Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Thing 1, the 17 year old, wrecked the jeep on November 1st. We are still cleaning up the mess from that. It's been getting "fixed" since November 2 and as of today they still don't know when it will be done.
She is no worse for the wear. Other than a jacked up back and a mild case of anxiety. Thankfully they make herbs and oils for both ailments.
The jeep on the other hand? Well, it's seen better days.
The drive shaft, rear suspension, rear axle and 4-wheel drive were ruined. Along with the door, wheels and a plethora of other problems.
Apparently she has mad driving skills because everyone -- police, paramedics and towing company-- could not believe that she didn't roll that puppy.
Frankly, after hearing them all talk, I can't believe she didn't roll it either.
She said that she felt it go up on two wheels and the thought occurred to her that she was going to roll. Then the next thing she knew it felt like she was being yanked back down and she landed on the stop sign on the sidewalk.
I have my own theories as to what happened that morning and I thank the Lord constantly that the little stinker was protected.
As humans we have a tendency to hold grudges, be offended when no offense was meant and with hold forgiveness as a means of protecting ourselves. It's easy to get caught up in being angry and serving up our own version of Javert justice -- obsessed with proving that we are right -- that we neglect to see the amazing person Jean Valjean has become. Javert is only concerned with Justice, paying no mind to Mercy.
This accident reminded me of that principal. Accident's have a tendency to do that, don't you think? Remind you of what is truly important. It's not being right. It's not holding that grudge. It's the people that are in your life. It's forgivness. Its change and growth. That's what's important.
Proving that you're right is never the right way to be. It only sacrifices relationships and alienates people.
Thing 1 and I had argued that morning and I am eternally grateful that THAT wasn't the last memory I would have with my child.
"The Great Accident" of 2012 reminded me that the only thing that really matters in life are the people that are in it. Things are just that -- things.
Things don't matter. People do.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
That last part is easier said than done in the heat of the moment.
Unless you dreamed about it happening several weeks earlier. And then you remember everything with stunning clarity.
I had a dream that I was robbed at work. The dream was so real and vivid that when I woke up, I was in a total state of panic. My heart was thumping right out of my chest and my fight or flight instinct had kicked into high gear. I could remember every single thing that happened in the dream. The look on the mans face as he stormed through the doors, the tan pants and plain white wife-beater tank that he was wearing. He had a go-tee and walked with aggression.
In my dream I was absolutely terrified and I woke up with those same feelings pumping through my veins.
The next night at work, my friend came to me and said she'd had a dream about both last night. We were closing and a group of men tried to rob us.
I was stunned.
I sat riveted to every last word as she described in great detail the same type of dream that I'd had the night before. The man in her dream was dressed the same, but he had a posse of dudes with him. And hers ended a tad more violently than mine -- We got shot as they ran from the store.
We laughed it all off, but it was clear that we were both a little creeped out by the fact that we had both had similar dreams at the same time. Granted, minor details were different, but the subject was the same: We were robbed while we were working, right as the store closed.
For the next few nights, when we worked together we would joke about how we wondered if this was going to be the night all hell broke loose at Schmoles. We had talked through the dream scenarios several times, and discussed what we had done wrong in our dreams and what we "should have done" instead. Mostly we did joking with each other and to figure out how we could avoid being shot, which was what happened in my friends dream.
Several weeks after the dream's had occured (and we had stopped talking about them) I was closing the registers. The store was closed, but the doors hadn't been locked yet. I had the register open and was facing the window, counting it down when I heard the door open.
I glanced up and instantly knew what was happening.
A man with a go-tee dressed in tan pants and a white wife beater tank top was storming aggressively toward me. I pushed the register closed and stared at him.
I felt my heart sink and a lump form in my throat. I didn't just feel fear, I felt terror and it was pulsing through every inch of my body.
He snarled "You open?" as he aggressively approached me.
I was shaking because this was the point where he pulled the gun and demanded all of our money. If my friends dream scenario was followed, I would turn around and his posse would be behind me and someone was getting shot.
I looked him in the eye and slightly shook my head as I said "No. We're closed."
Then something different happened. The man deviated from both the dreams we'd had.
He stopped dead in his tracks.
He looked at me. Then past me, Then at me again.
Then he turned around and left the store.
I sat there shaking, trying to get control. My friend who'd had the dream about us was working that night with me.
In her dream it was a Wednesday night.
This was a Wednesday night.
I honestly don't know what to make of it.
Was God warning us of something that might have happened?
Or was it all just a spooky coincidence?
I really don't know.
All I know is that it felt like something. And it felt like when he looked at me, he saw me something and that something changed his mind... changed him.
Whatever it was that happened -- a warning, or a coincidence -- I'm glad it turned out differently than both of our dreams. There are lessons to be learned from this, and I am sure tons of symbolism. The biggest being situations and circumstances can and are re-written instantaneously all the time. And when they are? Maybe its because God prompted a different choice to be made.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
It was nothing exotic -- there was no fighting, no yelling or even hurt feelings involved -- we merely "grew apart".
This friend and I had met at a local scrap-booking store and we hit it off fantastically. She worked there and I would arrange to go to the midnight scraps she hosted because I knew it would be a night of laughter and release. We had a great friendship and I really liked this person.
She lived several towns away from where I was living at the time, and because of that, moving the friendship to "the next level" required work. I was young and inexperienced in the art of friendship making (and keeping).
This friend invited me over to her home. A lot.
And at first, I went. A lot.
And then slowly, I started finding excuses as to why I couldn't make our scheduled play dates. I really liked this person, but it was work and frankly I was lazy. And selfish. Candidly, I didn't even realize that I was pulling away until she started calling me asking me why I wasn't returning her phone calls anymore or not coming to our Midnight Scraps anymore.
I started giving her the standard excuses: "I'm super busy and I've got no time for myself anymore. My family, kids, church calling and job are sucking me dry. I'm just barely hanging on here."
And that was true.
I was in the RS Presidency at the time, I was working 30 hours a week at Schmoles. I was busy. My marriage was running a little rough, my kids were being kids and I felt like I was drowning. My natural instinct was to cut out things that were work, or took too much effort.
In doing that, I cut out a person who was my advocate. My biggest cheerleader. My friend.
A year or so later I got a letter in the mail from her telling me how sad, hurt and angry she had been with me. She didn't understand what she had done to ruin our friendship or why I had cut her out of my life. She understood that people can change and grow -- not be "compatible" any more -- and if that had been the case, she wished I would have just told her. She explained that she had spent an exorbitant amount of time trying to figure out what she had done wrong. She missed our friendship and couldn't understand what was wrong with her and why I wouldn't be her friend any longer."
"No! No! No! That's not the case at all! I do like you (which I truly did! She is a wonderful person and a blast to be around) I've just been so crazy busy that I haven't had time for anything or anyone. It's not you, it's me! You are a wonderful person and I do consider you my friend. I've just had no time."
And there they were: The time excuse. The too busy excuse. The family is sucking me dry excuse. The job is taking all my time excuse. The excuses.
We've all used those phrases a million and one times. But, really? All they are is an excuse. An easier way for us to say "You weren't a priority to me."
Think on that for a second while I tell you another story.
I had another friend who called me recently to tell me that she was feeling bad about our friendship. When I started offering her my standard "I've been super, crazy busy! I hardly have time to think! My kids are being emotional vampires and I am working like crazy!"
She listened nicely to me, and then said: "What you are really saying is that I am not a priority to you. Because Elisa we all have the same amount of time in the day, and we find the time to accomplish the tasks, or be with the people who are Priorities. I am not one of your priorities."
I was stunned.
How could she say that? Of course she was a priority, and when she called me on it and characterized our lack of interaction so boldly, it hurt. A lot.
However, she was right.
She hadn't been a priority.
When we say we "haven't had time" or "I've been crazy busy with X, Y and Z" what we are really saying is it wasn't a priority to me.
I say it to people all the time when they quiz me about how I am able to be involved with all the things I am. They essentially are giving me a compulsult -- a compliment that was really intended as an insult -- when they say they have "no idea how you find the time to be involved with all the things you're involved with. They can barely keep up on the laundry!"
My response is always the same: "You find the time to do the things that are important to you. If it's important enough to you, you will find the time to do it. It becomes a priority."
Priorities. That's really what all those excuses are about. They just weren't a priority.
People change and grow. Friendships change and grow. However, if you are a true friend, we make time for one another. We find the time for the things that are important to us: Our families and our friends should be priorities. People should be priorities.
Think about that the next time you find yourself responding with the standard "I didn't have time to get it done" response. What you are really saying is that task, that request, that person wasn't a priority.
Every time I have found myself saying "I didn't have time . . . " I have thought to myself "what I am really saying is it's not a priority to me." When I phrase it like that, it sounds selfish. That simple change in phraseology causes me to stop and evaluate the situation and circumstances. More often than not, I am the one that has the priorities out of whack. I need re-focusing.
I should never be too busy for my family or my friends. If that is the case, then I have some adjustment to do. In the final analysis, all I have when I leave this life are the relationships I have made and nurtured. And that nurturing takes work, effort and time.
And time? That is something we all have plenty of . . . if it's a priority.