Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Hate Tights

The feeling of conflict is one I'm growing weary of. The feeling of not knowing which to feel, heartbroken or elated.

I remember having a conversation last January with Amy.. She shared that she was afraid of 2012. Of the things that would unfold during the year. Two of her fears happened. She lost her big sister and she lost a grandparent. My delight of 2012 came to life on April 25th. I knew the year could be hard but I knew I was going to meet my son, so what could bring me down. Besides, I say it every year.. it is just that. A year. A season of time with a different number at the end of it from the season before but still everything happening between the numbers is life. Life never stops with a number. It doesn't get better with a number, it doesn't necessarily get worse. I feel tempted to hope for a good 2013 but I think, the saddness I have from losing family will still be here no matter the year. The joy I have from my boys will still be here no matter the year. So why focus on "the new year" or "last year" keeps going no matter the date.

My Nana used to take my sister Catie and I to the SF Ballet to see the Nutcracker when I was young. My mother would send us with our prettiest, matching dresses. Curlers often sat in our hair on the drive down to South City to Nana's house. Nana would pull them out and brush through our curls often leaving us crying. We must have driven her nuts. Then came the tights and slips.
 "my tights keep falling down nana, can I please not wear them?" I'd ask, hoping to get away with it just this once.
 "no. if they don't stop you can stick your panties over them to help hold them up." she said with an irritated voice. Trust me, that never happened. I just continued to pull them up. We'd walk along the street in our little dress shoes, cold from the cool winter air in the City. She'd take us to our seats and just before the ballet started she'd say, "enjoy my loves." and it would begin.
This year while laying on the couch, I was complaining to my husband about my tights. "I hate that they come up so high and then they fall down." He quietly listened (well, uh. I think) while sitting at the computer.
"I have always hated tights. I don't know why I even wear them.." Then I started laughing and sharing my "panties over the tights" story. A little conversation later he said, "I'll take you to see the nutcracker."
"No no.. you'd be so bored, you don't wanna do that. Its ok! I'll see it another day." I said.
He looked up at me with his sweet blue eyes, a little smile on his face and told me, "really, I'd be happy to take you."
And so we went.. We got dressed up, he treated me to The Melting Pot (hello favorite!!) and we hurried down the street to the ballet in our dress shoes. Heels are more uncomfortable to speed walk in than tights and dress shoes by the way.

I sat holding my husbands hand and watched the ballet. I loved every minute of it. I kept looking over at my (yawning) husband and couldn't believe how handsome he looked. How romantic he was to take me. How lucky I was to be holding his hand. Still, I felt conflicted. There were so many young girls all dressed up with their grandmothers. I felt sad and anxious to see my Nana again or see Catie beside me.  I was so overwhelmed with love, gratitude and excitement all thanks to the love of my life and still I hurt.

Its hard to understand this conflicting time. I feel guilty for being happy, like I shouldn't enjoy a wonderful time. I also feel bad for feeling sad when I should just be happy. I should just take my own advice, "Do less thinkin' and more drinkin'" of course, that is a joke. Don't get your tights in a twist :)

We grew up seeing Santa at the police department every year. My mother would dress all of us in Christmas attire, (don't forget the tights!) and drive all 6 of us to my Daddy's work. It was always a highlight of the season. There were crafts, food and most importantly our dad in uniform. I still feel proud to see him all dressed up in uniform like I did when I was little. Even when he was a detective I felt so proud to see my dad in a tie with an office (as a kid, his cubicle was an office lol). This year I dressed up my boys (no tights!) packed them off and headed to the P.D. for the Christmas party. We didn't sit in a cubicle this time, we sat in the Captains office. We visited with the Chief. I did crafts with my son and then watched as my little boys sat on Santas lap with such excitement and joy. It was like watching myself as a kid! The way Joey looks at his Poppie in uniform, so proudly. The way he was so excited to ask Santa for a bike. The way Owen cuddled into Santas coat. It felt so amazing!! All of it. The excitement of my dad's promotion, the excitement of my boys seeing Santa and loving it. It all felt amazing like I could just burst with happiness. At the very same time though, I had to hold back from bursting into tears. I watched as my parents sat Annie on Santas lap. In the same place Catie sat just last Christmas. Catie loved Santa! Now she was gone and my parents were soaking in the moment with Annie before it becomes just a memory also.Whats a promotion when you have just lost your mother and your daughter? Whats a visit to Santa when your daughter, the biggest Santa fan, isn't there to enjoy the moment with you? My parents are hurting and I see it. Theres nothing I can do to fix it.

These are just to recent examples of this feeling of conflict. Memories being made with my husband and my boys, but the "firsts" without my "twin." I feel hopeful at times that the feeling will go away, or at least lessen. I often tell Kyle that one thing I hate more than people being disrespectful or impatient about the grief I feel, is the people who have lost loved ones years and years ago who still cry, who share with me how much it hurts still. I hate that more because it makes me realize that this pain isn't going to leave.

This post is all over the place. choppy, messy, feels strange. But thats just how I have felt lately. Conflicted. Choppy, messy, all over the place. Until it changes all I can do is continue hoping in God, because thats the only way the pain is bearable. Rather than hoping the pain will go away. Also, I'm working on not giving into the sad stuff but trying my hardest to soak in the happy stuff as much as possible...

No more rambling, I really should have waited to post this until I could organize it better. Oh, and NO MORE TIGHTS. ever..

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Holy Roller

She was a Holy Roller. At least, that is what I called her often. Above is a picture I snapped of her while praying in church one Sunday morning. She was a true believer in Jesus Christ. She didn't have the "christian talk" down.. the elegant use of Bible words and Jesus phrases. She just spoke from her heart and her heart was filled with love for Jesus. When she couldn't speak any longer, she still reflected a true joy and complete peace that I believe could only come from knowing she had a Savior. When I doubted my faith, Catie reminded me to continue believing. When I felt angry and wanted to walk away from my faith, Catie reminded me that life was too short to be so angry. She kept me grounded, she kept me believing. Many people would say that I should be less focused on a human, more focused on God. But the truth is, God used Catie to keep me close to Him. Obviously this post is going to make some people uncomfortable. So be it, this is what I believe. I mean really, if this makes you uncomfortable, you should hear me talk about keeping a marriage healthy..(wink,wink..)

Not long after I found out about Catie's diagnosis, I started digging into the Bible. I wanted answers, I wanted details. I wanted to know just where my sister was headed and where I'd meet her after this life. I found and continued to read Revelations 4. Here, John talks about his moment when he is before the Throne of Heaven. He describes exactly what he sees in detail. He tells us what the angels sing over and over. Because of my love for music, and my sisters love for music, this chapter was very comforting to me. I still get goose bumps when reading this chapter and thinking about what it will be like in Heaven. 

Revelations 4: After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits[a] of God. Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
“‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,’[b]
who was, and is, and is to come.”
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
    and by your will they were created
    and have their being.”

I'd read this over and over. I'd sing the words written here and "practice" for Heaven. It brought me peace. Then a few years ago, a song was written called Revelation Song. It quotes this part of the Bible in the song. Its beautiful! Its my favorite. Now, I love it more than ever... 

When I sing this song now, I not only picture what Heaven is like, but I picture my sister there. I can see Catie singing with a HUGE smile on her face.. dancing like a ballerina, flawless, joyful, peaceful, whole. It brings me so much peace to close my eyes and see this. Even more than that, I feel close to Catie. When I sing this song I feel like we are singing together since the Bible says this is what the angels sing without stopping. Eternally praising God. So when I join in and sing the same song they are already singing in Heaven, its like Catie and I are worshiping together again. 

I don't know how to explain it. I guess if you share the same faith it would make sense to you. If you don't share the same faith than you're probably trying to figure out when and how you should drop me off at the nut house. Either way, I believe in Jesus Christ, the same Jesus that Catie so strongly believed in. He is my Savior and one day when I die I believe that by his grace I will be singing the very same words that are in Revelations 4. I'll be singing with Catie, with my Nana, with angels. And until that day, I can sing those words here and feel so close to them knowing that they are doing the same thing while watching down over me. 

Catie may have been a bit strict at times on her "religious" beliefs.. all those little things that Christians like to argue about over a hot cup of coffee. But it was her FAITH that stood out the most and what God used to keep me close to Him.

 This is the link to the song here