Still

I see your name come up in my memories on social media and my heart clenches and the pain and hurt is still so real.

I don’t know if it’s been two or three years since you were removed but it still aches like a fresh wound. Closure never happened, it couldn’t and so we’re left wondering what truly happened behind the words and the faces and the good and godly intentions that were put forth

It all comes down to wether we trust those in leadership I guess. Those were the words that left my mouth and yet now that I think about it they are human and how much trust are we to put in humanity. When our trust begins to be in people and not in the God who is loving and leading us what deep sorrow begins to take place and form.

I still haven’t been able to reconcile that day. I felt betrayed when everyone else on staff knew but me and my coworker. I felt torn in so many pieces as the news was shared and the division began. And it just got worse as clarity was attempted and yet there was continued hurt and pain and not a whole lot of humility and pain or even apology from those whose hands had wrought this change.

It’s hard to stay in a place where you are no longer sure of safety. Where things are dealt with in a seeming cerebral manner and little thought to the emotional and psychological cost are taken into thought.

I was working the day of the announcement. I had heard it the night before and yet each time service ended and people left the service the silence of shock and mourning left it’s mark and I could feel it choking me and others. Disbelief, anger, questions, tears and so many limited answers.

I was there when few others are when they cane to clean out his office. It was like a gut punch to the system as the cloud followed him and his friends into the finality of it all. I had no idea what to do. I may have seemed cold but I was broken inside and trying to hold it all together. I offered them what assistance I could but it didn’t seem enough.

I heard resignation in his voice. What else could there be? And if you knew him, in the limited way we did, that was a rare emotion.

There would be attempted clarification that just gave us more questions, meetings and speculation, exodus of those who stood by his side and knew more than the rest of us did. When you can only hear one side of an indictment you can’t really make a decision. There is always the unknown. You can’t come to a guilty or innocent framework when the end has already been declared by others.

I knew it deeply affected me but didn’t realize the depth of my trauma response until about 10 months later when I was cleaning rooms in the church and found my bosses office cleared out. I panicked and sent him a text. The stories that I concocted in my mind left me near panic and I could barely breathe. It had happened again. They were removing people from positions and then making what seemed to be “reasonable” excuses. I didn’t hear back from him that evening and it made my unease even deeper.

The next day I received a message that he was still around and his office had been cleared out for some work that needed to be done in it construction wise. I cried with relief but the panic still clutched at me. I knew that I had been deeply changed by the moment but didn’t realize until I was faced with possible secretive loss again that it had gone so deep into my person.

And I chose to remain. After all I worked there. But my heart was/is broken and so is my trust. And in that moment a small seed was planted of distrust and betrayal. It has since grown into anger, frustration and a sense that I don’t really matter in the scheme of things. Work wise but perhaps even soul wise.

This past year there have been moments that have further distanced my heart from that place. I spent my weekends off attending other churches when I could looking for a new place to call home. It felt like betrayal but that was false guilt. When Covid shut up our building it provided the means for me to vicariously visit other churches from the comfort of my home. It also made me feel less and less a part of the staff as I knew that they were weekly meeting still and I was further removed from the loop. Not once was there thought or movement to include me. I was checked in with once to see how I was doing. It’s a big church and they can only meet needs they know about but it hurt because I thought maybe they cared more than they do.

And I know they these things growing and taking root aren’t good. That they need to be cut off and not allowed to grow. Be repented of and seek the better way but I’m still in the midst of trying to get out but staying because I have no other job. And that’s what it boils down to, employment.

I want to scream, you don’t know me. You don’t care. I wish that we could just let the church go to shambles so they could better see and appreciate what we do. Because they call us staff but the only time we’re truly invited to enter in us at Christmas. The rest of the time we’re an afterthought and so often taken for granted.

And maybe my expectations and attitude needs a bit of adjustment but the pain is so deep and the anger so constant that it seems almost impossible to see the way forward.

And today’s memory reminds me of this ache, makes my heart hurt and wonder Whois trustworthy.

#FMF – People

Joining with my friends over at Five Minute Friday to write for five minutes on a one word topic.

Strangely, it’s a moment I’m not sure I’ll forget. I saw it on tv and speculation soared. And while I was fascinated by the why, the stricken look on her face gave me pause.

She called her hairdresser after hours, and had her cut off all her hair. It was a pretty messy job for a last minute appointment but it did the trick. She had another strange request, she wanted all her hair put in a garbage bag and given to her. What in the world?

Of course those who take pictures for a living with no regard for privacy or heart break but rather the thrill of the chase and monetary gain, were quick to discover her whereabouts and pounced as she left the salon with bag in hand.

And while I remember the commotion,it was her face that stands out. You could say she was a washed up beauty at that moment, but it was the terror and anger in her eyes that stopped me.

The rumors swirled that get boys would be taken from her if she was found to have drugs in her system. She knew that hair would hold the remnants the longest (if she had done them) and so her desperate response was to dispose of all the evidence because the one thing that was consistent for her as her boys. Everything else had blown up over the years but she desperately needed them.

So she did what she needed to do. And while rumors swirled and people said ugly things, she kept her boys and life continued. And while she tried to return she faded from the limelight. But there are things that desperation draws us to. Things we would never consider in a rational moment.

And while my stress and frustration hasn’t led to such drastic measures there are days when I remember this day and feel like shaving my head to start fighting for what’s before me. It seems in the moment to be a solution so extreme that perhaps it might be the tipping point to change.

#FMF – Born

Joining up with the wonderful crew over at Five Minute Friday where we all write on a one word prompt for five minutes and see what emerges.

Born (v) a past participle of bear. Bear (v) to hold or remain firm under (a load.)

It’s been a heavy journey. To see him change day by day. Several years ago, when my parents sat me down and told me his diagnosis, I don’t think I grasped how this would change us. I couldn’t have known, because I barely understood what the term meant.

He still looks like my dad and there are glimpses of him that remain. He’s not so far gone that he isn’t himself but there are moments where I see he has lost himself and it breaks my heart.

There are a number of factors to contribute to his slow fading, one of which is his stubbornness in the face of our suggestions but the other is a simple lack of knowing as those things which he previously grasped are slowly not accessible.

Each day when he wakes up we’re never sure if it will be a good day or a more unknown day. Keeping him from falling is paramount. Helping him manoeuvre our house is also a daily journey.

I have cried only at my psychiatrist office because otherwise I’ve always been one to stiff my feelings. But it’s an ache as he changes before our eyes and I attempt to grasp the memories I have from the past years when he was who I remember and not the reality here.

He is so loved. Each day we journey with him. The weight that is born is not singular to our family but it sometimes seems that it will one day crush all that we have known as he continues this slow fade

#FMF – Normal

Joining up at the last possible minute (well about 5 hours away) to write on this week’s prompt. Tonight there will be a twitter party and another word will be launched into the blogosphere and my friends will write. So this afternoon, I’ve decided to embrace this word and pen (type) some thoughts. Joining up with friends over at #FiveMinuteFriday and #FMFParty are my delight (though i don’t write as often as I’d like anymore)

Prompt: Normal

Oh the term normal. We all assume we know what it is. Or what it was.

We speak of returning to normal one day. Back to the days before March, where North American shut down (as did many parts of the known world). Back to what we may have each considered normal.

And while I believe there will always be a new normal, after all we’ve rarely had a worldwide virus that has wreaked such havoc, the changes will be what many born during this time will then experience as normal.

My normal changed in March. Both my jobs were closed because they were not deemed necessities. I work as a custodian at my church and as a receptionist at a Massage Therapy Clinic. Interestingly enough, I had been pondering a job change sometime this year and so when both of them kind of fell off the table, that made me think. I spent almost two years (April) at the one job and almost two (in Sept) at the other. They were my normal for the last two years. Tues to Thurs morning doing reception, and Mon night and Thurs night at church with every other Sunday. But then, it all stopped. And everything changed, seemingly overnight, but it took about a week I think for it to all come into fruition.

end of time

Now with the changes to regulations, I most likely wouldn’t be able to return as receptionist at the Therapy job. I am going to look for another job, since I have my record of employment from them. But I am sad. Because this is the end of something so good. It was one of the best run workplaces I have every worked at. I worked with 5 strong women who cared deeply about their clients and each other, and it was wonderful. I will not soon forget them. I hope to still stay in touch with them.

And I was on a leave of absence from my job as a result of Covid. Now I no longer work there. That is sad for me. But not surprising. and the new normal. Part of the new normal.

looking ahead is hard because each day is hard to know what will happen. I mean things in the past at least SEEMED predictable, even if they weren’t. Now there is so much unknown it leaves me reeling and hoping that I can just make it to the next moment. i’m wary of returning to the church because that’s a whole new set of precautions and sanitation and responsibility that I seem ill equipped to shoulder. But we’ll see. I think I have a bit of time to ease into it.

#FMF – Distraction

Joining up with friends over at Five Minute Friday for five minutes of writing on one common word for inspiration. So thankful for this community, though I. have not been much of a participant lately.

Distraction – 1) divert attention; confuse 2) disturb or trouble greatly 3) provide a pleasant diversion

I love to learn new things and often visit Wikipedia as my gateway to further exploration. But the problem with Wikipedia is that you can click from one idea into another until you have no idea where you started or how you got there.

While I’m not often saddened by my explorations and the things I learn, I do realize that often time escapes from me during these perusals and if I’m not careful I can become so distracted by my research that I forget tasks that are waiting to be done.

Pleasant diversions are not always a bad thing but if we are not careful to keep a reminder of what still needs to be done than we may find ourselves running out of room in the day. I find it particularly true during these days when life is mostly spent at home and there really isn’t much demarcation of the days

jumbled thoughts

In the past, the 6 o’clock news was the bane of my existence. Every evening the darkness would descend as each horror taking place in the city was recounted. In the beginning the reports spoke of plagues that were far off, of cities shutting down and people being quarantined but it’s half way around the world and who knows what it’s all about.

Fast forward a month and it creeps into our soil, popping up in unsuspecting emergency rooms, showing it’s brutal grip of suffocating the once alive and still beloved. The hours became interminable as they begin to turn to wax and melt away. Coworkers became ill, protective gear becomes scarce and overpriced and terror began to slowly creep into the crevices.

Each of them had begun their journeys in the years of schooling earlier. While the hospital is not somewhere they wished to give their lives they knew what shift work entailed and how they could help people to move towards health and life. That was the plan at least. But they never imagined a pandemic. They never imagined a silent killer. They never imagined unending grief and constant fear, not letting their inertia come down and always operating right at the edge, so close to falling over.

We call them heroes and they are, but they feel bruised and burned, sometimes all alone. We are isolating to prevent spread of the contagion and yet we prevent the spread of love, of touch, of being known. People are beginning to wither away. How many will become collateral damage? How long will the day’s that stretch ahead not overwhelm us to a panic attack, break down, pools of sobs, dark bedrooms and hiding under the blankets?

Each night the 6 o’clock news is on. These days the virus is making news. It seems that life revolves solely around this. It takes being out of my house on a necessary grocery run when I hear sirens and think oh some part of regular life still continues. We are stuck in a vortex of confusion and chaos. Of large sums of money being promised but confusion over its rollout. And fear that if papers are not filled out correctly that money will be demanded returned at exorbitant fees.

The way ahead seems bleak. I am unsure how to best provide for myself. I fear bankruptcy. I fear collections. I fear giving up so much of what I expect to be part of life. I fear giving up things that should be mine to have and then I realize that what I have is excess. It can be given up.

I’m afraid I cant provide for my parents. I’m afraid one of them will get sick and be alone in the hospital. (And while I think of it I think the isolation kills people just as much as the virus does. Can you imagine being alone and fighting for your life? Despair kills the heart.)Im afraid we’ll lose the house. I’m afraid we’ll lose the cars and I can’t go get grocery’s and meds. I fear that I can’t take care of them. I fear making them ill by going on errands. I fear losing my happiness and joy. I fear losing my mind in the monotony. I fear being overwhelmed and not supportive. I fear not being supported in my grief and in my fear and frustration

#FMF – Talent

Joining up with my friends over at Five Minute Friday to write on a Thursday about the topic of Talent.

I’m not sure what I’m talented at doing. If talking was a talent I’m sure that I’d win a prize 😜

There are those who play music beautifully. There are those who write words that often fill my heart with resonance. There are people who build things, design things, plan things…and I would consider that talent.

but then I start to wonder is talent innate or does it require practice and learning to hone those skills? If you are gifted can you become better at something or have you already arrived?

these are my thoughts for this prompt.

Still Broken

Sometimes
I look at all the pieces
and wonder
if the light will ever catch them
in the same way again

The stained glass was something
we all took for granted
a spectacle no longer acknowledged
it faded into the background
blurred into the everyday

but it is no more
the remnants hold on
barely tied together
by the melted iron
holding them in limbo

the fist the smashed through
didn’t leave a clean break
there are dark smudges
where blood has dried
as a reminder of what took place

Beauty broken
shattered
now becomes the focal point
as we stare at it
see what it once was
and wonder how
it could have gone so wrong

I wonder if any of us
have emerged unscathed
i’m never quite sure
if its my blood that’s been left behind
or another’s

it seems we are forever catching
ourselves
our hearts
our sleeves
our flesh
on the jagged edges
of all we know

you always replay those moments
trying to look back
wondering if you could have known
Looking for signs

I’ve never seen such faces
blank realization
confusion
disbelief
anger
betrayal

They attempted
to grab at the shards
the pieces that had landed everywhere
no one was safe
perhaps if they all gathered together
they could attempt to
piece it back together
return it to what it once was
disregard
the chaos
these moments
these words
the devastation

its been a year
the glass still hangs precarious
we’ve come to disregard
its presence
we don’t talk about it
no one tires to keep the shards intact
and i wonder
if one day
it too
will fade into the background
and be overlooked
though the wounds remain
and the anger
and disbelief simmer still

December 10/2019
re L firing last year

#FMF – Begin

Begin (v) come into being or have its starting point at a certain time or place.

Gratitude often begins somewhere. You have to begin to look around and start to take in the things that are blessings. Sometimes they are things that are obvious and other times they may take a deeper look or perhaps some pondering time.

When I first read Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts I wanted to start counting all the things that were around me. But sometimes, I felt like I had the same things day by day to be grateful for. I wasn’t sure if my list would ever get to 1,000 things.

I don’t know how far I got, and I’ve done a list a couple of times, but somewhere around 100 or so, my attention span would wane and I’d stop counting. Perhaps my inward focus and attention on all the other things streaming around me were what preoccupied my mind.

Lately, I find that God is slipping in blessings in my life all the time. I just have to have the eyes to see, ears to hear, heart to be open. And I need to be able to name them for what they are, his good gifts to me, whether I see them as that or not.

In this past year, there have been a couple of little God winks that I’ve been aware of, situations or moments where something happens that’s clearly God saying I see you and I know your heart.

I hope to continue to count my blessings, to continue to begin again on the list, no matter how far I get and to not give up when I become distracted again, because I know myself and this is most likely the outcome.

#FMF -Take

Joining up with the group over at Five Minute Friday where everyone takes the same one word prompt and let’s the words flow for five minutes. It’s such a grand writing practice and the community is wonderful as well.

Every morning I take several pills.

I take Iron because I’m anemic. I take birth control because I have endometriosis. And I take three little anti-depressant pills because I have Major Depressive Disorder and an Anxiety Disorder.

When I was in my teens I went through many angsty days of ups and downs emotionally. I often wrote poems to express myself. I cried and yelled, trying to work through the foreign soul that is the adolescent life.

I don’t remember if I was in my later years of high school or just into post secondary when I told my parents I think I needed to see a doctor because I was really struggling. I spoke with my family doctor and he prescribed a pill to try. It changed somethings but didn’t seem to be what I needed.

Thankfully I was able to speak with a psychologist and begin attempting to not only work through the deficiencies in what my brain was producing but also what some of the underlying thought patterns might be to help to combat some of my depressed thinking.

We have worked through different medication throughout the years and at the moment I believe I have been on this specific pills for 10 years. I am thankful for the way it helps regulate my body. There have been days that I have missed taking my pills and I can definitely feel life starting to get overwhelming without this working in my system.

I’ve heard of people hating the stigma associated with taking pills for this purpose. I am so sad that there is stigma. For me, it’s like taking insulin when you are a diabetic. I know that I can’t live in this manner (where I am now) without the pills I take every day. I am so thankful for them.