Let it Slide

I put the trash out on the usual night.  None of my neighbors had their recycling bin out, so I presumed that recyclables would be picked up next week.  Morning came and I was rushing out the door to school when I see that all the neighbors now have two cans at the street instead of one.  I had no time to run back into the house to fetch the recyclables, but I could at least put out the yard waste to the street.  Husband is standing on the porch yelling at me that it all should have been done the night before.  I tell him that I didn’t know which week it was.

“Well, you should have taken care of it last night.”

“I’ve been busy.  Do you think that you can help me?”

“No.  You just need to work harder.”

That comment from the man who does nothing around the house except get food out of the refrigerator ended the conversation.  Why even bother talking to him if that is his mindset?  Everyday I spend hours on schoolwork, clinical assignments, or housework.  Free time, right now, consists of  a couple hours a day.  I am enjoying life, am super busy, but do not feel stressed out.  Why let the delusional thinking of a man who has destroyed his common sense ruin my day?  Let it slide.

This morning Husband got upset because he remembered conversations from a couple days ago totally different than how they actually went down.  The so-called truth that he has in his mind does not even make sense in the real world.  Of course, his memory is correct and I am as “dumb as a rock” and “so stupid”.  More chances for me to let it slide.  Which I did.  But, then our daughter joined in.

She is feisty, bold, angry, sad, and does not mince words.  She loudly spoke truth to her dad which he did not want to hear and did not believe.  He kept wanting me to step in and defend him.  I couldn’t.  I had no words.  It broke my heart to see all the hurt pour out of her.

I did step in when she threatened to take away his alcohol.  The lessons I am studying this week in pharmacology and pathophysiology just so happen to be on drug and alcohol disorders.  I have also covered much of the basic concepts in previous classes.  I gave both of them a two minute version of just how damaged his body is and that going without alcohol for an extended time without medical supervision would kill him.  I didn’t have time to tell them about the alcohol related brain dysfunction that we are currently covering in mental health class.  He was done listening to anything, told me that he doesn’t believe it at all, and that I am full of bovine excrement.  Another chance to let it slide.

“I’m running to the One who knows me, who made every part of me in His hands…Tuning out every single word that caused me pain…I am loved…”  Check out this song by Blanca.

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lessons learned?

As I look back over this past week I am so thankful.  For my mental health class it seems as though I have been put with the toughest clinical instructor at a facility that keeps us busy from start to finish.  Quite opposite of other groups.  My classmates talk about how easy and boring their clinical experience is.  They can get homework done or just relax.

On the surface, such an easy time seems very appealing.  I would love to have more free time.  But, I am looking at the bigger picture.  I have had a clinical experience which will be more like my future job.  I have had the opportunity to hone my skills and meet the needs of dozens of people.  My clinical instructor, by pushing us hard, has given me advantages in my other classes.  Just this morning I took a test and was able to answer some of the questions correctly because she had challenged us last week to go above and beyond.

This week I also learned that schizophrenic audio hallucinations are most likely the result of stress.  It’s the mind’s way of crying for help.  Watching the TED talk that is posted below made me so thankful that I have a God who is willing to take all my issues, worries, and cares upon Himself.  Listening to this woman’s story made me wonder why her and not me.  I still get stressed out at times.  Stress causes imbalances in the body.  Christians under stress can have the same consequences sometimes as non-Christians.

I still have sadness, fear, insecurities, and anger that I deal with.  Most of the time those things are shoved aside and, for the moment, are non-existent.  I am very good at building walls to hide behind.  Compared to last year, my ongoing issues are decreasing in intensity and frequency.  I don’t think that it is just because I have gotten good at hiding them.  I believe that I am seeing more and more evidence that God is moving before me and all around me.  I am greatly loved and held tight in His hands.  Why can’t I learn that lesson and then remember it?

Past Meets Future

Yesterday I stopped by the house of a friend to give my condolences of his wife’s death.  Then I found out from his neighbors that he had actually died the week before his wife.  Well, I was a bit shocked for, even though they were both in their 80s, he was in much better overall health than his wife.

“Why him and not my husband?” was one of the first thoughts running through my mind. This man was an alcoholic.  He was 20 years older than my husband which likely gave him more overall years of abusing his body, but he only had 4-5 drinks a day compared to the 10-20 that my husband does.  This morning I still wonder why my husband is alive and can he please die soon.

I know that my perspective yesterday and again this morning is mostly due to fatigue.  I am physically tired and mentally stretched with all that I need to do for school.

The song running through my brain this morning as I woke up was Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons” reminding me to look at the big picture and get my focus on God and all that He has done for me.  I was having a really hard time until I remembered a conversation I had last Sunday.  One of my friends (named Redmon) felt that God wanted her to remind me of some truth:  that He is slow to act for He desires that nobody perishes.  At the time we did not know why that particular aspect of God’s character was important and singled out.  It sure does fit with my thought processes today.

So, here I am, still tired, still no caffeine yet, still not quite ready to take on my schoolwork.  But, resting peacefully for I know that God is with me on this journey.

In the past, He prompted Redman to write a song based on scripture (https://scriptureand.blogspot.com/2017/08/bible-verses-for-10000-reasons.html).  Last week He prompted Redmon to remind me of specific Bible verses.   Both to converge onto today when I need to be reminded of what is true.

Conquering Fear

The first week of a new school term is finishing up today with three quizzes.  Last week I must admit that I was a bit anxious.  The school load is ramping up (accelerated courses) along with beginning two of the toughest classes in the program.  Making sure that I could have access to all the right textbooks was a bit stressful.  Scanning through all the assignments and browsing through my subject matter, I had thoughts of giving up.  It is too much work.  Too many things to know.  I am old and cannot keep up.  It took lots of work and prayer to tap down all those lies.

After Thursday, I felt so relaxed and on top of everything.  All my work was getting done ahead of deadlines and I was able to learn new information without too much difficulty.  The song that kept playing in my head was by Francesca Battistelli.  “Fear you don’t own me, there ain’t no room in this story…I know I’m strong and I am free…”  I took time to relax and get stuff done around the house.

So, Saturday night, knowing that the next day was filled with those quizzes, I decided to start studying specifically for them.  I pulled up the study guides for each class, only to discover that I had not even begun one of them.  One of the hardest classes and I had not even read the chapters!  Logically, I should have panicked and worried.  But I didn’t.  I chose to believe that there really is no room for fear in my life.  God tells me over and over in the Bible to not fear, be strong and courageous, do not be afraid…I choose to trust Him.  Everything has worked out for me to go to this school and this program, to get my degree and eventually get the job that God has waiting for me.  He will help me to get there.

Not being afraid is good, and so is studying.  I focused several hours last night on that one class and I will do more today.  All work must be turned in by midnight, so I have 11-12 hours to study and also take time to go to church.  All is well.  There is no panic in my life at this time.  I will try to remember assignments in all my classes from now on.

Husband is in a good place these past few days.  He has not fallen since Tuesday.  He will take care of most of his messes with very little prompting from me.  He is definitely better physically than he has been, but I know it is only temporary.  He still drinks 15-20 standard drinks every 24 hours.  It makes no medical sense that he is alive.  It is a miracle, but he does not realize that.

Finals Week

It’s finals week, my head is scrambled, and I am so ready for a change in classes and scenery.  The day after my last exam I am going to fly out to see my mom and spend 5 days with her!  I have not seen her in over a year and am really excited to relax with her.  But, I still worry a bit about things here at home.

I will make sure that I have enough alcohol in the house so none of the kids have to buy any for their dad.  Same with all the other personal items he will need while I am gone.  I am praying that he doesn’t die while I am away, because I don’t want the kids to have to find him or deal with all the practical stuff that has to occur.  Just in case, though, I have written step by step instructions and phone numbers of what to do and who to call.  My husband wants to be cremated, so I bought an urn just because I want to be prepared.

When I am seeing that my husband’s skin tone is turning a grayish yellow color, when my in-laws are having health problems, and when I see the signs of incredible hurt and sadness in my kids, I have to run to the only one who can handle it all.  Jesus is the only God who is so loving and kind and concerned about all the little details.

The ugly inside of me is oozing out when I interact with my husband.  I seem to have no patience.  I am ready to be done with this term at school and I am ready to be done with watching a slow death unfold.  I still want to walk on the path God has placed me on, I just want to go faster. Like a child on a long car ride I ask, “Are we there yet?”.  Jesus please help me to be patient and content.

I was playing an old cd the other day and came across one song by Twila Paris that I have always loved.  The orchestration is beautiful, the melody sticks in my head, and the words express the deepest longings of my heart.  “Where He leads me I will follow, when He calls me I will hear…”

Your Love Never Fails

I am so thankful for neighbors who have given us buckets of water so we can flush the toilets.  I slept well and woke up exhausted.  In my mind I heard songs reminding me that I am held in the Father’s hands.  I read that God promises to never leave me, to give me strength, and to always take care of me and cause me to become more like Him.  I still feel physically tired and am emotionally level.  I am trying to not grumble or complain.  Even without running water, I have been given too many things to ever justify whining over something that is not there.  We have a house with electricity.  We have plenty of food and clothing.  I am still a bit annoyed with my husband because he has inconvenienced all of us.

I spent time this morning focusing on God through songs.  It is the only way to gain real strength, especially this morning when I would love to just crawl back in bed and do nothing all day.  Now, after worship, a chat with the water company, caffeine, and a nutrition shake, it is time to get some school work done.  Hopefully, the water can be turned on before I need to leave for class.

Life Can Be Very Messy

I was never an immaculate housekeeper, but I thought my house was always clean.  Not so anymore.  I don’t have the time nor the energy to keep up with it all and that bothers me.  The adult children in my house don’t have the time or don’t always make the time to make things clean and tidy.  I am annoyed by constantly seeing clean laundry in the living room, random items in the dining room, and dog fur everywhere.

My husband used to be meticulous about his appearance.  He was that person who had a place for everything and everything in its place.  Alcoholism has certainly changed that.  He leaves food and dirty dishes on the table.  He will take off a pair of disposable underwear, overflowing with urine, and put it on the floor.  He doesn’t appear to remember what a trash can is for.  He has bathed and shaved twice this year.  Previously, thanks to alcohol, he neglected self and surroundings because he didn’t care.  He probably still doesn’t care, but now he is physically unable to safely get items off the floor or sometimes walk up a flight of stairs.  He is becoming physically emaciated and can often have a difficult time walking upright.

Yesterday afternoon I came home from a long shift, opened the front door, and was bombarded by foul smells.  My husband had accidentally peed on the couch.  This has happened before, so there are waterproof pads put down to protect the cushions.  However, those soaked pads were still on the couch along with the wet sheet/couch cover.  An alcoholic’s urine does not smell normal for biological reasons that would be of no interest to most people.  Sometimes the offensive odor is so strong that it can be smelled 30 feet away.

So, I had to change the pee pads, change the sheet, wash all the urine-soaked laundry, plus wipe up the urine that was on the floor by the toilet.  Upstairs in my husband’s bedroom, lying on the rug, was another very used disposable underwear and soiled clothing from the day before.

After cleaning up after him, taking care of dogs, and several hours of schoolwork, I slept well.  When I woke up there were more messes to clean up.  Husband had slept on the couch during the night and had another accident.  He was very apologetic about it.  So, I took care of changing everything on the couch again, and also wiping up more puddles of pee on the floor by the couch and by the toilet.

As I was doing all of this cleaning, seeing a cat litter box that needed to be attended to, piles of laundry where they should be and piles where they should not be, and husband’s messes everywhere, I did not have any overwhelming emotions of anger, sadness, frustration, etc.  It was almost as if I was numb inside.

Then, suddenly I heard a specific song in my head, “…it is well with my soul…”  Everything was put into perspective.  Husband is debilitated and needs to be taken care of, house is not clean but it is not going to kill anyone, children have good jobs that they work hard at, dining room is not needed for meals right now so it is alright for it to be messy at the moment.  I wish it were different, but I will not put myself into an emotional stew because of it.  “Through it all my eyes are on You, and it is well with me.”