Sunday, July 18, 2021

Thinking the best

 Recently, I looked into a repeat breast reduction. I absolutely loved the first one; felt good about my body for the first time ever. Never regretted it until it turned out I was unable to breastfeed my babies. That wouldn't have been so bad, except that at the time we were involved in State programs and I was at the mercy of "breastfed-is-best" nazis who thought everyone in the room should know my business. A little hint: fed is best. Anyway, after much weight gain and six pregnancies, my chest no longer looks as it did after my first reduction. I could get another reduction; if I paid for it myself. The insurance wants their pound of flesh - and they want that flesh to be breast tissue. Apparently, I don't have enough tissue. I have...fat. I also have pain, probably from scar tissue from the previous surgery. But nothing can be done about that because the insurance company has parameters.

I'm currently fighting a huge yeast infection and urinary tract infection. I'm absolutely worn out! I'm taking four extra medicines, plus pain medication on a regular basis. I keep dropping off to sleep. I've complained so much to my Beloved Bill. Retiring early, it was more of the same. "I just hurt ever where, and I'm SO tired! And to make matters worse, my right breast really hurts and nothing can be done about it because I'm just fat!" I waited a few beats. "I hate my body!" I said this with some expectation. That my husband would hear and give me a reason, ANY reason, why I didn't need to hate my body. Or that he would get off his rear, come to me, and embrace me. Like so many of my expectations, this one went unrealized.

Then I began to think about marriage; always attributing good intentions to the spouse. How often does Bill wear headphones when working at the computer on an especially difficult project? I said my last sentence quietly; he may not have heard me over the fans. And like many men, Sweet Bill compartmentalizes his life. Family and home are in outside "boxes"; easily accessible, more readily moved among. Work and hobbies on the computer are deeper boxes; harder to shake free of. Not as easily accessible and therefore not as easy to shift to another subject. He's a guy. He doesn't always hear me. That doesn't mean he doesn't always love me. And I love him; and the Holy Spirit, Who reminded me to think the best of him. Sweet dreams.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Rain in the first world

 A couple of weeks ago, we got rain. Deluge, build-an-ark rain. The water table was already high; flood warnings out for the nearby Sangamon River. The front stalled above our house and dropped inches of rain. Epic proportions. 

Our basement flooded. The two lowest boards of our staircase dropped; disappeared. Not just under the water - no longer part of the stair. There was now a two-foot drop at the end of the staircase, though we didn't know this at first. Bill went down to explore, scraped his leg badly as his foot dropped into nothing. Bill is prone to cellulitis infections; it was obvious he couldn't go down again.

My turn. I put on my pink camo rain boots and headed down. Held tight to the rails and cautiously lowered my left leg down into the water. My boot instantly filled. Hmm. These boots are calf-high. Time for a different tack. I backed up the stairs, emptied my boot, and steeled my courage. In swimsuit and water shoes, armed with a walking stick, I tried again. Down the stairs and into the abyss. Shocking cold water. Up to my hips! Oh my!

It's never flooded this badly before. We have a submersible sump pump and a back-up; neither seemed to be working. In fact, the back-up was also submerged. Worse, the water was half-way up our furnace/air conditioner (which sits in a lower recess) and 2/3 of the way up our hot water heater. Bill had already turned the electricity off to the basement, of course. As I made my way slowly through the water by flashlight, hunched over from the low ceiling, growing increasingly chilled, my throat started to close. I could feel panic rising in my chest as I inspected the damage. I finally turned and rushed through the drag of the water from a full-blown panic attack, banging my head on some duct-work on the way out. The walking stick helped lift me to the now-bottom step, though I painfully wrenched my knee in my haste.

It took a week or so for the water to recede; but we're still using fans (no air conditioning) and washing dishes and showering in cold water (no hot water). We don't have money at the moment to have someone check the appliances out before bringing them back online, and didn't have a safe way for them to access the machines even if we had the extra funds.

Enter my parents. More specifically, my Dad. An industrial engineer by trade, he can fix anything. In my naivete, I thought all men had this gift. Bill didn't even bring tools into our marriage. I was gifted a tool kit at one of my bridal showers; we had that and a socket set Bill inherited from a great-uncle that neither of us knew how to use. He has since gained knowledge from on-line videos and we've slowly amassed more tools, however... My Dad is a Godsend. Thanks to him, we now have two sturdy new steps on the basement staircase. The back-up sump pump has been repaired; the submersible sump-pump has been replaced. My Mom has offered great comfort and distracting chatter. They've bailed us out more than once and we love them beyond measure. We  thank God for them daily.

And each time I take a cold shower I think of those who would love to have a shower, no matter what the temperature. Or those who have to carry water; they have no ready tap in the house. I think of my first world problems, and am grateful. 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

 I tried to enter my favorite quotes in a profile today; but the format didn't permit that as a category. So I'll just share them here and there's nothing anyone can do about it!

The first was on a poster in a Junior-high classroom; though I can't now remember if it was my English or Spanish classroom. It struck my teen-age soul and has stayed with me since:

"You say that I am mad. Indeed, too much sanity may be madness. But the maddest of all; to see life as it is, instead of as it should be."                                    ---Cervantes,  Don Quixote

The second quote I found in the early days of my conversion to Catholicism. I've read this man's books only once so far. He and I go 'round and 'round in my head, for he tells me things I don't particularly wish to hear. Convicting things. I absolutely love this quote; it reminds me what I'm doing in praise and supplication:

"The prayer of a Christian is never a monologue."          ---St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way

What are your favorite quotes? Why?

Wherefore art thou?

 Been thinking of Romeo and Juliet tonight. Some people say it's an incredible LOVE STORY, in capital letters. I've always considered it a tragedy. A tale of rebellion, obsession, and suicide. They first defied their parents to even meet each other. That very first rebellion led to their deaths. Some will say, "Yes, but they got to LOVE." Uh-huh. A possessive, obsessive "love"; insular, yet uncommunicative. They killed themselves grasping at that love. They each thought they'd found their soulmate. 

Nonsense. You don't just find a soulmate; you make one. There is not one someone out there made just for you; someone with "Your Soulmate" tattooed on their forehead. The only Soulmate made just for any of us is our Sweet Jesus. You're compatible with many people: it's how you view them, how you treat them that makes them your soulmate. Cultivate your own virtues so you can see their's.

You meet someone; you hit it off. Pretty soon you're giddy in love; ready to say "yes" to anything. Most of us get married in that state. Are you soulmates? You think so. The endorphins are roiling; you're over the moon with love and happiness on your wedding day! But it doesn't stay that way. It's too exhausting to wake on top of the world every day. The honeymoon ends and the marriage starts. THAT'S when you begin to make your soulmate. 

In the forge of quotidian duties soulmates are fashioned. You're no longer in a transient, giddy relationship; you've settled into a stable, secure, abiding kind of love. Or should. If you don't get distracted by circumstances, or give up when the road is rough. Some of us go into marriage with an "escape plan" in case our partner doesn't "measure up" over time. This leads to - foments - divorce. A wedding should be a solemn exchanging of a VOW. A heart-meant oath to choose this person and to keep choosing this person day after day. A party on the beach or whatever trivializes that choice. It dances around the Sacrament of Marriage, mocking it all the way.

Soulmates are MADE in the daily. Working together through children and chores and chaos. Always wanting the best for and believing the best of the other. Couples who cannot do this often decide on a "civil divorce". The very idea is hogwash! Firstly, it's an oxymoron. Divorce involves ripping one flesh into two bodies - there is NOTHING "civil" about that. Secondly, a civil divorce is granted by the State. What has the State to do with love or the lack of it? It shouldn't have anything to do with it. Marriage is initiated in the eyes of GOD; and only He should be the One to end it. His Church will grant an annulment of marriage in a relatively few cases. It does not grant the dissolution of marriage.

I KNOW that Bill and I are soulmates. We've been through fire together. High-risk pregnancies, the discovery of a mental illness, disability, harsh money woes, too many illnesses to count. And we continue to choose each other. Every day. He's my best hope of getting to Heaven and I am his (he's knocking  off a LOT of Purgatory time just doing life with me).  We've been through things that could have torn us apart if we hadn't clung to our REAL Soulmate, the ever-living God. He's ever-living within us. That's how we've managed to stay in our marriage  for a quarter-century.

You see, marriage is a triangle. The spouses are at the bottom two corners; God is at the narrow point at the top. As the spouses move closer to God, they move closer to each other. Up the triangle as it narrows. When you find God, you find the other. A cord of three strands is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). Romeo and Juliet chose death before divorce. A tragedy either way. But they were doomed from the start; they were missing a Strand.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Catching up

 It's been a long hiatus; we've been very busy since 2019!

Recently I checked out of Facebook; BIG time-suck; too many targeted ads. Yet I just signed up for Twitter. Since I'm an old(er) person, I feel quite savvy right now! I'm hoping (fingers crossed) that it won't compel me to be on devices all day, yet give me news of the world. 

The kids are great! Working or in school (community college - go Cobras). Sweet Bill is, as always, my one and only; my heart. We've had health issues - mental and physical. Monetary issues - oh, the joys of being a home-owner! And a car driver! Plus, seven people on one income...I wouldn't change it for the world! For God always provides, but only, it seems, at the very last minute! 

Even when it's not well with my circumstances, it is well with my soul. I need to do some soul-work, but the Triune God is patient. Thank goodness! I'm a slow Saint-in-the-making. I hope to one day be the patron saint of Hot Messes!