Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Just because you know the truth does not mean you don't believe. At first glance that doesn't sound like an affirmation of faith, but that is exactly what it is. My son is blessed with autism. He was in middle school and still believed in Santa. After all, he knew that every year the things on his Christmas list appeared under the tree. He knew that his single Mom couldn't afford those things, so he knew that there was a Santa Claus. He was now being teased at school because he was excited that he was going to visit Santa at the mall. So sometime during the following summer Mom told him about Santa. I told him that the gifts really came from God's, sometimes miraculous, provision. He was a boy with a strong faith, and he knew that we trusted God to provide for us, so he understood about Santa Claus.
We talked about it a couple of times that summer, each time he seemed to understand. Then, months later as the holidays approached he became concerned about going to visit Santa Claus. I reminded him about our conversations, and told him that I didn't think he would want to visit Santa this year. "MOM" he said, "Just because you know the truth does not mean you don't believe." Turns out, he is right. We kept believing in a God that provides. That summer Mom got a better job, we met the man who would become my husband and the only dad my son has ever known.
Thirteen years later, I look at the our circumstances and I see the truth of how dire things are right now. I see the less than $100 dollars in our bank account, and I know that is the truth. I look at the empty side of the bed where my husband used to sleep and I know the truth. The autumn before last he was killed by a drunk driver on his way home from work. His way home from his first night on a new job. I look at hard times we have gone through since he was killed and I see the truth. In the year after my husband was killed we went from crisis to crisis. My son could not articulate his grief and stress and so he internalized it all and became seriously ill with an intestinal obstruction. The holidays slipped past us quietly that winter. My son said it best when I asked him about one of our traditions and he said "No, we're just not feeling festive this year." By the end of January his health was improved, and we were struggling with being a single income family with a two income mortgage. I missed a payment. Then in February I fell at work and tore my biceps tendon and rotator cuff. I ended up having to have surgery to repair the rotator cuff and reattach the biceps tendon. While I was struggling with that our house went into foreclosure. Scheduled to be sold on the courthouse steps on June 12. I FINALLY got things straightened out on June 10. Then on June 14th, the day before I would start physical therapy for my shoulder I slipped in my kitchen and broke my knee. I was in hospital for 4 days, then sent to a "Rehabilitation Center". The only one my insurance would pay for. Trouble was I have had a rare neurological disease since 2001. The pain is excruciating, but with my doctors I can manage it with the appropriate meds. BUT my meds were not on the list of meds the rehab center uses, so I could not get them. My disease flared, then went into full body crisis, and still they would not give me the medication. I had to check myself out and come home with my leg in an immobilizer from hip to toes. I was released by the shoulder surgeon to go back to work, of course I couldn't and had to take medical leave. My knee healed extremely well, but extremely slowly. I was terminated from my job. Seems you only get 6 months to heal.
But, in all of this my faith is strong. Most High has continued to bless us, and we are continuing to trust for that provision. Right now I am waiting for the Workers Comp insurance company to release the funds they owe me. It is taking longer than promised, so we are penniless for the moment. But, we have the promises of God to sustain us, and I have my prayer times to keep me balanced and thankful. See, just because you know the truth-even when that truth looks pretty scary-does not mean you don't believe.
I started using Centering prayer almost 20 years ago. I was having trouble finding a church home for my son and myself. Yes, my son could be difficult. As a result, we were asked to leave several churches. Sometimes after we had gotten comfortable and made friends there. I started feeling like the church was rejecting us, but I knew that God was always there and that if I can be quiet I can hear the Voice that I have known since I was a small child. The Voice that comforts me, that sends me out into the world, that keeps me sane. I use Centering prayer as a means to be quiet. I am so thankful that as I have spent more and more time in prayer it has become true for me that to breathe is to pray. I can pray with every inhale and exhale, every breath can be a prayer. Every prayer teaches me more about my Creator.
So, I listen and hope and rejoice with that Voice. I know the promises and I am thankful that "Blessed are they who mourn" because my grief is deep. There are no words to tell you the hurt of losing my husband. Widow is a hard word to hear-even harder to type. There are those who do not understand that I was able to forgive the young woman who drove drunk that night. In my life I have come to understand that unforgiveness is about wanting to be right, and to forgive means that you let go of the need to be right and let God have that honor. Unforgiveness is tantamount to telling God that I am not grateful for the forgiveness that I receive on a daily basis. So I forgive and move forward without the burden of bitterness. Grief is hard enough without that! So, even though I know the truth-my husband will not be coming home from work-it does not mean that I don't believe.
I believe in a God that I can trust will provide. Now, I am not sitting around doing nothing. I am working on the book that I started before my husband was killed. He was so proud of me. He had pushed me to write about my faith and my life for years, and then it seemed as if the words just begged to be written. I was about half way through when he was killed. The grief meant I couldn't hear those words anymore. But, I keep centering myself and listening and recently I have started hearing those words again, faintly now, but growing stronger every day. So, I try to work on the book every morning. That is part of what this blog is about, learning to write again.
I have a lawyer helping me with the Worker's Comp situation. My hands don't work well, it takes me a very long time to type anything as I am back to one finger typing. I no longer walk unassisted as I deal with the neurological disease!. But I am becoming more mobile every day thanks to my purple walker. My purple walker and I can make it around our neighborhood praying as I breathe.
There is my son, who matures a little more every day as he strives to learn the lessons that his dad left him with. With the lessons he has from Dad and the lessons he learns from his obsession with NASCAR and the St. Louis Blues hockey team he is becoming a fine young man. We have every hope that he will be able to live independently and earn a living some day. I have swallowed my pride and we are applying for disability for the both of us. I will try to keep my house. My husband wanted to have a house for Our son. He wanted to be able to leave him someplace to live. Of course, that was when we thought we would grow old together and have the mortgage paid off.
We had hopes and dreams like every couple. In fact, the morning before he was killed, my husband and I talked about our dreams for the future. We knew that my health issues would someday keep me from working on my feet. So we had a plan for me to take classes and build a business as a life coach before that happened. With the writing and the classes we felt confident that I could transition to a wheelchair more easily. Our dreams have been on hold, but I will find a way to pay for the classes and I will continue to write. Just because I know the truth does not mean I do not still believe in those dreams. Those dreams aren't gone, they have only been deferred a bit.
Faith is how I get through every day. I know that My Creator has a plan for me. I may not be privy to all of the details, but I know there is a plan. I know that there is a plan for my son, and I see him moving forward a little bit more every day. We were blessed with the opportunity to take a vacation a few months ago. It felt like a sign that we were moving into a new place, that the grief was becoming lighter. We will never be able to get back to normal, but we will be able to create a new normal. I know this is true. My faith and my knowledge and trust in my God all tell me that. When it all comes down to it, may faith and my integrity are all I own. That's the truth. and I still believe!