Sunday, January 31, 2010

An odd perspective

Yesterday I attended a graveside service for an elderly lady from my church. She actually died on December 18th but because the weather had been so bad her son decided to wait on the burial and the memorial service.

The day was sunny but very cold (12 degrees with a little wind). I drove about an hour to get there. There was a very small gathering. Maybe 15. And most people there were 75 and older.

The chairs were set up, the green blanket covered the ground and on top on the mound was a plain brown wrapped box about 6 inches high by 12 inches long and 8 inches wide. Here was Marilyn.

I could not take my eyes from this ugly box. I kept thinking how her 80 years were spent and how hard she worked. How she had nothing in the end and all that was left were her ashes in this box. I wanted to cry.

I know she is with God and no longer has to deal with the results of a stroke, or her Parkinson's disease or her existence in a nursing home. And for that I a grateful.

But it just seemed so depressing and cold.

The service lasted about 15 minutes and the Pastor read the usual Bible passages. Then it was off the the Church for the Memorial.

As I left the cemetery, I felt empty and spent my trip back to town contemplating my own mortality and wondering if I will end up in a plain brown box. Well. at least that I know won't happen because I have already paid for a pink cloisonne urn that I hope will remind people who I was in life.

The Memorial Service was better and there were pictures of Marilyn smiling and healthy - like I would like to remember her.

Death can be an unhappy thing but the celebration of the life that just ended should be joyous. I hope mine will be.

I will miss Marilyn.

Friday, January 29, 2010


This has been a particularly difficult week. I work for an accountant and this is the last week of the month to get 2009 year end taxes filed and W2s issued.

I am new to this work and feel like I will never learn. There are so many rules and so many numbers that have to match each other in order for the accounting gods to be happy. They are not very happy with me most of the time.

I am overwhelmed and discouraged and on the verge of tears many evenings. Last night I snapped at my poor unsuspecting husband when he walked in the door a little late.

I have thought about just quitting but I can't do that. We do have bills to pay and I really like not living on the street. I know that God found this job for me when I was unemployed so I will stick it out for Him. I must work " as if for the Lord."

Pray for me that my attitude will improve and that I will begin to understand and get the hang of this soon. In the meantime, stress is something I live with but I would like a divorce or at least a legal separation!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My brother's keeper?

My mother died 7 1/2 years ago. Her estate left each of her children some money.

We put a new roof on our house and built a deck.

My sister finished her basement into the cutest guest retreat that we have used several times.

My brother lives in Berkeley. California and because he is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict and has little sense when it come to money, I was given the responsibility of Trustee to his inheritance.

Over the years it has been difficult and I have made mistakes. I was not tough enough on controlling his spending. I didn't want to fight. I was a woos (how ever you spell that!) It has been incredibly stressful.

Now we are nearing the end of the money. It will all run out by the end of the year. The stock market crash this last year did not help our situation.

My brother is on welfare in California and will have an apartment and some food. But he will lose his TV and phone and computer.

My sister and I cannot afford to support his luxuries but we can't see him starve. I am so conflicted in this. My husband and I are nearing retirement and would like to be able to retire. My sister's husband is a lay pastor and doesn't make much money. Am I my brother's keeper? Do I sacrifice all I have worked for because of his bad life choices?

When I think about it, I cry. It affects every other aspect of my life.

God, please help me to know what to do. Please provide what I need and what he needs. I turn this over to you.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Unintentional evangelism

On Tuesday evening, I went to a local coffee shop to hear a blog-friend read. I had no idea what to expect. I read her blog every day, Graceful inspires and feeds me with her words but to read outloud is different.

There is a small writer's group that meets once a month to share their musings. They are mostly "experienced" people but the lady who read on Tuesday is young and. as such, brought a freshness to the group.

She stood at the microphone, unsure of how to begin and what to say. So she launched herself in and took us all along for a wonderful ride. As we journied with her, her voice became stronger and more confident. She actually seemed to be enjoying herself.

She spoke of her childhood as a young Catholic girl who had stolen a coveted necklace and the way it ate at her so much that she could not even bring herself to confess it to the priest. She made us empathize and laugh.

She confessed her unwillingness to move to Nebraska from Massachusetts and how she has come to love it here. She made us empathize and laugh.

She talked about how her faith has grown since she moved here where, to her way of thinking, we in Nebraska discuss our faith and our relationship with God with such ease. I'm not sure that is true but apparently in Massachusetts they don't talk about it at all!

She read to us how she had reprimanded her son for something he had done and in his suffering and worry, realized how much she needed Jesus and how she could not face her own problems without Him. She made us empathize and cry.

And all the while, she was an unintentional Evangelist. She spoke from her heart about her faith and her love of God and her doubts and her journey. It was amazing. She made us believe.

I hope I get to hear her again soon.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Eve

Normally, we have gone to a party on New Year's eve but this year we stayed home. We watched some college football and had dinner. No wine, no champagne. Just Coke and Pepsi.

We danced cheek to cheek with the lights turned down low to The Platters and jitterbugged with the lights bright to Chuck Berry on the hard wood floor of our kitchen. We laughed and talked and had a wonderful time. We forgot we were in our kitchen. It was transformed into a dance hall for an hour. And we weren't in sweats and socks but dressed to kill.

We had our own party and went to bed at 10:00pm (I know, what old fuddy duddys).

It was one of our most memorable New Year's eve celebrations!!

I hope yours was memorable, too and that 2010 brings you blessings beyond your wildest dreams.