11/25/12 G.L.A.D. Chronicles Week 8 – Reunions, God’s Presence, Life’s Presents


Cousins Kevin and Hayley
November 23, 2012

What an unexpected turn in the road my life has taken in the past few weeks. It started with a text from someone I hadn’t heard from in quite a while. At the time, the text annoyed me, because it caused a slight chink in the invisible wall I’d taken great effort to put all around me to keep out pain. I considered the text and answered as politely as possible. The person texted back. Really? Are we seriously going to go to that invisible place where I have to decide if I’m going to risk letting hurt and rejection in again? I truly didn’t want to. I more honestly wanted to scream at this person to leave me alone, I was having a hard enough time balancing the façade I tried to keep in place that showed everything is just peachy keen. She kept texting. Tenacious woman, I’ll give her that. I wouldn’t capitulate, but I left the door to my emotions open very slightly.

The next day led to more texts, from another female. That part of the wall dedicated to her crumbled a little, but certainly not entirely. I have become way too wary about humans to believe things can work themselves out that easily. Over the next few days, we texted and got to know each other a little better. This was a great way for me to communicate. I didn’t feel the pressure I can feel speaking on a phone. And I don’t tend to put my foot in my mouth so much. I felt a little light streaming into my heart where it’d been pretty dark for the past few years.

The calendar indicated Thanksgiving week was approaching. I could probably never adequately explain the vortex of confusion I feel every year beginning shortly before Thanksgiving and ending around January 2nd. Melancholy, missing those who have passed away or are gone from my life, the endless effort to seek the spiritual and divine meaning of the holidays, the sad observations of how ugly some people can get at this time of year when we’re supposed to celebrate love, the retailers never-ending campaign to reach into my pockets for money I don’t have and don’t care to use a credit card so I can pretend I do. Lastly, well-meaning people putting their hand out to take some of that same non-existent money to further some holiday campaign.

This year, I continue to say ‘no’ to the things that make me unhappy about the holidays, and my focus is on spreading some love to people who typically get ignored. They’re not poverty level, they’re the working poor. People who work incredibly hard at their jobs, but just don’t make enough to do much more than keep the heat and lights on and gas in the car. It is brilliantly fun to see the smile on a waitress’ face when I leave a possibly extravagant tip, as I listen to her story of working two jobs and being on her feet all day. I don’t just leave the tip, I give my time and listen to their story, express appreciation for their great work and kindness. Some of the time, you can see these people don’t hear nearly often enough that they’re appreciated. The feeling I get doing so is simply priceless.

I got a chance to visit with my great-niece Hayley and her family this week. What a gift this was to me! We had the most delicious lunch at Waffle House, went to see “Wreck It Ralph” at the cinema and did a little Christmas shopping at WalMart. I had the best time, and that flipping waffle was so unbelievably good. I bought a coffee cup from Waffle House to remember the day by! I haven’t seen Hayley recently, as they live out-of-town. It’s a joy to see what an interesting and wonderful human this girl is evolving into. I have to give a high-five to her folks, they’re doing a great job. The visit put a warmth into my holidays that has lacked a little.

I also got to enjoy a very nice Thanksgiving day with my family at home. I’ve decided the only thing that even remotely competes with my enjoyment of a Robert Downey, Jr. movie is a fragrant Honeybaked ham warming in my oven! Both cause copious drooling! I spent the evening enjoying conversation with family members at my brother Jon’s house. Previous years found the group gathering around the table a little larger in number. Some have passed on, others had different destinations this year. I found it one of the nicest times I can remember.

I’ve so strongly felt God everywhere I’ve been. He’s there when I’ve acted like a decent human. Unfortunately, he could see me when I was meaner than a junkyard dog! His unwavering presence is my greatest present of all, this holiday season. I hope to show more of His love as I celebrate Jesus’ birth.

Whatever you may or may not celebrate over the next few weeks, I wish you the best blessings, love and light.

Peace!

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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!