Recently I Was Really Tired Out

Colin crawled into my lap this evening. He had a rough day at school today. During Library, he got “in trouble” and had his name moved from the Green to the Yellow light on the traffic sign. That’s a bad thing. When you get to Red, you are in deep doo-doo. It took him nearly an hour to let me in on what he had done to result in his traffic light changing. Library days are wonderful and he didn’t come home with a book…what gives?

HIM: “I was sword fighting with my book-finder.  Me and Chorea were swordfighting and got in trouble and we got our books taken from us and we had our names moved to yellow and, and…..and I DON’T WANT TO TELL YOU!!!!!”

ME: “Thank you for telling me what happened. I’m sorry you didn’t get a library book, but I’ll bet you won’t sword fight with rulers again.”

HIM: “NOOOOO!!!! I’ll NEVER EVER do it again.”

Good.

Someone asked me this morning if I was ready to get back into the swing of things. I bit my tongue and smiled rather than telling them that my swing had swung far away many weeks ago.

 I’m looking for it.

Three months ago I was working full time, swimming with my kids, admiring my husband as a stay-at-home caregiver.

 Two months ago, hubby was starting a job and I was ready to be home to care for everyone.

 Six weeks ago I was at the beach.

 One month ago, we were asking Hospice to come care for Charlie as he prepared himself to take his final journey.

Three weeks ago I was managing medicines, phone calls, dr. visits, meals, bedtime, baths for young and old.

Two weeks ago, I was beginning to sit vigil.

One week ago I was planning for a funeral and sharing my home with extended family who rallied around to get through this.

Today, I said goodbye to the last of visiting family. I made calls to Social Security and insurance companies informing them of a death. I mowed the yard. I said goodbye to my husband as he left for a week away. I wiped tears, fed bellies, made beds, washed towels and felt very very lonely.

If this is the new swing….it’ll take some getting used to.

HIM: (On my lap) “Mommy…recently, I was really tired out.”
ME: “Yeah, why?”
HIM: “Cause I ate a whole green apple for supper.”
ME: “Good! I’m tired too.”
HIM: “Why?”
ME: “Cause I’m looking for my swing and I can’t find it.”
HIM: “Well, you can borrow mine.”

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Please Throw Stuff Away!!!

I am pleading with you…do NOT hoarde decades worth of financial documents, illegible scribblings intended to log all your medical expenses, little calendars with your mileage to doctor appointments on them, paystubs, cancelled checks, benevolent gifts and other useless tax write offs.

As a daughter-in-law of someone who never throws things away…I implore you to look beyond yourself and realize that someday, one of your children or one of your children’s spouses will spend hours and hours going through all that crap and then pitching it!

I am now surrounded by boxes of papers ready for the Shred-It people who will charge me by the pound to obliterate any traces of personal information contained therein. They charge by the pound. I have at least 90 pounds of papers.

The IRS and Medicare are tricky. You can claim expenses, itemize deductions, under certain circumstances. Most people don’t fit those circumstances. So…stop with the obsessive record keeping.

Don’t go to funerals, give a donation to the memorial fund and then write on the pretty little service program you received the amount of your “charitable donation” and the date you used it as a tax write off. That’s just sick.

Don’t paperclip or rubber band all these things together. I have to remove each and every one of those before the shredder can eat the paper inside.

Don’t keep everything in it’s original envelope with little notes on the outside referring me to the date, hour, minute and second that you spent the money or claimed the deduction. It just makes the whole process of going through your stuff even more aggravating.

If you had spent half the time, money and energy on playing with your children and grandchildren or having fun with your wife that you did keeping, sorting, filing, documenting and storing all these papers….I can’t imagine how different it would be.

The Rest of the Passion?

There are so many discussions in the blogosphere right now surrounding the authenticity of the church, scriptures and the relevance of the cross to Christianity. I’m participating in a couple of them on an elementary level and I am again back to a gospel no one really reads. The Gospel of Nicodemus. It is also my understanding that in some anabaptist/Mennonite/Amish circles, this gospel is highly regarded as historically accurate or at least worth the time it takes to read. Perhaps I dreamt that and some sage Menno (Leon/Dad) will likely be along to confirm or deny that.

Anyway, the account of Christ’s trial and cricifixion in the Gospel of Nicodemus or Acts of Pilate is more in depth than the Bible’s accounts go. Christ has little or nothing to say that is different from what our Gospels record, but everyone else does. Particularly the Sanhedrin, Pilate and Jesus’ followers.

The Jewish leaders were angry that Jesus was performing miracles on the Sabbath (not really caring that he was doing miraculous, wonderful things only God could do, but that his timing was lousy) and loudly denouncing him as an evil person.  According to this writing, people whom Jesus had healed came to his defense. The man who took up his bed and walked, the woman with the issue of blood (apparently her name was Bernice), blind, lepers and others told their stories. How cool! They couldn’t deny the deity of Jesus Christ, yet the leaders swept that part away.

A verbal stone thrown at Jesus was the accusation of the leaders that because of him, many children had been killed by Herod at his birth. I never thought about this much. Imagine all the heartbroken parents walking around watching Jesus live his life and wondering how Mary got so lucky as to have her child spared! Only 33 years later, Jesus had to have felt their burden. I wonder if he ever talked about it. The leaders at his trial acknowledged that he was the one Herod was looking for, so I imagine it came up somewhere.

I particularly like the depth to which Pilate’s agony is portrayed in this writing. He was tortured over the decision to prosecute Jesus. He tried and tried to let him go, but couldn’t. His politics got in the way and he ultimately washed his hands, but you can almost feel his sorrow at doing so.

Then, the crucifixion as portrayed here and the reaction of the guards to the resurrection is so great! They couldn’t believe their eyes and acknowledged in no uncertain terms that they had crucifed a righteous man. At the appearance of angels at the tomb, they played dead out of fear, but they knew by then who they were dealing with. They tried to convince others of his deity, but even in all of that, the leaders couldn’t accept. Couldn’t surrender.

We do that every day, don’t we? Reduce his miracles, deity and holiness to what is convenient for us. As long as he is working in our lives on our time line, we’re happy to let him carry on. As soon as he works a miracle, nudges our conscience or otherwise breaks through our thick skulls at a time we don’t want him to, we try to deny his power in our lives. We take back control. We can’t surrender.

Respect my Dying Wishes Please

I haven’t posted anything on the blog for several weeks. I’m not sure there is a real reason for my lack of thought…just tired, I guess. The past few weeks were weird to say the least. I sit here in 80 degree weather remembering that only a week ago we drove home from upstate New York in a snow storm! Global warming at it’s finest.

In Seneca Falls we attended the funeral of a dear family friend. For 67 years she attended a small Baptist church and wouldn’t give up on it no matter what. The politics and formation of this church changed dramatically over the years, yet she kept attending. Her children and their families all left the church citing irreconcilible differences, yet she kept attending. Chief cook, bottle washer and organist for the church and the local funeral home, this dear woman remained loyal to the church she loved no matter who was in charge. She fought against doctrines and ideas she didn’t like. She lovingly confronted behaviors in the leadership she couldn’t agree with. She was open and honest with everyone about her misgivings and concerns for the church body there, but yet she continued to attend. She found it a place where she could meet God, despite the silliness of humanity in the building.

During the funeral, many of the family’s wishes regarding the service went unheeded and the agenda of the pastor took over. The family had asked for only one verse of each hymn to be sung; the pastor decided on all verses of all songs at a VERY slow pace. They asked that the sermon be kept to a minimum length; he talked forever. He manipulated the emotions and heartache of those attending and turned a celebration of this woman’s life into a guilt trip. We were told, in no uncertain terms, that we were either “Children of God or Children of the Devil.” He “knew” that she would have wanted us to come to Jesus and that if we didn’t accept the invitation at the end of the sermon, we were surely doomed. He ended by addressing the family, particularly the grandchildren, by telling them that “if you ever want to see your Bamma again” then they would hit their knees. From what we gathered later by speaking to the family, this pastor tightly controls everything that goes on inside his church. Basically, he is the end all and be all regarding any decisions that are made. No board of directors, deacons or elders can contribute. He used to be an Amway salesman. It shows.

While I know that many attending the service would agree that Jesus Christ is the only way to God and that heaven and hell are very real places, I don’t think this funeral was the appropriate place for an altar call like this! Hellfire and brimstone did not belong.  Especially when her family had expressly asked for something else. Heaping loads of guilt on the grieving family is no way to assuage their hurt or provide comfort. And watching a pastor turn a funeral into a side show of his own agendas and ego is simply torture. Needless to say, I left more angry than anything.

I hope that when I lay in that casket at the front of the church there will be a celebration of my life. If, in that time of reflection, my friends and family begin to question their faith, their future and their lives as they relate to Jesus Christ…fantastic! But I do not want my death to be an opportunity for an eager pastor to rave against evil and condemn my loved ones if they don’t respond to him. I hope and pray that my dying wishes are respected and that my family gets to bury me with grace.