Here Be Dragons

Note – If you know me and you know my mother-in-law, please, I beg of you, please don’t tell her about this.  None of us wanted to deal with this and we especially don’t want to deal with her dealing with it – it’s just too much and we want to spare her.  Thanks.

HERE BE DRAGONS

I dropped off the edge of the map and it took me a while to find my way back.  My sincere apologies.

I had such wonderful news to share–a fresh journey we had started–and then life took a turn and I lost a few things.  Literally.  I had set a course and was traveling down it, making plans, anticipating outcomes, dreaming about our future… when my course went off track and I found myself outside the borders… surviving the dragons.

You see, I stopped blogging when I started to have a miscarriage last May.  I lost a little life and I lost the desire to write.  I was battling dragons that I had not encountered before.  I was in such pain and the dragons were fierce.  They toyed with me for over a month before they tired of me and left me to find my way back home with a tired soul, a sense of what was gone and a desire to just go back home.  Oh yes, and with a few painkillers left in the prescription bottle.  Those rude and ruthless dragons.

Like adventurers of old however I am back to tell you that the dragons may be fierce and they may be fiery but I have survived and lived to tell the tale.  What’s more I have battle scars and lessons learned and even treasure found along the way.  

Treasure, you ask?  Why yes!  Treasure of the best sort!  Friends, casseroles, and stories shared of similar loss, heartache and survival – stories that for some reason we hide away until a fellow adventurer makes themselves known to us – stories that we don’t bring out of the hope chests until we know that a fellow soul might find comfort in knowing that others found and fought the dragons, too.

Those stories of other tiny ones discovered and prayed for and lost… while they might break the hearts of others… for me came together as a shepherd to gently guide me out of my dragon’s den.  The stories of shared experiences helped to dissipate the pain and feel the love that was offered so freely.  Those stories helped me to ignore my own dragons and recognize my fellow survivors.  I was able to let go of my little dream and reach for another, as yet unrealized, journey. 

Unlike adventurers of old I will spare you other details as they really aren’t all that interesting to more than this little family.  It is, I hope, sufficient to say that it was the third month, we were very sad, and we hope to thrill you all with tales of a different sort of adventure in the future.

Thank you for all you’ve given to me.  I am looking forward to laughing together through this life and and it’s wonderful journies!

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Ball Games, Peanuts, And Creative Packaging

We went to a Braves Game this last weekend.  I am not a huge baseball fan, but I can certainly appreciate spending a pleasant day in the stands, watching our team play a good game, chatting with friends, and enjoying the beautiful weather.  Oh yeah… and the food!  It just isn’t the same without the hot dogs and peanuts.  It is a wonderful American tradition.

Whenever I go to the ballpark and see those peanut shells I am reminded of a cute story from years ago.  One of my best friends has a boy the same age as my oldest.  We’d taken both families to see the Braves play.  The boys brought their gloves in the hopes of catching a fly ball.  We parents brought in a large bag of peanuts to share.  The boys practically dove into the bag, selecting their peanuts, then setting about the business of cracking them open (without spilling the nuts inside) and popping them into their mouths.  After the initial surge of nut popping activity, my friend’s son seemed to slow down a bit, pondering his peanuts as he twisted them open.  Then, after opening one and eating the nuts inside, he held the shell up for closer inspection.  He turned it around and around, then turned to his Mom.

“How do they do that?” he asked.

“How do they do what, Butterbean?” she replied.

“How do they make the little waffles and get them around the peanuts?” he said.

That makes me chuckle to this day.  Peace to you all!

A Dose Of Friendship

I’ve been sick the last few months.  Not one continuous illness, but a series of no less than seven colds since the first week of January, with some chest pains (lungs?  heart?  Dr.s are still running tests to figure this out) in between.  This has worn me out and obviously my immune system has been compromised in some way in order for this to have happened.  I’ve been so sick so often that my boss has taken to greeting me with a fond “Hi Sicko!” in the mornings when she sees me on-line.

This last cold was the worst.  I won’t go into the details, but last Monday morning I felt so horrible that I thought about asking my husband to write down the hymns I’d like sung at my funeral (which would, by the way, include “Just As I Am”, in case any of my family members read this).  My husband had me wrapped up papoose fashion in an electric blanket because I couldn’t stop shivering.  I couldn’t keep my eyes open long enough to watch much TV, and I couldn’t keep my mind clear enough to follow the plot in anything – even on The Price Is Right.  And yes, for those of you asking, you only realize there is a plot to The Price Is Right game show when you realize that you aren’t able to follow it any more.  It doesn’t hit you until later just how scary that is :).  And if this doesn’t paint a pathetic picture already, let me add one more detail that is the real “tell”…  My husband put in my DVD of Pride and Prejudice (the 1995 BBC version with Colin Firth, of course) in the hopes that this would entertain me… and I had no interest in anything having to do with Mr. Darcy.  I obviously had good reason to contemplate the musical score for my funeral.

That was earlier this week.  Now I am on the mend and today I actually sat at my desk and worked.  Hooray!  And what got me from funeral planning to planning out performance management strategies at work?  Three things.  First came the Z-pak antibiotic series – 5 days of pills that my Dr. prescribed for me Monday morning.  After three days however, I hadn’t improved much.   Unbeknownst to me stronger medicine was on its way.

The second thing came Wednesday when a friend of mine from church sent me an email saying that she missed me and wanting to know how I was.  None of my friends are the type to call every day and chat – most don’t even live in this state and we are all waaaaay too busy for casual daily contact.  Most of my friends weren’t even aware that I’ve been ill.  This one however is from my church and she knew I’ve missed some services and haven’t been singing in choir lately.  I wasn’t in services this last Sunday nor was I at a small group meeting Sunday night.  Even though neither my husband or I had reached out to tell anyone I was sick, this dear friend reached out to me.  Seems small, but it was a therapeutic touch that hit the spot. 

Then came the closer.  A woman in our neighborhood whose son is on the same little league team as my older son, who knew I’d missed more than half of the games this season (I’d missed again that Monday evening – first game of the end-of-season tournament), sent over a plate of home made cookies around dinner time Wednesday night.  Wow.  This completely unexpected gesture of kindness was a sweet balm that warmed my heart.

I hadn’t asked for it in any way.  Yet people missed me.  They cared.  God had opened his medicine cabinet and sent me some home remedy.

My cold made the turn that night.  The next morning I felt better and continued to improve throughout the day.  Today I feel even stronger.  I know the antibiotic was part of it… but the powerfully strong dose of friendship paired with the shot of kind sympathy was the best medicine indeed.

Thank you!