs.  10.  Better singing voice.  (If I could insert a clip of me singing here, you would agree.)  11.  No scar on the back of my leg.  13.  No Addison’s Disease.  14.  No cancer.

There is my list.  Sure.  Everybody has a list.  But I do try to be really content with my body, but these are the things that I hate.  I really do hate.  And about 12 out of 14, at least, are here for life.  Nothing I can do about it.  About half of these nobody sees.  And the other half, I try to hide most of the time.  Prime example:  You will not find me in any singing group or trying out for American Idol.  But, I go to buy life insurance, and I can’t.  I go to the doctor for allergies and I have to continue my medication list on the back because it won’t all fit in the lines provided, and then the doctor wants to send me for scans and tests and chat extra long because of my history, but excuse me doctor, I have a sinus infection.  But they don’t want to give me anything for that.  And then I go to pick up Prednisone at the pharmacy for the one hundredth time in a row and the pharmacist feels the need to tell me that I shouldn’t take so much because of the side effects.  Thank you, I know them well.  But the alternative isn’t so good.  It’s death.  And then I read an article in the newspaper in the medical section from a doctor that says no one can survive with both their adrenal glands removed.  Well, he should do some research, or I should introduce myself because I am going on ten years now.

I try to find light in my rare condition.  It is a little neat when the student intern at Duke is so excited over meeting me and reviewing my case that he can not hide his excited giddiness.  It is kinda cool to be able to carry on a medical conversation, using all the right jargon, with friends that are doctors and surgeons, but If I got to pick, I would choose a different claim to fame.  What can I really do with, “a really extremely rare form of MEN2A” and always being the exception even within the rules of the disease?  Pretty cool to be the exception in the medical handbook or the specialists’ conference?  Ehh.

Well, I am asleep by now and I never go through the explanations with myself while I am laying in bed.  But if I didn’t have that, I’d be pretty pleased with myself.  If I didn’t have all of that, it’d be great to sit up in the morning and be able to see what’s going on without popping in those contacts.  And I’d probably join some band, just for the fun of it.  And I’d sing to more people than just my seven year old.  And my husband.  And my sisters.  And anyone else I get comfortable with.  And anyone else who is around after I’ve had a drink or two.  And I’d wear skirts, not just in the summer time when I’m outside, but also when it is a little chilly outside in the Fall to show off my legs.  And I would be in and out of the doctor’s office with my sinus infection medicine.  And I wouldn’t always scratch my damn back.  And who knows?  Maybe I would be a whole lot less content.  And maybe I would have less joy.  And maybe I wouldn’t appreciate my family and the days that I’ve got.  Because it isn’t really myself that makes me happy anyway.  So, ehh, I’ll just keep it all.  So, I am oh so sorry.  Please exude my oh so messed up body.  That’s just me.

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The doctor kept talking but I did not hear any of it. I felt like I could not breathe. I was led into the room where his tiny body lay. There were IV’s and tubes inside him everywhere. His tiny body was covered with a white sheet, only his head was exposed. I slowly rubbed my fingers down his cheek. He was still warm and just looked like he was sleeping only he was a little pale. I carefully removed the tube from his nose and I said, “Shh. It’s okay,” as I did so.

He should be in our home. He should be in his bedroom that was carefully prepared for him with details of his little life already added. On his closet door, there was a picture colored from Gracie of the two of them standing under the sun and blue sky on a field of flowers. His clothes were carefully laid out on his changing table for our day of shopping. He loved to make noises as he pushed little cars wherever he went. He was always carrying a matchbox car with him. Carter had set up a track beside his crib and the two of them would push cars and Carter would race them and Tucker would laugh so admiringly at his big brother. He should be lying in his crib, covered with his favorite blue fuzzy blanket. He should be wearing those cotton baseball jammies that snapped up the front. His hair should be matted down and sticking up on one side. His body should be warm and I would pick him up and put his cheek to mine and sing “Rise and Shine” as we revisited Gracie’s room to wake her up.

But my world had been turned upside down. Things were not as they should be. I had never cried so hard. I had never hurt so badly. I kissed his little face over and over. I could not tell him goodbye. I would not tell him goodbye! He was one year, eight months and two days old. He meant the world to me. How could I say goodbye to all the promises that his life held?

He was an early walker. I knew he was going to be a marathon runner. He was always smiling. I knew he was going to be the classroom clown. He had big blue eyes. He was going to be such a handsome man. He had a perfect father and big brother to teach him everything that a man should be. How could I say goodbye to our play time together while the other kids were at school? How could I tell Gracie her “little baby doll” was gone? How could I say goodbye to kindergarten graduation? How could I say goodbye to baseball games? How could I say goodbye to college plans? And the beautiful wife that I had already been praying for? And the job where he was going to succeed? How could I say goodbye to his big blue eyes? How could I say goodbye to his eyes? I cried and cried over his little body until there were no more tears. But there was a new deep deep pain that I had never felt before.

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Read a Book! (May I Suggest Mine?)

“We read to know we are not alone.” – C.S. Lewis

Every time I read a book, I connect.  I may feel connected to the author, but the author never knows me.  I may feel connected to the characters, but they are not even real.  I can connect to others if I discuss the book, but they can not know my emotion during the time of reading.  I connect with God.  Together we experience an adventure.

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Because of Therefores

I write because:

Her picture lights up my smartphone, We’ve been playing phone tag and finally the time has arrived. Answering, I talk a million miles a minute. Mid sentence, my sister interrupts. She has witnessed a bird hit by a car, flapping and lying in pain. She runs to the rescue. While I am waiting on the return call, I realize how I had begun spilling, not choosing my words correctly and not asking first about her. Like writing, I wished I could push delete and start over.

That moment. I pause in overwhelming inspiration. My heart lives, love conquers, and all the world pauses and applauds the words of Victor Hugo. Just to say the name Les Miserables, inspires my life. The words of the book disappear and I am there in Paris and Fantine is my friend and the Thenardiers have slapped my face. The creation of a life, a story, a place that can impact our lives. I love to write because I love to read.

My daughter is a Renaissance girl. She wants to learn and to know everything. She is a girl of many talents. There are so many things where she is naturally gifted. But then there are so many other things that draw her attention and call out her name to be attended to. Like a child, that she is, she loses her focus and wants to move on. “Madison, God gave you this ability. He made you good at this. So, I believe you should do it.” I do not know if it means a career or a hobby, a full or part time, or temporary endeavor, but I believe that if God gives you a talent, it is a sin not to use it. I am a writer. I sit down and it appears. I write because He gave me the ability.

For years and years I wrote and tossed, wrote and tossed. It was an expression in me that I knew no other way to release. When life got to be too much, when my emotions were numb or charged, when questions of life were too much to endure, writing sat with me. He sat patiently and listened. He hugged me and wiped my tears off my cheeks. He cried. And then he cheered, fists in the air and rejoiced in answers found and God praised. Writing is a companion that has become one of my dearest friends.

Writing is a creation, it mimics the God that created. Writing allows me to start over and start fresh on a new sheet of white paper with a newly sharpened pencil. I write because I need to start over often. I write because I can. I write because I want to. I write because it is part of the definition of who I am. I am a writer, therefore I write.