Money is a worldly worry–our relationship

I think I should make a point to tell you that my relationship with God is pretty hilarious to me. Sometimes I think he looks down at me and giggles that he made such a wild thing, and that this wild thing is His. I bet He giggles at the hilarity that is my life, the silly decisions I make on a regular basis, the bravery I try to have even when I’m deathly afraid. 

Last night was proof enough, again, of our relationship and the intricate way He just gets me, regardless of the range of intense emotions I am feeling at the moment. He always does, and sometimes my breath catches when I realize this fact. When I remember that even when I don’t feel Him, He is always there. 

It was before bed. And I had been thinking about how, after my interview and job offer, I never asked what I would be making an hour. Moving here has put a serious dent in our savings–as we expected. We knew that we would have to pay for the moving truck, and for the new plates, and the different insurances, and so on and so forth. It’s life in a new place, on our own again. It’s going to be expensive, and we had prepared for it. 

But as I sat in my living room last week, overwhelmed by the fact that the monthly bills were piling up, that life here is simply more expensive than it was when we had 40 hour work weeks at a place we were miserable at, and when we were hardly seeing each other. The price of a good life is faith. And He’s been showing this to me–constantly. 

So last night, I had been thinking that I didn’t know how much I was going to be making, that I accepted this job offer because I knew, somewhere deep down that this is where I was supposed to be working. What if the hours and the money just didn’t add up and I couldn’t make enough for us? 

But then He said to me “What if I didn’t let you ask what you would be making because I knew you would be trying to add it all up in your head, trying to decide if you could make it work. But remember, you asked me to put you right where I needed you, to give you the right job. And I did. I want you there.” Then it hit me. Again. Money is a worldly thing. He’s been teaching me this slowly, off and on the past few years. But right now is the biggest test of this belief. I’ve always said that I would rather be homeless than do what He has for me in life. And coming out here, so far away from home, has really tested my belief in this statement. What if the money ran out before we could get jobs and we were forced to join the throngs of homeless people lining the streets of Portland? No, our God would take care of us. If we trusted Him enough to tell us where to go, He would open up the doors for us to have the right jobs, at just the right time. Like I have said before, He doesn’t do something early, He doesn’t do it late, He does it right on time. And getting this job, this is no mistake. I know this deep down. And if this wasn’t a mistake, if this was His plan, He will work out the money. We just have to be wise. 

I think it’s funny that He knew all this. He knew my type A mind, who wants to plan out every step, and to calculate and understand. But I don’t have to. If I really have faith. If I really trust that He has it all planned out, I’ll let it go. Money is a worldly worry. I’ll say it again, He is the accountant. I will be wise. Money is a worldly worry. 

And as much as there are so many unknowns here. As much as I am discovering people and places and trying to find my way, I have never felt more peaceful. Never been more peaceful. 

The way grizzly bears are more like fire flies.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about what love looks like. And how often that word carries with it the weight of a thousand definitions and reasons and complications. Too often we make love selfish, and wear it on our wrists like a fashion statement, when love is the most beautiful, astounding thing I have ever seen. Someone who is really attempting to live a life full of love–now that is truly a sight to behold, because once you really begin to try to love the way love should really happen, your heart becomes a wellspring. It’s indescribable. 

I just think of the inside of a person who is learning to fight is a nighttime in summer. Within lies all the potential and greatness, floating around as lightening bugs, waiting for the moment they can pour out of their mouth and shine. 

Last night I learned a powerful lesson. It was a difficult lesson, but I knew something was changing inside of me the moment I chose to find peace instead of anger at the position I had been placed in. Let me explain. I was working my job in retail and a woman that has been known to cause trouble in our store came in last night. Generally speaking, she’s downright mean and bitter. Nothing you say will calm her down or make her compliment you. She just gets a rise out of her harshness. I am definitely not one for confrontations. Especially from people I don’t know. Last night, she unloaded on me, big time. Her ranting and raving lasted for quite some time. But something inside of me screamed louder than anger and told me to bite my tongue, stand up for myself a little in a kind manner, and let it go. 

After she left I was kind of overwhelmed. As the minutes ticked on, however, I wasn’t angry, I felt sorry for her. I had seen her in our store before. She looks lonely and miserable. And honestly, as I began to ponder the circumstances for her arrival last night, I began feeling regrettably empathetic towards her plight. 

I have been addicted to watching the show Hoarders for quite a while. I quite enjoy psychology, and comprehending the reasons behind the way people behave when they have had difficult challenges in their life. One of the things that is a common theme in the reason why I have observed people hoarding is their desire to keep people out. They have been repetitively wounded in various ways for so long, that in their desperate attempt to deal with the pain, they hoard stuff that is useless to build barriers between themselves and other people. That at least the objects would love them always, that it would be there when they cried. That happiness could be found in another sack of papers or useless shirts. But no matter what they could somehow manage to find peace in something that couldn’t hurt them. It’s not that they didn’t want people in their life, because honestly most of the time the stars of these shows are so lonely you can see their breaking heart worn in the crooked way they smile. They are just so damn afraid of letting anyone in that could hurt them, that they feel keeping then out is the only way. 

And this is exactly what I felt about this woman last night. It was like she had been wearing the weight of generations of pain and all of these traumatic things that had happened to her in the direction of her step, in the cut of her words, in the bite of her anger. There is one thing I have really learned these past few months, and it is that most of the time, that anger is all a front. It keeps the people out. Anger does a good job of scaring others to stay away. It’s a defense mechanism. It happens when we are afraid to see or deal with what we are capable of inside, when we don’t comprehend that healing can happen. 

When I started thinking about the incident after, all I could do was be humbled by the prospect that she is still in the darkness with a blindfold, feeling around the cave. Something settled on my heart and made me feel stunningly aware that anger was not the appropriate response. Love will bring light. Pray for your enemies. Smile when it’s hard. And for goodness sakes, be brave. Love is never easy, but it’s worth it. I will probably not change her, but she changed me. Even if it was just because she was angry for the millionth time. 

Like I say, there really is beauty in everything you see. 

Until next time,

Rosie

Chem(i)cal (React)ions and my plan to write a book. (part 1)

So, I’ve been planning for years to get around to writing a book. I took a creative writing fiction class a few years ago at my local college, and many people in my class said they loved my writing and hoped to be able to find my books in bookstore shelves at some point in the future. I very much enjoyed writing for that class, and developed a character I fell in love with. But I’m not sure if they were just being nice or if they really enjoyed my story.

I’m feeling risky today, and will a part of the story I wrote that will inspire the book I will write in the future. Here is installment number one.

Chem(i)cal (React)ions

I wonder what it would be like to be involved in a horrible car accident. Flames would protrude from my car, dozens of people would gather around the scene of the accident, and as the ambulance carries me away into my last living moments those passing by would send frantic prayers to the heavens, haling Mary as the tears stroll down their cheeks. Despite all of the tragedy my funeral would not be well attended because I am damaged goods, I’ve always been damaged goods, and so far nothing I’ve ever been able to accomplish, to love, or to hold has ever been anything more than that. Except her. But not even I could save her. I remember her beautiful freckled face, with long black locks that could entrance even the crankiest, senile adult. She was the sweetest child I had ever met, my whole world. And within seconds she was shattered. My world collapsed. I will never forget that moment.

All of these horrible, overwhelming memories make me need to see the stars. I climb out of the worn, brown chair that occupies the corner of Sly’s tent. I’m staying here for now, no one in town wants me anyways. I gather the little black bag that contains my syringes and spoon. I pull out my heaven in a plastic Ziploc, pour it smartly on the spoon, add a drop of water, and fllliiccckk!  my lighter sizzles and pops against the stained bottom of the spoon. I tie off my arm with my seductive leather belt, fill the syringe, flick the needle a few times and in goes heaven. It’s greater than any toe-curling orgasm I have ever felt. My heart beats faster, my pupils dilate, and I am numb. Her memories always bring the horrible shakes for a fix, the need greater than any want. Into the neck of my friend vodka I go, toppling head over heels in its intoxicating love for my body. It smooths out my rough edges, tingles down my spine, and plays games with my brain. I’m on fire.

There have been many times I have promised myself I would end this never-ending cycle, but self-medication has not let me down—yet. It’s not like I’m hurting anyone. Mamma has long been gone, Father, too. They both died thinking they were the Lord’s personal angels, sent to do His work. I never understood that.

I grew up in New York City in a small two-bedroom apartment. Mamma was an artist, but was far from a freethinker. She and father made sure everything I did was down the straight and narrow, for all eight of their children.  You would think after they ran out of beds at night their selfish need to procreate would end, but there was always another mouth to feed, another diaper to change, and another child to love. I was the first, therefore I was the most capable to raise my many brothers and sisters, and I always felt forgotten. My parents measured quality time by the books of the Bible and affection by the type of spanking I received. There was never any praise; love was a four-letter word never spoken, even in the darkest nights.

I tried to follow my the wisdom of my parents, listen to their strong words of advice, but when I saw the way they treated each other, complete hypocrites to the word of the Lord they promised to follow, I decided their religion was nothing but a heap of garbage, it meant nothing to me. After all, their religion was the reason I hurt so much, the reason my heart had more holes than a sieve, but they didn’t bother to care. It was Mamma’s duty to bear the children, Father’s to make the money being the best preacher he could be, and ours to take care of us. Picasso would’ve wept at some of Mamma’s delightful paintings, when she felt well enough to bring the brush out and smudge it against the canvas just until the world came to life upon it. That’s the only thing I could love her for.

When I turned sixteen there was an incident. I was on my way home from the small Christian high school my parents forced me to attend (they said it was a privilege). I had turned the corner near the house when I saw our weekly grocer approach me from the shadows. He told me that he had something to show me and lead me to the alley, his grip so strong my little frame could barely resist. His dirty fingers were all over me, in places I had never dared to touch, rough all over. Before I could scream loud enough to be heard over the traffic of the busy street he was in me on me all over me. Tears welled in my eyes. I couldn’t breathe. He was suffocating in his stench, his blue eyes darker than the storm clouds raging overhead. When he was done he zipped his pants and walked off, his trophy lying on the ground a battered girl of sixteen. I ran home afraid to look at anyone, afraid to be.  I thought about telling Mamma, but what would she say, what would she care? I was a nuisance to her anyways, my presence in every room nothing but a shadow, lurking in the corner.

A few months later my body started showing signs. There was no was no hiding it anymore, I was pregnant.  I had prayed that the fucker who he raped me was shooting blanks. I guess I was wrong. Father would have nothing of me keeping it, and living in his house; there was no explaining my way out of this mess. They didn’t believe me when I told them I was raped; they did not care when I told them I was not whole anymore. Instead, they kicked me out with not a single place to go. I left an outcast in my own home.

I spent a long, long while looking for someone to take me in, praying someone would love me more than those who should have did. I travelled towards the Midwest, hoping the peaceful farms would lull my broken spirit and make it whole again. One day, in Omaha, Nebraska, I met Sly. He caught my interest because he was, at the time, a nomad like I. He had no family, no one to love him but me. We had plans to get married, he called my baby his. In my whole life I’ve never felt more loved, Yes, he was a little rough around the edges, but nothing my tender loving couldn’t fix. We were young in love, and I was due to expect a baby anytime soon. We moved in together and spent what little money we had on a cradle and clothing. Life, for a while, was good. Nothing we had came easy, but that just meant that we were more thankful for it, happier because of our trials.

In three months I had a little girl and we named her Autumn Lily. She was daddy’s little sweetheart, with sparkling crystal blue eyes and sandy brown hair. Her giggles constantly filled our tiny apartment with smiles, making life important for the first time. She made life worth living. All three of us, we were a family, a bond no one could break.

 

To be continued…