Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What the heck? It's STILL November?

I'm a hot mess of hormones and hair.

Just finished reading this for book club tonight:

Which is a Young Adult book about a young girl in Germany during WWII. I started reading it a few weeks ago and put it down at about page 150. I was not into it. At all. It. Bugged. Me.

I didn't like Death as a narrator.
And I didn't like that he (Death) referred to the young girl, Liesel, as The Book Thief. She was a 7 year old GIRL. She picked up a book in the cemetery where her younger brother had just been buried. And it was freezing. There was snow. There was a war on. Her mother was just dropped her off with strangers who were going to raise her. She was beaten and verbally abused and had nightmares. She was a GIRL.

So, yeah, I was ticked that Death kept calling her The Book Thief, as if that ONE ACT of picking up a book labelled her for life. It was what defined her, as far as Death was concerned.

Then, Max lent me a book he had just finished:

It is a graphic novel, and the story is actually the author's father's real-life story. He was a Jew, living in Poland, during WWII. He ended up surviving, even though he spent time at the Dachau Concentration camp at the end of the war. His story? Is horrific. I read it, in one sitting, one cold and wet night in November when I was home alone. It left me with a heavy, sad heart, even though, making it out of the war alive would be considered by most to be a Happy Ending. 

It was the torture and the hatred and the poverty and the racism that I was left to struggle with. Also, interwoven throughout the book, is the current story. The author (son) writes about his visits with his dad and their conversations about the war. And that saddened me too. So many misunderstandings between generations. So many examples of impatience and criticisms. So much brokeness in families.

It was excellent. It was my first graphic novel and it was riveting. I can't say I'm a huge fan of his artwork - in fact, most times I didn't even look at the drawings. But I AM a fan of dialogue, and that's what this book was all about. Conversations. 

Anyway, with that storyline still fresh in my mind, I had set aside this weekend to (re)start and finish my book club book. 

And then on Thursday afternoon, I found out that I had an assignment to do for the job I had applied for. It was a big project. And my brain has been dormant for 6 months. I couldn't work on it (the assignment) on Friday, as I was hosting an event at my house, and I had set aside the day for cleaning and preparing. And that event? (A Share A Good Idea Party) Was. So. Much. Fun.

At midnight I started the project and by 2 am, I knew I'd have to start over on Saturday. I wasn't on top of my game.

Saturday morning I was woke up as Drew was packing his things. He had been staying with me for two weeks while his dad and step mom were in Hawaii. It's November, and watching him take his toiletries, clothes, gaming system and say, "See you in a few months. I'll live with you again when you buy a new place..." just crushed me. I won't be buying a new place anytime soon. My realtor advised me to take my house off the market. It's not going to sell. So I had a sobby, messy, pitty party, then went to visit my dad and feed him lunch. It was a typical visit and when I got home at 2 pm, I tried again with my assignment. With all my might I tried to get my crap together and Just Concentrate already, one small piece at a time. 

But all I could think about was the evening before, when friends were sharing their Good Ideas for Fun Things they do with their families. And how everyone laughs. And always wants to be together. And their kids love coming home. And oh, the laughter. And joy. And love. And my house just felt so empty and cold and it was raining and it is November. 

I eventually, after much prayer and some Advil for the screaming headache I had developed, got a few pages done. 

At 7, I joined some friends at Southgate Church's Ladies Christmas event, and cried along with the pastor's wife as hundreds of beautiful female voices sang Joy to the World, unaccompanied by instruments. She and I both teared up during the part where we sang, 'let every heart prepare Him room..." That phrase never meant anything to me before, but she warned us that that line was special to her. So when that line was sung, she couldn't continue, and not wanting her to be alone in her aching, I just cried too. 

It's really too bad that every single year another November comes around. 

Anyway, I got back home at 10, and edited, then rewrote my report. 

At midnight I started reading The Book Thief, and reread the 150 pages I had read a month ago. 
I read til 3 am, and called it a night.

Sunday? I slept in. 
I did laundry. Dishes. 
Looked at the assignment again, tightened it up, prayed about it, read it again. Tweaked a few things. Then texted all the kids to see if they wanted to meet for dinner in New West. (None did.) So I got dressed, went to IGA and bought some chicken, came home, made some stir-fry, looked at the assignment AGAIN, and by now? I HATE EVERYTHING to do with setting up a system for a Year End Campaign that involves sending out Direct Mail Packages to 69,000 constituents in 5 different versions, in 5 different segments, in 2 languages, with supporting radio ads, email campaigns, facebook updates, online ads all on a tight budget. 

At 8 pm, I start reading the book again while lying on the couch in front of the fire.
I fall asleep at 8:05 and wake up at 10:00 pm.
I moved to a hard chair and sat at the table and read til midnight. 

I wrote out a nice email message, attached my homework/assignment file and hit SEND. 

(It is done. It's all in God's hands now. If I'm meant to have the job, I will get it. 
If He has someone else in mind, someone better suited, someone more perfect, if it's the answer to someone else's prayer - I have peace about that. 
If THIS is the job for me, I am counting on Him supplying me with the strength and wisdom to do it. Because it is a huge stretch to going from what I did at Arrow, to what I'd do at this new place. And I'm trusting that He will take OUT that element of stress and tension that everyone I interviewed assured me is a huge aspect of the job. Which, yes, FREAKS ME OUT.)

I went upstairs, had a bath, got into bed, and started thinking. 




So not a good idea. 

I could barely breathe for all the angst. For this job. For my kids (Max and Drew) needing jobs. For my dad, and his care, and his LIFE, and my mom and her pain, and her LIFE and for the second world war and the pain and suffering and hopelessness and for friends who are struggling with pain and broken relationships and poor health and people who are making bad decisions and families who are torn apart and my dad and my mom and my kids and this job and my empty house and the rain and the wind that were whipping around outside and the septic system at the lake and the water in my crawlspace and the fact that I have no garbage cans with lids and all the sexy men in the People magazine say their favorite leisure activity is spending time with their wives and kids and then I remembered Tony Campolo.

He said to say the name of Jesus out loud over and over. Evil runs away at the sound of His name.

And I remembered those verses about thinking on things that are pure and lovely and good and kind and worthy of praise and excellent and not scary and not broken and not hurting and not mean and not torn apart. 

So I did that. 

For three hours I walked around my house and prayed out loud. About everything. And everyone. And every event, regardless if it had taken place in the 40's or yesterday. 

I fell asleep around 5 am. 


I got my hair cut (layered) and highlighted with some lighter shades of blonde. My first full hair appointment since February when my dad went into the hospital. Up til now I've had 30 second appointments where my bangs get a quick trim.

And I read that book. I read 350 pages this afternoon, and finished the last page at 6:26 pm. And, uh, no surprise, I sobbed. And sobbed. I'm a sensitive, fragile flower these days, and the story? Just got to me. I am still not a fan of the technique or style of the author, and a few things bugged me about his narrative, but... It's the holocaust. There were bombs and gas showers and shelters and hiding and secrets and pain and love and warmth and I'm just a sucker for these things. 
And at 6:30, this showed up on my newsfeed on facebook:

A 100 year old British man secretly saved 669 children during World War 2, never telling anyone, not even his wife. When she found the documents in their attic in 1988, she submitted them to the BBC and they arranged the event in the video. And if you want to know more about his life, here's the Wikipedia story.

We talked about The Book Thief at book club. 

No one else cried. Or was even teary while reading it. 

Heartless creatures.


So. The point of all this rambling? I'd recommend both books. 
But read them in the Spring.

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. By tomorrow, I'll know one way or another. This process has been 17 days from start to finish ... and regardless of the outcome, I'll be glad it's over. 

2. I'm thankful for my book club friends. Love our conversations. Love the books we read. Love the issues we talk about.

3. Have I mentioned my slippers? Because I kinda love them too. 


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