08/31/13 Why Am I Still Here?


Imagine sitting here talking with God about what He wants you to do with your life.

Imagine sitting here talking with God about what He wants you to do with your life.

I write this with a fresh cup of coffee at my dining room table. In my mind however, the surroundings look something like the setting in the picture. I’ve considered my DVT/PE (Pulmonary Embolism) as a divine appointment with God. I think He’d been trying to get my attention for ages, but I always had a good reason to blow Him off: too busy, making money, paying bills, sweating over inconsequential stuff, worrying about what people thought of me…. the self-absorbed list goes on.

He got my attention on August 8th, but not before I made a few more decisions guided by self-doubt and worry about what people would think of me: Go home instead of the E.R., people will laugh at the fat lady thinking she’s having a heart attack and if she is, she deserves it anyway, she takes such crappy care of herself…. The self-induced pity party and train wreck of thoughts can go on and on until they kill you. Or nearly.

Sometimes a little clarity and wisdom can manage to penetrate your addled mind. My seven-day stay in the hospital gave me time to stop running and actually LISTEN for His voice in my confusion. The quieter I got, the more receptive I could be to thoughts and insights.

If my life were a business, it would have closed down this year due to mismanagement and bankruptcy. As a human, I DID nearly shut down from poor management and spiritual starvation. God in His infinite grace stopped me in my tracks. For that, I am profoundly grateful. What do I do now? I think anyone who has had a life changing event occur comes to the conclusion that if they didn’t die, there’s a reason they’re still here… what is it? Unfortunately for we attention-deficit humans who want answers NOW, God doesn’t always answer you in the time frame you’d like (I want it NOW, YESTERDAY if possible)

For me, the path becomes clear one little step at a time. Sometimes there’s a lot of space between those steps, when I’m too caught up in myself to really care what God would like for me to do. Those are the days I only follow His prompts if it’s convenient for me. Arrogant little squirrel!

I’m finishing the third week of recuperation. During the first few days, I graciously told God I’d like to have this whole matter cleared up to my satisfaction as soon as possible, but if it took a week or so, I suppose I could put life on hold while I figured out what this lesson was for me to learn. How far do you think I got with that mindset?! I think it landed me in a giant pot hole and there I’ve squirmed around until I’m finally admitting I have to get off of this throne I’ve built for myself and let God have His rightful place in my life.

Wow, a bit more light and clarity dents my thick skull. I wasn’t aware that we squirrely people could have such hard little noggins. We could smash walnuts with our rock heads!!

I have a few snippets of ideas and thoughts to ponder for the time being. God never lets me in on the next step until I’ve got what I need to from the step I’m on. I know my life needs some changes. Sometimes I wish God would send a life coach to help me figure things out, and then I realize He does, but I can’t see the next move until the time is right.

At the rate I’m going, I’ll be 225 years old before I get it all sorted out!

10/21/12 G.L.A.D. Chronicles – Week 3 Perception, For A Person With Depression


I’m afraid a cheerful post isn’t in the cards for this week. I can’t write fiction. Life this week has felt like Rod Serling came back from the grave and used me for an episode of “Twilight Zone“. Things started out normally. I made use of my new inhaler and cheerfully walked a bit, ate sensibly, got to bed at a decent time and felt pretty darn good.

Circumstances took an invisible dip on Wednesday. A coworker decided to retire and a retirement luncheon went on at work that day. The Chief paid a visit for the luncheon and I exchanged a few pleasant words with him. After a time, being around humans was starting to get to me, and I went back to my office to make a cup of coffee and get back to work. If this were a movie set, you would have seen a villanous fog start to seep in under the door. My mood started to plummet and I couldn’t do much besides sit back and watch it. I wondered if the Chief were going to talk to my Captain and tell him to fire me. I wondered if the higher-ups were putting their heads together and deciding what to do with a complete incompetent like me. I wondered all kind of no-ending-but-bad things. Before too long, I thought about going in and giving my notice. Thankfully, common sense managed to keep me in my office, but the week went nowhere but downhill from there.

I write this to let you view a tiny part of what goes on in a person’s mind who has depression. I don’t always know WHY an episode starts. All I can tell you is that within a few days, I wasn’t sure what the merits of being alive were. It’s not that I felt like ending my life. It’s that I couldn’t come up with a convincing argument that life is worth all the hassle sometimes. Life is HARD. It would be so easy to not go to work everyday, to not pay my bills and let someone else pick up the tab. I began to wonder why it’s so important to me to do the right thing. Living right is EXHAUSTING. Or so it felt this week. The merits of life and death got a little mixed up for me. Life is hard, death is heaven and being with God. I don’t necessarily want to go there today, but I very much look forward to being with my Heavenly Father, Jesus, and all of my loved ones who are already there… someday.

I don’t know what’s wrong, but I’m losing my temper a lot lately, yelling like a rabid politician who’s seeing their poll numbers drop. And I don’t approve that message of how to conduct myself. Growing up with a dad who yelled more than he didn’t, I know he loved me, but man, could the guy make me shiver in my shoes when he was on a roll. I swore I’d never be that person. How I hate it when I am.

I didn’t go to church today. My still-twisted thinking decided I’d have to miss about three months of Sundays before anyone would notice, and I went back to bed. I’d show them. I don’t know if anyone noticed or not, but I felt like a jackininny when I started to put two and two together and realize what a load of bunk I’ve been falling for the past few days. I did what any sensible person does who’s having a mental and spiritual crisis. I went on Facebook and asked my friends for prayer. All I know is that I felt an immediate need for divine help and in 2012, Facebook is quicker than telephoning a dozen people.

I can’t say that I’m feeling la-di-dah wonderful now, but the pros and cons of death look a lot clearer and I feel the divine strength and ability to go a few more rounds with this thing called ‘life’. Oh, and I’m pleased to report that I’m making great progress on the decluttering project in my Sanity Room. I’ve cleared the way enough to get back to having coffee with God in the mornings. My wonderful minister, Ryan, lent me a Bible called the Serendipity Bible. I’ve got it ready for the morning and will get my backside to bed on time tonight, come hell or high water, so that I can get up and start the day with my Creator… and Folger’s in my cup!

 

10/19/11 Steve Jobs, Dan Wheldon and Sue


image

image

image

image

image

I hope the title caught your eye and made you wonder: What could Sue possibly have in common with these two people?

I don’t know much about Steve Jobs personally. I do know he changed the way most of us live our daily lives. You don’t have to own a piece of Apple equipment (that would be me) to realize if you enjoy the improvements in technology regarding computers or cell phones, you’ve benefitted from Steve Job’s time on earth.

Dan Wheldon. His death is still too fresh and surreal to those of us who admired him to be able to say his name without an invisible lump forming in our throats and a tear ready to slide down our cheek. 😦

Mr. Wheldon… how I enjoyed his presence during his much too short time on earth. Most people who recognized the name knew him as a two time winner of the Indianapolis 500. Those of us whose lives were brightened by his existence knew that he was much more than that. He was one of those rare humans who leave a lasting mark on the people they meet. A man who had the gift of a smile that reached beyond his eyes. A character that reached out and embraced yours. A passion to pursue his dreams and along the way, make you feel somehow a part of it.

I had the unforgettable pleasure of meeting Mr. Wheldon in 2006 and again in 2008 at Kentucky Speedway.

In 2006, he was a part of Chip Ganassi’s Team Target Indy racing team, along with Scott Dixon. There was an opportunity to meet the two of them at the Target trailer, before the race. To say I was looking forward to the chance to speak to Mr. Wheldon is like saying Bill Gates is worth a bit of money!

I got in line with an assortment of other folks. Some were fans of Dan or Scott Dixon. Many were there to get as much merchandise signed as possible, to sell via various auction sites.

Me? I held my newly acquired 8 x 10 of Mr. Wheldon and noticed as the time got closer: a) it was bloody hot out and I was spitting cotton, and b) in my excitement, I’d forgotten to eat all day and my blood sugar was dropping badly.

The appointed time arrived and my voice morphed into this humiliating combination of Minnie Mouse and Julia Child. My hands started to rattle so badly that the photo and small Indy car I held were bobbing about like jumping beans.

Watching these two racing stars interact with “the fans”, they appeared polite and cordial, but nothing special.

I encounteted Scott Dixon first. I am now ashamed that I was truthful, but tact was nowhere to be found. I told him, “I’m sure you’re very nice, but I’m here to see him” (pointing to Mr. Wheldon). At this, Dan grinned like the Cheshire Cat, but I now cringe at my rudeness.

Nevertheless, there I was, face to face with #10 himself. I handed him the car first, he dutifully signed it. Then the photo. He prepared to sign it. I meekly squeaked out, “would you sign it To Sue?” His demeanor instantly changed. He looked me in the eye and asked, seemingly  surprised, “Is this for YOU?” and I replied, “well, YAY-eah, who else would it be for? I’m certainly not giving it away.” His face seemed to light up a bit and he asked if I’d like to have him write anything special? I suppose I was feeling mischievous… I asked if he’d write anything I wanted. He said sure. I said, “okay, make it out to Woman of My Dreams” and smiled (as if this then 46 year old worn out overweight woman with no makeup and covered in sweat could ever be that!!). He started writing and I squawked, “you’re writing THAT??” He was. We talked, my hands rattled, and I felt like I was talking with a friend.

He noticed the camera in my hand and asked if I’d like to take a picture? That camera bounced in my hand like cars on the streets during pothole season. At that, he stood up, called someone over and asked him to take our photo. WHAT? After the photo, he gave me a hug and a peck on the cheek. At this point, I was ready to just evaporate!

I thanked him for his kindness and stayed nearby to watch until it was over.

He also showed extreme compassion for a handicapped young man who was over the moon at meeting him, coming out of the trailer to pose side by side with him and talk quietly. I think that’s when I was completely won over by his character.

In the years since, I’ve read countless stories of his kindness, generosity, philanthropic acts, friendliness with everyone he worked with, no matter their position, his prankster nature, and how much he adored his wife and two little boys.

He was also an avid champion of making the sport of Indy racing as safe as possible. Which makes his death in that horrific, fiery crash at Las Vegas Speedway’s race as a result of a 15 car pileup all the more ironic.

What’s the mark they each left on this world got to do with me?

Steve Jobs – admiration for a person who could create great things, as he did, and the stories I’ve read since his death of his profoundly positive effect on people. The effect his call to follow your own passion has had on countless people (myself included).

Dan Wheldon – his death blindsided his many friends and fans. What I have found so heartening in the outpouring of love and concern toward Dan and his family is the dual sentiment of grief for his passing and the call to carry on as Dan would have wanted people to. Live life to the fullest, pursue your passions with excellence, do what you can to leave this world a better place, be the kind of person that people are glad to have known.

I’m trying to do that. I’m not even in the shadow of their caliber. But I’m inspired into action by the example their lives have set.

Goodbye Steve Jobs.

Farewell Mr. Wheldon. Miss you much. 😦