Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I have been rewarded in my endeavors to get back to my natural color with my first gray hair. (Ever since Hawaii, I long to be natural...Shea drew the line when I told her I wanted to do dreadlocks...too "natural" she believes! Oh, to not wash my hair...to let it go crazy! But I digress...) Like oh so many "firsts" I've experienced, it makes me long for Chuck. Wish he were here to revel in it...to look at it...to laugh at it...to know we are getting older together...to bask in the glory of our journey to mid-life! Sigh.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Okay, my dear sister shared this skit with me...and I feel compelled to share it with you. It's not for everyone, and you'll know if it's for you because you'll burst into tears when you see yourself. If you've ever been captive to...well...anything, and you've tried and tried to change...to get back to peace...to God and have had failed time and time again, this may hearten you. There's help. Yes, you must persevere through the beatings and the stripping of your strength to reach out and to keep your hand held out. Make no mistake, sin is vicious and will fight dirty to keep you captive. It is not hopeless...in fact, with the lover of your soul...the creator of your life fighting for you...it's a promised victory....He promises you, everything...in all its purity and delight.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The opening scene of Dan in Real Life is classic for anyone who has lost a spouse...Dan rolls over in bed to put his arm around his wife but realizes she is not there. Then you get a shot of his bed. His side, slept in...her side is COVERED in papers, books, so that it is anything but empty...because that would just be too much. Then Dan sits up in bed, puts his feet on the floor, takes a deep breath and surrenders. "Okay" he breathes out...then its up to start a new day. It was soooo touching...and so real...and so a scene from my life!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Here's an odd point of view. I find that when believers (who are really, really cool and that Chuck really, really liked) pass on, my response is "Oh good!" I really have to watch my initial reactions, because they can be very unsettling and inappropriate in the face of someone's loss and suffering. Had someone said, "Oh good" when Chuck died, I think I would have decked em.

In any case, I was THRILLED to hear that Charlton Heston had joined Chuck. Chuck has probably had him reenact Planet of the Apes a zillion times by now.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Whew, that was a rough one...sorta like a contraction before birth! THANK YOU FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT.

God...always right on time, waited until I was ready to be presented with this tidbit: my grief does not define me. Unbeknownst to me, I had snuggled cozily into my WIDOW status. Once you take on an identity, everything in your life gives way to it. I've been wearing the WIDOW tag like a badge of honor...as if to say, "I may look normal, but my heart has been ripped from my chest and handed back to me. BUT I SURVIVED." I did not realize I had done this NOR did I realize that I had fallen in to a victim roll. Though my grief is profound and rocks me to my core, I will no longer take it on as an identity. CHRIST defines me. I am his...I am a child of God and he has promised to meet all my needs.

Thank you again for the prayers and comfort during my insanity.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ouch, ouch, ouch. It hurts to breathe...nothing physical. I had to remind myself all day, "Just keep moving...just keep moving." I accomplished NOTHING at work, save breathing...air in, air out. Some days, that's a lot to ask for.

I cannot explain how I got here, or even where I am...but I'm incredibly upset to discover that my husband is not coming back. Who'd a thunk? I spent all weekend restlessly moving about the house...going from room to room...never able to settle anywhere...not even in the backyard, my favorite refuge. I made TWO trips to AMC and one to Barnes and Noble...seeking a place of calm...or escape...not realizing until today that I was searching for Chuck. I did not find him. He's not coming back. Everything I've been learning about...finances, home upkeep, car repair...none of it will bring him back. I really wish someone had told me this earlier. I've been moving steadily forward but now I "see" that I am NOT moving toward Chuck. Clearly, someone dropped the ball...who's in charge of informing me of these things?

I have this whole great life before me...only it's not the life I want. It's like wanting to be the angel in the school play but you have to be the stupid lamb. My post from yesterday...offering my life in service...who was I kidding? I WANT TO BE CHUCK'S WIFE. That's it. I do not want to be Mother Theresa...I do not want to be a pillar of strength. It's like someone is behind me...pushing me forward...no matter how hard I dig my feet in, the force behind me is greater. I want to scream...WAIT, WAIT. I'm not ready for this. I can't make a new life. I can't do this. Please don't make me do this. Please.

Silence...and a big shove foward.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Have you ever received answer to prayer that is so utterly clear and in your face that it takes your breath away...makes you weep with the directness of God's invovlement...of his coming into your life in such a personal way? Happened to me this morning, and I'm still a bit woozy from the whole experience. I find God typically requires me to jump on faith...rarely do I get a "HEY, JAN...DO THIS."

For months now, I've been contemplating a change...offering my life, which is now so freed up, to serve. How? That's me...I want to do things the "right way"...this fear of messing up OFTEN immobilizes me, leaving me pretty useless...not really helping anyone because I won't move or try doing the "wrong" thing...getting involved in the "wrong" place for me. So, I've been praying...and really feeling led (in my gut) that it's time to STOP consuming what church has to offer...stop with the classes...with the learning...with the receiving...and DO something that requires me to put myself OUT.

First hurdle, my place of worship...my home...is far...not in my neighborhood, not even in my city...not people in my life...and I feel compelled to stay "home"...to build a community IN my community. I want to make friends...and I have the feeling the way to do that is to get involved in serving. Typically, when I want to make friends, I find people who can befriend ME...who will benefit MY life...who will bring me laughter and comfort and joy. All for ME. God's been whispering, "Jan, reach out to help...stop worrying about what you GET. Stop it, sweetie...trust me...you are aching for something that you cannot fill unless you pour out of yourself."

So, Shea and Greg are out of town...and I thought I'd try a dear church...where I have been consuming of their counselors and teachers except for Sunday when I trek out to the church of my heart...of my life with Chuck...of my comfort. I did not notice the marquee...did not notice the topic for the day...just popped in for a visit. I was warmly embraced (people there know me as I am often there for classes). The topic? SERVING...complete with a list of serving opportunities. Holy SH#@!

Romans 12:1..."Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship."

I want my life to be a song of worship to my God...I want to sign his name at the end of each day-knowing that my heart was true.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Umm, I'm a newbie to facebook stuff...not quite sure how all this works. If I understand correctly, you can click on the links below to see photos of our grand and glorious adventure to Abilene! You simply toggle through each "next" button once you are on Timber's facebook.

Facebook | Photos of You

Facebook | Timber Barkley's Photos - Hanging with my cousins!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

I've been out of town on business and brother am I exhausted. It was a short trip which means very long days...airport/work/work/airport. I did not make my 9:00 bedtime even once! Oi. However, I came home to a spotless house, yea Maegan! What a lovely treat. Truly, my house has not been clean, clean since Chuck died...and that's cause someone else did it!

All is well. How does the song go...it is well, it is well, with my soul.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I heard this song on the radio and it brought back my last day with Chuck...Sunday, before everyone arrived. I wanted to sing to him...to comfort him...to reach his spirit and speak my love. Since God firmly planted these lyrics into me, I gave them away to my Chuckito. In hopes he would feel my heart...my awe...the depth of my love for him. "You make everything glorious and I am yours...what does that make me?"...that's all I could remember. So with cracking voice...with my heart breaking, I sang to Chuck. As he lay dying...he was glorious...I kept thinking of Ecclesiastes 3:11 "God has made everything beautiful for its own time...." As unthinkable as it was...God was showing me the beauty of this moment with Chuck...this exquisite ache...as we gathered our strength for what was before us...as husband and wife...it was glorious.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The bebe...he's going home!


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wonder of wonders...my sleeping pattern has returned. My sleeping habits were a source of "material" for my beloved funny guy. I was a full-contact sleeper...utilizing all of the bed, covers, pillows. Though we had a KING, Chuck was relegated to the tiniest corner, if he got that much room. At some point in Chuck's hospitalization...while sleeping alone, my body revolted and stayed in one spot...all night. Once Chuck died, his side of the bed remained untouched...covers pulled up tight, pillows in place...not even a toe ventured over there...until now. I have to laugh...I know Chuck is thinking, "Well, now we now how to get you to stay put at night...." It reminds me of a Disney story...an evil witch put a curse on a fair princess...the only way she could share a bed comfortably with another was to experience a pain so deep...so profound. The prince, unable to bear such an edict for his beloved, opted to let the princess wander all over the bed, kicking and stealing covers, pillows, and space...so that her heart could remain happy and light....

Alas, my habits have returned...woke up this morning and it looked like a tornado had hit...it's good to be back.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

K and C are now the perfect ages for road-trips! Not only that, they are just such good kids, which makes it even better. Yes, they bicker. Yes, they complain, "You're on my side of the car...your feet stink...stop singing." Nonetheless, great fun.

The car trip was a quick four hours...and truly the time flew. C read the entire time. Well, not quite true. We let her read in 20 minute chunks of undisturbed time...while K and I discussed super-heroes and Uncle Chuck. Then C would specify how many questions we were allowed to ask...I warned K...DO NOT ASK YES/NO QUESTIONS...too little bang for the buck. Thusly, we made our way to Abilene.

Most who know me know...I do not like to babysit! Yes me, a former camp counselor...former teacher...I am crazily insecure around kids. A brilliant mom recently helped my issue with this tidbit..."Jan, you don't have to entertain them." She nailed it. I feel like I have to be "on" around kids...which wears me out emotionally and physically. Then there's the...do-they-like-me factor. Kids do not soften the truth...if they don't like you...you'll know it. Yes, I am that insecure. However, armed with the new knowledge of no-entertainment-necessary, who knows what's in my future? I'll become an imitation of Chuck, a grump who snarls, "Leave me alone kid...go play." If I recall accurately, this caused children to flock to him rather than flee...and he wasn't fooling anyone anyway...we all know he LOVED the attention.

But back to the weekend, we gathered for my Grandma Beck's birthday. It was so good to see her...she's tough. She's so dang tough. I also got to see my aunt Teresa (Mom's baby sister) and Timber (Teresa's baby...sophomore in college now...so waaaay cool on C and K's list). To top it off, we traveled to San Angelo to see two of my Grandad Woody's sisters. Blessedly, they filled me in on some grandad info...he died when I was four or five, so my memories of him are waaaaaaaay limited. (Note, my G'ma was a young widow as well. She was only 48 when he died.)

It was reassuring to hear that I come by some things naturally...he ADORED animals and always had a pet of some sort; he was gentle and loving; he was always the teacher's pet; he stood up against gossips, nare-do-wells, and any sort of evil-doers; he was adored for his sweet spirit; he loved, loved, loved his first-born daughter (my mom); oh, and he had a bit of a temper...that would be the part that helped me breathe easier. Guess you can be gentle and a hot-head all at the same time!

Dinner was at Buffalo Gap's famous Perini Ranch Steakhouse. It was out in the middle of nowhere...in the sticks, if you will. Since the place was packed, we ate outside. It didn't take long for us to start shivering. Blessedly, the restaurant provided us with horse blankets...and yes, they smelled of horses. I know, not for the weak...but I thought it was DELIGHTFUL. It was GREAT company, great atmosphere, great food all to celebrate a great woman...Doris Marie Beck. I can't wait to do it again!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Stories from the road to follow...

I took a niece and a nephew to Abilene this past weeekend to clebrate my G'ma's "79th" birthday.

It was a blessing...details are a commin'.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Today I go to the opthalalala...annual review of all that is good and diabetic. I get a kick out of having my eyes dilated...gives me an idea of how I would look with brown eyes...not bad.
Just look at that baby!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

And the two shall become one…ironically I was reading Boundaries in Marriage the last few days of Chuck’s life. Oddly enough, when a marriage shifts so drastically…a sharing of two partners to a caretaker/caregiver sorta situation…there can be a boundary issue or two!

Again, it is just like God to start preparing my heart in advance…for what was ahead.

I think all of us get the “two shall become one” thing…in a way. I had always focused on the ONE part. We will be ONE. I felt so incomplete and longed to be whole. I truly thought I needed someone else to complete me. What escaped my understanding was that the prerequisite was two complete people...in God's economy it takes two completes to make one. Thankfully Chuck was one and a half people. Okay, kidding. But again, God "made all things work together for good" and grew me up within our marriage. While I leaned on Chuck heavily...we were also complements...praise God.

Here's the deal...in my young widows group, we are discussing being complete and whole apart from our spouses. We when marry, many times we lose ourselves...we lean heavily on our spouse and depend on them to complete us rather than growing(guilty, guilty, and guilty). Of course that GOD gave me 15 months of stretching and growing...doing ALL the things Chuck had done so well in our marriage. PLUS Chuck was there for coaching and reassurance. Truly I am in awe of this training time allowed me.

I remember a time when I thought the main thing that made me special was Chuck. I had worth because of Chuck...he chose me...I was married to the most fascinating person on the planet, thus I must be pretty special. While there is some weight to that...I was married to the most fascinating person on the planet...praise God! Alas I have found there is more to me than Chuck. God has orchestrated my past...used my precious husband and our journey to bring me to an amazing place of joy. For the first time in my life, I am happy and complete in myself. What an amazing God...what a beautiful miracle.