Monday, January 6, 2020

Dear God/Doodle Mash Up

(Started this post on Dec 21...)
(I was a different person way back then.)

I have a friend at work who has a moleskin journal that came with a set of pencil crayons and sharpener:

The other day she showed me her doodles.
I took pics.

I haven't written out a prayer in a long time.
So this is that too.


Dear God,

It's the longest night.
By Your design.
Thanks, (?) I guess.

For the record, though?
I think summer and daylight were the better of the two ends of the spectrum.

I know.
Your ways are not my ways.
OK. Fine.
I will try not to be grumpy during this season.
I would benefit from some character-work while I'm waiting for the sun to reappear.
So while I'm making daily visits back n forth to the cancer clinic for radiation treatments in January, have at 'er. Let's work on both my body and soul next month, yes?

My prayer is that I come out of this whole dance with cancer a better person.


Could you please be especially close all the new moms and dads right now?
Those who're overwhelmed and under-slept?
Those who've never changed a diaper before this baby arrived.
Those who're struggling with sleep schedules and nursing schedules and developmental expectations.
Those who haven't a hot clue what they're doing.
Those who didn't realize that parenting was THIS. And THAT.
Those who have special-needs babies and they for sure didn't sign up for any of it.

God I pray for peace in their souls, that they would KNOW they've been hand-picked to raise that child by You. That You have equipped them and You will continue equipping them. That You will always be right there. And You love that child even more desperately than they do.

God I pray for those who feel isolated in their parenting experience. Please bring friends and peeps to walk alongside. Give them joy in this journey.

AND on the other side of The Parenting Calling, please give those of us with nothing but time and adult children in our lives the wisdom to know what to do. Call them? Don't call them? Offer assistance? Wait for them to ask? Comment on their Instagram posts? Pretend you haven't seen the social media version of their lives? Invite them along? Go with out them? Ask for help? Don't ask? Share your pain? Don't put that on them? Make a bid deal out of things? Let it all go?

It's confusing. And hard. And sometimes heartbreaking. This business of raising them up and letting em go. Some of us have kids that go. They live their lives and don't need us because we did such a damn fine job of raising them...

It's hard.
And confusing.
And sometimes lonely.
And it leaves you wondering if you screwed the whole thing up.

God comfort those of us who need comforting.

Oh, and God?
There is so much pain here.
Like, ALOT.

It's a thing.
A thing I'm talking about often, lately. And there's SO MUCH PAIN in those conversations.
So much confusion.
Friends who're struggling themselves, friends with kids who need help, friends of friends who ended their lives this month.

It's too much. Please. Give us hope.
For those who're ready to give up and check out, I pray You would fill them with hope for this day and for the days ahead. God I pray for those of us who love them, nudge us to keep in touch, to reach out, to be Your ambassadors of good news. Give us ears to hear the cries for help, then provide us with words to say and hearts to love.

God I pray for our mental health professionals. Thank you for them. Could you raise up a whole herd of caring doctors and nurses? Increase their capacity so they can see and help way more hurting people than humanly possible.

My mind just meandered over to the homeless people on Hastings in East Van.
What can we do?
What do you want me to do?
The mental health issues are probably rampant on the streets. God. Help them.
Give the workers, the professionals, the shop owners, the city, the people who drive by in their cars, compassion and wisdom. Help us to be brave to do the things.

Bless those who are in the trenches making a difference.

Annnnnd, God?

From suicide to mental health to homelessness to addictions.
What the heck.
Darkest prayer ever.

But addictions.
Drugs and alcohol.
Can You do something?
Can You prompt those who're in the thick of it to get help?
Can You give those who love them hope?
For those who're in rehab, detox, a 12-steps program, or struggling to quit all by themselves, God I pray you would dump a truck load of self-disciple and strength on them. Give them a happy vision of a possible future. Provide them with the courage to go another hour without drinking/using. Fill their minds with good thoughts and their lives with supportive people. Reveal Yourself to them as a Higher Power that loves, loves, loves them.

There are people I care about (and probably a couple gazillion I don't) who need work. Could you look after that? Please?
Open doors of opportunity?
Close Lock doors that shouldn't be walked through?
Direct the paths of those who're searching for work to the right people.
Provide them with ways to earn money that is meaningful, life-giving, fun (?).
May their work-places be filled with co-workers who are skilled, generous, kind, hard-working and respectful.
May their managers/team leaders be supportive, encouraging, inspiring, and wise.
And may these jobs provide enough income for a level of financial peace.

God, so much of how we feel about ourselves is wrapped up in what we DO. For those who're out of work right now, I pray you would remind them that their value is not determined by their paycheck or their spot on the corporate ladder. I pray that they would not be hopelessly discouraged; please provide them with fulfilling temporary employment while they wait...

Annnnnd, at the other end end of the spectrum ...

Oh my goodness.
This is a thing, God.
People are retiring.
I know.
It's absolutely crazy. Just yesterday we were 38 years old.

While I know that I won't be quitting my job anytime soon, so many of my friends have figured out their exit plans. So I have a couple prayers about this.
One. That I wouldn't be consumed with jealousy.
Two. That You would give me peace about my old age.
Three. That You would give us all wisdom as we head into the third trimesters of our lives.

And while a whole generation of us is on the doorstep to retirement, our parents are on the doorstep to new realities too. So many of us are helping our folks make decisions about 'where to live'. Give us wisdom as we consider the options. Give us patience as we all take time to process the meaning behind these moves. Give us strength as we sort through a lifetime of accumulated treasures and make decisions about 'things'. Give us compassion as we support, pack, move, unpack, and love the ones who loved us first.

Well, you know how much I love movies.
So I'm going to continue to pray for that entertainment industry.
Not only do they entertain us, they also educate us. And persuade us. And make us feel things. And make us care about other things. And, like TV, books and music, give us a glimpse into a world we are unfamiliar with.

God I pray for the integrity of those folks who produce the shows we watch. Give them great projects to choose from. Raise up an army, large number, crowd, thousands, a generation of gifted, amazing, story-tellers who write brilliant scripts and screenplays. May their work get produced by men and women with vision. May everyone who works in this industry (from the drivers to the actors) learn and grow from the experience.

The Golden Globes were last night.
Mostly they just made me sad.

God I pray You would have at 'er. Redeem that industry.
Remove from it, those with evil intentions.
Welcome to it, those who love the art and craft of movie making, story-telling and truth.

And cancer.
As well as other assorted illnesses and ailments.
God I pray You'd be especially close to those who're getting crappy diagnosis's this month. FLOOD them with peace, especially when their adrenaline goes into overdrive and their thoughts are filled with dread. I pray You would give them hope, a family who stands alongside, a sister who makes Don't-Get-Constipated-muffins, friends who bring Roast Beef and gravy, daughters who braid hair, and an assortment of doctors who're smart and caring.

God, getting the diagnosis is hard, but (in my opinion), sometimes the waiting between appointments and procedures is just as bad. For those of us (the other Aug 1 ladies? Tessa? Trish's mom? everyone else I've ever met at the cancer clinic?) who're waiting for the next treatment/operation/appointment/drug, we might need an extra dollop of patience. I am choosing to believe in Your timing, in ALL of this. And there is probably a really good reason my radiation appointments didn't start today.

So I refuse to fret. I will trust that You've got this sorted. And I'll take this week to get used to that new med that makes my brain fuzzy (what the heck. I reached out to place my phone on the coffee table beside me and missed by a mile. Just dropped it on the floor. I will not hold babies or fine china this month.).

God this is a new year.
One in eight women will find out they have breast cancer.
5,000 Canadian women will die from it.
Those numbers scare the shit out of me.
Please nudge the women I love to get a mammogram.
And if they're married, please encourage their men to feel those boobs they love. There's probably a verse in Song of Solomon that makes this a legit prayer request.

What else?
It's January now.
I started this prayer post back on the longest night of the year.
And now, for many, this is one of the hardest months of the year.
Cold. Dark. Wet. Bills to pay. Back to work.

God, could you remind us of things to be thankful for?
And for those who're really struggling, could you focus a beam of sunshine into their soul?
Help us all to lift our eyes a little higher on the horizon. Some of us are frantic about the possibility of a war. (Please move wise leaders to make informed decisions.) Others are aching for the animals lost in the fires of Australia. (Please take some of our rain and make it pour over there.) Friends are worried about their kids and grandkids. (Please give them peace.) Marriages are ending, relationships are breaking up.(God, intervene. Open eyes. Rekindle love.)

And I can't stop yawning. Haha. What is this? God? Can you fix me? It's been 13 days of struggling to get deep breaths of air into my lungs. What is my problem? Is it this new med? Is it anxiety about having to hold my breath for 30 seconds when they beam that radiation at my chest? Is it asthma? A heart attack? Oy.

I guess that's it.
Amen. And Amen. And AMEN.

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Friends and family who joined us at the Keg to celebrate her 80th on her day:
(Flash batteries were dead, so these are all fuzzy, with love.)

2. Thankful for my kids who helped me get the slide show ready. (And allowed me 3.39 seconds to do a photo shoot of them.)

3. Thankful for this season of rest. Of naps. Of quiet.

Shalom and Happy New Year.

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