The Color of Meds

med7The elderly group inevitably turned to talk of “medications.” They chatted away comparing how well theirs did or didn’t work, what colors and shapes they came in, their costs and side effects … surely medications would never be at the top of my chat list. [Dum-da-dum-dum]

Myself newly retired, I visited my father vacationing in a quaint area off the Florida coast. He chose that area because several of his lifelong friends from our hometown retired there and they’d all get-together.

Our hometown was so small it was like the whole place had packed bags to retire in this life of leisure: The postmaster, the grocery store owner, Dad’s fishing & hunting buddies, the bus driver, and Small town with small and medium business. women I’d known as nurses, administrators, wives or coddling mothers of many old school friends.

I went to breakfast with them one morning and it was indeed an endearing perspective to see so many vaguely-familiar, aged faces from my rural Midwest past in such unfamiliar beach garb and setting. Knowing one another so well everyone gathered around a hugely long table chatting as I struggled to remember how I knew each of their mannerisms.

Table talk began as a bunch of wisecracks and good old-fashioned ribbing in remembering this or that. I was relatively “young” in the group and, to them, I’m sure, I was still the kid they watched grow up some fifty years earlier.

Forty is the old age of youth and fifty is the youth of old age. [Mark Twain]

As things settled down and as I’ve learned since, it was inevitable that this group of 70-somethings’ conversation would turn to health issues and “medications.” Everyone was on pills of some med4sort, chatting incessantly and never wavering from the subject about how well theirs did or didn’t work, how they compared to someone else’s, what colors and shapes they came in, their side effects, the horrors or accolades they’d heard about each, and how one or the other generally improved (or not) their lives.

With all of them talking so much about medication and, of course, all of their intimate health conditions, it was like jolting back in time when they used to coffee-klatch about that week’s church service, what was on at the theatre, the best buy at the store, or the sin of tenure and which teacher needed to be retired. It was humorously strange if not a sense of being personally intrusive to hear them make ‘medication’ their prominent hot topic.

I wondered if they had any idea how much ‘medication’ dominated their talk and how funny that sounded, silently asking myself if it were possible I’d find medication the mainstay of my life, too. Surely medication wouldn’t be at the top of my chat list.

Well, it turns out I did and it is. And, oh, by the way, when you do find yourself intimately acquainted with taking pills you fall into the less-novice abbreviation, “meds.” I dunno, there’s just something very hard core sounding about that, like it’s a street term for drugs or something. I guess, in effect, it is. And now I know why it is.

Soooo, here it is considerable years later and I have this med that’s throwing off blood labs (another one of those ‘street terms’). I needed to go off it for better lab readings, but med2the thing is, that medication was a critical one I’ve been on for several years. It manages manic-depression, so it’s the kind of med that’s important with a direct, delicate impact on brain chemistry.

One of the things this med helps with is allowing me to sleep a normal cycle. Otherwise I’d be up all night into the next day. If you’ve ever had the problem you know what a disorienting ‘trip’ of mumble-jumbled “where am I and what day is it” your self goes through.

I went off the med and was surprised at how well I thought I was doing. Then I found myself shorter than usual with the dog and the people with whom I interacted. I think when I’m off that medication I might actually scare if not infuriate some, because I can’t slow my mind enough to think through facts before I react to them. So I was thinking it might be a good idea to mention this to the doctor.

Then came nights when I could not go to bed or I’d go to bed and do nothing but wallow, toss and turn waiting for my mind to shut down, which never happened. I’d give up and get up and find something to kill the time then be dizzyingly disoriented all the next day and totally dysfunctional by that night. This was not working. I definitely needed to talk with my doctor.

The doctor put me on a replacement medication that, I suppose, is preferable today to what I was prescribed ten years ago. You have to go-on and off of these medications medgradually so it’s a bit of a process. When that med didn’t help me give up the ghost at night the doctor prescribed another to assist with the first. So now I’m on two drugs to replace one and that was Not what I had in mind.

Intermittently during the week I also take medications for a temporary ailment and those are the ones I’ve written about that make me feel so badly. So, in addition to the two replacement medications for the one I’d just gone off of, the doctor added another new med for nausea caused by the intermittent meds I’m already on.

Are you following me?

With so many medications to keep track of and myself, by now, experienced enough to know there can be undesirable effects from new meds, I held off starting the nausea pill until I could see how the other two newbies landed. A couple of days ago I’d j-u-s-t gotten to where the new medications were beginning to work for a normal, restful night again.

Yesterday morning, the first time in way too long of a time, I woke up basking in bed thinking how great it felt for a change to be snuggled and dozing in the brisk morning air. Of course, about the time that thought processed the phone rang. And, of course, the phone was in the living room. ‘Oh well,’ I told myself, there’s always tomorrow to bask in the luxury of a morning’s wake-up doze so I drug myself out of bed to answer the phone (no pun intended).

The doctor’s office called. I missed the call. Really?

med6Last night’s second decent sleep (almost) requires a little more delicate telling. The evening before I took my regular medications then I took the intermittent medications that make me feel so badly then I took two of three new ones. Oh, I was sleeping like a champ, feeling like I’d eventually returned to normal when … you guessed it, surprise!

Not having the wherewithal to change linens in the middle of the night I did what needed to be done then drug my pillow to the living room chair, dozing uncomfortably there until I could drag myself out of it this morning.

I cannot win for losing. I’m still waiting for that good, all-night sleep.

I don’t know which is worse, not being able to sleep or being so medicated to sleep that when sleep is interrupted I can barely stay awake to function. I do know what’s worse than either of those, though.

 

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Letters … ~ Ch 6: Finding a Way Back

6bIf we look we can find blessings in what feels like overwhelming dire straits. They’re little oasis’ in a desert, four leaf clovers in a briar patch. If you’re reared in a life of faith they will show themselves. It’s up to us to look, find and appreciate them.

PreviousLetters… ~ Ch 5: The Pile On

Dear Grandchild,

The events of this “Letters” series began roughly five years ago when health insurance costs were rising and mine was no exception. “You cost more than you’re worth to me,” he stated flatly, determinedly, matter-of-factly, like every resource we had was 6ehis and my being alive needlessly drained them.

As bizarre as I find anyone saying such a thing (I trust you do, too), that is how he really thought (Narcissistic Personality Disorder). Every article on the subject defines narcissists as keenly adept actors who pretend emotions that they witness in others because they are incapable of their own. Most bystanders find them very endearing on the face. A narcissist is never so vicious as when you leave them (stop giving “narcissistic supply“). That’s when you see what their character really is. (Refer to video in Chapter 3.)

I’d identified his narcissism, but I hadn’t studied it at length and being married for so long I didn’t know what to do with that knowledge anyway. Unknowingly, I had stopped feeding his ‘narcissistic supply’ by standing up for myself more, which I now know triggered this revelation. When I suggested we amicably part he immediately turned as vile in demanding I ‘get out.’ There was no reasoning and there wasn’t going to be any sharing. He wanted it all and in his mind it was all his. The pompousness of that attitude makes you want to barf before you slap them silly.

It was such a blatant revelation of truly despicable character that I found it pathetically mind-numbing. What do you say to something like that? Argue it? “Oh yes I am worth something,” like that? And that would get you …. where?

There were many things he needed to hear and there actually were things I could’ve said, though those would not have been the least bit decent. That was a critical time to stand up for me whether he listened or not, but I blew the opportunity and I live with that serious regret.

Thinking there was nothing more to drain from me, he justified stealing it all and putting me aside with less remorse than those who put-down an old dog. By nature of being a narcissist it took far, far less than words like his to “hurt” his feelings. Just forget to praise his cooking or yard work and see what that got you. (Unadulterated rage.)

6fThe good thing was, at his age he didn’t have another 20-years to bleed other women dry. Out of all of his prior relationships I was the longest running so I must’ve had a heck of a lot more ‘usefulness’ than he could ever find in any of them.

As he drug out the divorce tying to hang onto all of the money, making it considerably more tedious and ugly than need be, months of life trudged on as described in these chapters. By the time I was free of his narcissist hook everyone in my family but you and Dad were gone. The day of divorce Dad was ecstatic, the most gleefully excited I’d seen him in a very, very long time. It felt good to share that with Dad. God bless Dad.

A merry heart does good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries the bones. [Proverbs 17:22]

From my packing to leave the marital home through all of the stages of suffering divorce one-and-a-half years later, I’d disciplined myself to make only “good and right” decisions. I left much more on the table than I took. I fought bitterness and anger, simply wanting to live without his angst. I didn’t want to give him my soul, too. I believed that’s how God would have me do it and that God would take care of me if I kept myself walking the honest, straight and narrow.

When divorce wrapped up I was pretty raked over the coals and didn’t benefit much from it other than freedom from him. By then I was willing to pay him to go away. Relying on the good principles I’d set for myself, I refused to counter his personal affronts in court as he lambasted me with grossly maligning lies. Apparently his approach worked better than mine.

With such a horrid divorce and all of the family losses on top of it, I kept asking myself where God was and why He wasn’t helping me. It felt like God wasn’t there at all. To keep bitterness from setting-in I concentrated on counting blessings, like how freeing it was not to be battered by someone every day. That mattered.

As time went on I couldn’t believe God would let me flounder in the intense pain of losing so many people; why He’d let me be so maligned by and among them; and why He wasn’t rewarding me with some reprieve of goodness from all of the goodness I’d tried to lay as a foundation. I had worked so hard to make only “good and right” decisions. Didn’t that count for anything?

As bouts of ill health came and went and I shoved handfuls of pills in my mouth every morning and night to stay alive, I began to tell myself that I do cost more than I’m worth. Why would God let me contemplate such a thing? Didn’t I matter to Him? Wasn’t He supposed to turn good works into some goodness of life? Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work?

6hI fought doubt, asking those questions over and over and clinging to my faith by bare threads. I came to believe God had abandoned me or, worse, maybe it was true that God wasn’t real at all. (I am ashamed to admit that.) Then I reminded myself of all that He had saved me from over so many years and how many prayers He’d answered so perfectly they could only come from Him. I knew He was still there. I just had to find my way back.

There is a verse in the Bible to the effect,

“As the twig is bent so goes the tree.”

That entrenched pilot light of faith was my tether to God. Being reared in His word was the undying belief that flickered inside of me waiting to be ignited again, waiting to be useful again. If I hadn’t had the believing upbringing Dad provided I would not have been able to cling to that when all of life felt so hopelessly against me that nothing felt right, nothing relieved the pain.

I try to never take God’s good graces and mercies for granted no matter how hard life gets. You cannot imagine how much I prayed and yearned and sought peace of mind in traversing the experiences described in these chapters. Some things only God can handle, even when it feels like we haven’t time to wait; even when it seems no one is up there listening; even when we think we’ve given up and don’t know how to get it back.

You’re aware how I’ve encountered health issues of late. I call their medication “chemo light” because it leaves me feeling so very badly. I spend my days doing nothing but giving comfort to myself, remembering chemo and reminding myself it could always be worse. This isn’t as degenerating as chemo and that’s something to be very grateful for.

In weird ways I’m relieved to have a reason to do nothing but pamper myself. It’s like I’ve needed that for years so I deserve to do it without guilt. Just having the time and resources in retirement to do that is a blessing. I can’t imagine being a younger person trying to balance work and family while feeling this way. I am very blessed.

I recall one of my chapters mentioning how we expect to have “caring people” around us at this juncture of old age. Having settled here only a few years ago and hibernating from society since, I didn’t try to get out to meet people and, as anyone reading this series is aware, now I have very little family.

6iIt’s scary to be so alone in this time of life, but when I strip away the self pity I realize that I’m actually living a self-fulfilling prophecy least expected. Just because it’s not expected doesn’t make it bad — just different.

Now, when I think about people coming and going as used to be, that feels uncomfortable. Just as I was left alone when younger to figure things out for myself, that’s the same way I am today and aptly so. Just let me admire life from a distance. That’s about all the energy I have for it anymore anyway. And that’s okay.

Then I thought about the new people who do come and go in my life now. They are good and caring and so thoughtful. As are those tending to the home. I don’t have many needs that aren’t being met. Wants, maybe, but not needs (smiling). Given how I tend to be such a private homebody, I’m not sure I’d even want more people than this in my daily life.

I was surprised to realize just how “full” my life is given the limited desire I have to be active in it. God blessed me with newbie ‘loved ones’ and I’m so comfortable with them I almost forgot how much I do appreciate them. They are all considerably better to me than my own family (save Dad and you all of course).

God is good to me. He’s carried me and He’s let me walk alone. He’s led me to understandings and He’s walked silently to keep me company as I figured them out. He’s woven caring people into the moments of my living when I feared there could never be more.

The cleaning lady and I laugh a lot, she’s more like a daughter or lifelong friend than a paid helper. I buy household gadgets to give us new toys for play when she does her work. When she arrives at the door CeeCee scampers with the enthusiasm of a child seeing grandma bearing goodies. In many ways, I do have family. They’re just a very different one than what I’d envisioned.

6bLike that undying flicker of faith, I never lose hope, either, that God will make it possible for our broken family to mend itself. I don’t expect that, but I know He can if He wants and I keep praying He’s working on it. Maybe by then we’ll all have our hearts in a better place, be better aware of our own failings and less critical of one another, thus better prepared to receive each other in a brand new light. With God, all things are possible.

If we look we can find blessings in what feels like overwhelming dire straits. They’re little oasis’ in a desert, four leaf clovers in a briar patch. If you’re reared in a life of faith they will show themselves. It’s up to us to look, find and appreciate them.

Ever since a small child Dad would stop to peruse a clover patch for four leaf clovers. We’d do it together, even as I was older, and he always found at least one. Recently I opened a book he’d given me just before he died. Tucked inside its pages is the “I love you” of a four leaf clover he’d secreted there. Its plucked but still-green color feels like a bridge between where the two of us are now, he on the other side of life and me, still here, trying to find my own.

I cannot imagine living the struggles of life without faith that Dad instilled in me to do just that. It may be a long while before your young life experiences serious troubles, but some sort comes to all of us at one time or another. When you do, I hope you’ll reflect on these words.

Lesson Six:  No matter how bad life may feel in tribulation, take a moment to look for a good inside each bad you’re suffering. You’ll be surprised. God is so good. ♥

 

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Letters … ~ Ch 1: When I’m Gone (Video)

burialFamily are a lot like goldfish. Their affections grow to endure only what fits comfortably within their own environments. I watched what felt like helplessly as the family I thought I knew mutated into something wholly unrecognizable.

PreviousLetters to A Grandchild ~ Preface

Dear Grandchild,

As a grandmother, there are life-wisdoms I wanted to leave … those things that we only see clearly through a grandparent’s age and experience. There is one ‘wisdom’ in particular to which I hope you will give special caution.

Leaving this in my burial planning records, it started as a simple paragraph or two when it dawned on me that this really is my last chance to “chat” with you. No pressure or anything. There are so many things I wish I’d been better equipped to speak to over the years, when it might’ve made a difference. And no one wants to be forgotten or, worse, remembered in a poorly shed light of the less loving.

I kept believing the opportunity would come when our family would want to set differences right, but the time for that has passed; and it is clear by now, ‘setting things right’ defeats the purpose of all their years’ hard work. “It takes two to Tango” and here I am with the bulk of a productive life behind me. It is important you know what others don’t speak, else a life of unspoken truths die with me.

I’m sure this is much less relevant to others than to me, but it might mean something when you find yourself confronted with similar dynamics. I always took a back seat, never standing up for myself; convincing myself another’s feelings were more important; that I had bigger shoulders; that some day when it was most critical someone would do that for me. It’s been a long wait. So it seemed especially important now.

Knowing your spouse’s appreciation for genealogy, I began this by adding simple bits & pieces of personal history. The next thing I knew it had morphed into a book rather than a ‘few last words.’ In perfect hindsight now, how these tragedies unfolded speaks to surviving this family’s dysfunction more than it does the ill-equipped child turned matriarch who still struggles to navigate that terrain.

Stepping Back in Time

Not so long ago generations of family lived in one home, so learning from one another was an effortless occurrence. Oh, the richness of that life. I wish you & I could’ve had that, I’d like to know you better as the full-grown adult you are: What weighs on your mind and heart; your spiritual and worldly convictions; your ambitions and memories and regrets. What you think, why you think it and how you reach your conclusions. I very much cherish the intermittent blurps we do occasionally share. Those are very special to me, especially when we find laughter in them.

While trying to put cautions in written word, it occurred to me how much I don’t know about the whole person you’ve become and, given likely differences between our generations, maybe my ‘grandmotherly’ vantage would seem to underestimate you. The 40-some years between us allows you to be generally better-informed about the world than I was at your age; and your upbringing was considerably less sheltered than mine. I’ve always regretted that, for you, but being overly protected in formative years isn’t the blessing it’s intended to be, either. I speak from experience.

I can’t know where the potential overlap of ‘underestimating you’ starts & my naivete stops. School records reflected an IQ of 150, but I was emotionally stunted by an overly-protective authoritarian that demanded compassionate blind-faith in the face of everyone and everything that confronted me. Being reared to believe those principles were an integral part of being a good person, I lived them, they became who I was. I accepted everyone at face value and that staunch principle misguided me for countless years.  beaver2

A normal day of my formative childhood is no keener visualized than an episode of the old “Leave It To Beaver” TV series. That is a perfect snapshot: Living in a quaint safe town, the child of upstanding parents; the expansive sterile home with a father always in a suit or ironed khakis, a mother homemaking in flowing skirts and the only problems to solve being ironing out wrinkles of idealism. The stark difference in mine was a brother bearing intense resentment that I ever came along in the first place, but nothing’s perfect.

In the end, I also know that your age cannot possibly afford the knowledge it took a lifetime of experiences to gain, so I trudge forward with my ‘wisdom’ quest. Somewhere in between the differences of our personal histories are the twains where youthful inexperience and elderly wisdom intersect.

Ahh, To Be Young Again

When we’re young life is full & busy as we try to realize all of the dreams built into our eager hearts. Over time life can come to feel so endlessly mundane many of them fall-away or we find ourselves blindly following their crumbs wherever they lead us. Old age seems so off of our radars we don’t concern ourselves. It comes so much sooner than any of us envision, despite how we convince ourselves we’ll conquer that, too.

When that part of life happens all that’s left are memory snapshots of the journeys undertaken with people we loved dotting their landscape. We always think of ourselves as the vibrant person we were in our youth, defying the ‘old person’ we inevitably do morph into and even after we already have. No one who lives long enough escapes that. That is when we need family’s affections more than ever. It’s natural to expect that the loved ones of today will be there then.

Maybe someday your generation will restart family reunions and you’ll find yourself gathered around a table with loved ones you all-too-rarely see, catching up with memories of old times like Family-Reunion.pngwe used to do. Dad loved our family reunions and God bless him for keeping them going as long as he did. They stopped (in terms of inviting me) when he died and that speaks better to my reasons for leaving this than any other could.

You’ll be the only one of your generation knowing this side of our family history. Others have invested themselves in rewriting it and, to great regrettable degree, they’ve accomplished that in trying to shed themselves in better light. When someone seeks to pull themselves above the rest, there’s always another who pays the price. For reasons you may innately understand, I was this family’s easy target.

We never know other people as well as we think we do and family is at the top of that list. If you don’t appreciate the ‘wisdom’ in this now, save it for when you find loved ones inexplicably disappointing. That day will come. In one form or another, the ‘wisdom’ interwoven here is at the core of all we find perplexing about humanity. Entire industries prosper from the subject, attesting to just how real and captivating those mysteries are. We never truly appreciate the evil within them until we’re forced to live it.

During my productive years, which are the bulk of everyone’s lifetime, I routinely denied myself to give to those around me, even when I had very little to give materially or emotionally. Your mother is the prime beneficiary. Dad’s second family and you boys rank right up there at the top. The list goes on … siblings, in-laws, husbands, coworkers, friends, and acquaintances.

A few stories that never get told because, in accordance with the values I was taught, I’m not prone to talking about my good-doings. I hoped by adding them here they’d better demonstrate my heart. (Doing this makes more sense when you read further):

As a young, struggling single mother, at Christmas I waited to pay on a layaway. A very old man ahead was placing a few dollars on an $8 pair of slippers he’d laid away as a gift for his wife. It was his second payment. The love he showed with what little he had was so absolutely touching, after he left I paid off the balance.

faithhopelove2In a grocery line a few months ago a mother ahead of me with her three boys spent $30 more than she had. She began removing all of the boys’ favorite items. I put the balance on my card and the lady had tears in her eyes in hugging me. I hoped it gave the people behind thought for the day, too. “Pay it forward.”

Then there was the young woman with a baby stranded at an interstate rest area to whom I gave $50 for gas and food. As soon as the money exchanged hands she ran to her boyfriend hiding in a nearby car and with a day’s bounty in hand they zoomed away (I can only hope not to buy drugs). We can’t get them all right.

I do love giving, of feeling love, of being able to make someone’s life a little happier or less burdensome. Praise God for the opportunities. That is the real me and with the same humility I was taught to love I’m not prone to tooting my horn. I give because I love giving, including emotional sacrifices when someone else needs those and which are often the hardest for any of us to give. I am confident in the goodness I am. I certainly am saddened by ‘my family’s’ efforts to pose me otherwise. But God & I know better.

Chapters that follow are written from the emotional angle of those endearing endeavors, whether anyone ever acknowledges them or not. That coming so naturally to me is what made it so easy for those less generous to take advantage.

Each family is different but I’ve heard of a lot more who share the traits about which I write than those who don’t. I assure you, in your generation of our immediate family the dilemma I caution is also thriving, alive and well. This identifies those danger zones. I write of a family dynamic, but the same principles apply to work and social situations.

We think ‘who we are’ is defined by the principles we live, but it is not that simple. That is not necessarily so. To others and especially those within a family, ‘who we are’ is a lot more about them than it is about us. After giving all of my productive years so loyally to so many and for so long, their abandonment of me in the end was an unfathomable outcome. In my overly-naïve state, I could never have foreseen that coming.

This is my true story of how that life trauma evolved and, I hope, how to not let it happen to you. I attribute my ludicrous naivete’ to being taught unrealistic ideals as a small child but when I came of age to practically apply them to life I was left grossly deficient of any parental guidance. My idealism never merged with application. Those unadulterated values lived in my soul, blindly guiding me from one life tragedy into another and none were more tragic than those of the last four-years.

Please peruse embedded videos, identified by “Video” in chapter titles. A couple are critical in understanding the psychology at play.

‘The Wisdom’ Within this Wisdom Quest

Family are a lot like goldfish. Their affections grow to endure only what fits comfortably within their own environments. I watched what felt like helplessly, with new spouses and newborn children growing into adulthood, as the family I thought I knew mutated into something wholly unrecognizable.

wisdom2‘The wisdom’ I leave for you is rooted in manipulation. Don’t think you know enough about this already — you do not. Manipulation is, by its very nature, secreted deep within the bowels of each generation’s search for importance within their family hierarchy.

Manipulation stems from insecurities and within a family unit requires crafty, deceptive rumormongering of more than one to make it work. Willing gamers are always the least secure. A more independent, concentrated form of manipulation is within the marriage itself and the gamer is always the spouse. Those types of spouses are, however, always on the prowl for a hierarchy weaker link, drawing in others to give their prowess strength of numbers.

The larger a family the more insecure personalities there are in it and the more dangerous their game. My biggest failing was – I was not insecure. I ignorantly loved and trusted, forcing myself to do that even when I sensed otherwise … because that pure grain of idealism is what was so staunchly etched into guiding me. That over-trusting unawareness, the confidence it mustered and the successes it achieved made me the natural, easiest family target of scapegoating.

Manipulation and rumormongering work to erode all we thought we knew about our family’s fishbowl. If we are secure in ourselves and especially when we’re young, it’s too easy to dismiss red-flag behaviors as mere glitches when they are anything but. When you sense a ref flag, it is a red flag. Pay attention to it. Never ignore your gut instincts – never.

My family being fragmented at an early age brought all the insecurities of a second stepfamily. Even natural families have their over-indulged favorites or diabolical gamers. It may be too early for you to see this in your immediate family, but it is lurking. Trust me on that. You may already have a sense of the red flags you’ve ignored because you don’t know how to commit to handling them yet. Trust your gut. Gut instincts are always reliable. Never ignore a red flag. Explore it. That’s your instincts telling you “wait a minute, you really need to look at this.”

A late-comer in our family had a keen knack for charismatic persuasion and that was the sustenance for all that was to go bad in the years that followed. Those less secure found The Persuader a keen means to filling their emotional needs. It could be equated to a football game, with the more-experienced coach directing cunning plays while youthful offense & defense on the field carried them out. A couple could only observe from the bench trying to figure out red flags and what the score was.

With these tactics always employed clandestinely and, by that, uncontested, over time it develops into a dizzying, whimsical beehive of plotting and counter-plotting that had no scoreboard and no end. The game itself became ‘who’ the family was. Those less-secure tirelessly schemed to unseat those naturally born into the hierarchy in trying to gain an elusive place they perceived as more self-important. A seat they perceived as being self-entitled. They had to have it. They had to be it. The only way to get there was to unseat the subject of their insecurities’ disdain.

To people of so little self-esteem, it is of no consequence when their goals damage others’ lives. There is no “for the good of the whole” mindset. Damaging others is a deliberate intent. Scheming and plotting is a reflex like breathing. They’ve learned it innately and perfected it all of their lives. It’s second nature. In family it becomes a giggling whimsy of self-aggrandizing in who can impose the most cunning. Moral conscience does not apply. Those of moral conscience are the “weaker” prey. Depriving another of moral conscience is essential to reaching their goals.

The underlying dilemma is that people trying to fill an internal void this way cannot possibly accomplish what they seek, precisely because the hole they try to fill is innate insecurity that’s permanently built into their psyche. It’s like trying to fill a pitcher with a hole in the bottom. No amount of gamesmanship can fill their sense of void and unease about themselves, making it all the more necessary for them to try.

Just like trying to fill that pitcher with a hole, when the water coming in is greater than the water going out the pitcher begins to refill. Similarly, gamesmanship replenishes the manipulator in feeling good about themselves again. But because of the hole (their insecurity) that sensation cannot last, so they keep taking their psyche back to the well to replenish that feel-good feeling. The process continues never ending else the pitcher becomes a useless vessel.

Much like an addiction, manipulation offers a temporary satisfaction in sensing power, relief and feeling-good. Like an addiction, the more successful manipulation is and the more people they can bring into it the more they need those highs and the more practiced they become at attaining them.

Lesson One: Do not be a silent player observing from the bench. Your gut instincts are always telling you something important.

 

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Next: Letters… ~ Ch 2: Leveling & Scapegoating (Video)

For general information … video may contain foul language.

Letters to a Grandchild ~ PREFACE: My Wisdom Quest

retrospect1This series unveils epiphanies that shake a soul as much as ease a shattered heart. It proves it’s never too late to learn even when we think we’ve learned it all. This is a personal story of perplexing circumstances and the lessons learned in digesting its incomprehensible tragedy.

Dear Grandchild,

Retrospection weighs heavily with age. If not so for everyone, then either I need to know their secret or they need to know mine.

Purely by happenstance it’s a year to the day since I’d last posted. Given bouts of ill health, I’ve been making practical decisions like securing a grave and marker. I’ll rest back in the hometown between Dad and baby sister, both frequent subjects of earlier writings.

Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children is their fathers. [Proverbs 17:6]

Working through burial paperwork, it was odd to realize that Dad bought the plots when I was five and my sister was on the cusp of being born. Dad would’ve been your age now, myself the age of your little one. That brings generations closer in a more relatable way, imagining him young and not so unlike yourself. That was also when Dad & Mom changed my given name. I remember those days so vividly, with many visions of Dad in his signature khaki casual wear.

Dad kept a picture on the wall of his older brothers and himself circa 1930. It was professional for the day and then you were about five or six (again, Dad’s age in the photograph). You looked so much like him it was striking, everyone commented. You both were amazingly adorable looking with your coy smiles, big eyes hiding a twinge of orneriness and heads of curly dark hair.

I became a genealogy buff, so regardless where my PicDanBoonebody ends-up I wanted a grave marker. Dad’s line descends from England, from Daniel Boone’s aunt. Daniel is the renown 1700s American frontiersman. He was well known back in my day when schools taught proud American history. Your generation knew little of him. Sigh.

As most writers, I’ve spent a lot of this last year contemplating impressions of life, trying to determine whether I have any “words of wisdom” to leave for you. I guess we all want some insight that would be helpful to those we love … hoping we can help their lives by virtue of learning from ours. Living so long and the mere desire to do that seems like it ought to reap some fruit. If not, oh well. I tried. We can only try. So this is my “Wisdom Quest.”

This “Letters to a Grandchild” series describes profound lessons that only revealed themselves in the last few years. They are epiphanies that shook my soul as much as they eased a shattered heart. Despite my experienced years, it proves it’s never too late to learn from life and some of the most poignant lessons come late in it, just when we think we’ve learned all there is to know. The telling of this story unveils a perplexing set of real-time circumstances that I still struggle to accept.

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.  [Proverbs 4:23]

Until recently I’ve not been able to reasonably articulate the wounds of battle suffered in reaching these lessons’ understandings. As anyone with heartbreak knows, there are not adequate words to describe that kind of pain. But I know if I cannot get words written on a page then all hope for the truth of myrespect sister’s and my legacy, all hope for putting the aches to rest, is lost.

I may use the “protected” menu option if some of the stories get too personal. I’ve done my best to tell them objectively but they are so emotionally taxing it’s taken this long to get to a reasonable first draft.

These comprise what could easily be a tragic Lifetime movie. The horror plays in my head not unlike it did in real time. The ending is one I instinctively saw coming, regardless that I was determined to defy that logic until everything shattered into unintelligible pieces of gross disguise.

I had to fit the puzzle back together the only way it made sense and the picture that evolved was very different from any I could’ve imagined, nothing like the one that fell apart. Nothing would ever be the same. But the tragedy was necessary to get where I needed to be, to finally live with what really was, to once and for all put to rest life’s unrelenting pain.

The chapters will roll-out as editing and energy permits. My writing-goal used to be working through pain so I understood it. Believing now that I finally do heartunderstand it, I hope sharing will open eyes of those who are as naïve as I, before they end up in the same barren, “too late” old-age pit of regret and despair I did. If I can do that for anyone else then sufferings are made worthwhile. I suppose we all want to believe there is a way to make our sufferings worthwhile, to have them benefit someone. Now that is my writing-goal.

Every good and decent person deserves better. If this retrospection benefits someone else, praise God for that. Life is most often not what it seems.

 

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Next: Letters… ~ Ch 1: When I’m Gone (Video)

Miracles

“Miracle – An extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs, such as the healing miracles described in the Gospels.” [Merriam-Webster Dictionary]

There are some people we could never convince of miracles and that’s okay. You either believe in miracles or you don’t. I do. I don’t profess many, given my age, though merely being here is probably the biggest one of my life. miracle1That’s considerably more complicated than could possibly be covered in one blog.

To put my claim to miracles in better perspective, it’s been 10-years or more since I recall the last one. I do believe miracles happen more regularly, every day in subtle forms that we fail to recognize. But this is one of those that really stands out.

One way I define miracles is how perfect they are in answering casual pleas I’ve made of God, as I go about the business of living life’s struggles. By “casual plea,” I’m not at all diminishing what I ask of Him as being something unimportant. It is important. To me. But when a problem seems insurmountable and the answer comes in more perfect form than I could ever imagine to even ask of Him … that is God Himself stepping right up to the plate.

God & I seem to have this arrangement that works: I do my best to deal with what I can and when I need Him to intervene, He’s there with undeniable clarity. Praise God I’ve been unusually healthy the last few years. Not even a head cold, which is highly irregular for me (and I do praise Him for that). Years prior were seriously troublesome ones, both in physical and emotional health.

Though seemingly nothing of consequence, my vision had turned weird and I learned I needed cataract surgery. All of my friends commented how miracle3easy it was and how well they could see afterwards, so that was something to look forward to. But given what I had been through, medical experiences taught me to be cautious and I have to admit, I was probably more anxious about this than considerably more serious health events in all of my years prior.

As anyone who’s ever had surgery procedures knows, there’s always a bunch of doctor appointments and blood labs and preliminary tests. Mine were compounded by past health issue requiring clearances to have the surgery, but those all went well. Then I learned the hospital wouldn’t let me have surgery unless personal family or a friend drove me there and back. Then I learned that included transportation again the next morning for a post-op exam. THEN I learned they don’t do both eyes at once … silly me.

I did think they’d do both eyes at once, even after they described having an eye patch. It made perfect sense, slap my forehead, since you can’t walk around with both eyes patched at the same time. Oh sigh.

My problem is, I’ve not lived here very long and because of health issues I rarely leave the house so I’ve not made any friends. I’ve no family I can call. And they won’t let you use public transportation, it has to be someone you know. I’d never been in this position before so I didn’t know what the heck to do.

I got on the phone trying to find a resource to drive me to and from the surgery and I was willing to risk driving myself with an eye patch the next day. Some of my more serious health issues were with eye conditions, so I was accustomed to functioning with patches, I was sure I could do that much.

Because of society’s litigious mentality today and liabilities associated with it, there is no one who accepts the risk of transporting people in situations like this. Whatever chance I might have to find a program that could help was months away boggled in government red tape.

I’d joined a church but stopped going shortly after, in good part because of health issues. I’d met a lady there whom I knew to be a wonderful person and a friend to the extent we could share a friendship. She was always on the go and I was a home recluse, so we saw one another maybe once a year, if that much. I could not bring myself to ask this of her. I fought it until I could fight it no more, finally setting my pride aside. It was all I could do.

What a God-Send this woman is. Not only did she unbegrudgingly pick me up to get me there before 6am, she stayed and waited then listened to doctor instructions afterwards. She took me out to breakfast and later that day brought back a hot dinner meal. She insisted she would take me to the next day’s post-op appointment, a drive I was going to do myself and what a blessing miracle2she did. I was not in any shape to have driven myself.

I thought I still had plenty of time to get the second eye done, but learned at the post-op, for a couple of reasons, it needed to be in the next two weeks. I had totally planned to manage that without imposing on her again. By the time we left the post-op exam, my eyes were welling in tears. Between all of the pre-worry and how kind this woman was already, I had no idea if I was going to have the second eye done. I was overcome with emotion. I was drained. I did not know what else to do. I had no more answers.

This lady stepped up big time, insisting she would do all of this all over again next week. She didn’t flinch. She didn’t hesitate. She didn’t utter a sigh. When I called to affirm that appointment, the receptionist said another lady had overheard my dilemma and left her phone number for me, too. I was double-blessed. I was overwhelmed by a complete stranger’s compassion. I couldn’t hold the tears back longer. I broke down and bawled and bawled like a baby. Like a baby, I bawled.

I think part of the emotion was the harsh reality that I am so helpless. I’d never felt that way before. I’d never felt this alone or in this much need. It was certainly a humbling experience. But more than that, God gave me another miracle, bringing more than I needed in such perfect timing and wonderful abundance of kind-hearted people, from the infrequent friend to the stranger in the waiting room to the receptionist who took it upon herself to get involved.

So the next time you’re overwhelmed, when circumstances seem bleakest, when you don’t think you can possibly find your way around an obstacle, say some prayers. They’ve always worked for me. Thank You, God, for being there. And thank You for other good people you brought into my life. Please bless them abundantly.

Be a miracle to someone your life touches.

 

Russians? Really? Are You Kidding Me?

Politics was always my first passion. I’ve indulged other banter, trying to stay out of the political fray, because I do know what a distasteful web it weaves. But I’ve had it with these asinine shenanigans. This has to end.

It’s time someone told you the truth – since it’s definitely not the Main Stream Media (MSM). If you don’t want to hear what’s really going on, don’t read, because it won’t sink into thick skulls anyway. Liberals will be liberals because that’s the unrealistic grip liberal propaganda & indoctrination has; or you’re just so darned enticed by anything negative and inflammatory that’s what it takes to peak your interests.

Like it or not, it is time to rethink this. Let’s do that … and, unfortunately for me as much as you, now that I’ve pricked this scab, there are bound to be more of these. In that vein, I added “politics” to my Categories. Sigh. I know. Trust me, I know.

shadowgov1

This “Russian” propaganda campaign has reached its limits. It is absolute nonsense. There is No evidence whatsoever to its allegations – this is nothing but random allegation. It’s no more reliable than gossip about your neighbor. If you want to throw away Your tax dollars with God knows how many months or years “investigating” nonsense, well, then, you should be real pleased with the way things are headed. And you’re probably someone who doesn’t pay much in taxes.

If you know anything about history, this is exactly what Communists did. This is an attempt to overthrow America’s new president and I cannot think of anything more unethical of a political opponent.

“If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes truth.” [Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda, Nazi Germany]

Like Trump or not, those antics are not acceptable. I’m not even sure myself whether I like him, but I am certainly willing to give him a chance. What’s it been? Less than two-months in office? Oh give me a break. Can we at least get to the real business of The People before we start running him out of town on a rail? What’s the rush?

This is what Community Organizers do and, as we all should recall, Obama was the supreme “Community Organizer.” That’s all he was known for, all that he had going for him coming into his election (other than being of color). No experience. No knowledge. We couldn’t even find records of his internet-cleansed background. ‘Community Organizing’ was it. He hadn’t accomplished anything but Community Organizing. That was Obama’s legacy then and it is his more tainted legacy now. You go guy. Big deal – you know how to disrupt the order of things. Any 15-year old can do that.

“In the beginning the organizer’s first job is to create the issues or problems.” [Saul D. Alinsky, Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals]

Obama was a student of Alinksy’s, as was his wife and was Hillary Clinton. It’s soundly reported that Hillary Clinton wrote her college thesis on Saul Alinsky. Have you ever asked yourself why? Their “fundamentally changing” American values is exactly what The People in this election voted against. We lived eight years of your guy – give us a few years with ours.

If Alinsky’s words aren’t good enough, read Cloward-Piven, who attempted to perfect the methodology. For those who support them, I’d ask why you are so easily led by something that is based in such upheaval & negativity? There’s no good in what Alinsky preaches. It’s like a fanatic religion that appeals to lunatics because they’re so desperate they have nothing else to cling to. Is that who you are?

“You’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem.” [Eldridge Cleaver]

For Alinksy’s “Twelve Rules,” search them. They’re easy to find and you’d be surprised just how alike they are to the leftist propaganda that’s disseminated today. For an even more poignant reflection, check out the “45 Communist Goals” read into America’s Congressional record in 1963. How many of those have come to fruition in my (your) lifetime?

If you’re too young to know that answer, how many of those Communist goals are true today versus your parents’ or your grandparents’ lives? It’s roughly a mere fifty years since “The Greatest Generation” of your grandparents. Doesn’t that down-trend in morals and values bother you? Doesn’t that tell you something that you should be paying attention to in what’s happening today?

fake1

Did you know that Bob Creamer, whose job it was to do no more than Community Organize, who was put in charge of Obama’s ‘Americans Takes Action’ organizing group and husband of a Democrat Congresswoman, made 350 visits to the Obama White House? Fifty or so visits were with Obama himself. Do you stop to ask yourself why that would be? If you don’t, why don’t you?

Obama has a substantially more intense, intimate & secret history with the Russians than any of today’s politicians, yet he chose not to disclose any threats until it served to disrupt the new presidency. If that doesn’t concern you, why not?

After Trump’s election, rather than respectfully fading from a new president’s spotlight as all other presidents before him, Obama moved into a Washington D.C. house just blocks from the White House. Into this “personal home” with his family, he’s also moved-in his closest political advisor & confidant while in the White House, often referred to as the brains behind his eight-years of political reign, Valerie Jarret. Isn’t that, in and of itself, strange? If you don’t find it odd, you should. Who does that?

It’s widely reported that Obama was ‘collecting and preserving’ Russian communications for a very long time, long before Trump’s win. If that information was so critical, why didn’t Obama release it before now? Why did he ‘preserve’ it for months if not years? And now that Dems have constructed this “Russian” ruse, why, pray tell, are they doing everything they can to oust every key advisor of Trump’s simply because they might’ve had contact with Russian officials in the very same capacity as any of their peers? Have they no respect for the reasonable order and oversight of our country … of us?

This is dangerous insanity, folks. If you don’t get it by now you likely never will. At least try. If you do, it’s past time to speak up and put a stop to this. At the very least, give America the chance to be great again.

If Trump fails, he fails. Nothing can be worse than failures of the Obama administration, with its Community Organizing racial divisions and law enforcement upheavals; and the jobs-killing of prosperity and shameful representations made of America – our country – to other countries. You may not be old enough or maybe by now you’ve forgotten Obama’s unbelievable sharp spike in costs of food & fuel, among other things, but I do remember it. I’m still counting my pennies trying to keep up. So are your parents and grandparents – and You, whether you know it or not.

If there is any recovery, it has to come now, with us. Do it. Just do it. Don’t allow these cannibalistic ruses to continue. It’s not just you & me … it’s our country, our livelihoods and, literally, our children, that are at the stake. I don’t know about you, but I do not want mine determined by a bunch of greedy, self-interested politicians.

One thing Trump is not is a politician. If nothing else, give him credit for that.

In the words of an infamously cruel Communist murderer, Joseph Stalin (look it up):

“America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: Its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.” [Joseph Stalin]

Democrat/Liberal ideology is doing a pretty good job of it. That’s exactly what “fundamentally changing America” will get you.