Spiritual

What We Sign Up For

black and white clouds dark dark clouds
Photo by Seatizen.co on Pexels.com

By: Jana Greene

This rainy Tuesday morning, I am sitting on my back porch at the crack of dawn. The sun is coming up behind the clouds, I’m sure, but you’d never know it from this vantage point. All I can see is grayness. Dampness. It began raining around 3 a.m., when my pain woke me up. They call it “painsomnia” – a more fitting term I cannot imagine – when you move in your sleep and the pain wakes you up. And keeps you up. It’s always a rude awakening, literally.

So I did what I normally do when I cannot sleep, which is not to do edifying things like read my Bible or work on getting back into seminary, but to scroll through my phone ad infinitum, which is Latin for “again and again in the same way; forever.” There are a lot of things that seem to be operating “ad infinitum” these days. Including a pandemic with no end in sight. Including chronic illness and pain.

While scrolling, I came across an article on “The Mighty” (a site I highly recommend for those battling invisible illness) titled ” “How My Husband Helps me Fight Chronic Illness.”

As you can imagine, it is a piece written by a chronically ill woman about all the ways her husband holds her up – emotionally, and sometimes physically. It’s a great piece. I wish I’d written it.

Earlier, I was reading the article while still in bed, laying next to my sleeping husband. I’m glad he is sleeping soundly. He has much on his plate these days. Too much. And part of that “too much” is that his wife is having a horrible pain flare, and I can’t fake otherwise, and I know he worries.

In the back of my mind, there is still a little joy-hijacking goblin that insists that THIS – a wife who is bedridden part of the time – is NOT what he “signed up for.” The goblin can be very convincing, what with telling me he deserves better. Because he really does – he deserves a wife who can easily travel and have adventures with. That was the PLAN, you see.

 The goblin carries a knapsack full of guilt, which it does not hesitate to unzip and unfurl the contents thereof when I have my guard down. When I am weak. Like now.

My husband has to do things like bring me water, when I’m too sore to walk to the kitchen and back. And that’s the very least of it. There is no task he shirks at helping me with, and he does it with remarkable patience. He is my best friend, and he knows when I hurt, no matter what I do to try to hide it.

But before he woke today, I got up and fed the cats and made some coffee to take out on the back porch, to watch the storm.

If there’s anything that we are all experiencing, it is the frying-pan-in-the-face that things do not go as planned. As we socially distance, this situation is either bringing out the very best in us, or the very worst. Much like chronic illness. And marriage.

I once remarked to my hubby that he “didn’t sign up for this.” To which he said, “I signed up for whatever being with you looks like.” Such a simple answer to a messy, muddled, mind-goblin riling situation. And I knew I could accept that – which is harder than you’d think – or continue the rest of our marriage mired in guilt because I’m sick. I’m trying hard to work on my insecurities. It’s a process.

But all during the process, God has shown so much grace – including the grace with which my better half has risen to for the crappiest of occasions … a life together that didn’t go as planned.

On bad days, it feels like a storm rolling in. You cannot see the sun for the dark clouds, as cliche as that analogy is. You’d never even know it was there. So the only thing to do is trust what you cannot see. Or change your vantage point, because perspective is everything. And tell the Guilt Goblin to put a sock in it already.

I’m so grateful for a mate who signed up for whatever being with me looks like. I certainly didn’t earn it. But that’s the thing about love … it doesn’t play by selfish rules. It refuses to leave. It digs in and stays in.

Ad infinitum. Again and again; the same way forever.

Spiritual

Where is the Love? The Heartache of Division

hands heart love
Photo by ATC Comm Photo on Pexels.com

By: Jana Greene

Oh, Dear Reader….
I feel like we are all becoming more and more divided every day.
Social distancing adherents vs. “don’t tread on me” Americans.
Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter.
MAGA people vs. Team Impeachment.
Hoarders vs. have-nots.
Where is the love?
The truth is this: The more we divide, the more we implode. The world is one big Hadron Collider. So many particles running into each other. So much volatility. So little tenderness.
I’m as guilty as anyone else. It’s easy to become bitter with people who refuse to see another’s point of view.
We ALL feel strongly right now, ergo, the problem.
Everyone feels strongly. None of us have any experience living through a pandemic and the level of chaos we are having to deal with on the daily. None of us. There are no stronger feelings than conviction, the pursuit of justice, and survival elicit.
All lives DO matter, but some are being assigned less importance by others who have been traditionally privileged.
Nobody wants to be stripped of their rights, but everybody wants to be assured they are safe. One group shouldn’t be more important than another. How do we balance that? Surely we can see the inherent worth of EVERY PERSON.
Side note to my African American friends: I see you. I hear you. I grieve with you.
Our president is the embodiment of Cult of Personality, and we either love him or loathe him, and somehow use that as an excuse to love or loathe one another.
And, of course, we all just want to wipe our butts at the end of the day. (A little comic relief there…) Liberty, justice, and toilet paper for all!
All the division just makes me sad, that’s all.
I don’t have the answers, except to strive to be more like Jesus in all my dealings. I fall short a lot.
But maybe we can all just try to see things from other perspectives.
Just try. I think we forget to even try.
Looking out for #1 isn’t really panning out for us. This is not a sprint, but a marathon. And in every instance in which someone feels strongly, there is a wounded spirit at stake. Egos cannot run the show.
We can’t tire of seeking justice and fighting hate.
We can’t tread on others in our determination not to be tread upon ourselves.
We can’t keep dividing and dividing and dividing.
That much I do know.
Spiritual

“FIERCE Recovery – Living Your Best Sober Life Now” Coming Soon!

By: Jana Greene

 

Hey, guess what, dear readers?

I’m happy to announce that I’m working on a new book, “FIERCE Recovery – Living Your Best Sober Life Now.”

I believe that living a passionate, vibrant recovery life is one of the most badass things a person can choose to do. I’m a society that often misunderstands or underestimated the recovering populace, it’s time to show our stripes.

A FIERCE recovery is:

Faith-filled

Intentional

Engaging

Restorative, and

Empowered.

Watch this space for updates, and as always, thank you so much for your faithful readership!

Fiercely,

Jana