Battery Life of Church

Another Sunday under my belt. I wonder how long it takes to lose that “this isn’t my church” feeling? When will I stop looking around to notice every difference? Chairs not pews. The stage is smaller, but very modern. New building, very clean and fresh. The worship leader wears a stocking cap – young. People are very friendly, but not overly cheesy. They seem genuine. Free coffee and hot tea in the lobby. I’ve taken to the tea. Weird. I’m a coffee drinker.
The last few weeks they have announced new member meetings. I’m not there yet, maybe I should check out a few other churches before I decide to stay here? Something keeps drawing me back though, something is drawing me to want to go deeper here. The messages are good, thought provoking, that’s what keeps bringing me back. And that’s why you attend church right? To worship corporately – to be in a community of believers – and to hear a message that builds you up, keeps you engaged, teaches you something about God and our relationship with Him. A message that charges my battery, like dad and his oxygen.
This church has re-charged something in me. I’m chewing on the message well into the week. That’s good. That’s very good.
So what is it that makes me feel like it’s not “my church”. Is it the break-up of the long term relationship I had with my church. (Still, “my church” is the one I’m not attending.)
For now, I stay with the one that charges my battery. The one that has me talking to God more regularly again, the one that feels comfortable, the one that seems happy and fresh and like a community that I may want to call home some day, and the one that Katie & Jordan bring my grandchildren to (bonus!).

I pray that God will move in all churches, that members are planted where they will grow, that God will speak to all of his followers through the vessel that preaches. We all need something different I guess. God knows what He’s doing.

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I See

I went to the eye doctor yesterday for my annual check up. Such a weird experience.
The lighting is kept low, I am made to take out my contacts so that I’m legally blind, then I have my eyes dilated. So I am wandering the halls, following the technician, hardly able to make out any of my surroundings, just following the orb in the white lab coat that is in front of me. After being settled into the chair, I am asked to wait for the doctor. I wait, listening but not seeing very well. It felt lonely.
Exam finished – I can put my contacts back in – woo hoo! All is well with my eyes.
Eyes are still dilated, still hard to focus. Sun is blinding! Hard to drive home.

Why do I have to have my vision so “messed up” in order to tell that my sight is fine?

Do we have to experience the MESS of life to fully appreciate that it is fine?

Battery Life of Oxygen

I thought we were doing so well yesterday with the Oxygen conversation. I thought he was okay with the 24/7 oxygen addiction. I thought we’d finally broken through to an understanding.

And then there was this morning’s conversation:

“I’m done with this oxygen! It’s not working, I’d rather be dead!” My good morning conversation has begun.

“What’s wrong dad? You said that you’re feeling better than you have in years.” That IS what he said 24 hours ago.

“Well yeah! Yesterday I did, but I keep getting this damn thing stuck on the cabinet door and I have a sore under my nose and it about strangles me! So I’ll die of strangulation but I’ll have good oxygen in my blood when I do!! It’s not working I’m telling you NOW.”

Side note: I think Death by strangulation = lack of oxygen. But we’re not exactly trying to make sense of this conversation, just understand why he’s agitated.

I try to explain that we can get a different carrying case, maybe a backpack or we can MacGyver the one he has into something less cumbersome (I have plenty of paperclips and rubber bands). We can treat the sore under his nose, but he’ll have to develop a tolerance for the nasal cannula. I try to get him back to the appreciation of oxygen that he had yesterday. But he’s on a rant –

“I got up this morning and tested my blood oxygen (we purchased him a pulse oximeter to monitor his levels…maybe in hindsight not the greatest gift) and you know what it said?! It said 84% when I didn’t have my oxygen on and then 97% when I had the oxygen on! You see, the oxygen isn’t working.”

Let that sink in. So how do I respond? Slowly.

“Dad. I think that means that the oxygen IS actually working. The oxygen in your blood goes UP when you wear oxygen, as evidenced by the numbers going UP.” Try not to sound like a smart-aleck Kim.

“Well….no. I was only wearing one liter.”

Then he took about five minutes rambling – describing the numbers to me. 2.5 liters at night through the big machine, 2 liters on the portable machine, 1 liter when I test myself, percentages all over the place, trying to wean myself, I can probably do another month if I have to, bottom line he’d rather die than wear oxygen the rest of his life. Then quickly he changes to talking about Aimie and the boys and Hannah and then we get to the weather and the laundry.

After hanging up and digesting the conversation – I think I get it. He thinks that wearing oxygen is going to “fix his lungs” so that eventually he doesn’t have to wear oxygen. Wearing oxygen is just recharging his lungs I guess – like a battery. Holy crap! Am I starting to actually understand his logic???

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Oxygen

Dad went to see the doctor a few weeks ago. He’s having trouble breathing. I could write an entire Chapter on this fact, but let’s just celebrate the fact that he has finally decided that it’s okay to be addicted to oxygen.
He’s wearing oxygen 24/7 now. He told me today that he is breathing better than he has in years, he’s sleeping better, he’s staying up later and he’s more active. He thinks he’ll keep the oxygen.
My comment, “It’s amazing how different life is when you can breath, huh?”
There are still a few issues we’re dealing with related to his lungs, but I think we are on the right track.

Priorities. Breathing is right up there at the top.

Sometimes I have to remind myself to “just breathe” too. More metaphorical than physical, but just as important I think.

Nothing I Can Do

Sunday. New church, new people to sit by, new songs – that I don’t know or sing yet (hate this the most), but the same ol’ me. The same issues that I’ve been trying to work through for 4 years. Why is Bob still sick, why is life still hard, why do I still feel sad?
Then the message is preached – and it’s like a light in the darkness. What do I do when there’s nothing I can do?
God knows. God cares. God isn’t absent in the quietness. God isn’t angry with me for struggling. God isn’t apathetic toward my plight. God loves me. God is big enough to handle my doubts. I will be blessed if I do not mis-interpret Him during this time.
I’ve prayed, I’ve believed, I’ve cried and turned away. I’ve been confused, angry and I’ve been apathetic toward Him. I’ve tried everything. And guess what? Sometimes, it’s not about what I can do or what I can say or how I can feel. I’ve done it all, all that I can do. The situation remains.
“Pray – God will fix it!” Not fixed yet. “Fast – you’re not praying ‘good enough’.” Not fixed yet. “Sometimes God wants this so you have the ‘thorn in your side’ to remind you.” That doesn’t help at all.
There is just nothing I can do. Control-freak me is still wondering, “Is there REALLY nothing I can do here??”.

So what I can control is ME.
I need to focus on the fact that God loves me, He understands me and what I’m going through, and I cannot stumble/mis-interpret HIM during this time.
Conflict remains – I still believe that if I PRAY & BELIEVE – anything I ask for….
BUT now I’m submitting to – there is nothing I can do, that I haven’t already done. So chill.
Life is hard. God is still good.
And at least I’m starting to hear Him again.

Finding Myself Lost

I’ve been searching for God lately. I know He’s not lost, but maybe I’m coming to realize that I was. So I have enlisted some drastic measures to get found.
I am a loyal church attender. I feel safe in a church body. I need that corporate fellowship. However, about 6 weeks ago I started attending new churches. A very hard thing to do after attending the same church for close to 20 years. Felt like a breakup; a breakup that I initiated. Not because they had done anything wrong, not because of anything they had done or not done. It was all about me, I was not getting my needs met. Sounds selfish. If this was a relationship with another person I would be giving myself the advice, “stay, don’t give up, get counseling, maybe it’s you.” For awhile that advice kept me there, but I wasn’t finding God. I decided it was more important to fix my relationship with Him than to be loyal to a church. This was a hard decision to make! (Truth – not sure it was the right decision yet…)
So as I venture out in search of a closer relationship with God I wonder if I will feel safe. Will I feel fellowship with strangers in a strange church, singing new songs that I don’t know? Or will I want to slip in unnoticed and enjoy the anonymity in it all?
We shall see.
One thing I know – I’ve stepped out of the boat, with my hands held out toward Him. And if this is where I am found, alone with the one who sees me and knows me and understands me, I’m good with that right now.

Time Flies

Facebook reminded me of where I was 4 years ago this week with a picture of Bob receiving platelets, we were one week into bone marrow transplant #2.
We’ve come a long way. Time flies when you’re having … fun?
Discussing life with Rusty – it’s best to enjoy every moment you can. When things aren’t bad – THEY’RE GOOD!! Enjoy the good! Time flies either way, we may as well enjoy every ounce that we can squeeze out of life.

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