It’s been a while.
Too long a while.
How are you doing?
Every day you are on my mind, in my thoughts.
Every morning and every night I say a prayer that God will watch over you and keep you safe from all harm, and that He will bless you.
I miss being here with you.
I miss sharing my heart.
I miss wondering what you think about what I’ve written.
Life is crazy. Hectic. And just plain messy.
Too much of the time.
My soul is not happy lately.
Actually, my soul has been (and to some degree continues to be) downcast within me.
What does downcast mean?
: low in spirit
: an old English shepherd’s term that means a sheep has turned over on its back and cannot get up again by itself.
This also makes me think of a turtle on its back, legs flailing, a look of terror and hopelessness in its eyes.
Either the definition used for a sheep, or a turtle, would fit me lately.
But then, so would the dictionary definitions/synonyms of down-cast.
Every morning I sit here at my computer, with my journal and Bible at hand.
I pray. I read the Word. I give thanks to the Great Shepherd, our Father. God.
I recognize my blessings. Counting many of them every morning. As well as thru the day.
Singing songs of thanksgiving and praise.
Listening to calming piano music.
Trying hard to focus on the present moment, moment by moment.
My soul has become downcast within me.
The holidays are harder this year than what they’ve been since Rick died.
Even that first holiday season wasn’t this hard.
Oh, there were more tears that first year than this year.
But, then again, maybe not.
This year, this 7th holiday season without Rick - the numbness is gone.
All I feel is emptiness.
And the realization everywhere I look, everything I hear - Rick is not here. He’s not coming back.
This is NOT a bad dream that I am ever going to wake up from. (Even if it is a nightmare to live!)
Adding to that, this is the first Christmas in about 13 or 14 years without CR.
That weighs heavy on my heart, just from a Grannee’s perspective.
But that heaviness does not even begin to compare with the heaviness I feel as a Momma to my son and daughter in love, or what I feel as a Grannee to my other grandchildren - as they miss his presence. As just the mention of his name brings a tear to the eye, a catch to the breathing. And I know this. I know what grief does to a person. I know it all too well.
- I never wanted my kids and grandkids to know this kind of pain and grief. But they do. And all I can do is listen, then cry out to God to help them.
So, yes, the tears fall hot and heavy, sticky on the cheeks, with the pain of loss, the remembrance of love shared, the laughter of the years, the emptiness of today.
The work has become increasingly more demanding.
From the chart recording notes to the time needed with one of the clients.
From the more involved cooking to the deeper cleaning that is being required.
Which also means that one of the “easier” clients is being neglected and it hurts the heart to see the loneliness grow on her face, and hear the sadness in her words.
Add to that a schedule that is (in the words of a dear friend who was a nurse once upon a time) - insane and impossible!
84 hours every 7 days to work.
Not one 24 hr period of being completely away from work.
In, or out, of the resident house every day ... 7 days a week.
I gave my opinion of the schedule, before it was ever published to be worked.
I told her it would not work for my body, for my life.
- not setting myself up for defeat.
But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to THINK about my life, my body, and consider what this schedule would mean, or take away.
Ever since Rick died, my kids and grandkids have become that anchor for my life.
That part of my life that makes me take a deep breath, and centers my thoughts, my emotions.
I see them as Rick’s legacy, and yes, as mine, too.
But this latest schedule has taken me farther from my children and grandchildren than when I lived and worked in Kentucky!
I just can’t anymore.
So, this past Sunday, after much prayer and thought, I sat here at the computer, and I typed out a letter of resignation.
As well as a letter of explanation, to be given if the discussion became “Why? Why are you leaving?”
Today was the day that I was going to print them off, and give them to boss-lady.
And then, yesterday.
I was told that the company and/or family is hiring a separate caregiver for this one client who has become so challenging. Which if they follow thru, will relieve a great amount of stress in the home, for all!
Then, in talking with the other caregiver who works when I am off, the schedule came into the conversation.
Come to find out, she’s as unhappy with it as I am!
So, we talked, I cried.
I told her that I can’t do this anymore.
And that I am seriously thinking about quitting.
She teared, and begged me not to.
She asked me to just hold on a little while longer, in hopes that things will be better - SOON.
3.Then, I received an email from Rick’s aunt - or is she mine? Telling me that she is praying daily for me, but that she would encourage me to wait on the Lord, just to see what He would do for me. No knee jerk reactions. I had only told her that the job was stressful, and that my heart is aching for an RV. It has been a while since we had chatted or talked, mainly due to my job schedule, as well as my soul being downcast.
So, why yesterday? Why send me this message yesterday? A God-thing.
2. Over the weekend, when I was talking about all this with my daughter, she encouraged me to make sure I have all my ducks in a row, all the “i’s” dotted, all the “t’s” crossed. No knee jerk reactions. As hard as it will be to just wait, just wait.
1. Several days ago, during a long conversation with my son, he said he absolutely understood about my frustrations, and he was frustrated for me. He had tears wanting to fix everything for me. But knowing he could not. He also encouraged me to wait. To think. To pray. And to consider carefully before making a knee jerk reaction.
And then, there are so many memes that have come to me seemingly out of nowhere ...
- one in particular sent to me by my son. A yellow sign with the words “NO Time Off Requests will be accepted from November 20, 2021 until January 2, 2022.” It was these words that are almost a mirror of what was sent out by our boss-lady a few weeks ago. It is not these words that struck the chord within me. But the words that the one who originally shared this sign said, (borrowed from Facebook) - “OOF. here’s the thing: your employees do not owe you every waking minute of every day. you are not entitled to all of their time because you are their employer. this is why the term “requesting off” annoys me so much. I am not making a request. I am notifying YOU that I am not available to work those days. the reason for my day(s) off doesn’t matter, my job is not my entire life. If I want to take days off and spend my hard-earned money in order to have a gratifying, joyful existence then that’s what I’m going to do. The end.”
As well as the devotional pages I have read lately ...
The words of a song ...
Words spoken on an old sitcom ...
And I guess the most telling?
This quote that I “happened upon” the other day.
“I counted my years and discovered that I have less time to live from here on out than what I have lived until now.
I feel like that kid who won a pack of sweets: the first ones ate them with pleasure, but when he realized there were few left he began to taste them intensely.
I no longer have time for endless meetings where statute, rules, procedures and internal regulations are discussed, knowing that nothing will be achieved.
I no longer have time to support people who, despite their chronic age, haven't grown up.
My time is too short: I want the essence, my soul is in a hurry.
I don't have many sweets in the package anymore.
I want to live next to human, very humane people, who know how to laugh at their mistakes and who are not inflated by their triumphs and who take on their own responsibilities.
This is how you defend human dignity and move towards truth and honesty.
It’s the essential that makes life worth living.
I want to surround myself with people who know how to touch hearts, people who have been taught to grow up with gentle touches of their soul.
Yes, I'm in a hurry, I'm rushing to live with the intensity that only maturity can give.
I don't mean to waste any of the leftover sweets.
I'm sure these will be delicious, a lot more than the ones I've eaten so far.
My goal is to reach a satisfied and peaceful end with my loved ones and my conscience."
~ Mario of Andrade
Mario of Andrade was a Brazilian poet.
Lived from 1893 - 1945.
He did not know me.
I did not know of him until just a few days ago.
He had no way of knowing that these words are the EXACT cries of my heart and soul this December month of 2021.
Ever since I read these words, I have thought about them, shared them, prayed them.
I have decided that as soon as I can, I am going to have them printed and framed - so very worthy of that!
Anyway, given all these signs and confirmations -
I know that I will be leaving this job.
I just don’t know when.
There’s more to life than this for me.
I am so thankful for those who are called to do this long term. It is a much needed care facility.
But for me?
The isolation, the loneliness, the stress ... it’s more than I can handle.
And yes, I realize how shallow and weak that makes me sound.
But then, not everyone can build a road.
Nor can everyone drive a tractor and be hours upon hours in an empty and isolated field.
Not everyone can scale the heights to build the buildings and bridges.
Not everyone can bear the heat of a burning home to rush in and save a life.
Not everyone can put their hands inside a person to perform surgery that will add quality and quantity to a family.
We are all called to something.
We all have someone to reach out to.
We all have a purpose.
We all have a direction for our life.
I sit back and wonder at my daughter, the teacher. All that she does to reach out to these children who are challenged in so many ways. The way she interacts with parents and other educators. The way she advocates for these children who deserve just as much a chance at learning and growing as anyone else does. Doing a work that I cannot do. Doing a work where my passions are not. Doing work that I appreciate and honor her for doing.
I also sit back and wonder at my son and daughter in love. All that they do in working with cattle and horses. Dealing with the extreme weather conditions - be it floods, droughts, hail, tornadoes, 115*, or -10*. So that others can eat. Doing work that I cannot do. Doing work that I have no passion to do. Doing work that although I appreciate in them, it’s not my life.
And the list goes on.
Law officers. Firefighters. EMT’s.
Linemen. Tow truck operators.
Helicopter pilots and crews.
On and on and on ...
Work that we would all suffer from if someone didn’t do it.
But work that I either have no skill at doing, or no passion to learn.
I have been a caregiver for most of my life.
Few people know how that I became a caregiver when I was around 7 years old.
To my daddy and my momma. Behind closed doors, where no one saw, no one heard.
In ways that a child should never have to do.
But I did. I handled it.
Then thru the years of being a wife, a Momma, and a Grannee.
First a deacon’s wife, then a pastor’s wife - and all the caregiving that goes along with those positions.
As my Momma grew older.
As Rick’s grandmother grew older.
As others in the family needed care.
No, I wasn’t always there 24/7 with these. But some, I was - at least on occasion.
Then, when Rick’s health began to decline.
I was there 24/7.
If he went somewhere, so did I - and that often was even in the private times of bathroom breaks.
Giving him care until that last breath he took, when my hand was on his chest, and I had turned my head for 3 seconds just to look for his water bottle.
Then, in a time of searching for me, for direction and purpose for my life as a widow, I found myself in the home of a friend who was raising a granddaughter.
That granddaughter became a Type 1 Diabetes warrior. And in the course of those first 2 years, I found myself as a caregiver yet again.
Followed by a couple years to re-group, focus more on “me” ...
And here I am again.
Thought I could do this. And I can.
Thought it was the right job for me. It’s not.
I will pass the torch to someone more passionate in the coming months.
Where will I go?
What will I do?
I have thoughts, ideas, hopes and dreams.
What will come of those?
Time will tell.
Every day I am praying that God will go before me, that He will open doors that no one can close, as well as close doors that no one can open.
God and I have a unique relationship.
I know that some do not, will never, approve. But you know what? They don’t have to!
This is our relationship, not yours, not anyone else’s.
I’ve learned a lot about God in these last few years.
He’s still showing me Himself.
He’s still bringing me around to His way of thinking.
God is so much more than I ever thought He was!
God is so much more than I was ever taught Him to be!
There’s so much more to life than being downcast.
And I’m ready to be gotten up.
But that’s the thing.
If you are truly downcast?
You cannot pick yourself up.
You cannot right yourself.
You need someone to come in and rescue you.
Turn you over.
Rub life back into your legs.
Spat you on the butt and let you bound away in freedom!
And then, it’s up to you to stay upright!
To do those things that keep you upright so that your soul does not become downcast again.
Someone once said, “If you can’t runaway to a cabin in the woods right now, start small.”
And they went on to give examples of “starting small”.
Those words resonated within me when I read them.
I’ve been waiting for a “cabin in the woods” -
I realize that now. But it’s not here right now. I can’t get there from HERE. Not yet.
So I have to keep on waiting.
But in the meantime,
While I am waiting -
I will fight for moments of peace in the midst of the crazy! I can do that!
I will start small.
A cup of coffee.
A sunset to watch.
Turn off my phone.
Read a book.
Take a long hot shower.
Go for a drive and blast some great music.
Play a game, be it on my phone, or a board game with others.
Listen to laughter.
Watch a good movie that I know by heart, all over again - like it’s the first time I’ve ever seen it.
Eat a good meal.
Drink a glass of sweet wine.
I will fight for moments of Peace in a world and life of crazy!
I can do that!!!
I will do that!!!
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here