what comes around goes around

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God can really upset the apple cart, can’t he? As you know I am a Christian. I believe God directs me when I ask but that he also directs me even when I don’t ask. Today was such a day. I was supposed to take my mom to a movie. She hasn’t been out of the house much for months. As it turned out the movie was no longer playing. It was a beautiful day and with this change of plans, I was looking forward to working in my gardens. I shouldn’t say work, because it’s never work to me. But then my mother decided she wanted to go shopping. Still, I thought this won’t take long. She’s usually eager to come home after only a couple of hours. Not today. We were gone most of the afternoon.

She usually buys nothing. Today, she bought three new pairs of pants, three new tops and a pair of shoes. I was so glad she did. It was good to see her show an interest in life and be good to herself. But for the first hour or so, all I could think of was how much I wanted to be playing in my yard. I am ashamed to admit that. Ashamed to admit I begrudged her even a moment of my time. Why I’m letting all of you know this, I’ll never know. Except that maybe you’re feeling embarrassed about something you’ve done as well.

We shouldn’t though, should we? I mean I did the right thing. I just didn’t want to do the right thing, But the Bible says motives are important. I need to have some much needed quiet time with God as my feelings are all over the place. I’m glad I did what was right but I’m not happy my feelings took a while to catch up. I’m also glad God looks at me in love and lets me start all over. Now I need to extend that forgiveness to someone in my life.

Maybe that’s what today is all about. I need to remember I’m human. I don’t always get it right. I don’t have to be harder on myself than God is and he’s already forgiven me. There’s someone in my life I’m having hard angry feelings towards now. She’s human, too. Maybe if I let myself off the hook, I can let her off the hook as well.

I love the saying “What goes around, comes around.” It’s not always true but in the case of forgiveness, it is.

 

putting others first

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3

(my version below)

“Don’t think you’re better than anyone else. Don’t use people because of what they can do for you. Try as best you can ( I added this because I know Scripture overall teaches we are each responsible for our own lives and our own burdens.) to put other people first. Do good to people as much as  you can.”

Philippians 2:3

 

women and friendships

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We left the cabin today and on the way home I called what I thought was my best friend. Here’s some background. My hubby would tell you not a word of this is untrue.  First of all, we’ve been friends for over twenty years. Her husband died three years ago. To condense a lot of facts into just a couple of sentences will be difficult but here it is. I saw her husband every time I visited her which was at least once a week if not more. So I had more than a passing acquaintance with him. He had been diagnosed with C.O.P.D. and suffered a sudden decline.

The day I found out he died, I asked her daughter when I could come over to see her mom. She said she wasn’t up to it right then. I asked when the funeral was. I was told there wasn’t going to be any special service. I called in a few days to see if that would be a good time. I was again told “no”, at my friend’s directive. It was three weeks before I was “allowed” to see her. This was all from her, not her family.

Then there came the three weeks of being kept out of the loop after her husband’s death. I couldn’t believe she was keeping me away-her best friend. I was so confused and hurt. When she allowed me back into her life, I didn’t know if I could continue with our friendship but of course that wasn’t the time for me to address my hurt. I stuck by her. It wasn’t always easy because there were things going on in my life as well, some pretty serious. There have been days when I’ve gone out of my way to visit with her, when my schedule was already jammed packed but she was/is? my best friend. Anyone does that for their best friend, don’t they? It never occurred to me to ignore her need because I was busy.

Last week before we left for the cabin, I mentioned to her, “Hey, give me a call during the week.”  (I had noticed she hadn’t been doing as good a job of taking the initiative since she started her anti-depressant a few weeks earlier. It was my subtle way to perhaps nudge her a little.I did not want to get to where I ended up getting to anyway.) Now back to the phone call.

We talked for just a second and I said, “Hey, I thought you were going to give me a buzz this last week.” Now if she had said she had been sick, was really “down”, or something like that I would’ve been fine. But what she said was, “I’ve been so busy.” Do you know what she so was busy doing? Raking her lawn. “I’ve just come in exhausted every evening”, she said. (Yea,right, it takes a lot of effort to pick up a phone, doesn’t it?)

A couple of points.

1. She wasn’t raking every moment of the day.The size of her yard wouldn’t require it. She doesn’t get moving early in the morning. So there was time before she went outside for just a “Hi, how are you doing?”

2. She always eats lunch.  Hmmm, some time there.

3. She eats dinner.  More time.

4. She didn’t work into the evening. Again, some time.

The busiest people I know find time to connect with the people who are truly important to them. Don’t they?

Now, if you’re wondering if I’m being unrealistic, after all five days isn’t forever, let me give you some more details. I’ve called her at least three or four times a week, stopped by her house a couple of times a week, asked her to shop with me, go places with me, had her up to the cabin, driven her to her daughters about six hours away because she doesn’t want to drive anywhere by herself .In other words, I’ve been pretty been a constant in her life for years. About seven years ago, we had a conversation about her lack of initiative in our relationship. I told her I was ready to call it quits.The events that occurred that prompted that discussion were numerous and I thought my heart would break if the outcome had been as I feared. Thanks goodness, she quickly acquiesced that this was indeed her issue and that she was sorry. I forgave her easily.

We have dinner together every Monday night. Go shopping at Goodwill and then watch DWTS. (Dancing With The Stars) during its season. We’ve always connected via phone if for some reason one of us is out-of-town to discuss the show.Maybe I should say I’ve always connected. She never has. This time I was waiting to see if she would call. She didn’t. I guess I was putting our friendship to the test. In so many ways, I wish I hadn’t because in all my imaginations, I would never have dreamed that her reason for not calling was because she was “too busy”. Never. But then I never dreamed she would shut me out during the most horrendous event in her life, either.

I got off the phone and my husband just waited. He’d heard it all. His comment, “You’ve been a great friend. Everyone should have a friend like  you. She doesn’t know how lucky she was.”

I’m not going to pat myself on the back but I can honestly and humbly say, it’s rare that I give up on anyone. No matter what I’ve got going on in my own life. It’s a strength and a weakness.The strength has been for the benefit of my friends. The weakness has been at my expense. Maybe that’s how strengths and weaknesses work.

But now I’m faced with what to do. I know that however loyal I am, I am at a point where I don’t want to be hurt by her anymore. I’m sensing the relationship has changed, for me. I don’t like that feeling. It means I’m gong to step back, something I do begrudgingly.  Right now I’m feeling like a complete fool. How could I have allowed her to do this to me again? (By the way, other people have noticed the one-sidedness of our relationship over the years.)

Does she even realize what she said? How hurtful that must have sounded to me? How hurtful it would’ve been had I said it to  her?  She doesn’t know I’m home. I didn’t let her know I called from the car. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.  There is no doubt she caught the “feeling” behind our phone conversation. I was terse. I wasn’t me. She knows me well enough to have sensed all of that,  unless, of course, it really doesn’t matter to her because the anti-depressants have dulled her emotions.

I do know one thing for sure. I won’t be calling her. Not tomorrow. Not the next day or the day after that. I’m through pursuing. I don’t know that should she call me whether I’ll answer. Probably not. I’ll probably let her leave a message. I need processing time. Praying time. Meditation time.She needs to “simmer” a bit herself. Think through what she knows has been an issue between us in the past. Plus, I don’t want to act hastily.

I have no idea where this will end. I know my heart will break if the person I’ve confided in all these years, whom I’ve poured out my heart to, kept nothing from, is suddenly out of my life-especially from my own hand. But I also know I care for myself enough to protect my heart. Things will have to change or I’ll have to change my expectations. That will involve a lot of questions about relationships in general.

In every relationship there is “shared responsibility”.

No relationship will make it long-term unless both people work at it. There will come a time when the person bearing the load will  fall under the weight. It’s really not her fault. It’s who she is. It’s how she’s always been. It’s how she is with everyone, not just me. I know that. I was ready to let the relationship slide after her husband died, but when it got right down to it, I couldn’t do that to her until some time had passed. What kind of friend would that make me? I would not find it hard at all to end the friendship if we didn’t have such a long history. I’ve let more than one emerging friendship dissolve for this very lack of “shared responsibility”.But as I’ve said, we have a long, rich history.

Women and friendships are complicated. I know there are others struggling right now with these very same issues. When do we know when to pull away and at what cost? Are the benefits of the friendship worth the risk of future pain? Am I expecting too much or am I expecting what any woman should be able to expect from someone who has labeled herself her best friend. Does forgiveness mean opening the door to future hurts?

Hard questions.

Difficult answers.

Question, what’s going on with your friendships? I would love to hear some short snippets of what some of you have experienced.

a place of retreat/teeny tiny red cabin

teeny tiny red cabin

Thought you might like to see some pictures. I will be writing from this location a lot this summer. I think you will understand why I find so much peace here.

This is the main cabin.

Teeny Tiny Red Cabin

Teeny Tiny Red Cabin

This is our sleeping alcove.

worrying, depressionIt’s only 500 square feet.

Ground is barea round both cabin and bunkhouse as we had to have trees removed for the bunk house to be built. Than we had to have electrical brought to bunk house from cabin so our yard really got bulldozed more than I wanted. My friend made the sign for me for Christmas. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Paris often because of my husband’s travel schedule and obscene number of frequent flyer miles. I always knew the bunk house would be named “La Cabinette.”

 

This is inside cabin. To the right and in the front is the “kitchen”. The bed kind of sits in a alcove. I had that darn laundry bag edited out of picture but as I said, can’t get Picasa version to download.

 

 

Inside bunk house. There are shelves pretty much on every wall. Walls are whitewashed in white. Ceiling in a wonderful seafoamy blue-green. It must have been one hundred degrees when we did this.. My husband could have killed me as just plain ole’ painting would have been so much easier.

 

Bought two chairs AND a love seat for $60.00 at local Goodwill. The cushions and pillow purchased same day for about $5.00. Table from Goodwill as well, $5.00. Everything in bunkhouse and cabin purchased at garage sales or Goodwill. I LOVE thrift shopping and repurposing.

 

Candlesticks dry brushed. Look closely at the round shiny object. Will tell you what it is and how I used them in next picture.

 

The gold shiny decorations are gold nails used for nailguns. I found them at a Habitat for Humanity store for $1.00 each. They are just sitting on top of the nails I used to hang the curtains. Aren’t they cool?

 

Another close up view of shelf arrangement on back wall. I always knew exactly how I wanted to decorate the inside. I had been studying magazines for years. I knew I didn’t want a ceiling (the rafters are open) and that I didn’t want “walls”. I wanted everything exposed. Of course, that means the bunk house is not insulated. So when it’s really cold or really hot, it’s barely inhabitable. But I can always put on more clothes and hey, it’s in the woods, I can strip down to almost nothing if I want. Hubby would love it.

As I’ve said so often, I’m so grateful to have a place like this to come to. Being here really helps me gain perspective. One verse from Scripture that I love is from Proverbs 3: 5 & 6. (Proverbs is a book in the Christian bible.The bible is divided by books, chapters and verses.) It says:

“Trust in the the Lord with all your heart. Don’t try to figure out everything. Make God first in your life and he will direct your path”. (My paraphrase.)

I find that easy to do at Teeny Tiny Red Cabin.

God bless.

worrying, depression

teeny tiny red cabin

Thought you might like to see some pictures. I will be writing from this location a lot this summer. I think you will understand why I find so much peace here.

This is the main cabin. It’s only 500 square feet.

Teeny Tiny Red Cabin/anxiety/part two

Teeny Tiny Red Cabin/anxiety/part two

worrying, depression

Teeny Tiny Red Cabin/anxiety/part two

Teeny Tiny Red Cabin/anxiety/part two

 

Below is the bunk house.

I used my Picasa editing program to make the pictures really great but I can’t get those pictures to download so I’m having to use unedited versions.

As you can see, none of the trees are in leaf yet and none of the plants I planted last year are in bloom. I have Lady’s Mantles planted in front of bunk house along with some grasses. Going to plant much more this summer. Ground is bare around both cabin and bunkhouse as we had to have trees removed for the bunk house to be built. Than we had to have electrical brought to bunk house from cabin so our yard was really torn up.

My friend made the sign for me for Christmas. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Paris often because of my husband’s travel schedule and obscene number of frequent flyer miles. I always knew the bunk house would be named “La Cabinette.”

 

As I’ve said so often, I’m so grateful to have a place like this to come to. Being here really helps me gain perspective. One verse from Scripture that I love is from Proverbs 3: 5 & 6. (Proverbs is a book in the Christian bible.The bible is divided by books, chapters and verses.) It says:

“Trust in the the Lord with all your heart. Don’t try to figure out everything. Make God first in your life and he will direct your path”. (My paraphrase.)

I find that easy to do at Teeny Tiny Red Cabin.

God bless.

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