Red Leigh Cooper

Red Leigh Cooper

Sunday, December 30, 2012

"...Had just settled down for a long winter's nap..."

     There is this Christmas cartoon that I try to catch every year if I can find it on called "Twas the Night Before Christmas."  It's based on the the famous poem, of course, but the story involves a clock maker, Joshua Trundle, his family, and the family of mice, who incidentally can talk, that live in his house.  One of the mice children wrote a letter to Santa Claus that said that he was a fraud, Santa gets mad, and they all have to figure out how to make Santa happy again. Long story short they write Santa a song that is supposed to play though the town square clock at midnight, but they had problems making it work, so on Christmas Eve they give up hope and just go to bed...

     ...That's what I did this Christmas.

     After my last post, I realized I had some serious going overs and getting pasts to do. I had four full days, starting on December 22nd, to really think about an immensely hard 2012 through which I had, just like Joshua Trundle...and the mice, given up hope. The cartoon actually ends with Joshua reciting the "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" while Santa arrives because one of the mouse children fixes the clock and it plays the song and Santa is happy again. My husband Eric always loves the part when it says, "...had just settled down for a long winter's nap."

     Eric just really enjoys a good nap. I started to wonder when, on the weekends, I had stopped napping...

     I used to look at weekends as a time to relax, but somewhere over the last five years, I started looking at weekends as extra time to get a long list of "To-Dos" done. I had completely over scheduled my life and by the time I realized it, I was already too deep. It's taken the better part of the last six months to try and dig out of some of the responsibilities and over committing I've done.

     I have a theory about over scheduled people. They are so because they don't want down time. They don't want down time because that's when you have time to process the things that happen in your life. The only reason you don't want to process the things that happen in your life is they are just too painful. It's more than just a theory, I guess, because truly that was me. By the time I figured out I wanted to deal with everything I'd been avoiding, I couldn't find the down time to do just that. So somewhere around May, I started shedding activities.

     The problem I then had was while I was busy processing long time pains and issues, 2012 was doing its worse. I'm not going to say I had a totally bad year, because there were some truly awesome things and I came a long way as a person, but while still figuring out what had happened in my past, present day unpleasantness just kept coming. I almost feel as if the more sound person I had become was being tested and I honestly can't say that I didn't feel like waving the white flag in surrender... I settled down for a long winter's nap. I'm not saying I spent the whole four days in bed, it was Christmas after all; there are lights to see and dinners to be had! I did, however, take as many opportunities as I needed to be alone. I took as many opportunities as I needed to think. As many as I needed to cry.

     I had a surprising burst of tears and emotion Christmas Eve. To be honest, I wanted to be done processing so badly that I kind of shut it off the night before, but I got hit unexpectedly by a situation that had been part of everything wrong over the last year, so I went off to take yet another "nap." I remember as I sat there, tears uncontrollably streaming, that I was also praying. I remember saying, "You have to show me something tonight. I need to see it." What I needed to see so badly was the hope I hadn't been feeling a whole lot of lately. I needed to see the Holy Spirit that can only be found within creation.

     Going to church on Christmas Eve has always been a part of my life since I was a small child. I always found it to be a special, full of light in the world, and peace for all people gathering. As you can guess, I wasn't really feeling it this year, but it was tradition, so I got myself ready. I used to be a door greeter before I taught classes at church, and found myself back in my "old job" this particular evening. So, I bet you're thinking, wow, here is the unhappiest person in the world on Christmas Eve, and now she's working the door? I know...yeah... I was thinking that too!

     There is something to be said for immersing yourself in humanity when you feel at your lowest. I had stripped it all away. I had allowed myself to feel the pain of the tremendous loss that has occurred in my life over the last seven months. In the end, I showered, got dressed, and limped spiritually into church searching for a Christmas miracle.  As it turned, I would also be the only person who volunteered to work the door.

     Not only did I learn how to say, "Merry Christmas" in probably an estimated seven different ways, but I received something completely priceless that night. I received "thank you" and other kindnesses from strangers. I received hugs from friends I hadn't seen in awhile as, well, I suppose we've all been stretched thin by every day life. The best thing I received though was seeing faces, sad and lacking the hope that should be shining in their eyes on a Christmas Eve night, brighten when I would ask how they were this evening or say, "Merry Christmas." It was hope. It was a small, but very significant glimmer of hope...

     ...Suddenly, I felt like I was shown what I asked for earlier that day.

     I have been so much more at peace after that night. I'm not completely done sorting everything out, but I am on the mend. One thing for sure, and maybe this is a sort of New Year's Resolution, is that every weekend, no matter what, I'm going to try to take a "nap..."

     ...a long winter's nap...oh yeah...I definitely see more of those in my future for this coming year...

'Twas the night before New Years, and all through this place
No more will be processed, no more need for space.
The problems of last year are still in my sight,
But I have new hope that will get me through nights.

I understand what's needed, I'll take more time to think.
I won't carry around hurts 'til my heart starts to sink.
So me in my snuggie, and iPad in lap,
Promise to settle down for many more "naps."

While grabbing the starfish, there will be ups and downs.
I'll share them here with you, we are all "ocean" bound!
So, here are my wishes, huge smile as I write.

Happy Fishing!!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"Starfish" Episode IV - A New Hope

    I haven't written in my blog of well over a month now.  There is very good reason for that.  There really hasn't been anything to talk about.  Nothing inspirational, no significant events I've participated in, just trying to get through the day-to-day.  To be honest though, I haven't really wanted to talk much.  A few posts ago I talked about being really crabby lately, and thought that maybe I had found my way out of that....Nope....I think this overwhelming feeling of defeat and irritation has actually been going on now since before that post and that's long time to not feel...I guess...hopeful.

   It's funny, but I just noticed that "hope" is one of my blog's keywords.  When I look through my posts to see when I used it, I had only done so once in a post about recovering from my dog Dali's passing.  Since then we also lost our cat, Girlee, the company I worked for was acquired and I lost co-workers that I talked about what went on in their lives every day, and a friend I've known since junior high school also passed.  That's a lot to process in the span of six months.  I'm not surprised that's the only time the word "hope" made it into my blog labels.  With event after disheartening event, it's no wonder that my propensity for feeling that things will turn out for the best has been extinguished.  It's almost like I don't want to be happy because something is just going to come along and take the wind right out of those sails.  Have I simply, for the time being, run out of "hope"? 

    Have you ever felt like this?  I'm a person of faith.  It's Christmas.  I should feel hopeful this time of year.  Again...Nope.  Nothing there...and that's really extremely unusual for me.  This is my favorite time of year and I'm really starting to think something is very wrong with the way I'm feeling...

   ..."Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope..."

   Remember that?  I don't know if there is a person on the planet, or at least in the United States, who hasn't seen the movie Star Wars...   So, how crazy is it to have the hope that you can defeat the Death Star just by inserting it's blueprints into a small droid that could end up anywhere?  That taking down said "Star" is as simple as "bullseyeing womp rats" back on your home planet? I'm sure there were moments of doubt in the trash compactor, but they still tried... Was this the "new hope" referenced in the title of the movie?

    I absolutely hate "dog lost" posters.  I know alot about dogs, and I know they hate change and can get really, really firghtened when out of their element.  Facebook has made all of this worse of course with people actually posting photo's of their lost dogs.  I absolutely can't stand it.  It's really hard for me to look at.

     Yesterday one of the local animal shelters posted a picture of an Australian Cattle Dog that had been picked up.  They just knew this dog had to have a family.  Why?  She was 14 years old, deaf, nearly blind, and well, she wasn't skinny in the least.  They wanted a "Christmas miracle" to find this dog's family.  They wanted a "hope," so they posted her photo.

     As much as seeing the photo made me upset, first being that this poor darling, who had first been wandering the streets, but now in her very old and deteriorated state, was in a shelter, I shared it.  A few hours later, the word came in.  Because of people sharing the photo, the owners had been found and the dog, now known to all following the story as "Daisy," would soon be home.  The "Christmas miracle" indeed happened...    

    ...just a little hope that indeed sprung eternal...and I, and many others, bought into the "new hope" for a little lost Blue Heeler girl.  It just had to work out.  She just had to go home.

     I don't know what I need right now.  I don't know if it's more healing time than I've taken or I just need a good kick in the ass to realize things just aren't so bad.  Maybe it's both.  I do know that a dog named Daisy helped me experience a little hope for the time being...

     .....and it was easier than bullseyeing womp rats....

Happy Fishing!