Today is Veteran's Day, the day we honor those who have served our country in various wars and other conflicts. We honor our all our service men and women, even those who have not been in combat, though we tend to recognize the disabled veteran or the aging one more than those who work ceaselessly in mundane but critically necessary jobs (like contracting or fulfillment or in mess halls, etc.) I am grateful to those who have served on my behalf, and I am grateful that my son (Lord willing) will not be called up to go into the Military. I don't have an issue with the Military at all, but I am glad that he is still leaning towards music and wants to pursue ministry. PTL!
As I sit here today and blog, my thoughts run the gamut. I am tired and feeling poorly (a stomach bug), and I have to work today (thinking positively as much as I can). I got paid -- hooray! I normally get my check on Friday, but it was deposited today and that means it will clear by tomorrow. I am very low on funds this month, and having this extra cash today is a God-send. I cannot spend it yet, but I will need to get some things in the next few days.
My kitty, Ike, is going on Saturday for his neutering, and that will run me about $90. I have that money set aside, so I will have to get it out of the bank tomorrow a.m. I hate to do it (the surgery and all), but after my last experience with Gus, who was not neutered properly, I want Ike to be taken care of ASAP.
I spent the majority of last night in a fitful dream sleep, experiencing a really awful dream, and then waking up intermittantly to consciousness and thinking, "Oh, why is this so?" I would fall back to sleep, only to restart the same dream, and repeat the process. I don't know why I do that, why I am able to stop and start dreams like that; but I wish I wouldn't, I wish I would just fall back and let it go. It doesn't happen all the time, just enough to make me really grumpy in the morning.
My major dream was about betrayal from family members, and my secondary dream was about losing one of my cats (and then recovering her). The one dream took place near the ocean, so in Californa, and the second dream was at my old house in San Jose (a familar dream spot). The first dream was a family event, a gathering with my husband's family (his parents and his sister's family). Neither live in CA anymore, and when they did, the children were elementary school age. In my dream they were present age, with his Dad being disabled, and my nieces and nephew college and high school age, respectively. I was with my DH, but not as a happily married couple, but as we are now. Therefore, I was at this event under protest, not really wanting to attend, but feeling as though I must.
The event itself was some sort of memorial or celebration, because we were all dressed up. I showed up dressed wrong (after a long day at work), and had to change. I then got ready and we walked along the ocean to a small set of shops. We carried a photograph on a stand, like the kind you see at memorial celebrations (with the deceased's photo on it). We set it around a fountain or monument or some sort of large pedastal in the middle of a large parking lot. There were other things there, as I recall, so it seemed fitting to put it there. Then we walked over to these shops to go to dinner. I assumed we were going to a fancy place, hence our dressing up. But my MIL and SIL and I went into this sort of deli place, and they ordered food to eat. They didn't say anything to me, like we are eating here or taking food out for everyone else. They just started eating and I was sitting there clueless. I finally asked what was what and they said that "yes they were eating now." I walked out to get my DH and son to leave. I was angry because I had been made to come to this major event, a dress up affair, only to find that it was nothing at all. There was nothing special happening. It was all pretense and nothing more. I got in my car and drove away. Later, we stopped to eat at a steak place, and then I presume, we made it home.
My second dream found me in my old house in San Jose. This time it was the same layout, and practically the same outside, but the inside looked bare and empty. There were beds in the rooms, but nothing on the walls. The spare room window was open, and the screen had been bent and pushed out. I knew my cat had gotten out so I ran out of doors calling to him (Ike). I called and called and called and finally Jasmine, my little black cat (long passed) ran to greet me like she always did (tail high, purring and rubbing against me). I picked her up, caressed her, and took her inside. I woke up, and that was it.
I am not a good one to interpret dreams, and most of the time, their meaning is very obvious (like I was scared or trying to control something -- you know with a tornado bearing down on me -- easy to deduce). This dream, well the first, is fairly easy to understand. This has been the pattern of my relationship with my husband's family. It is always a matter of being required to attend a event, only to find that it is not an event at all. The name implies it as such, but the actual details end up being a moment of forced relationship. The feeling of being cast out or left out of things has always been there, and rarely have I ever been asked or allowed to participate in them. This makes sense because if I were asked my input, I would spot right off the lunacy of the plans, the idiocy of what was being asked, or at the least I would say "no." So I am never asked, just summoned and expected to attend. I guess with my relationship in this fragile place, I am no longer feeling as though I have to attend, and when I do choose to go, I find that nothing has changed at all. Everything is exactly as it has always been. And, in my new found sense of things, I see it for what it is now: a reason to force relationship with people you neither like nor care to spend any time with. Blunt, I know, but true. There is no depth of feeling, no sense of love or even like, no nothing. There is just "be there or else" and then there is a set period (several hours) of enduring unpleasantness. This has been the case for almost 28 years, never changing, never ending, never anything else. I am tired of the pretense and I am tired of going to these family events just to say "Oh, good, now we don't have to go again for another X weeks."
Awful, isn't it? It should not be this way in Christian families. It shouldn't be this way in the church of God, yet it is. I know, it is because we are all flawed human flesh, and we are all carrying around baggage that should have been left at the waystation a long time ago. I cannot be responsible for others who refuse to stop lugging their things around with them. Yet, I have to deal with the trappings of the old man (and old woman) all the time. It is part and parcel with living in the body of Christ. There will always be new believers who carrying around their luggage, when they were told to leave it at the station of the Cross. You understand this, and you know that they need time to process Christ's directives. But, when the people you meet are old folks, people who have been to the Cross so many years ago, who have heard the directives loud and clear, and who refuse to leave these things behind -- well, then you lose your patience with them. You try and act understanding, but after a while (after a long time in some cases) you don't want to deal with their luggage anymore. You just want to chuck it over the fence and tell them to leave it alone. Leave it, don't go pick it up anymore. Let it be. I admit that I lose my patience especially when the luggage is personal to me, especially when it hurts me and causes me to stumble. The Word tells us that we are not to behave or act in any way that causes another brother or sister to stumble. It is our job, therefore, to leave behind the luggage that is causing friends and family to stumble. When we continue to lug it around, it piles up all around us, and then not only weighs us down, but gets in the way of those around us. It is time to leave the luggage behind, to let it go, and to walk on as Christ asks us to -- with nothing more than our cloak in hand, and a staff to lean on. We are to take nothing with us, nothing at all -- for our sufficiency is in Christ alone, and we need nothing from this present world to lean on. We have everything for His Grace is sufficient for our needs, our time, and any situation.
As I ponder this dream, I must ask myself if I am carrying any luggage with me? Even the smallest purse is forbidden -- nothing is to go with us, nothing at all. What luggage am I attempting to carry on through, what items have I not left at the waystation of the Cross?
Transitioning to the second dream here for a moment. I return to this home because, I think, it is the last place where I actually felt like I was in a home. This was the house where my family came to visit, where my son was born, and where I truly lived. I loved my home, though it had some pretty awful aspects to it (dark and coldness at times). It had a lovely backyard, and I had a great garden there. This was my home for six years before we moved here to Phoenix. I have never felt that I have lived in a home since then. Though we have lived in several homes since coming here in 1996, and even own this last one, none of these homes are "home" to me.
I miss my home in San Jose. I miss my parents home, and I miss my brother's home. So much has changed since coming to Phoenix. My parents have retired here, and live close by, but this home is not home either. The home in San Jose was home, and it always will be. My brother has left his wife and son to move to North Carolina for a job. He is very happy there, though he is struggling with leaving his family. I have lived in Phoenix for 14 years, and they have been the worst years of my life. They have been filled with intense struggle, incredible sorrow, and constant strife. I am tired of living here in Phoenix, and I want to move someplace else. But, my parents are here, and they are aging, and they need us to help them. I want to go home. I want to go back to where I lived, where my sweet Jasmine greeted me at the front door nearly every day I came home from work or school. I want to spend time with my best friend, Martha; my friend, whom I have not seen in at least 10 years (we talk and email, but not in person). I miss our time together, I miss doing lunch with her, and I miss just having a good friend. I have some friends here, but no one like her. She understood me, she gets me, and I miss her.
My cats have all passed now; the last passed in May (Zachary at age 20). Now, I have Winston and Ike (Gus left us and never came home again). I love them dearly, but they are not the cats of my younger years, my cats whom I sought and loved so desparately (and who loved me in return). No, I miss my home, and I want to go there. I want to return to my home, to live in peace again, and to have what I once had -- love, acceptance, joy, peace, and happiness.
I know you can never go home again (Thomas Wolfe from "Look homeward, Angel"); but this is what I want to do. I long for my home, for the time when everything seemed OK, when I thought my life was good, and was going somewhere (financially, spiritually, emotionally, etc.) I long for my home, to return there and find the happiness I lost somewhere along the way. Where did I lose it, how did I get to where I am today? How did I come so far from where I was, and how did I come to believe that moving here to Phoenix would bring me joy? It never has, no it never has. I has only left me bitter, angry, and without happiness. This place has become my Golgatha, the place of bitter tears wept over the death of a relationship, once hoped to be strong and resolute. It has turned into mourning, and I need my tears now to be turned into joy. How do I do that? How do I turn my tears into happiness?
I know that the only way is through the Cross of Jesus Christ, and I want so much for this to happen now. I cannot stand it any longer, not one moment longer do I want to continue on in this bitter place. Oh, Lord, help me turn my tears of sorrow into tears of joy!