Friday, August 1, 2014

"Happy" ~ It's What I Want To Be

March 25th was my grandson, Justin’s, 18th birthday. I helped him celebrate at The Outback with his parents, siblings and his girlfriend, that pleasant evening. On the drive back to my family’s home on that snowy night, Justin introduced me to a song I never heard before. He showed me Pharrell Williams’ official video for his hit song titled, “Happy” on his i phone. I was entranced as I watched many snippets of everyday people like you and me, do their version of a “happy dance” for the video camera. It made me want to bounce in my seat! But then something very unexpected happened. While the joy-filled music played, a new wave of grief snuck up and pounced on me. The numbness returned and the emptiness felt overwhelming. Tears spilled and splashed silently on my lap.

Fast forward four months to today. It is my birthday and I’m feeling anything but happy right now. My handkerchief is soggy and tear-stained. I’m wondering if maybe I should pull out my towel. I should be used to this. It’s been brewing for five days, now. I continue to hate the impact that the calendar has on me. On this, my birthday, what I feel most intensely is the emptiness, again. Guilt also makes up a significant piece of this emotion-filled pie. Guilt, because I have so much to be thankful for. My family and friends: all those I consider my loved ones, have been so wonderful over the past five plus years. But they can’t fill this empty place... this void that my Buck’s home-going created in my heart. Only the Lord can accomplish that. It’s been a good while since I had a good cry like the one I experienced a few minutes ago. I know it is good for me to let it go and get it out, but I hate it just the same! I’m praying that writing will be therapeutic as it often is, and I’ll be able to move on, away from this dark, familiar and uncomfortable place.

We all know that happiness means something very unique to each of us. We are all so different as we traverse our individual journeys. Over the past year, I have done a lot of soul searching. Though my introverted personality has been content to accept this season of aloneness, I know that God planted a seed of desire, inspiring me to consider opening my heart again. Frankly, I liked it much better the way it was before.

This afternoon, a florist truck drove by very slowly. About 10 minutes later, I saw the driver stop and park in front of my house. I knew she was having difficulty, so I walked outside to see if I could help. She had a gorgeous lily and roses bouquet in her arms. It wasn’t for me, of course. I knew that when I walked outside, but the reality and the reminder that I don’t have a sweetheart anymore punched me in the face again and I’ve been bleeding all afternoon. I don’t need or want flowers really. It’s just what they represent that is tearing me apart, today. I took the hit with a smile on my face for the driver’s sake. Of course I would be happy to keep them for my lovely young neighbor, for whom the beautiful token of affection was intended for. The driver handed me a card that is good for a free rose, in appreciation for my willingness to help deliver the flowers. So, I guess I could say I got a flower from heaven, today. It just wasn’t delivered to my door and I will need to remember to pick it up someday and not lose the card in the meantime.

Choosing joy over brokenness always requires intentionality.  It’s hard to move past it, but I don’t want to get stuck here. There’s nothing joyful about a pity party. Time to change my attitude and count my blessings. Although everyone knows that blue is my favorite color,  a blue mood is not what I want for today or any other day for that matter. I guess I needed to go through this process again, so I would remember what I need to do; and encourage you to do the same , if maybe you are also having a less than desirable day of your own. As I count my boatload of blessings, I’ll play Pharrell’s “Happy” song as background music. Certainly, I have so much to be happy about! I’m including it here for all of you. This song has been known to lift my spirits when I’m down and make me dance around my house. I love that! I pray it has that same effect again, today. Who knows; maybe I’ll bake a birthday cake while I’m dancing around the kitchen! It will be chocolate, of course! Chocolate makes everything better. It’s among this woman’s very favorite blessings! Thank You, Lord! I’m starting to feel better already!!! I pray this lively, toe-tapping melody will set all of us free and inspire us to dance!!!

A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by the sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. Proverbs 15:13 (King James Version)

A cheerful heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit makes one sick. Proverbs 17:22 (Living Bible)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Wipers And A Wimpy Belt

Posted Oct 15, 2010 ~ A story about God's faithfulness and my first mowing season as a widow

A couple weeks ago, I had an interesting day, mechanically speaking. I was very dismayed that after about eight loops around my front yard, the cutting blades did not engage when I pulled out the PTO lever on my lawn tractor. I groaned inside, as anything going wrong with the lawn tractor always meant having to ask for help from my neighbor or a dear friend who lived an hour or more away. After turning off the engine, I lowered the cutting deck to its lowest position and stared at the wimpy belt. The thought ran through my mind: The Lord and I can fix this.

So with God’s guidance, we did just that! I was elated and thanked the Lord and got back to work until the belt jumped off again after another 15 minutes or so; only this time there was a spring laying on the deck, unattached. I figured out where it belonged, reinstalled the belt and started off again. Feeling a little less prideful, I fixed it again and again until after the fourth time, it dawned on me that I needed to look for the reason this was happening. Guess I’m a little slow in the cause and effect dept. I then realized there was a loose pulley that was allowing play in the belt.

So, now the hunt was on. Finding Buck’s ratchet set and trying to decipher the right socket was not easy. Figuring out how to use them with an extension and pair of pliers to hold the nut under the tractor was pretty tricky too, considering I have never used a ratchet before. And what would I do without “Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosy”! I waited until last week, when I needed to mow again, to find out if my efforts were successful. It was so wonderful to mow the lawn without interruption! We did it, Lord! Yay God!!!

I felt encouraged by my tractor experience, so I jumped into another little project I thought I would probably need assistance with. In preparation for selling Buck’s car soon, I purchased some replacement windshield wipers. It took me awhile, but I finally got them installed. I was thrilled that they didn’t go flying across the garage, the first time I tried them out!

Little by little, I’m learning to be more God sufficient and I’m so thankful that He is helping me with this unfamiliar territory. His Word says: You have not because you ask not. I've been asking more and He has been a very patient teacher. It also says: “The Lord sustains the fatherless and the widow…Psalm 146:9. I know first hand that this is truth, as His Faithfulness continues in so many areas of my life. How thankful I am that He knows each of us as individuals and He cares about all that is going on in our lives. He consistently makes me aware of His presence. How very blessed I am as we journey on together!