One Wedding and Two Funerals part I
The first thing I did upon waking up this morning was to kill this:
Seven months ago those things (cane spiders) used to have me quaking in my boots — or they would if I actually wore boots, but this is Hawaii — who wears boots in the house? I used to quake in my slippahs and both me an my slippahs weren’t happy about 8 legged critters in the house. My arachnophobia was so severe that I would literally have the shakes and, on more than one occasion, break down into a fit of tears. I used to say that one of these days I wanted to be tough enough to kill the spiders with my hand and then lick my palm. I was that desperate to get over my fear that I wanted to overcompensate for it. Well, I’m not there yet (not sure I really want to be — licking spider guts off my hand sounds kinda gross to me now), but I did quickly grab a broom and sent that critter into whatever afterlife critters go to. And then promptly got on with the rest of my day. Change? Yes, I’ve changed. A spider funeral before I even took my morning meds.
No nightmares this morning. My dreams were actually rather good. But with all the good stuff that happened to me this weekend there really wasn’t any fuel for bad dreams. Earl didn’t have anything to work with, so I guess he didn’t even bother. After I killed the giant eight legged invader, I looked out my window at the yard. Good soil.
For a long time now I’ve been asking God to put me on the “good soil.” There’s a parable in the book of Matthew that talks about spiritual growth. Jesus makes his point by telling a parable about these different types of soil where a farmer throws his seed: the path (which really shouldn’t count as “soil”); the rocky soil, the thorny soil, and the “good” soil. Each soil represents different types of people. Me? I’ve always been the thorny soil type. Bipolar Girl has let many worries and cares of the world choke her faith. Struggling with a mental illness that predisposed me to worry, anxiety, and stress in general pretty much ensured that my soil was going to have tons of thorns in it. Thorns, weeds, whatever it is you want to call it… I had lots of it and it choked my faith for years.
When I moved into my new place it was a modern day parable waiting to happen. Not only did I have all the critters coming out in force to help me confront my fears, but I had to watch daily as the weeds seemed to take over the yard. After my hysterectomy I thought I could get out in the yard and do some light gardening. Bad idea. I ended up in a lot of pain and things pretty much still hurt. Unfortunately, I am not able to work in the yard and as the weeds crested over the doors of my car I sadly thought how the weeds in the yard mirrored my spiritual condition. I have long since believed that there was something wrong with my faith. I still think that. Bipolar aside, I just do not seem to have the passion and faith that I see so many people displaying. I could fake it so that I’d look good to other people, but that kind of faith doesn’t keep you warm at night. Fake faith isn’t worth the time it takes to put on the mask. Besides, I want something real. I want a faith that is living and vibrant… and as much as I am committed to my God and love him… “passion” is not a word that I’d use to describe my faith or my relationship with him.
Weeds. The weeds seemed to describe my faith and that was not enough for me. I’ve been praying for a very long time for God to “fix” my faith, but like the weeds in my yard, the weeds/thorns in my life weren’t just going to magically disappear. Yet, I didn’t know what to do about my yard or my life. For me, my life is my faith and the two cannot be seperated. I think I’ve mentioned that I’ve been in counseling for most of my adult life. If counseling was going to fix me… it should have done it by now. I’ve been on meds since 1997. If the meds were going to fix what’s wrong with my faith, they would have kicked in by now. If going to church and praying was going to fix it, I think that 17 years of going to church and praying would have done something…
And it has. God used the counseling and the meds and church and prayer to get me where I am now. And then he said, “Change.” I had to do and think and be different than I ever have been if I wanted the weeds in my life and in my yard to go away. One awesome thing about my job is that it actually pays me enough money to do more than just buy the bare necessities. In the past, spending money to pay somebody to do my yard would have been totally unthinkable. This Saturday I paid two of the students from work to come and do landscaping in my yard. They were overjoyed to come do it and I was overjoyed with the work that they did. The transformation in my yard is amazing and pictures just don’t do it justice.
Paying people to do that which I cannot do myself. Hmm. Why have I always tried to do everything by myself?? They pulled weeds and killed off critters that were hiding in the brush. They knew what they were doing and I didn’t. The hours they spent at my house flew by and if I didn’t have a wedding to go to, I would have stayed and let them finish killing off all the weeds in my yard. Death to weeds! Down with thorns! Yep. I am SO down with that cause. As I surveyed the work that they’d done I found myself talking to God. My mentor had suggested that I do this really intense Christian counseling that is supposed to get to the root of whatever ails ya’. I was skeptical. After my last round of counseling I pretty much figured I was all counseled out. I didn’t even want to do more counseling. I’ve been relatively happy since my surgery. Why botch up what ain’t broken? Counseling has always seemed like pulling off so many layers of skin or picking scabs that should best be left alone. But what if… God wants me to do counseling in answer to a prayer? I kept asking God to fix me and all roads seem to be leading me to this counseling.
A few months back I did that eight part series on getting ready to be married. At the time I thought I really wanted to be married but it was mostly so I could have all that God-ordained sex that Christians are supposed to be able to have. I even said that once I got hired full time at my job and could afford it, I was going to join eHarmony and find a spouse. Then the reality hit me — I am not quite ready to be married. I’m not waiting until I’m perfect or something ridculous like that, because I know that nobody is perfect… but there is still something wrong with my faith and if I don’t have a deeply passionate love relationship with God, why do I think I can have that with a human? Clearly, there is a major need for thorn and weed removal in my life. What if God wants me to do this intense counseling so as to get to the roots of whatever it is that is stopping me from getting closer to him? I have to admit that I couldn’t even have considered doing this counseling a year ago. A friend did it… and it was like having several layers of skin peeled off. When she suggested it to me I gave her an emphatic, “NO!” But last weekend I promised to be open to whatever my mentor said. I wasn’t expecting her to mention this counseling to me. If I hadn’t promised God I’d be open to what she said I would have shot it down like a kamikaze pilot. I’ve had time to think and pray about it this week.
Paying somebody to do that which I cannot do myself? If it works on the weeds in my yard, could it possibly work on the weeds and thorns in my life? Saturday afternoon I was willing to consider it and it was on my mind heavily as I stood in a beautiful garden at a resort hotel watching a friend get married. She’s older, so it wasn’t one of those froo froo wedding where the young bride makes me feel like a shriveled up old spinster. My friend looked lovely and she and her groom didn’t have that giddiness that comes with young couples in love. They were quiet and solemn (nervous maybe?)… but it felt like they knew exactly what they were getting into and they were ready. That’s what I want. I want to be ready and God’s telling me that I need to let him pull the weeds. Bipolar Girl figured she’d always be too broken to ever get married. Now the possibility is actually there but I can’t take a bunch of weeds into a marriage. As I watched my friend getting married I decided that I’d do the counseling if God really wanted me to do it. Let the counselor pull the weeds. I would not resist.
In order for me to change… old ways of doing things, old mindsets are going to have to die. The weeds in my life are going to have to be pulled from the roots as assuredly as the weeds in my yard met an untimely end. The dead weeds represent things in my life (worries and cares for the world) that have to go. The dead spider represented my release of my unreasonable fears. I think my fear of drowning is reasonable since I don’t know how to swim. My fear of sharks, however, is not reasonable since there aren’t any sharks on land. Let go of that which is not reasonable. And the wedding? It represented hope and possibilities. With all that warm fuzzy goodness going on this weekend… no wonder Earl decided not to come out and play. As is, that wasn’t even all the good stuff that happened this weekend. There is more. A lot more… but it’ll just have to wait ’til the next post.