Thursday, July 7, 2011

I'm feeling grateful today

Recently my daughter, Grace, told me that since we moved into this apartment with my close friend, Cathy, she has felt spiritually free. I know what she means. In the little over a month since I have been here, I am amazed at how peaceful and loved I feel here. I am taking half the amount of medication to reduce anxiety than I was taking at home, my bladder has been feeling better save for the odd flare, and I feel a noticeable freedom from fear, anger and confusion.

Of course, I am in pain. I cry more easily, I am often distracted and when I think about the future I have to hand it quickly over to God, before I sink under the weight of it. I am also still having angina issues, and have made an appointment with my cardiologist and urologist.

The heat and humidity will cause problems for most heart patients, but I cannot overlook the fact that these years of anger, aggression and fear may have left me under so much stress, I may have damaged arteries. The theory is that I have coronary artery spasms which is hard to diagnose unless the arteries are compliant enough to spasm during a test, which apparently mine aren't. Given my symptoms and the circumstances of my heart attack, it's still the most likely choice. Every angina attack, especially when they come repeatedly for days or even weeks, carry the threat of arterial damage, heart attack and even...gulp...sudden death. So, I'm thinking it might be a good idea to have it all checked out.

But still, over all, I am enjoying the peace. I have had anxiety problems since before Marc & I married. Because of our marital issues and my health, I have been praying about my anxiety and working on lessening the unnecessary fear in my life. God knows, there was enough to be necessarily fearful of! Now, I find that over the years, I have been released from much of my unnecessary fear. How utterly cool is that?

Instead, I find myself blissfully free of fear, anger, peace. Which is odd. Those of you who know Cathy and are her Facebook friends know that she is in a huge amount of relational pain herself right now. Add to that a 16 year old teen-aged girl who is also hurting. Mix in the fact that we have all been dubbed "100% the problem". Logically, this apartment should be comparable to a looney bin, what with all the broken-hearted, maniacally-hormonal, mouthy, overly emotional, out-of-control women in here. Really, it's a wonder we're not all foaming at the mouth! But we're not.

What we are doing is listening to each other. Giving each other space. Hugging each other. Taking care of each other. Feeding each other. Establishing and respecting each others' boundaries. Giving to each other. Nurturing each other. Being honest with each other, and trusting each other.

No, we are not perfect. There may be issues, but everything gets solved (or will be solved), with *gasp* words, respect and love. And occasionally, Grandma Betty's peanut butter fudge, as made by Grace who has memorized the recipe. Wonderful child.

I am a grateful woman. There are so many struggles that lie ahead. I love my husband and pray daily for him. I, better than anyone, know who he is under all that anger. I refuse to lose hope, to disrespect him by believing that he is not able to make the right choices. I know what is possible. I am living what is possible. I also know that it starts a long look in the mirror.

Taking responsibility for ourselves, our own emotions, thoughts, words and actions, may feel like a burden, but it is the burden that Christ would have us carry. Jesus said "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:30

Having refused at times to carry the burden of responsibility for myself, and having carrying the burden of sin that wasn't mine, I can attest to the fact that the responsibility that belongs to us is the lightest burden to carry. God's forgiveness, through Christ, awaits every honest and repentant confession, every heart that turns to God and seeks a new life. It is not the acknowledging our own sin that will kill us, but the denial of it. Through acknowledgment, we begin to walk the road to freedom. When we are confronted about our sin, our confronter is not putting us down. We are putting ourselves down by committing the sin!

In any case, as I have said and will say again and again, I am a grateful woman. I love my family, and my friends. I love, love, love having Jean-Luc here. What a God-send he turned out to be! I wrote about saving Jean-Luc in the Chicken Diaries, but now I am seriously wondering if he came to save me! Most of all, I love God, who is my strength and my hope. I read a quote today by Graham Shaw that said, "And all this pain can’t stop my believing and all this joy can’t stop my grieving" . Wow.

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