Friday, April 29, 2011

royally 13

last night's newscast featured, of course, hype for that royal wedding over in some other royal country with over 1000 guests and 9 different royal palaces for the royal couple to choose to live in.  what a royal pain in my...anyway.  Slipped in amongst the hype of even Michiganders pitching tents, unfolding crinkled maps with puzzling faces trying to find Westminster Abbey and a sea of other spectators only DREAMING of being invited to the royal pain in my ... wedding, was a little segment on how it is now possible to erase bad memories.  It was so brief in fact that i got lost in the thought of losing bad memories and it was over.  I don't remember a thing. i'm not sure if one seeks counseling, or finds some self help magazine or wacko Internet article on how to rid oneself of bad memories.  I have my fair share of bad memories, as i'm certain all humans do. it's painfully easy to think of a bad memory. i'd wager you're doing it right now...ok ok come back.  humans are subject to awful things.  some on purpose, some not.

i got to thinking.  not in a self loathing, self pity party kind of way, but i thought, i wouldn't want my bad memories to be taken away.  if all of my bad memories were taken away, i would seldom think of the grace of God that pulled me through the death of this person, the death of that person, my car wreck, etc. I would rarely think upon the mercy that is new to me every morning, no matter how 'royally' screwed up i am or was or will be.   (it's new to everyone...every morning! Hallelujah!)

though it's been nearly 3 1/2 years now since Ashley was killed in a single car accident, sometimes, bad memories find a way to come back to me. even at the oddest of times.  at times when i'm doing something that has nothing to do with thinking about awful things and bad memories.  Though painful, i wouldn't want that memory taken away. of course, i would want the event to have never happened. but God orders the steps of man, not me, or anyone else for that matter.  if i were to have my bad memories erased, there'd be no sense in healing, or walking through the grief of a tragedy.  it'd be like i'd feel sad and not have any idea why i was sad!  I'm not sure the pain ever goes away, just some days it's more unbearable than others. 

here is the bad memory i am going to share.  i'm not sure it has ever left the page in my notebook that it is written in.  until now.  i think it helps to talk about the bad memories. it opens the door for continual healing. 

I found out Ashley died while reading the article in the newspaper.  i was sitting in my dorm at my desk reading it on the Internet.  the world suddenly stopped. and i sobbed harder than i can ever remember. but that's not the bad memory that keeps flashing back to me, though it haunts me every once in a while.  Ashley's wake and funeral were to be the week of Thanksgiving.  after arriving home from school in NY, my body felt numb.  i don't even remember the days leading up to the services and funeral.  the only memory that i remember is this.  The first day of the wake, i was sent to place an order for flowers to be sent to the funeral home from our family.  I vaguely remember the drive from home to my mom's work for money.  i remember walking into her shop and telling myself, "don't start."  i got the money and before i turned to leave, i started to cry but saw a customer coming into the shop and rushed out the door to hide my tears.  i walked briskly to my car and drove to the flower shop.  i somberly walked up to the counter, money hanging out of my hand and stood in line behind a chipper man.  i sludged up to the counter, looking down at the glass and said something to the affect of, "flowers for Ashley Janderwski, from the Bailey family"
my only saving grace was i stared a hole through that glass counter top, never looking up at the lady (who knows, it could have been a guy.)  i barely held it together, handing her the money and i turned and walked out as fresh warm tears welled up on the bottom of my eyes.  i remember the tears spilled over my cheeks and ran down my face like the rain beat down on my car outside.  hard, relentless, rude, ignorant.  

and that's it.  that's the memory.  of course there are swarms of other memories that follow after that memory, but for some reason, that's the one that always haunts me.  it was like the final admission that, yes, this is really happening.  and for some reason i felt like if i didn't get those flowers, that it would somehow be untrue.  

most may think the number 13 is unlucky.  but i was lucky to know number 13.   

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


taking a little break from fiction...

during my overnight shift at the hospital last night, God's grace was made available to me through a patient.  His name is Tom.  Sadly, Tom's mind and brain have succumbed to the harrowing effects of drug and alcohol abuse.  Our night started out pretty talkative!  We talked about his love for sailing and playing footsies.  ;) (He's 45.)  We even watched Jay Leno together.  About 2 hours into my shift, Tom became increasingly agitated with me because as a patient safety sitter, I have the glorious job of telling people what they CAN'T do.  his mind was so lost that he'd begin a conversation we had just finished not 5 minutes earlier.  I just went along and stayed interested.  He soon grew bored (as one would) and started to sit up in bed wanting to walk to the restroom.  wanting me to get him a coke.  wanting me to get him a swig of rum.  even a small cup of water.  he was not allowed these things because of a procedure he is having this morning.  It pained me to turn a man down to a cup of water but it was what i had to do.  He grew increasingly angry.  the red in his face caused my heart to pump a little faster.  a few times, i even checked my pulse because it felt like the blow of every beat in my chest was causing my whole body to rock gently back and forth in the chair i was sitting in.  my resting heart rate is roughly 60bpm.  last night, i clocked the highest at 108bpm (count number of beats in wrist for 10 seconds, multiply by 6.)  =)
Each time i had to tell him no and redirect him to his pillow, i felt my spine tingle and my face flush red.  the heat swallowed my ears. first my earlobes, then like a black hole, the heat engulfed the rest of my ears.  I began to feel scared.  And even now, i'm not really sure why.  i've sat with patients that were physical with me. I've had to duck under fists, dodge kicks, wince after a scratch on my arm, ya know, the real fun stuff.  Tom just tried repeatedly to get out of bed.  and i repeatedly told him he was not allowed to.  he would whip his head around real fast, point to the door and tell me to leave, tell me that he'd have me fired.  and soon after, he would lie back down, breathing heavier and huffing and puffing.  i think it was the increased breathing that scared me the most. other than the scenarios i kept playing in my head.

Often, God's grace (this is me thinking) is looked as something that is offered that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. to make clearer; God's grace can be felt while in prayer, having a prayer answered, through a person giving a gift or making a sacrifice.  I think God's grace can be mistakenly grouped into warm and fuzzy all the time.  Though Tom was the last person i wanted to spend my night with, and I him, Jesus spent time with 'the least of these.'  i felt God's grace thru Tom.  Not because of all the nice names he called me or his obvious anger towards me. but because Tom yielded gratefulness in my soul.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

a new pair

begin, new brain child

from now on, the posts i blog about referring to my fiction story "Green Sneakers" will be fresh and new. straight from my head (could be a scary thing....)

"Good thing," God said, "I've been wanting to hang out with you too for some time." Jane shook her head and realized that she was lost in one of her memories again. She quickly apologized, "I'm sorry, God, um, Lord, Jesus...Daddy?" she stammered, not quite sure what to call Him. 
He smiled and sat down.  Jane sat across from Him.

Jane nervously moved around in her chair. She hadn't even realized that she was sitting until she put her hands on the big arms of the chair to boost herself up.  Her feet dangled out in front of her, hovering above the floor.  It's not that she was a short girl, it was just that hte chair she was sitting in was huge!

Jane stared at the floor, blinking her eyes rapidly, trying to figure out just what was happening to her.  She jostled back and forth in her mind, "This can't be real."  The frown on her brow was indicative of her confusion.  He moved up in the chair He was sitting in, dipped His head until His eyes could see her. 

"Jane," He started softly, "I know this is kinda scary.  A little weird.  But this is real."

Her angst seemed to melt away as she nervously, at first, stared back at Him.  She wondered in her head if she was supposed to look straight at Him.  Every time she thought about pulling away, or to shift her eyes back to the floor, she couldn't.  It was like something wouldn't let her.  She was so captivated by this man.  She began to feel herself sink into the chair, her fingers that once dug into the arms of the chair slowly flattened against hte brown leather.  she didn't realize just how anxious she was.  there were little dashes in the arm of hte chair where her fingernails unconsciously dug into the hide.  It was as if the world in front of her was slowly coming into focus.  like a big pair of windshield wipers swept away the confusion.

Jane finally lifted her head and stared straight on.  Her shoulders relaxed. She finally saw Him.  For the first time, she really saw Him. 

He smiled with that warm smile.  the warmth that extended from his smile made Jane feel so relaxed.  she closed her eyes and imagined a warm ray of sun shining on her shoulders.  like the feeling one has when getting out of a chilled pool, followed by the sun's greeting of warmth.  That's the way she felt.  She sank back further into the massive leather chair as her mind continued to imagine.  She opened one eye, as of to say "He can't REALLY be sitting here, in front of me, can He?"  He was.  Only His eyes were also closed.  the same smile sat on His face as if it were the only facial expression He had.

"That pool looked pretty cold, eh?"  He said.  Jane half-laughed.  She forgot.  This was God.  he knew her thoughts, He gave them to her.  "This is fun," He said.  "Do you have any other thoughts? You must!"

"Um no, not right now I don't I mean, i guess I don't. I guess i have...("some questions" her mind finished saying.)  She looked up at Him.  He grinned and winked at her.

"Everyone always has questions for me, Jane."

Stay tuned, tuner-inners!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Green Sneakers

part 5

Cara loved traveling too. She also loved learning about the culture and language of people in different countries. Since she was little, Cara always had a fascination with different cultures. By the time she was 12, she had been to 3 totally different areas of the world; Mexico, France, and Africa. Cara would go with her dad on his overseas trips. Mr. Cane pioneered schools for challenged and underprivileged children. He loved bringing his girl with him. And Cara was always ready to drop her 'busy' 12-year old schedule and accompany her dad. Cara decided at a very young age that she wanted to be just like her dad. And that's what she did. By the time she was 16, Cara was fluent in French and Spanish, just as her dad was. They were both working on their African accents. Cara's heart grew bigger every time she went to these schools and saw first-hand the kinds of struggles these kids had to endure day after day. Most of the kids they came into contact with had parents, but an even greater amount of them lived with the teachers of these schools. Though bigger, Cara's heart broke for these 'unwanted' children.
Cara even planned lessons and taught a few times with her dad. It was after her last trip to Mexico at age 17 that she really decided to go for what her heart had desired. Cara wanted to be a teacher to underprivileged children overseas. From that moment on, she set her heart on pursuing her greatest desire.
Cara graduated top of her class, and headed off to college to major in both language and teaching. Her parents were thrilled. It was her sophomore year when she learned that her brother Charlie was diagnosed with cancer. Luckily for her, she was nearing the end of her sophomore year and would be home with her family for the entire summer. Just as the summer before when she was home to be with her best friend Jane when Ally died from a drug overdose.
Jane grew up not really knowing what she was good at doing. She kind of just followed behind her sister's impeccable piano playing and singing. She would find herself planted in front of the piano, just listening to her sister Ally pound on the ivory keys, and make beautiful music. Ally just had a knack for playing and could light up a room with her playing. Jane great jealous fast but hid her jealousy well. Jane loved to write and read but she felt like a huge nerd. So she never talked about what she liked to do. She would do anything she could to avoid questions from others regarding what she wanted to do when she grew up. When faced with those questions she couldn't dodge, Jane usually just shrugged her shoulders and said that she would like to "be a veterinarian or something like that," uninterested. People seemed to be ok with that answer, so Jane just went with it. Secretly though, it was Jane's journal that knew everything about her. Even Jane felt as if her notebook knew more about herself than she even knew. Almost as if she should be asking advice from her journal. But Jane was ok with that. Until one Tuesday afternoon when she met her best friend, her neighbor.
The two girls met when they were both 10, when Jane and her family moved into the city, right across the street from the Cane's. However, the two of them didn't click until they were both 15, starting a grueling freshman year at the local high school. In their life skills class, the students were required to give a 15 minute speech about what they would like to do when they grew up and how it would impact lives. Cara jumped at the opportunity to share her experiences she had going to different countries. She couldn't wait to start.
Sitting right behind Cara, Jane sank into her chair as the teacher explained their upcoming assignment. They had a week to prepare. The due date was the following Tuesday. Jane immediately searched the recesses of her mind to conjure up a remarkable reason to not attend school the following Tuesday.
"I could get hurt riding my bike, i could eat too much ice cream on Monday night, i could use my sister's toothbrush, she's been sick, ummmm," Jane thought.
It seemed as though every excuse Jane came up with had the same counter action; she'd have to give the speech the next day anyway.
Jane continued her scheming on the bus ride home. But, no matter what clever plan she came up with, she realized she would still have to give her presentation, regardless.
Jane slowly shuffled home and made her way up to her room. Jane sat at her desk and pulled out her trusty journal, and this is what she wrote;

[Hi journal, Today was a really hard day. I have to get up in front of my whole class and talk about what i want to do when i grow up. I have always told everyone that i wanted to be a vet or some kind of doctor and everyone smiles and tells me, "Oh Jane, that's wonderful, you could really do this world some good," or some other load of crap about how they are "really proud of me," insert fake smile. Blah blah blah. I don’t really want to do that...i don’t think. Ahhhhh i just don’t know, i'll probably never know. My sister writes and plays music and i just write in this stupid book....
sorry Journal.]
Cara, on the other hand, just across the street, sat in her living room on the edge of her couch, beaming about her newest assignment. "MOOOOOMMMMM i get to tell everyone about what i want to do, FINALLY i get to share about what i really love to do, mom."
"Cara, that's...." here mom piped in.
"i know, im so excited," Cara interrupted, and she ran upstairs to her room to start right away.
Mrs. Cane chuckled as she picked up Cara's shoes and continued vacuuming.
Cara could barely write as fast as her mind was racing with thoughts.
then she stopped and thought, "i should slow down and maybe ask God to help me organize this thing." She 'righteously' straightened up in her chair, and thought, "ok God, where should i start? Hellllooooo? Are you there?"
Cara sat silent and thought she heard, "look up." Cara looked up and out her window to the street. She wrinkled her brown and put her hand on her chin. "What the heck am i supposed to be looking at?" she said, not half realizing that she was talking to God.
Meanwhile, Jane sat behind her drawn shades, crying. She thought, "i wonder what it's like to know what you want to do, to really know and be ok with you as you are?"
"This is stupid", Cara said aloud. What am i l-o-o-k-i-n-g fooorrrrrrr???" she pounded the desk. At once, Cara sensed the mood change in the room, and she became silent. In her heart, she felt God talking to her. He responded promptly, "You're not the one looking, someone else is looking for you."
Cara peered through her window again, and noticed what had been there all along, Jane's bedroom window. She quickly realized that whenever she had looked out her window, those shades were ALWAYS drawn. Cara really only ever saw Jane at school during lunch and their life-skills class.
Cara wanted to laugh, but she knew what she heard. She began to reason, "what am i supposed to do?"
"Your excitement over this assignment isn't going to get you anything other than a good grade. Jane needs you to be her friend. So go do it."
Very reluctantly, Cara agreed, standing to her feet. She walked across the street, and up to the Jewell's doorstep. She breathed deep and rang the door bell.
Jane sat up and wiped her face with her hand and felt a rush of excitement. "Oh yes," she said aloud, "my package is finally here." Jane had ordered a book a few days ago. She raced downstairs, to the front door. She swung it open.
"Hi, I'm Cara, i live right over there," she pointed across the street.
"Listen," Cara said, "I'm kind of bored and i realized that we have lived across the street from each other for the past 5 years, but we've never hung out together, or even said hi except at school. Are you busy?"
Jane stood flabbergasted, her eyes wide open, hands still in the pockets of her favorite pair of sweatpants. "I'd love to spend some time getting to know you," Jane stammered.
end part 5
this concludes the portion i began writing 18 months ago. thoughts continue to plague my mind and i will eventually share them to whomever (if there are 'whomevers') out there wants to read. thank you for peering in!