Thursday, May 17, 2012

Eyes wide open!

Let me make one thing clear. I'm not in the business of judging. Thank goodness, because judging others takes alot of time, and negative energy. However, I am in the business of having my eyes wide open. Somedays I still miss something, but I focus on being aware of my surroundings everyday, especially with people. Part of that is my inquisitive nature and part of that is from being an old rehab nurse who is got used to being keenly aware of others behavior.

Our news in saturated with stories of people dying before their time. Dying from addiction. Yesterday I read an article about a Judge from Knoxville who is under federal charges because of his addiction and today on Fox news they are talking about another Kennedy that battled addiction until her death this week.

Having worked in a couple of rehabs, and a pain management clinic I feel confident that I can see it in someones eyes when they are battling addiction. I had an experience this week with a Practitioner I see that left me unsettled. I went in for a blood pressure check. Just felt bad after some insomnia and felt like it was up. I sat there and talked to a Practitioner I see and  almost a minute after I began to talk to her, I realized she was on something. And she was on something pretty strong. The conversation was scattered and I paid particular attention to her eyes. There was a certain dark, glazed over, distant look that comes from addiction.

I hugged her and subtly suggested she read a book I have read that helps people deal with addiction. It came up in our conversation so I used that open to door to plant a seed. I dont think I did enough. I walked out of there without confronting her. I failed to do what I encourage so many people to do. It has been on my mind everyday since. I cant shake it. Now I'm struggling on what to do. Its a serious thing when youre treating patients and youre under the influence. Yet it happens more than we care to know about. I have an open door policy with her.  I can walk in and be taken straight back to see her without an appointment. Im considering using that open door. My eyes were wide open but I shut them fast without thinking because I didnt want to believe it. I didnt want to believe that someone I care about and love was there, in that dark place.

How many of us shut our eyes and turn away? How many times have you ignored that small, still voice that tells you someone needs help?  How many of us choose to go through life without our eyes wide open?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Death by Misadventure

"Death by misadventure". That is what the coroner put as Amy Winehouse's cause of death, "misadventure". That fascinates me that what really starts out as being an escape from real life, whether it be drugs or alcohol or whatever, that it turns into a misadventure. Misadventure is from the Anglo-French word "mesavinir", or misfortune and mishap.

As an old rehab nurse I used to stand behind the med counter and give out the meds and I would think to myself as I looked at the addicts lined up for their xanax or whatever detox drugs they were on, "whats wrong with you, cant you just stop partying or getting high?" After a little more time dealing with others addictions, family addictions and my own I realized that for addicts the high went away a long time ago. Once you find yourself in the middle of a full blown addiction, its no longer about the high. Its about the lows, the pain, and the inability to face them. Its about the hurt, disappointments and your body turning on you should you choose to move away from addiction.

I am fascinated by the news and how they report drug over doses, death by misadventure, if you want to call it that. I am fascinated that so many people lived around that individual and watched them on a daily basis go through addiction, functional or not, and then they are always shocked when they die. The one thing about addiction is it doesn't discriminate. It takes the young, the old, the rich, the poor, the famous and the one laying in a ditch that no-one knows.

Last night as I sat watching the news and the tickler started coming across the t.v. screen and it said "Whitney Houston......" in my head I knew that the following words would be dead, drugs or something related to that. After seeing so many people dabble and play with their hurt and their self medication, you almost can see it coming. I have long watched another young actress and I suspect that she will play herself into this demise also.

The thrill seeking, the numbing, the hiding and covering can only last but so long until its time for your life to stop seeking the adventure of a painless life, or accept it and move on and deal with it so that you can live. 'I'm still not sure why some of us live and some of us die in this adventure, but for those who were spared, it would be nice to help those who can find their way out of this downward spiral.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Again, Life is Tragic, God is Good!

To many people this may just be a grown man playing on a swing. To me its my son, the little boy swinging on a swing that has hung in his grandparents backyard for over thirty years probably, with his little sister and I watching him.

It was significant to us because we had just buried Grandad that day. The man, the myth, the legend. It was me watching my grown son get in touch with his heart and his soul as he mourned the passing of his grandad. It was me watching him feel the wonder of the swing and the memories it brought back to him.
I also watched him stand on a hill beside his grandad's grave and hang on to goodbye for as long as he could. I was helpless to ease his pain. I wanted to run and grab him up and make it better. Yet I stood back with his wife and his little sister and cried as we watched him try to make sense of it all and as we watched this former Marine show what it means to stand beside someone you love. Then to see him laugh that evening as we all stood around in the yard and told old stories. Those are moments you want to last forever!

His loyalty and strength overwhelmed, made me proud and assured me that he was at peace with every step he was taking to lay his grandad to rest. What an honor to look upon your child and see such loyalty and love and devotion. What a blessing to see him feel his feelings as you have always told him to do. To be a part of his life and see that kind of love is more than I could ever ask for.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Encountering the dreaded divorce recovery!

Last night was my first time in a thirteen week divorce recovery class. After careful consideration and talking to a couple of people close to me, I decided that it would be a good class to take. I have a habit of keeping things in that hurt me, not letting others see me cry and always maintaining the look of being in complete control. But I felt that it would be good to get some pointers from some professionals and from others who have weathered the divorce storm.

As we introduced ourselves, we were asked to give a brief description of where were in the divorce process. For me, my divorce has been final for four months, but we were separated for a year. I actually thought I was handling things well and for the first time in seven years I felt like I was reclaiming myself and doing things in life that mean alot to me. The real zinger came after my divorce was final and I discovered that there had been a girl in the picture for probably a year and a half. Oh it gets better. I later found that she is the court clerk who helped my ex-husband type up my divorce papers and she used her job as a Chancery Court Clerk to get them served on three days after my ex filed. Not only that but she was calling him and letting him know the contents of my letters to the Judge and what my intentions were as far as what I was going to contest against him. In other words, she crossed the line professionally and stands to be reprimanded by the County Ethics Committee.

That's when I realized that I wasn't dealing with this process well at all. She was forbidding my ex-husband to talk to me or help me with things that usually he would be more that glad to help me with. She said it 'was strange for him to talk to his ex". Hmmm. I wonder if she thought it was strange when she was sleeping with him while I was married to him.

So in short, yes, I felt that I needed some guidance on how to handle this. I have sought the advice of an attorney on filing a complaint against her and that is still in the works, but the big thing for me was feeling stupid and realizing that she had been there a lot longer that I initially realized. Her brother ironically is the Mayor. I had to talk to someone in his office about considering what I may do. He indicated to me that he was aware of the stories about her and he encouraged me to follow through.

So there I was in divorce recovery class, because my true heart's desire is to deal with this in a healthy manner and over come some things that I see as hindrances in the future. I really dont want this negative experience to cause me to be bitter and angry and unable to enjoy the life that God has planned for me. I heard a lot of anger in my class last night. I heard some stories just as painful as mine, if not more painful.

I don't think I will ever get closure from the stand point that my ex-husband apologizes to me, and I am pretty sure that the court clerk he is involved with is so arrogant and entitled that she would never humble herself and let God instruct her to be remorseful for what she did to me and not only that for the bad example she has set before her teenage daughter, and the people of the court in general. So my closure will have to come in the form of forgiveness and in the form of realizing that in many ways it is a blessing to not have to live in a home where someone was angry or moody all of the time and would not deal with his possible bipolar issues. My closure will come from giving total forgiveness to two people who wont appreciate it and who are so arrogant that they would never consider consulting God and asking for his guidance on what they are doing and have done.

I can already see God's hand in all of this. I have friends who love me dearly and call me, text me and check on me everyday. One friend whom I have known since seventh grade meets me on face book everyday at six in the morning. We get our coffee and check in, even if for five minutes. Another text me encouraging words through out the day. I have children who love me unconditionally and will always be there for me. I have an awesome support group that will take calls any time day or night. There are a rare few who will call and ask if I need anything. I have found also that many people even family are afraid to do that. I think they may be afraid you will say "yes I need help"! LOL. And last but not least, I have a God who will restore my heart, my spirit and my soul and who will carry me through the valley.

My marriage was doomed from the beginning because of secrets he failed to disclose about his internet addiction to porn. I loved him for better and for worse, but it was evident that he was not going to fix that issue. But who he is, is not who I am. I am a fun loving, wide-eyed, smart girl, who loves to love, loves people and embraces every new experience in life. I know I am better able to be the woman that God wants me to be without having a marriage and a husband who is unhappy with himself, keep me down. I love to laugh, travel, go to the lake, ride motorcycles, go to dinner with friends and be with my kids and grandkids. I love to celebrate Christmas and my ex wouldnt even decorate a tree. My ex-husband wouldn't even say grace or read his bible, and that just isn't me. In fact I dont ever remember one conversation we had about God and about how he felt about God. Yet as free as I see myself now, no matter what kind of divorce it is, its still painful because its a death of the dreams you had. Its a death of the hope and love you had. Its a death of two people who were one in God's eyes.

I have had to recondition myself to forgive. Usually I am a forgiving person, but this I have had to battle. But when I heard him say the other day how he would not marry her and if she left tomorrow with another man he would be o.k., I realized that I need to condition myself to totally forgive two people who would never say "Janet, thank you for your forgiveness" But as my good friend Lydia told me the other day, "vengeance is mine saith the Lord". I have turned my hurt, disappointment and anger over to God. I figure he is much better at dealing with people like this.

I don't want this to steal my joy. I have always been the kind of person to wake up each day embracing the sun, the breeze, the first cup of coffee, the morning hello's at work, the love of my friends and the blessing of my children and grandchildren. I am an adrenaline junkie and I love to right boats, jet skis, and yes Harley's. God made me that way. He didn't make me to be depressed.

As I listened to my ex the other day telling me that he wasn't sure that he could talk to me cause his girlfriend feels that it is 'strange to talk to your ex" and that he will not marry her, but he will sleep with her. He wont sign that paper and give her his last name", I realized that once again he has slowly coaxed another female into conforming to his world and his ways of thinking. And I was glad that it wasn't me.

God gave me another chance to get out and embrace everyday. I've met people who have loved me and just been an awesome inspiration to me. I can now be myself again. I don't have to be a loner like he was. I don't have to set home all of the time. I don't have to conform. I get to be the Janet that God made me to be.

As I spent two hours recently with a counselor she asked me who I was, truly was. I said "I am a lover of truth, love to write, love people, love to ride Harley's, love the lake, love my friends, love to travel and love to laugh". She said "then that's who God made you to be. Embrace it, use it to help others and be good to yourself".

I think I can handle this class, after a few tears and a few honest feelings, I'm sure that I will see that God didn't intend for me to stay locked up in a house, watching t.v. with the blinds closed and never traveling or laughing and having fun with my ex. Now someone else is living that life for me. Maybe I should thank her. Maybe I should cry for her. Maybe I should ask God to protect her. Maybe I should show her mercy and grace, because she will need it. Maybe not now, but she will need it. Every woman before her has. So each day I have to remind myself to give forgiveness, mercy and grace. I have to ask him to comfort her, even if she doesnt need it now, she will later. I have to ask God to soften my heart and love those who persecute me. The joy of the Lord will be my strength. Yes, many tears may fall. Many times I may feel hurt and abandoned. But I will get through it with God and with the people he has placed in my life to walk me through it. It doesn't get any better than that!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

To have and to hold!

I have a lot of interesting conversations with friends about relationships. I think one of the most interesting ones I've had lately was with my ex. He indicated to me that while he is dating a girl he has no intentions of ever marrying her, and he shrugged off the idea of even living with her. I'm sorry, I meant to say while he is dating her and sleeping with her he has no intentions of ever marrying her. He says he will "never sign that piece of paper". He went on to tell me how he has discussed this with friends and guys at work and they all tell him to just date and to not even live with her He even went further and said "if she took off with someone else tomorrow, it wouldnt bother me". Wow! When I asked him how she felt, he said that she doesn't want to be married either. Yeah, right. Most women in their mid-forties date because they are looking for someone to settle down with and grow old with, so I don't buy that.

How sad is it that a woman's level of desperation goes so low that she will conform to whatever a man says in order just to have him, or spend time with him. She will give herself emotionally, physically and spiritually and pretend that she never wants anything more. First of all that's not natural and its not biblical.

I realize we are in the age where women are independent and strong and don't need men. Yet they offer themselves up like a sacrificial lamb and they never require anything back. It's as if they are saying "use me, take me when you can, I will be there when you call, and all of that knowing that you don't love me enough or respect me enough to marry me". That's so sad and I am so glad that I never ever let myself conform to those ideas.

I realized after having a long conversation with him the other day that this man really did love me, enough to respect me and make me his wife and enough to want to wake up to me everyday and come home to me every night. We shared a home, bought furniture together, planned things together and we had the same last name. There's a difference in just being a convenient girlfriend and being a wife.

I have to wonder what has happened to women and their egos when they say "I'll take you any way I can get you". It's not the way its supposed to be. I feel sorry for those who pretend that it works for them.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

An Open Heart!

My son posted this picture the other day, and put a message beside it that said "Jesus doesnt hide his heart". Which I loved immediately because I am all about an open heart. Yet I had realized that I had begun to hide mine after some disappointments and let downs. I was holding back what I felt, whether it was good or bad.

I had a day yesterday where God literally stopped my car in parking lot and put a complete stranger in front of me that helped me. But this stranger wasnt there to help me with my car I dont think. As we talked about what was wrong and why my Jeep just died, we got side tracked into talking about life. I always say that I can go to Walmart and come out with a new best friend. I never meet a stranger.

This man was unassuming and so kind and gentle in spirit and offerered to help without me even asking. He said some things to me that made me stop and tear up and noticed that and he said "everything is gonna be o.k.! God didnt cause this to happen in your life, but He is gonna send someone to take care of it in His time". And when he said that it was like my heart was unlocked and opened up to listen and to see and feel again.

He jump started my car. I ran by the Auto Zone and had my battery checked. Turns out it was my battery which was still under warranty and I got a free replacement. So that whole experience of my battery dying didn't cost me anything but some time. But it caused me to be put into the hands of a complete stranger and open my heart and talk and from that the rest of the day was just a handful of things that happened that was just from me simply having an open heart.

It was everything from that experience to someone telling me they want to be the kind of mom I am to someone from long ago telling me about a wonderful memory they have of me that they have held for years close to their heart. And it was all because I opened my heart to these people and in return they opened theirs to me. I can hardly wait to see what happens next!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

There's Pride in Ownership!!!

I have a different life today than what I have had in the last seven years. My mornings begin with peace. My days are full of laughter. My nights are restful and spent talking with those I love. I'm in a healthier state of mind and my body feels great. I embrace every experience and I'm always game for something new and exciting to do!

Part of my peace comes from facing the battles in my life, a marriage that was doomed from the start, addiction that was denied and relationships that were unhealthy. I faced one at a time. Each one required facing the truth and taking ownership of what I had done and where I was. I found that once you take ownership, then you begin to heal and the rest falls into place. It was painful. Dealing with the relationships that werent honest or real was painful, but I was painfully honest with myself about who I was around and I lost a good portion of friends, many by choice. Then I had to deal with my marriage, probably the most dishonest, painful, brutal, betraying, unbalanced relationship I have ever known.

Fast forward a year later and I find myself surrounded by fewer people, but with a quality of honesty and integrity that I haven't had before. I now spend more time with people who are up front and honest. I spent yesterday by the pool with a friend that I actually met years ago when I was her nurse, but our paths crossed again down the road as a result of us both ending up in a class to deal with some tragedy in our lives. We began to talk and formed a truthful, honest friendship that is based on us being completely honest with each other about who we are, where we have been and where God has brought us to. Sometimes when we are together one of us with say "I did this or that this week", or "I was hateful to someone, and I meant to be", and I will bust out laughing because I love the pure honesty and truth that flows between us. Yet at the end of the conversation I love this friend more because she shows me who she really is and where she is really trying to go with God. That's something you don't get from a lot of people.

I watched a Glen Beck interview yesterday on that an old friend from high school posted. It was such a refreshing interview in the fact that Glen Beck took ownership of who he had been in his past and he took ownership of who God has shaped him to be now. Those are the kind of people I gravitate to now. I don't want the song and dance and the right script from people who try to say what they think you want to hear.

I love a man or woman who faces all of what they have done. I am immediately cautious when I see someone who seems perfect or put together and flawless. I was married for years to someone who is in law enforcement. He was probably the most put together officer on his force. His shoes always shined. His uniform always pressed and pants creased just right. His patrol car was immaculate and organized, and he always looked so clean and put together well and said the right things. Yet, remove the badge, the pressed uniform and all of the other stuff, and what you have left is a man who has a troubled heart, who cant be honest, wont reveal himself to those he loves, wont admit to wrong doings, and has just absolutely destroyed the hearts of a his ex-wives and a daughter because he is just mean at the very core. Yet he shines when he covers it up with that uniform. In one of our last conversations I said to him, "all I ever asked from you is that you be honest with me". He refused and hung up on me. I would venture to say that he may never face who he is or the wreckage he has left behind him, and that the next woman he is with will endure the exact same dishonesty as everyone before her.

I admire people who take ownership of their lives, their mistakes, their mishaps, their downfalls and everything. I have more respect for someone who can stand up and say what they have done and how they have hurt others. In fact I am more prone to spend time with someone who is real and owns what they have done and the mistakes they have made. Im not looking for perfection in friends, family or anyone. I am looking for an honesty that comes from looking into the face of God and saying who you really are, crying over someone you have hurt and taking ownership of all of that. When someone does that then you have the hope of a more honest relationship with them.

No one is perfect. That is why God gives us grace and mercy. There's a kind of pride in taking ownership and being unafraid to confess your mistakes and also being able to move forward and be a better person. Without it, you simply stay stuck in the same state of mind and the same hurtful patterns you have always been in. There is no growth in your life until you admit who you really are and accept that God does restore all of that. I'm the proud new owner of a life that now has peace and joy!