Thursday, November 15, 2012

I am Safe

                                                                        *sunset over the Pacific, November 14, 2012

I am feeling strangely ensconced within a deep cocoon of security today, as if I am being gently cradled in a place where I am safe and warm and nothing amiss can touch me or the ones that I love.  This is a feeling that I welcome.  I am allowing it to wash over my soul like a soothing stream of warmth.  It emanates from my heart, it radiates outward.  I feel it everywhere as it lavishes from the bottom of my toes to the top of my head.  I am not at all sure what brought this on as today is just an ordinary day but I so badly want to hold onto this feeling.  I want to somehow transmit it to the people that I love.  To you.  And yet, after the past couple of months that I have had, I do know that discourse often bubbles like a thermal geyser just below the grounds surface, ready to erupt without a moments notice.  I am no pollyanna.  I readily acknowledge that even as I sit here bathed in a soothingly soft blanket of comfort that there is trouble in the world and sadness and pain but in this moment, I am feeling shielded from that, and I am grateful, so grateful.  
Happy one week until Thanksgiving.  May you, too,  feel the blessings in your life.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

All is Well

*You might want to grab a cup of coffee because this is a long one:)

So I was just reading a blog in which the "writer" proselytized that the reason that Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc over sixteen states across the East Coast is because, wait for it, wait for it...the people who reside in those sixteen states somehow deserved to be bashed by a megastorm of epic proportions.      According to this woman(who is raising eight children with epic stupidity and bigotry), it is the fault of the gays and the damn liberals and the Obama supporters and the non-Christians and anyone else who might not agree with her- I mean-the only religious doctrine that should exist in this country.  I am mostly non-political.  I believe that gay people should have the same rights as straight people.  I actually supported neither candidate in this past election.  I am moderately liberal on some issues and moderately conservative on others.  I have been married to the same man, with whom I have birthed four daughters, for over twenty-eight years.  I am Jewish.  I am a born and bred New Yorker who has raised her children(quite well, I might add) for their entire lives on the West Coast of this great nation.  Which is why, if I were to follow the logic according to the "gospel" of this woman and others like her, God probably decided to track me down in Southern California to create a little Hurricane Sandy in the lives of the people who are closest to me? Since He was already ticked off enough to completely batter the worlds of countless East Coasters(many of whom are God-loving Christians like herself) why not do a bit of picking and choosing on the West Coast at the same time just to prove that we(the people who do not believe what she believes) have also so offended God that He is going to pummel us all into subservient submission(to heck with free-will).  I am losing patience with this idiotic line of thinking.  My mother-in-law sent me a fictional book to read several months ago that meandered down this same, exact road and as much as I love her, I nearly conducted a good, old-fashioned book burning ceremony in my own backyard.  I forgave her for truly believing the bull-shit that was written inside of that book as anything but fiction, but this particular blogger who took it upon herself to tell hurting people that Hurricane Sandy came crashing down on them because GOD IS ANGRY AT THEM made my heart sink down into the pits of my stomach.  Yes, there is a lot of hurtful crap that is written on the Internet and yes, this woman has the right to believe anything that she darn-well pleases, but to use her blog as an instrument of hate, to stick her proverbial tongue out at the poor people who were so devastated in the path of this monstrous storm while saying "Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah!" gross, just gross.  So, to stand in unity with my East Coast friends and family members(incidentally this includes my mother-in-law who lives on the Jersey Shore) I am posting a sampling of the crap sandwich which has been dealt out to our family over the course of the past five weeks with a bit of a different perspective on crap sandwiches.

Anyone who reads my blog on a regular basis probably already knows that my dad, my touchstone, recently suffered a heart attack which was followed by quadruple bypass surgery.  My dad has made many strides in his recovery and is doing so much better now.  His recovery, and not the episode which led up to it, is what I attribute to God.  As I explained in my previous post, I believe that my father was given a second chance at life because his work on this earth is not yet complete.  That being said, I do not believe that my father's heart attack was caused by God.  Heart attacks are acts of nature, just as hurricanes or earthquakes or tornadoes are.

The heart attack seemed to just be the tipping point for us.  The vehicle in the photograph above used to belong to Angel Daughter Number Two.  I say that it used to belong to her, because some brainless schmuck chose to get behind the wheel of a car drunk, and then proceeded to plow into the front of my daughter's car head-on, very late one night a couple of weeks ago.  She sensed him coming but it was too late.  He hit her in such a way that her car uncontrollably spun around a full 360 degrees deploying the airbags and leaving her stunned and in pain as she tried to put together the pieces of what had just happened.  From out of nowhere, a young man on a bicycle ran to her aid helping her out of the vehicle and retrieving her cellphone from inside so that she could call for help.  When AD2's boyfriend arrived on the scene, the driver admitted to him that he had been drinking.  The drunk remained on the scene for several minutes until AD2 noticed him limping across the road and then, out of sight, leaving nothing but his vehicle behind.
That was the same week that I arrived home after spending eight days out in Palm Springs.  Mark met me out there(two hours away from home) for the weekend after my dad was released from ICU leaving our two youngest Angel Daughters in charge of the farm.  On Saturday night, Angel Daughter Number Four called and mentioned that our dog, Micah, was limping after she had taken him to play with her boyfriend's dogs for the afternoon.  When we spoke to her on Sunday, she said he was still limping but seemed to be doing better so we didn't think too much about it.  When I arrived home at around 10:30 Sunday night, the dog was not limping.  He was dragging his leg behind him and yelping anytime that we touched it to look at it.
*Notice my suitcase still yet to be unpacked in the background.

By Tuesday, Micah was in surgery to replace his torn ACL with metal pins.

And somewhere in the midst of all of this, my husband managed to fracture his wrist in two places.

And you know what my mantra was for the entire time that all of this was taking place?  It can always be worse.  There was nothing facetious about this.  No sarcasm.  No blaming God.  No believing that the Lord had been particularly harsh on my family as a way to "punish" us for my gay-loving, non-Christian, Jewish, moderately liberal, moderately conservative views.  

It was my choice and my belief to focus on where I know God is in all of this.  It is for the same reason that I know that God did not bring Hurricane Sandy down on the lives of all of the people who live in the sixteen states that were affected by such a mega force of nature to punish them.  Because no matter how bad things might seem, they can always be worse.  And no matter how difficult the storms that we must face might seem at the time that they are happening, there are always angels, even human beings with invisible wings or bicycles who will swoop in to help or to rescue or to lend a hand.  No, crazy woman who had the audacity to write that God used the tragedy of a megastorm to punish whomever happened to reside in its way, God did not create the hurricane in order to express His anger. 

A hurricane is an act of nature.

A heart attack is an act of nature.

A broken wrist or a torn ACL, both acts of nature.

A drunk driver barreling down the road without concern for anyone but his own need to get where he is going impaired out of his mind, that is an unfortunate and evil act of free-will.

But a surgeon who can repair a badly damaged heart and save a life, 
millions of people coming together to support those who were traumatized and damaged and devastated  by a storm,
people putting their own lives at risk with barely a thought for their own safety in order to rescue others,
a veterinary surgeon who can replace the ACL of a dog with staples and pins so that he can run again,
a stranger on a bicycle who stops in the middle of the night to come to the aid of someone else's daughter,
that is where God is.

The photo above is of AD2 and Micah, now.  They are both still dealing with the after effects of what they have been through, but they are healing and safe and alive.  The little red car in the photo is AD2's new Prius Hybrid.  The insurance company declared her other car totaled after the accident and sent her a check almost immediately.  There is an investigator assigned to her case and he is going to find the driver of the vehicle that could have killed my daughter.  Things can definitely always be worse.

Through it all, there are always wonderful moments intertwined with the difficult ones.  Here are just a few.  These are the moments that remind me of where God is in the mix.

Angel Daughter Number Four, our tiny dancer, asked me to come observe as she taught some dance classes.  As I sat there observing, several of the parents who were also observing their own students began talking about what an incredible teacher AD4 is.  They did not realize that I was there to watch her and that I am her momma.  I just sat there and smiled.
Halloween 2012.  Angel Daughter Number Three dressed up as one of the characters from the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas.  Once she got the full face make-up done, she looked amazing!
Angel Daughter Number One likes to ham it up for me when I have the camera because she knows that it will make me go away faster.  That being said, I adore this child.
Angel Daughter Number Two did a photo shoot at our house last weekend.  It was so much fun to watch her work.  Our house was buzzing with energy as the make-up artist, stylist, models and their boyfriends busily worked together to create some gorgeous images.

I will definitely post some of the finished products here soon.  Such a fantastic group of young people.  Watching AD2 orchestrate everything made me a very proud momma.
Last week, we had a Disney Day as a family.  I think this photo pretty much sums up what kind of a day that was.  It is not as often as I would like that we can get together for an entire day to be together as a family now, but when we do, I am nothing but grateful.

My prayers go out to the many people who were affected by Hurricane Sandy.  May you find strength in each other.  May you find healing in the rebuilding of your lives, and may you find peace in the moments that remind you that things can always be worse.  Oh yes, they can.
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