Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Last Day - Reviewed

I first wrote this on December 31, 2008, about three weeks before my husband died. In hindsight, it was almost prophetic. The world has become more like this that it was in 2008. I wish the darkness had passed by now and we were in a new day. We are not. Instead, we're still sitting there waiting for the darkness to pass. I fear many of us will not live to see that new day.

The Last Day

We finally reach it - our last day. Mankind had reached a nadir while above the sun is shining. On the horizon is darkness and one can only wonder what lies ahead for us all. Will we go on? Was there a better place waiting? Or would the crouching darkness devour our very souls? What will we do?

The last year has been one of radical change, chaos, and confusion. We'd weathered it but there were many wounded and many battle-scarred. Some had died on the field. Even the earth had been assaulted. The villages and towns that still stood were reeling under fiscal problems, energy crises, and joblessness. In many places, children cried for food while famine raged in the land. Wars among factions had only increased, their participants splintering skirmishes around the globe.

Terror had become a raging monster fed by a demonic mindset. Children had lain bleeding or dismembered in the streets, a sacrifice to a violent god filled with hatred and minds so twisted by their fables that they believe a lie and are damned themselves.

I scanned the horizon, looking for some sign, some rising star, some glimmer of hope. I saw none. We had obliterated hope along with faith. No one prayed anymore for peace and safety because there was no longer a God to pray to. Or if there was, He must remain hidden in case someone actually grasped His garments in desperation and began to believe in Him. Goodness was servant to selfishness. Mercy lay dying on the altar of intolerance, bigotry, and self-righteousness. No longer was there freedom to speak without fear. No longer could one assert a righteous indignation without fear of reprisal or accusations of religiousness. Death lurked around every corner waiting for a willing participant to utilize his tools.

I sat down on the rotting stump of an ancient oak. It had stood many centuries, growing tall, strong, and full. Its branches had sheltered many from storms, given shade to the weary travelers, and lifted up a multitude of downcast eyes. But long ago they'd begun to hew it down. It had taken a couple of generations to succeed but finally, they had chopped it down and burned the carcass. Only the stump remained, a slowly rotting reminder of a time when people actually believed in something good. When ideals, dreams, and hopes were allowed to flourish without dissension.

The sun was lower in the west now, near the time when the darkness would be complete. From the East, it had begun to crawl along the ground, reaching long probing fingers toward us. We stood and watched, making no effort to greet it and none to stop it. I knew that it would overtake us but some part of me continued to search along that dividing line between light and dark, as a thirsty animal searches for a watering hole. Still, I saw nothing but approaching darkness. The light behind me dimmed further as the power of that darkness began to overwhelm it.

Then, it came. One moment a fleeting glow suddenly shut out by overwhelming blackness the consistency of tar. My heart pounded so hard I knew others must hear but I couldn't see beyond my outstretched fingertips. I felt tears course down my cheeks and my stomach twisted in knots as I stood in a night deeper than any well I'd ever seen. I had no measure of how long it lasted because without the sun time didn't exist.

Just as the last flame of hope in my heart began to gutter like a candle in the wind, I raised my head and hands and strained my eyes to the void. Suddenly, from the farthest reaches of the heavens came a tiny flicker, so faint it would have been undetectable to the casual observer. But I was searching for that flicker and as I watched through blinding tears, it grew and expanded and blazed forth with gathering strength, until it broke through the darkness and glowed brightly -a single star in a vast expanse of nothingness. All around me I heard gasps as first one, and another and then, another star broke through until all the heavens were filled with brilliant starlight, their beams stretching to touch one another.

I looked at the horizon again and saw where the earth and sky formed a line and stars blinked along it the way diamonds do on a necklace. I turned back to my ancient stool for a seat to observe the wonder of it all. At the base of the stump, where gnarled roots snaked away and into the ground, a single green stalk now stood. Tender green leaves had unfurled during the long dark night and now began to reach to the lightening sky.

Then, it came, blazing from the east and banishing the darkness to the depths. A fresh breeze began to blow and dawn came with a chorus of songbirds. We were here.

Now, what will we do?

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Just Me

Things have not gone exactly as planned.

I see. Whose plans?

Well. . . I expected the surgery to fix my problem. That was the plan I had in mind.

They told you that might not happen.

They did. I thought you'd be involved in this, too.

I was there.

I know. I was never afraid at all and I expected to be a little nervous. I wasn't. I was talking about afterward.

You're disappointed.

Ya think? I still have an arm that is dipped in boiling water most of the day. When it isn't, it is simmering. So, disappointed is an understatement.


I watched a video of a girl being healed yesterday. It was amazing. Awe inspiring, even.


I don't think I know what faith is and that's distressing Is it belief you will or belief you can? Because I know nothing is impossible for you. I also know you don't do everything you're asked. So believing you will doesn't make it so. Believing you can if you choose... well that's different. I think it is your choice. If you don't want to do something, no matter how much I believe you will won't change that.

How does that make you feel?

Sad. Disappointed. Frustrated. Confused. Because I don't understand which it is and it makes it impossible to know what to do.


I'm being truthful, here.

I know.

I hate when they quote that scripture about faith being the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. I have no idea what that means. I've researched it and I don't think anyone else does either.

That could be true.

This isn't helping me.

Oh, I think it probably is. You usually come up with something.

Not today. Today is dark, wet, cold. Without faith it is impossible to please God.

You've had answers to prayers. You believe.


Just not always the answers to the prayers that mean the most to you. 

Things that involve me. I prayed for Sarah a few days ago for some severe jaw pain she was having and she came running down the hall five minutes later, wrapped in a towel saying, "My jaw doesn't hurt anymore!" That meant something to me. I've prayed for myself.... Repeatedly. Without the same results and I'm kind of tired.

Everyone has that feeling at one time or another. When the journey gets rough, find a place to rest.

Rest! That's a whole 'nother blog post.

You trusted me in the surgery, when they took knives to your spine. Why is it you don't trust me in this moment.

I don't know. I don't think it is a trust issue.

Then what is it?

Just me.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

When Life Goes Sideways

I'm posting this on all three blogs to save time. I've not posted anything on them for a few months. This serves as an explanation, not an excuse. 

Here we are at the end of September and I can't figure out where the summer went. I was doing rather well at finishing my novel, Hidden in the Mist. In fact, I'm probably less than 2000 words away. It was the 9th of July. The story was going well. I was working on the study/den/dining room to get it repainted and reorganized. I felt pretty good. There were plans to sell books. Things looked . . . bright. The road seemed smooth and straight. 

That's when things always go wrong. Somewhere, in the dark I hit something. 

Actually, in the wee hours of Sunday morning at 3 a.m. I woke up screaming and had to call Mike to come get me and take me to the hospital. My whole left arm was in excruciating pain and felt as if it were on fire. It was also paralyzed. I'm left-handed. I couldn't hold my phone, dial it, or pick up anything. Every move sent me into screams. 

I went to St. Vincent's ER (Primary care is at that hospital) and they did x-rays, gave me a shot of morphine and a steroid, a script for valium, and orders to go to physical therapy. I have a pinched nerve. I went home. 

At 5 a.m. Monday morning I was back at a second ER. This time I decided to use the hospital (Deaconess) where my records were for all my ailments. After CT scan and a couple of shots of something they sent me home with Loratabs and ordered to go see PT. Monday I went to urgent care at the orthopedic urgent care and the doctor said I could shoot myself. Yeah. Scheduled me to go to PT a few days later. 

It would be two weeks before I could see a PT doc but they could do physical therapy before that. I went to my primary care doc on Tuesday and she prescribed steroids, Gabapentin and Skelaxin. Let me just say that at this point, not a single medication had any impact. The narcotics took the edge off to stop me screaming. The Gabapentin made me a zombie who felt pain and I stopped it but it took three days to get my mind back. I had acupuncture the second week and believe it or not, 50% of my pain disappeared in 2 hrs and I could actually hold my fork! Brushing my hair and wiping my butt was still beyond me. 

I won't go into the rest of the last two months. Suffice it to say I alternated between screaming in pain and writhing with gritted teeth and sobbing. Eventually, after a fainting spell in my RA doctor's office, I was sent to a neurologist who did an MRI and found I have a compressed spinal cord. She immediately sent me to a neurosurgeon. Turns out I have a ruptured disc. I have to have surgery sometime in the next couple of weeks to repair it and to fuse some discs. I hope.

And that is how life has gone sideways. 

I was unable to type for three weeks and still have problems after typing for very long. The pain in my arm is bearable but only just. It still feels like it is on fire on the bottom side of my forearm, side of my hand and third and fourth fingers. I'm very clumsy and that is frustrating because I've always been very dexterous. 

Now it is as if my hand belongs to someone else. Thankfully, as a lefty living in a righty world, I'm a bit ambidextrous and I've been able to do a lot of things with my right hand. I'll never be able to write with it and I can't remember to do some of the other tasks with it but it has been easier to let the right hand pull extra duty. As a result, the right hand is a bit more functional. Probably a good thing since the doctor said he couldn't promise my left hand would return to full function with no pain. Apparently, when a nerve is pinched this long (07/09 thru 09/17) it might not recover. 

There's always a silver lining, isn't there?  I'm hopeful because God is good and I've got stuff to do. 

As a side note, during all of this, my son Mike fell off the delivery truck at work (about 4 feet) and broke his right arm and injured his shoulder. So the one person who helps me the most is also incapacitated. 

See, I told you there was a silver lining. 

And that's the way it is as of today, Sunday, September 17, 2017. 

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