Friday, April 04, 2008

That's what friends are for...(I promise not to sing it)

A friend emailed me to ask how she could help. How can she make any of this any reply:

You just did.

Skies were as black as night lately. I looked back through the darkness trying to find where I went wrong, what I did to put myself...and unfortunately Scott and close friends in this dark place.

Having faith it just adds another layer to it all in a way. Believing that He truly holds it all in His hands and molds it and makes it what it is...believing all of that causes the believer to at times blindly go about life.

Things go great - praise Him.
Things go bad - praise him... there is a song I love called I will praise you in this storm by Casting Crowns. I heard it, sang along with it...believed and echoed the words and their meaning.

Then the storm took a turn - nasty, dark, bitter...did I mention dark turn! It was like umm well, ok this storm is not going away. Did the check list of my Christian walk and the list of yes checks far outweighed the no ones.

So what is it? Is it me? What did I do? What did I not do?

Bitterness snuck in, anger tagged along. Doubt and confusion wasn't far behind. It was getting crowded in my little world and it wasn't all fluff and flowers and sunshine.

My first mistake - letting them all take a seat at my table. But, my defenses were down, happiness in our own personal lives were at an all time low...those black dark emotions came in like they had reservations in my soul or something.

My second mistake - staying there. Bringing those around me in to it too, instead of clawing my way out to meet them in the sunshine. They tried to bring their own but it was a mandatory check at the door.

So I gave anger the control - or maybe it was bitterness...either way I became a passenger of sorts. I got resentful of others living their happy little lives not noticing that I was in a downward spiral. I stopped talking to my God consciously at least, there were no prayers, not one utter of a please, Jesus, Dear Father - nothing for weeks. Big change from praying every day all through the day - from the "whew, thank You God for helping me find my wallet" to the all out on my knees praying for all sorts of things - thanking Him. NO praise music, no church. I told my parents I didn't want to hear how He loves me and He has a plan...I couldn't take it.

So...for a few weeks that was me. I at least had Kari and my friend Leslie - my true faith partners who knows every detail of my life pretty much. Both carry similar crosses that I carry, for some reason they were my lifelines. Not Scott really, not my family, not other friends...they were it.

Then just as this storm lets loose, Leslie has a baby - I can't lay all of this at her doorstep. She has a 2 year old and now a new son. Really all of this really got swirling when our trip to be there for the birth of Jack Henry was canceled. I needed her, I love our calls...but I needed that release, ahh moment...that whatever we get when we share the same space with a person who loves you flaws and all and we don't even have to talk about 'stuff ', just laugh and be silly and love on those precious babies. Make fun of Burt and Scott, we get the inside jokes. There are things that happen with us that no one else on this earth would find funny or interesting but us. That trip being taken away was like a levy breaking. It wasn't the beginning to say the least, but it was in ways the beginning of the end...if that makes sense.

Then after that clear cut NO, one after another came. Cascade of events - those we had really no control over happened. That is when it happened, my faith got tossed out there on the edge and it started 'teetering' as you put it and I had no clear answer how to get it back on safe ground.

Few if any family read my blog, so I knew the only ones that would know what was going on were Leslie and Kari and a few others that lifted me up when my elevator was broken. I didn't want family really to get into it with me. Some are so opinionated about everything and all I needed was to add an argument on top of all that was already on top of me.

So strangers left messages on my blog, they have no idea what those fresh breaths of air did for me. They kept me breathing, they prayed when I couldn't, so unselfish with their time and prayers for someone they know only by a few entries here and there.

Kari...she understood. That was all I needed to hear from her, Hope I understand. I am here, my prayers are yours...I understand. I will never ever be able to repay her for all she did for me.

I felt horrible that I couldn't help you, couldn't encourage you, I tried a little but D I am so sorry that my reserves were spent and I was living on credit for a few of those days. I had another friend who lost her father, was planning her second IVF and she went in for some blood work cause she was sick and bam...pregnant while on a break. It made me believe, it made me start pulling my faith back a little. Then....she lost it. WHY!?! I was sooooo angry with God for allowing this to happen. For giving her the feelings that her dad asked God face to face and He gave her her fathers wish. I can't even explain my feelings.

Then it happened. Kari hit a low, way low. If you could have read the email I sent her you would have laughed so hard - I will have to find it. Here I was so mad at God for taking her strength from her dang it, I needed her! But while I was trying my best to encourage her, to be there for know what happened...I started believing my words. I was given my prayer back, and when it came back it was like a flood.

I was on the upswing I felt, but still nothing in my personal space changed. No baby. No healing in my back. No job for Scott. No happiness at all inside my four walls. As much as I was feeling more alive, I still looked in my hands and they were empty.

Then Kari and I talked, and I don't know if you have heard her voice, but it is one of those voices that when she is happy oooo you can hear her smiling long before you can see it. But, when she is has to bring tears to angels to hear her sweet voice not happy at all. But all in all, she took me by the hand and we walked in this valley together - different hurts, but the same deep
dark valley that I guess God knew that I needed someone to walk with me and not just throw me a rope now and then from the mountain tops.

Well, as much as I failed this trial...God revealed himself to me clearly yesterday. He knew I was struggling. He knew that without something that touched me, that touched Scott...I would stay lost in this valley for a long time. The longer you stay in a valley the harder it is to get out I, I know.

Scott drives 1 1/2 hour to his job. It isn't just the distance, it is the driving almost straight up a mountain to get there. The benefits suck to say the least, and if we had no health things going on that wouldn't be a big deal but umm...we could have paid half of our house off with the copays and deductibles we have bills for last year alone. We have no family time but on the weekends. It was just horrible every day for him.

He interviewed for many jobs, some interviews were stellar and we just knew. Then one after the other we got the letters "just wanted to let you know, we are going with another candidate, good luck in your job search...blah blah blah". One of these we were so sure about, seemed perfect, just never thought he would not get it. Shortly after the trip fell through to see Leslie - he gets the e-mail.

That was one of a few things weighing on us, that made things 'teeter'.

Thursday, he got a call from the college he interviewed at earlier in the week. We weren't that excited - it was a blah interview, nothing exciting. They didn't ask for references or the numbers or names for any of his bosses at previous employers. And when he was leaving he said he would have the transcripts from college to her by Wednesday. She said don't worry about it. So he really thought it was a wash. He was sick and wasn't into being all to impressive.

So Thursday night we were in Hickory and a short cut from Sam's to Kohl's is through the college parking lot. So we drove through there and we joked how he surely didn't get this job...blah

Well, about 2ish he calls :
"Hope, are you sitting down?"
"Yes, what is it?" (I was standing in the kitchen heating up late lunch.)
"Are you really sitting down?"
"How did you know? I am not sitting - just tell me!"(I knew he had meetings all day, they knew he interviewed and today they were going to make some new offers - so I thought maybe they were gonna triple his salary COUGH COUGH)
"No Hope, sit down dang it!"
"Ok ok, is it good or bad?"
"Well, you will have to tell me" (he sounded nervous!)
"Ok, I am sitting...tell me" sigh
"Well, how would a job at the college being the systems admin be?"

I dropped the phone and lost my breath...I couldn't talk to him really!

"HOPE!? HOOOOPPPPEEEE??? you ok???"
crying by now..."Yes honey I am so ok, better than I have been in a long time."
"Babe, don't make me cry - I gotta go in here and tell them I am quitting and I can't cry!"
"I am sorry hon...but this is the one thing, that one personal all about us yes that I needed to see that sun shine, it has been so long since we had anything to be happy about"
"You did it now I am crying too...I gotta go will call you later"
"I love you Scott, I am as light as air - that weight is gone."
"I love you too babe, celebrate tonight."

State benefits - which rock, salary almost matches what he makes now, with the less driving and gas it will make it well worth it. He gets all those school days off, retirement and such. The insurance alone will be worth it. I have 12 scripts a month and my copays are 40 and 65...and with the state benefits the copay will be 10 and 15! So that alone will be HUGE! Plus insurance is free for him, 50ish bux for me and we were paying 300 bux every 2 weeks at his old job.

SO yeah...been flittin around like an idiot...just about to bust. If you have read my blog lately it has been dark and so sad...not like me, but it was me.

No matter if nothing else happens for a while...this was that one thing we needed to just get us out of that hole. He will drive 15 minutes to and from work, no more 1 1/2 hour up a flipping mountain (LITERALLY!) and there were always sooo many wrecks...but now, he will be home by 530 instead of 7, leave at 8 instead of 630. He has worked for 3 different colleges and that atmosphere is his FAV by far.

I know where this came from, I don't understand why He does what He does. Why He lets those who love Him so much, suffer (I know you hate that word). Got so many why's for Him. But, for right now...air is all I feel. Faith is coming back, praying is becoming natural again, Christian music again fills my car and house.

Praying isn't all about speaking the words out loud or in your mind. He knows our houghts...even those that flit by so fast that we don't really know we thought them. He knew what I needed, what Scott needed...what WE needed. He knew that the job we freaked out about was nothing compared to the one He gave to Scott. I wanted to send God my watch for a while...time moves backwards almost in my world and I want Him to know how I was feeling. But He knew.

He Knew.
He answered a prayer that I didn't even realized I prayed.
I did pray it. On my blog I hoped and prayed for it.
Others prayed for it...for me.
I am breathing deeper.
My eyes are opening wider.
Hope is my name, but it is also a bright red thread in the rope that keeps me hanging on to life and love and dreams.

That job shouldn't have been his.
*no references were called
*no previous bosses were called
*no transcripts sent - which were stated as a requirement of the application process
*he was sick and the interview wasn't exceptional
*we had already counted it out


God was his reference and HE had to have made Scott seem exceptional in their eyes.
God made them see all the potential stated in his resume' and they didn't need to talk to bosses.
God filled the requirements on His on for the application.
God blinded them to Scott's cough and sniffles and showed them he was exceptional.
God didn't count it out - and He is the supreme counter!

I feel like God let us think that we weren't praying maybe. Maybe He wanted to show us that even though we didn't ask for it...He knew what we wanted.

What I do know:
He never left.
It wasn't dark here, my eyes were closed. How can I experience darkness as a child of a King when He is the light?
When my faith is broken, I have people who possess the faith to carry me to the Father.
When my faith is broken, all I have to do is look around and open my eyes to the light and His light is the balm that will heal my broken faith.
When my faith is healed, in one instant - I mean in a flash of a light...bitterness, confusion, anger and all of those negative feelings seem a distant memory.
When my faith is healed - my eyes are opened and the weight of the sadness is lifted - I feel light as air.

But, all that being said - it is like I am waking up after a long sleep and am unsteady in my surroundings, almost have the feeling of too good to be true. That is satan trying to make me close my eyes again. I won't say never, that is a long time. But, as for and my house, my life, my heart is overflowing with light.

How does it all happen - the darkness, the spiral, the separation? Being on the other side...that is easy. The light, accepting it, believing, honoring and opening up to it is the difficult part. But once you get there - it makes the ride worth while - dark cold speed bumps and all.

So you ask me what you can do? You did reached out when you saw a friend in need. You cared. You didn't care from a distance you took the step to become part of the rise and fall in this ride of life. There are not many people who really truly are more than fair weathered friends. When you go through life those friends that were there for you in the dark times are the friends you will remember, you will cherish and unconditionally love. We have all sorts of friends - all are needed, happy time friends sometimes are the best they don't require much maintenance - just be happy and all is good. I love those friends too. But those friends who don't mind getting dirty, getting their hearts filled with hurt for their friend...who care enough to say - hon what can I do and mean it...those friends are friends for life. Even if we never spoke again for whatever reason (hope that doesn't happen) but in my minds book of friends you are right there on the smaller list.

I can't believe I wrote so much - I think I will post this as a blog post too lol. I wanted to post yesterday about the job but had no time and today the same. Scott's brother is getting married tomorrow and all week has been hectic.

I know we are from different places, different faiths - and like religion and spirituality are different - faith and religion is as well. You echo my feelings and thoughts on so many things (more eloquently I might add). From the first post I read of yours I felt connected.

I am rambling now I think, well...I probably past that way up there. It is late and I am going to bed to get up for the wedding .

There were so many that posted that really touched my pain and heart. People don't know how a few words - even from strangers can make a difference. I compare it to something else I experienced in life. My brother past away 8 years ago March 31st. I had bowed out of many funerals thinking my presence wouldn't make a difference. I stood in the receiving line, shaking so many hands and hugging so many necks. Their few words spoken to me made the days around his death bearable. I remember so many that came through the line, faces of old friends I hadn't seen in a long time. A lot didn't even know Mark, they came to share their love for our entire family. They may never know how much it meant to see them and hear their words, I can't even explain it. I make it a point to never miss a funeral/receiving if possible. Because as much as I remember the faces of almost everyone that came through that line - I have a little ache for the ones that I know that didn't come. Granted, they probably had good reason - but still it hurts.

I say all that to say this...strangers, best friends, whoever - if you have a moment please send your friend, your coworker, your neighbor, your family ... even another stranger - send them a note or even a prayer their way - you just never know how it will effect their lives. What might seem insignificant to you may mean the world to them.

With that......YAWN - good night!


  1. You are amazing and I can't wait to hug you in real life!! I never thought of things the way you said them. That sometimes when we are so low, we need more than just a rope to pull us out, we need someone to walk with us. That is a really comforting thought and a really healthy way of looking at things. Shows your spiritual maturity. This whole post shows it. It's ok to have hard times, it's ok to be upset and forlorn, just as long as we know that our Savior still holds us in the palm of his hand. And you always knew. You always trusted.

    I am so thankful that Scott has found a job. I am so thankful that you finally have a reason to sing His praise. I am so happy that you have seen the worst, and the rest is easy work from here, for a while. We all go through seasons, and I am thankful that your rough season is over and you are facing a bright sunshine days ahead!


  2. Don't lose the joy of this moment. Hold on and embrace it. I'm really happy for you & I hope this is just the first in a string on wonderful events in you life