PEACE OF SUMMERTIME

It was only a short time ago when the insanity of violence shattered the calm of my neighboring city of Dallas. It was hard to wrap any logic around the killing of five police officers. It is times like these when my spirit searches for peace.

I commonly go for long walks in the evening. Even in the heat of the Texas summer I will head out as the sun sinks into the blanket of the western sky. I take in the beauty of my surroundings, observing the lush landscaping of my neighbors’ yards and the beauty of the meadows.

On a normal day, the beauty of my neighborhood can calm my spirit but not after the police were killed. I needed something more, something to touch my senses on a deeper level.

That is when I heard it; the Symphony of Summertime. I know it happens every summer but I hadn’t given it notice.

This spring when the rains hit the frogs started the bass portion of the Symphony,they would lull me to sleep as their ribbits broke the stillness of my backyard. As the Spring morphed into summer the crickets added their lullaby, then the Cicada’s harmony set in only to be interrupted by the staccato chirp of a Cardinal.

So many of these melodies calmed my spirit as a child. As I reach back into my memories I realize that though the violence of the world threatens my sense of peace, my God is still the conductor of the Symphony of Summertime.

DALLAS SHOOTINGS

I have pondered and contemplated how to address the shootings in Dallas. I still don’t know that I have figured it out. So I figured I would do a stream of consciousness writing and see where it goes…

To the African American people..

I understand that you are angry and yes, you have every right to be angry. To be killed by a white police officer for little to no reason is not justifiable in any circumstance. To be killed because you are brandishing a weapon and or acting like you have a weapon is putting yourself in a position where you have put your life on the line. If a police officer kills you because he thinks that his life is in danger it is partly your fault.

Dallas was a city where the race differential was minimal. For a black man to go all out crazy and kill five white police officers and wound seven other civilians did nothing to help the cause of the African Americans who were unjustly killed.

I know a person whose grandson was killed by a white police officer, she was a coworker of mine. The wonderful African American man who lost his life was named Christian Taylor. He was a very handsome young man with a very promising future. When I saw the report coming out about his death I had no idea he was the grandson of one of my coworkers. Only later did I realize the connection.

I waited a couple of days before I broached the subject to her and she said that the family had asked that no rioting occur on behalf of his death. Many well known people flew in to honor him. The family wanted his passing to be peaceful.

Their main concern was to find out who had slipped him the drugs which had made him act crazy. He was normally a wonderful Christian young man. It was only this one night where he got out of control. I believe that he is with God now.

I was so impressed and thankful for the way the family honored this precious young man. Instead of handing his legacy to fuel the fire for more violence, they sought to identify the cause for his change in behavior.

Christian Taylor still haunts my thoughts on many a day. It is with true sadness that I think of him. He had so much to offer the world and in one night it ended. Yet his family chose to honor the memory of him with peace instead of violence. What a legacy for a young man who was a class act.

One Man’s Trash

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” I saw this quote posted on a refrigerator in someone’s house. The house was dilapidated and didn’t even have an air conditioner. There was hardly any furniture in the house and bugs had set up camp in the living room.

As I looked at the sweet man in the living room, his face lit up with joy as we talked. He didn’t waste one word on complaining about what he had to live in, he was too busy smiling. I would have been horrified to live in this house but he was thankful.

Sometimes it is not the house that we live in but actually a person that we consider to be trash. A lot of people think that homeless people are trash. I am under the impression that no one has bothered to search for what treasure may lie within them.

Recently I had commented to some coworkers about how fond I was of a particular patient. Their response surprised me. “I am glad you like her because no one else was willing to take care of her.” Apparently other agencies had also said that they wouldn’t serve her.

She has been a long term patient of mine and I drive quite a way to see her. She is a storyteller. Her stories range from accounts of severe abuse at the hands of her family of origin and first two husbands-to stories of love with her current husband and her only son. It is always a fascinating hour that I spend with her. She has a brilliant memory and remembers dialogue from years past with uncanny accuracy.

She has become one of my favorites and I am so privileged to have been the nurse who discovered the treasure within her.

“I knew something was wrong.”

“I just knew something was wrong. I could feel it. I started praying for you, really hard. I just knew something was wrong.”

These were the words that a dear friend of mine said to me several weeks ago. She is actually a patient of mine and I was supposed to do a visit on her but instead I had to go to the ER. I had a pulse rate of 120 and my normal pulse is 60-70.

To have patients like this, who are so closely in sync with my spirit, is such a blessing. I dearly love this lady and I consider it a privilege to be able to serve her in my nursing profession.

As I was thinking about this the other day, I reflected on times in which the Holy Spirit had led me to intercede forcefully for my children. I remember the day when I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “your son’s eternal destination is in question.”

I knew exactly which son God was referring to. I started praying, crying, speaking in tongues and declared full warfare on the devil. At the end of that week I got a call from that son, “I had an accident,” he said. “I broke my collar bone.”

I was so relieved it was only his collar bone. I truly believe that the devil had intended him to lose his life in that accident. Due to the urging of the Holy Spirit, and a mother’s prayers, the devil’s assignment was not fulfilled.

Then another night I was already in bed and I felt as if my daughter’s life was in danger. I started interceding for her. I got another call from her and she said she had been in a car accident. Someone had run a red light and totalled her car.

As I reflected on both of these times in my life as a single mother I realized that in both situations the vehicle that my children were driving didn’t survive the accident but my children’s lives were spared. I have come to realize that God does not care a flip for things, He is all about people.

LOSING FRIENDS

I like making new friends. I like having men as friends and also women. The problem is that my male friends always want to be more than just a friend.

Recently I met a new guy and boy did we hit it off. We talked for hours on end and I thought there was a chance that I had met my soul mate. I told him my thought process regarding sex and marriage and I thought he understood that I wasn’t intending to sleep with anyone until a commitment had been made.

So after talking for several days we decided to meet. I actually let him come to my house. I usually never do that and I even invited him along on a trip. I have never done that either with a new acquaintance. He was just so likeable and so wonderful. He was adventurous and witty, a good Christian and very well to do, if what he said was true. I had no reason to believe that he was lying.

So this weekend I met this wonderful guy. He was very nice and in time I thought there was a chance I could fall in love with him but it would take time.

He was nice enough to try and help me get rid of a virus on my laptop and my desk happens to be in my bedroom. My desk has been in my bedroom for over a year and NO, it is not a lure to get men into my bed. I merely like looking out my bedroom window at my beautiful backyard when I am writing.

Pretty soon he had me in bed, we were both fully clothed, but being in bed was not what I had planned for the night. I laid there for just a minute and then he said he was going to set his alarm so that he could get up in time in the morning. I was like, “What?!! Seriously?!!” I laid there for just a minute more and then got up out of bed saying. “I can not do this. This is our first date and I can just not do this. You need to go home.”

It took just one more night for us to split the ties completely and when we did part ways we both did so with a great amount of respect for each other. I still think he is a wonderful and terrific man. I pray that the very best in life happens to him. I was sad to think that we couldn’t remain friends but I was elated that for the first time in a long time I actually stood up for myself and told a man exactly what I thought. There have been way too many times I have given in to men and have regretted the consequence of an unhealthy relationship.

It is interesting that this is one of the shortest relationships I have ever had but I have very fond memories of this man. The second night we talked on the phone we talked for five hours straight. I am glad that I cut it off though. I have learned that sometimes a short relationship full of good memories is better than a long relationship full of bad.

HONOR YOUR FATHER?

I was listening this morning to a church sermon on the internet. It was a sermon based on Ephesians 6:1-3 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

It was, of course, a sermon to honor Father’s. I am so thankful to God that I have a Father to honor and I try my hardest to honor him.

The pastor didn’t stop there though, he went further. He implied that we should honor our father’s no matter what their fathering skills happened to be. That is when I tuned out and if I had actually been in church I may have gotten up and walked out. The verse explicitly says “obey your parents in the Lord”. To me that means if you can’t imagine God doing that to you then you don’t have an obligation to honor them.

For the record I do not believe that God would sexually molest any young child, whether they be a little boy or girl. I am certain he would not abuse a child.

Hey wait a minute… what about Abraham and Isaac? Didn’t the Bible say that God wanted Abraham to offer Isaac up as a sacrifice? So you are probably thinking that was a bit sadistic right? I totally agree with you. Yet I ask you this? Did Isaac suffer even one scratch on his body in this test of loyalty? There is no record of Isaac being hurt in any way.

If Abraham had said “No, I will NOT offer my son up to you and what kind of God are you to ask me to do that?” Isaac would not have been hurt. As it was Abraham honored the Lord and Isaac honored Abraham in the Lord and Isaac was not hurt and Abraham was blessed.

The crazy people these days who mutilate their children because they supposedly have “darkness or demons” in them are definitely not parents “in to the Lord.”

Recently one of my dear friends told me a story about a little boy who was beaten to death by his father. It was out in their front yard and there were quite a few people who drove by who did absolutely nothing to help. Finally a sheriff shot and killed the father from a helicopter but by that time the little boy had passed on.

There is no reason or excuse to beat a child to death. I hope and pray that little boy is in heaven and his father is in the deepest and hottest part of hell.

According to the preacher this morning I would be wrong in my thoughts regarding this and he may have been the kind of person who would have driven by.

Funny thing, I just can’t imagine Jesus or God driving by…

CARS, BATTERIES AND PRAYER

I heard from a friend of mine that he could not read my latest post so I am going to publish this one again. Please excuse me if this is the second time you have read this post. I hope you enjoy it!

I was thinking the other day of how wonderful God is and how he answers prayer.

My son who lives in Louisiana is staying there for the summer. He works at a bookstore part time while he attends Louisiana Tech to gain an engineering degree. He was looking to move into a different house with some friends and he was also looking for a second job to work at during the summertime. I wish I could have helped him but all I could do was pray. He happened to find a job which was just a short walk from the new house he and his friends found. I was so happy for him.

The other day when I woke up I asked God to show me if I could help someone in a special way. Sometimes I give money to the homeless, other times I will open a door for someone who has their arms full of produce and one time I even changed batteries in someone’s smoke alarm.

I went about my day enjoying the time I had with my patients and then I stopped by the office where my company is located at. I made the rounds and greeted everyone and attended to the business I went there for.

Then I started out to my car. Except I didn’t get to my car. I got to the end of the entranceway outside the building and then I was stopped by a coworker. She asked if I was in a Celica or the other car. I said “No, I wasn’t in either of those cars. I was in the Hyundai.” I continued on my way to my car. She said, “That’s the one! I need a jump because my battery is dead.”

Wouldn’t you know it? My car was right beside hers. Well, I was already done with my patients and I did have battery cables in the back of my car. I mean I have been a single Mom for eighteen years. I am very familiar with those big red and black giant clothespins that are the lifeblood of cars who need a battery resurrected.

So we both popped our hoods and went about fixing that battery. We are both girly girls so we were quite the site in all of our finery. We were actually parked just close enough to each other that the cables could attach to each battery if we stretched the cable completely out. Pretty soon her engine started purring and we knew that she would be okay.

The lady was very grateful to me but she was more grateful to God. We both acknowledged that He must have had a hand in this because the timing of our meeting was perfect. She got her prayer answered and I got mine answered too.

FEAR OR FAITH?

In my former post regarding my errant set of teeth I poked fun at my panic over a tooth infection. I do not mean to minimize the importance of taking care of one’s teeth. I have learned through this experience that I should have gone to an endodontist the minute my right molar abscessed and when my left molar started to hurt just a slight bit I should have sprinted towards Mr. Young’s practice and barged through the door, demanding their first available appointment.

What I didn’t mention was something very unusual that happened in my car when I was parked in front of the endodontist that my insurance covered. I was looking at the CLOSED sign through blinding tears when a feeling entered my being. I was smack dab in the clutches of fear when insidiously I knew that this would not be the obstacle that defeated me. My mind cleared of fear and I started thinking logically; then the thought occurred to me that my former dentist, Dr. Young, may not be closed.

I have meditated on this moment and prayed about it. It was amazing that in a moment, fear turned into clarity and courage. This change led me to the solution to my problem. As I have pondered this moment I know it was a God moment.

I used to hear God speak and then He stopped speaking to me. I become despondent over this because I love hearing the voice of God more than I love hearing a bird sing on a bright spring morning. I love the tender whisper of God more than a melodic symphony. I told Him I missed hearing his soft whisper.

Then I realized He had stopped speaking to me because he had become so close to me that he was beginning to interweave His thoughts into mine. So I started telling my friends about my “God thoughts”. I didn’t actually hear them but I knew they had not originated within my mind. It was as if a thought entered my mind but the origin of the thought was outside of my mind and it was always something good.

Yet the morning that I had my debacle with my teeth and the minute i knew that fear had lost it’s grip was different. I didn’t hear God speak, nor was it a thought, it was a feeling. As I continued to search God for understanding I realized I have had this feeling before. When I have prayed unceasingly over someone else’s welfare, there have been times when I know within my heart that God has heard and the prayer will be answered. It is what I felt when my mother told me that my brother had had a horrible accident and had broken his neck. I knew God had this covered from the moment the accident happened.

Sometimes it helps me to identify something by finding a word which describes it. The word which describes the feeling I felt on that tragic morning when my mouth was screaming in pain and my mind had been captured by the claws of fear is the word, Faith. Somehow in the darkest of times God reached through all of my fears and insecurities, shattering my limited concept of self and pulled me to Him, infusing my heart, soul and mind with His greatness.

Words can not describe my gratefulness for a God such as this, it is a feeling instead… A feeling of complete adoration and humility, knowing that without Him, I would be a cowering mess of confusion and fear.

NEIGHBORS

I have mentioned in previous posts how wonderful my neighbors are. The young man who moved in next door is causing everyone in the neighborhood to consider an updo on their house and yard because he has done so much to his property. His girlfriend is one of the nicest young ladies I have ever met and they are both becoming friends. There has been mutual respect which crosses our fence line on a daily basis. So when I saw the huge pile of dirt on their driveway I knew it wasn’t going to stay there long. (Our HHA is right on the money with sending notices out regarding issues such as that.)

It had been on their driveway for a couple of days when my upper left molar exploded with infection. I was frantic. The infection was migrating up my cheek and causing my my left gum line to become tender and inflamed. It was in the evening on a Friday when my tooth decided to boldly walk the path of extinction, or extraction, as they say in Dentistry. “Good luck in finding an endodontist that was open on Saturday.” I thought to myself. I totally freaked out and dissolved into tears thinking, of course, that this would kill me within a few hours. (I can get a bit histrionic at times)

I went to bed in tears on Friday night and woke up Saturday morning determined to resolve this issue. (Still had episodes of tears exploding down my cheeks, imagining all sorts of horrible outcomes.) I drove to the endodontist that my insurance covered and wouldn’t you know it they were closed. I left a message on two different voicemails for them thinking I would get a call back early on Monday morning. It is 11:30 am on a Monday morning right now and they haven’t returned my phone call. Let me assure you I made every effort in my message to convey how serious the situation was.(I mean death was literally knocking at my door, right?)

Since they were not open I searched my memory for other dental offices which may have been open on a Saturday.(Most endodontics are not) I remembered a dentist that worked at EQ Dental who seemed to live at his office. He was always open and he was an excellent Dentist.Plus his office was actually right down the street from where I live. I didn’t know whether or not he could handle the difficulty of my situation though. Some dentists are only general dentist and do not do root canals or extractions. I figured I would give it a try.

I walked in and immediately got an appointment. The X rays were done and Dr Young came into the room to deliver the verdict. The tooth would have to be pulled. My mind went into a frenzy. I was going to have to find an oral surgeon now. Well I had already been to an oral surgeon but the office was way across town. I called them and they said they did not do oral surgery. Okay by this time I am feeling like I am smack dab in the middle of a Twilight zone episode because my insurance company had told me to go to them for oral surgery. I thought it a fruitless venture to get into a disagreement with them over what they could or couldn’t do.(I mean really… if the insurance company said they do oral surgery they should do oral surgery right?) I was about ready to dissolve into tears again for like the hundredth time in two days when I heard the dental assistant say in a soft voice,”Dr. Young can do extractions.”

“I am like….you are kidding me right?”

“No, I am not kidding, he can do an extraction.”

I was like YES! Let’s get this rotten tooth out! So Dr. Young numbed my jaw and got the tooth out. He was so sweet, he kept telling me what he was doing and asking if I was in any pain. I just wanted to give him a bear hug because he had clearly saved me from dying an early death.

So around 1:00 pm I went home from the dental office and noticed that there were four people trying to scoop the dirt into wheelbarrows from my neighbor’s driveway. It was threatening to rain. I would have liked to join them but I had just had a molar pulled. I had to pick up my pain pills and a mouth wash and then I was planning on going to bed.

I went to the pharmacy to pick up my pain pills and took one of the Tylenol with Codeine pills. Codeine is a stimulant to my system; the exact opposite of what it does to most people. So when I walked in the door, I put my sweats on, grabbed a shovel and started shoveling dirt off of my neighbor’s driveway. Because when a person is inches away from death (probably a slight exaggeration there)and is saved by an awesome Dr. Thomas Young, it is only natural that one would not require a nap.

GRUMBLERS

I recently accepted an offer from a company that I had been working part time for. They offered me a full time salary and boy did I need it. I have been struggling financially for quite some time now. I am very grateful for the opportunity to work for this company and to finally make the money I should have always been making.

Many times when I start a new company I take a while to observe the interaction between the employees. I have already noticed that some of the employees of this company are grumblers. You know… those employees that are always talking bad about the company they work for or that sit in meetings with a frown on their face. They can whine and complain about the smallest details. Some of them are still good at what they do though so a good boss will keep them employed. An excellent boss will keep duct tape on hand to shut their mouths when they start bitching.

I used to gravitate to people like this. I can’t really say why. Sometimes I wouldn’t gravitate to them, they would gravitate to me. As I reflect on my working history I have realized that listening to the grumblers never seemed to help me in my career. I rarely could do anything to solve their problem and it seemed that listening to them would just add more stress to my life.

I have decided that I will try to avoid the grumblers, so as not to become one. This decision has reminded me of a verse I memorized a few years ago. Psalms 1:1 – “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked, Nor standeth in the way of sinners, Nor sitteth in the seat of scoffers.”

Then today as I was driving home from work I heard on NPR a neuroscientist who proclaimed that avoiding conflict increased efficacy. So not only will I not be a grumbler but I may even be more efficient at my job. Sounds like a win win to me!