Living Life Underneath An Umbrella

I’m going to be brutally honest in this post; some might say crazy; but there are days, like today, that I think about dying.  There are bad days when I wonder whether I am worth anything; if I’m just a waste of space.  But I know that’s a lie.  I know that being an introvert and an Aspie can mess with my mind.  There are days I over think things.  And that’s when I feel like I’m losing my mind; when I want to punch walls, scream, and curl up into myself.

Today was a day that I (a) wasn’t feeling well, (b) was frustrated with things happening in my life, and (c) questioning my existence.  The good part, the sane part, is that I understand that it is just a phase I go through occasionally.  I would never kill myself though I do think about it from time to time.  Maybe I just enjoy a little self-pity.  Maybe there are times that my mind plays tricks on me.  I ask myself:  Am I more afraid of living or I am I more afraid of dying?

Since my brain doesn’t function like ‘normal’ people(those not on the Autism Spectrum), I worry if my family actually loves me; if they’d be better off without me.  And again, it’s a lie that’s trying to screw with my head.  I know that they do love me yet there are times, like today, that I do not feel loved; by my husband, my children, my parents, my siblings, etc.  I feel like I’m living underneath an umbrella; the trials of life, like rain, pummel me and I am curled up, fetal-position, underneath a blanket, waiting for the nasty weather to pass.

And pass it does.  The trials disappear, or I learn to manage them, or I decide they aren’t worth my time and energy worrying about them.  That’s how life goes for me.  I get into these little snits and I want to end it all.  I think about how I’d do it.  What would be the least messy way to do away with myself?  Then I think:  how would the person who found me feel?  That is something a person doesn’t forget, etched into your memory forever.

Sometimes I don’t even want to leave the house.  I have a desire to be involved in society, yet I don’t want to deal with people most times.   The Aspie says, ‘I don’t know how to associate with others.  And the introvert in me says, ‘I don’t want to be around people.’  Yet the real me says:  ‘I want to enjoy life.  I want to have friends.  I don’t want to let life pass me by without accomplishing the things I most want to do.’  I’ve made up a bucket list of things I want to try.  Publishing a novel, rock climbing, zip-lining, learning foreign languages, belly-dancing. What stands in my way of reaching those goals? Fear.  Fear holds me back.  Fear of failure.  Fear of looking like an idiot.  Fear of not understanding the instructions on how to do things.

And I have a terrible habit of over-thinking things, and that’s when I screw up.  I try very hard to learn things but somehow there’s a disconnect in my brain.  I am the type of learner that needs to do the thing I’m trying to learn rather than have the person teaching me explaining it with words.  I am a hands-on learner.

So there you have it; my secret pain.  It’s not something I enjoy sharing, but I want to be honest that I suffer with these bouts of depression to the point of contemplating suicide.  I am thankful that the feelings are short-lived and pass by quickly.  I believe in being positive and doing my best to make others happy.  I believe every life is precious.  I believe that the voices in our head are liars.  We are worth something.  We are precious to our families, spouses, and children.  As a Christian, I believe we are important to God as well. Our lives are important.  I heard it said once that ‘suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.’  It’s a sad fact that people who take their own lives believe that the horrible, messed-up part of their life that they are currently in will never end; will haunt them for the rest of their lives; and that’s not true.  I’d say talk to someone; get help.  You don’t need to suffer alone if you are contemplating taking your own life.  I refuse to believe the lies swirling around inside my head and so must you, my friends.  Until next time.

 

 

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Good Intentions; Bad Planning

Back at the end of May I had quit my day job of janitorial cleaning to focus all of my attention on my writing; actual writing, revising, fretting, more writing, reading, and getting things ready to be sent off.

Well, I started off with good intentions, as we all do at the start of something new.  The prospect of finally being allowed to put all my energy into my writing was exhilarating.  Finally, time to just write.  No worrying about my job.  No more trying to remember codes.  No more driving in the dark.  Just the sheer bliss of doing something I’ve longed to do since I was a child.

But things don’t always turn out the way you want them to, do they?  I was very focused in the beginning; diligently writing for 3 to 4 hours a day, taking time to revise pieces I had already finished, reading articles on the writing craft, and how to publish; etc.(sigh).  I had even joined a writers’ group.  But as time went on, something began to take my focus off of my writing.  It was a television show here, just one or two chapters more in the book I was currently engrossed in, and, the biggest time suck, Social Media.

Ah yes, I allowed myself to get sucked in, again.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Baird & Warner Real Estate.  Yes, I have this problem, this addiction, to view homes for sale.  Why, you may ask?  Since I was small I’ve always been fascinated by how the insides of other people’s houses looked.  Yes, weird.  No, I won’t stop.  I’ll even go as far as to admit that when I’m a passenger in someone else’s car, I still like to peek inside homes as we drive by just to see how they look on the inside.  No, I haven’t seen anything weird.

Now I have to confess my biggest weakness.  I am a horrible planner.  Not only do I have poor organizational skills, I can’t plan to save my life.  All good intentions to be at my desk writing away, but getting easily, so easily, distracted by the little nuances of life.  I wanted to remain vigil at my laptop until the end of the year and return to work then.  But alas I haven’t kept up my end of the bargain.  And I have been kicking myself.  I wanted to blame others for this.  But who else can I blame but myself?

So I vow to forge ahead, with whatever time I can carve out of a ‘busy’ schedule to write.  No excuses because I have none.  I need to plan, yes plan, when and where to send off my short stories.  And I don’t even have to make a trip to the post office either.  Most literary magazines allow you to send through their submissions manager, or email, and snail mail as last resort.  As I hang my head in shame for not having done what I had so eagerly hoped to do, I asked forgiveness from my husband, my family, and those who have supported my efforts, fragile as they are, so that I can regain my vision and continue on.

Life is short and I need to realize this dream before it slips through these fingers of mine.  I need to have this dream realized!  I don’t want to be on my deathbed, regretting I didn’t accomplish all that I believe God created me to do.  No one wants regrets.  So here I go…again.  Until next time.

 

Confession

Confession.  The word alone conjures up images of a darkened booth with a priest sitting on the other side of a window-type screen; filled with hushed tones and shame.

Why are we so afraid to go bold with confessing our sins when we already know that by doing so will allow that particular burden to be lifted off of our shoulders?

Do we believe for an instant that we are capable of hiding our sins from an all-knowing and an all-seeing Creator?

There’s quite a bit of shame involved, I understand.  I’ve been there.  We strive to do our very best to please God but often those attempts fall flat and we fail miserably.

But guess what?  He still loves us regardless of our numerous shortcomings.  That is what a loving God does!  How awesome is that!  So go boldly before the throne.

1 John 1:9 explains it clearly, “If we confess our sins, He  is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Now that is some great news, my friends!

 

 

 

 

When God is Silent

All my life I’ve been clinging to the hope of God and His existence.  Deep down I am fully aware that there is something greater than myself; than all of us; alive and in control of this infinite universe.  Death has had its fair grip on me for decades; what will it be like, how much pain, and will I still exist afterwards?  I believe in a God that is omnipotent and unending.  As a child I’d play church(not too many kids out there playing church, I imagine).  We had this half-shell knick knack with Jesus on the cross attached to it and I’d put water in the shell and pretend it was holy water, dabbing it onto my forehead just like I saw my parents and others do in the Catholic church we attended.

Having Aspergers, I just felt closer to the existence of some higher power; something or someone I could look up to and have a sense of peace over.  I’ve read somewhere women with Aspergers have a unique pull to the divine.  I have a thirst for Truth, to know wrong from right, to understand others and what they are going through.  I want to grasp why some people are good and others are seen as evil.  What turns a person from light to darkness?  What snaps inside?

Peace within is a blessing.  But when we seek answers from an almighty Being, we expect answers, and fast.  We don’t want to wait.  From experience there were, and still are, frustrating circumstances in my life that needle the flesh.  Why does this person act this way?  Why don’t I feel closer to the ones I love?  Why do I keep getting rejected in places that preach about love and acceptance?  My ear is attuned to his anticipated reply.  But I cannot sense any forthcoming. Then the fear and doubts set in.  Is God truly out there?  Does he even care about me and my concerns?  Now I’m drawing into myself again.  I’m screaming within, Help me, God!  Why aren’t you listening?  Do you even love me?

As a believer, fear of God no longer loving you is like a baseball bat to the face.  It’s like trying to breathe underwater.  Crying helps, a bit.  But after the tears, the cursing(yes, the cursing), the pleading, I can take a deep breath and refocus.  Peace surrounds me once again.  God isn’t intimidated by your little outbursts.  He knows you intimately since he created you.  His love for you is eternal.  When God is silent, I believe he is testing us and our faith.  Do we trust in him or not?  He swoops in to rescue us and our dwindling faith.

He is good and merciful to his children, and knows us all by name.  God has not abandoned you but continually longs to have a place in our hearts and thoughts.  Talk to him today.  He is waiting.

The Christmas Holiday Season is Upon Us

Okay, I’m going to share a bit of my views about the holiday season in this post. I need to begin by saying that I think people, in general, go overboard during this time of year. They stress themselves out by trying to find that special someone that perfect gift. Or they are rushing around to various functions just to keep up appearances. They overdose on holiday music played everywhere. And they wind up burned out and never get to fully appreciated what this time of year is all about.

Christmas, in my eyes, is the birth of Jesus. God’s perfect gift to humanity, wrapped in flesh, and given without asking for anything in return. To me, it is the greatest gift ever given. As we bedeck our homes, inside and out, with multi-colored lights and trees, inflatable Santas and reindeer, and covet precious handmade ornaments made by our children, we tend to overemphasis the trivial and forget about the true meaning. The light in children’s eyes, the wonder and the joy that glimmers within. Spending time with loved ones. Just sitting around a toasty fire, sipping on cider, eggnog, or a hot chocolate and sharing fond memories of Christmas’s past, gives one pause.

And we are not to forget those who are struggling this time of year. Those who have recently lost a loved one, or are hurting financially, or have gone through some sort of traumatic event. We need to let them know that they have not been forgotten and that you are there for them with a willing shoulder to cry on. Not everyone sees this time of year as festive and merry. This time of year can fill many with a sense of dread and depression. Let us lift those hurting ones up and help them through this season.

It’s not about what you’re getting for Christmas, or how many brightly wrapped packages are yours underneath the Christmas Tree. As a child I used to crawl around under our tree and discover how many had my name on the gift tag. Yes, it is exciting for children to receive requested toys. I understand that. But there comes a time when we need to explain to our children that the meaning of Christmas is more than what they receive, but what they get out of this time of year, surrounded by loving family, making their own fond memories to embrace in the future.

Goodbye 2013

This will be my last post for the year.  My intention was always to post something new at least once a week.  Unfortunately I’ve failed at that.  But no use beating myself up over it.  I can’t change the past but I can do something about it in the future.  A new year is almost upon us.  For some of us this is a blessing and a relief.  For others, it is a painful reminder of what surrounds us.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of ‘what-if’s’.  Will I still have my job next year?  Will my spouse leave me?  Will my illness get worse?  So much stress and worry.  But since we cannot see into the future what lays ahead, we have to take it one day at a time.  Baby steps.  We can’t change the horrible economy.  We can try to do a better job at loving and caring about our spouses.  We can get help.  We can go to counseling.  Life is so unpredictable.  We can’t see around the corner and peek at what is coming at us.

But this post is not meant to be negative.  I want you to read ‘hope’ within these words.  Hope for a new season in your life.  Hope that things will get better, or hope that things will remain just as they are, if you are pleased and thankful for what you already have.  I believe that we live with too much fear.  I for one am included in that.  I am a worrier.  I bite my nails still.  I overeat to calm my frayed nerves.  I get sick to my stomach sometimes, and have terrible headaches.  And for what?  Because I’m stressing out about something that will most likely never occur.  I recommend meditation or prayer.  A higher power.  I believe in God.  I believe that He has all things under control and no matter how hard I struggle to have things my way, I believe that He is ultimately the one with absolute control.  I think that we need to keep our eyes focused on something bigger than ourselves.  I’m not saying that you have to believe in what I believe.  I’m a firm believer in not forcing any religion down anyone else’s throat.  But I do think that we can find comfort in knowing that there is someone or something in control, who’s got everything in capable hands.  Leading us.  Guiding us.  Teaching us.

So as we look to 2014, let us release all of this strain, and worry, and focus on the good.  We usually cannot do much about the things that pop up unexpectedly in our lives, like the loss of employment, but we can take a deep breath and move on to something else.  We can release the ‘bad energy’ and move on to something better, something brighter.  Don’t settle for second-best.  Don’t settle for complacency.  You are so very important.  See yourself as valuable.  As a contributing member of society.  Life goes on even when the pain comes.  Talk to someone, if you need to.  Don’t go through all of this turmoil alone.  We all need people, even in this social media age.  Please never look at your life as being worthless, as you being worthless.  You are NOT worthless.  You are made for a reason.  No one is here by accident.  This is what I believe.  Don’t take your own life.  I read somewhere once that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  In life, this too shall pass.  Troubles don’t last for a lifetime.  I know what I’m talking about.  I tried, years ago, to take my own life.  But you know what, even though I was buried in anguish at the time, life did get better. 

Please, please, please look for the bright spot.  There is always one if you dare to seek it out.  Love yourself.  Let others love you, too.  Don’t wall yourself up.  Get out there in live!  Life is short.  It is unpredictable, but it is beautiful.  Please don’t squander another day. 

Going Back to My Christian Roots

The Word of God endures forever. It cannot be destroyed. Those in Third-World nations hunger for it. Fellow believers long for a copy of the Bible for themselves. They sit on wooden benches in hot, stuffy shacks, worshipping the Lord while we in this country are sitting in air-conditioned masterpieces of architecture, and still we are not happy. We feel that going to worship once a week is a chore; boring and without merit.

The Bibles we have are normally for display, not for reading, much like our grandparent’s plastic-covered living rooms were. As believers, we need to open up that book, filled with life-giving, cleansing water for the thirsting soul. The Word is our hope. It reveals the precious Lamb of God who died to take away the sins of the world, so that we may be reconciled to the Father.

It doesn’t matter to God how many chapters you read in one sitting, as long as you take the time and refresh yourself in it daily. A verse or two, a chapter; just read it and take its words to heart. It can calm you down, and it can energize you, depending on what you are looking for.

Many people scoff at the Word, thinking it’s nothing more than fables and pretty stories written by uneducated men making foolish rules, and oppressive to women. But they couldn’t be further from the truth. God is holy. And the world does not understand Him any better than the religious leaders of Jesus’ time didn’t understand who He was.

God’s love for you is truly unconditional. He will be there with you in your struggles and your questioning “why’s” God doesn’t delight in people’s suffering or addictions, or in your tears. No. He wants nothing more than to comfort you.

For you to obey His word means to be kept safe from serious harm. Is that to say that nothing bad will ever happen to you? No. Life will still have its ups and downs, and heartache, pain, and temptations. But the Lord will provide you with the strength to make it through. All you have to do is ask. In His Word, a great light is there ready to break through the darkness of this world.

Understand that it is the ‘religious leaders’ of our day that try to overburden you with foolish rules and guilt trips. God will not do that. Christian faith is not about bondage, but about breaking free from condemnation. It is freedom; freedom from fear, addictions, and from a hardened heart. If you haven’t already, choose this day to take a chance on God. Let Him reveal Himself to you. Let Him bask you in the glory of His light and in His love. You’ll be glad that you did. Accept this offer of freedom and peace today.