Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Tough Anniversaries

We had a big thunderstorm last night that knocked our power out twice. So, when our power went out  again this morning, all I could do was sigh in relief that it had at least waited to go out until I was done editing a presentation for Dave Sr.

When you don't have internet, but all of your work exists in the cloud, there isn't much to work on.

So, I went to the back of the house to make our bed and stock the bathroom's depleting toilet paper reserves.

I laughed at myself after I automatically flipped on light switches (that did nothing) as I moved through each room.

I put the toilet paper under our bathroom sink and flash backed to our girls' bathroom in Nairobi.

I shook it off.

"It's just cause it's in the back of my mind," I told myself as I arranged the toilet paper in a tall tower.

You see, I've known 6/26 ("Kenya Day") was coming since two weeks ago when I scheduled a mother-daughter facial for that afternoon.

There's so much that was wonderful about that 3 week mission trip to Kenya: the nationals, the meetings they put on after we taught them how, the smiles, the dancing, the pineapple, the country, my teammates, that one meeting where we thought the bleachers were going to be blown over by the wind, our safari... It just puts the biggest smile on my face remembering all of those things. They were great!

The 20-30 minutes that were horrific, obviously were not so great, but the Lord has done great things with that situation since then.

I praise Him for His mercy, His protection, and His goodness then and during these last 9 years. I fully believe everything I've ever said about that trip. I wouldn't be half of the person I am today without that experience. I understand the importance it's played in my life in every single positive way. God is so so good.

But, with all of my understanding and gratitude and emotional healing, why can this one day still conjure up tough feelings?

Why are anniversaries so tough? Does it ever stop? Last year it wasn't bad at all. But, this year it's like looking forward to getting braces put on a second time.

Is it my fault? Am I the only team member who still struggles with PTSD? Am I just that weak?

"Sweet Jesus, thank you for giving me Your strength." 

Before this round of thunderstorms made it's way to Arkansas, we had one morning this weekend where it was hot and humid with no breeze. David asked me, "Can you imagine what it would be like to be on an old, pirate ship in this kind of weather?" Ugh, it'd be miserable to not have any control and to just have to wait for wind! I'd be like one of the muppets on Muppets Treasure Island going crazy singing We've Got Cabin Fever running around spastically.

Waiting can drive you crazy if that's all you do!

So, is it a couple days or maybe a week or two before THAT Day? Are you just sitting and waiting for the storm / the anniversary to come and go?

There are things you can do to get ready besides just trying to ignore it altogether. You prepare your house before a storm don't you? We take down the patio umbrella and move some of the potted plants... There are people who want to pray you through this upcoming anniversary. Your Maker is there when You're ready to talk to Him about how you feel this year.

Maybe you're in the storm already. Is today THAT one day of every year that you wish you could get through without realizing it had passed?

Hold on. It will pass. Even if the power goes out, it will come back on. Let Jesus calm the waters for you. He will. He's done it before.

It's not just another day. It's THAT Day. And no one else understands because they haven't lost their mom, or they aren't widowed, or they never had a gun held to their head, or if they did they weren't in a third world country several time zones away from their family in a white van because that's different than being held up in a Kroger parking lot...

And, dear reader, I get it.

And, you know what? It's a lot easier when you realize that no matter what it is you've gone through, you're not the only one who knows how you feel. There are millions of people who feel the exact same way - like they're alone.

Anniversaries of loss or trauma are hard. They are. But we don't have to go through them by ourselves.

"This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!" Psalm 34:6-8

Saturday, June 21, 2014


It is kind of weird how much I've come to enjoy sports in the last year. It was bound to happen after I married David - a man who could easily replace any commentator on ESPN at the drop of a hat. It's unreal how my husband's brain works when it comes to sports (and now the law). He's a sponge.

Last week my Dad and I were talking about the final NBA Championship game (I'm a Miami Heat fan, so I was rooting for them), and Dad and Mom (and the rest of my Texas family) were rooting for The San Antonio Spurs. And, I mean, hello, I was born in San Antonio, it's kind of like blasphemy to be rooting for a team who is playing against San Antonio, so my family was a little disturbed... When my response to my Dad's question, "Why do you like the Heat?" was, "I like the players," he then asked, "Well, which players do you like?" I'm pretty sure he was shocked that I could rattle off 5 of them with reasons for each as to why I like them! I mean seriously, it was kind of strange for both of us. Since when did Lindsay start paying any attention to sports because she was interested in them?? Aside from the Olympics of course (because who doesn't get excited about the Olympics?).

My brother played soccer as a little kid, and I attended quite a few of his soccer games, but aside from that, soccer really wasn't on my radar until 4 years ago during the last World Cup.

While that World Cup was going on, I was in Ecuador for 2 weeks as team nurse for a senior high mission trip. I'd been to Ecuador as a teenager on a similarly formatted trip with the exact same host missionaries (David and Monica Proaño with Open Air Campaigners). The ministry we do down there is gospel presentations in parks, schools, marketplaces, plazas, etc. The first time I was down there, we saw kids playing soccer on the numerous soccer fields in basically every town we went through, but it was April, and there were no championship games going on, so soccer (correction, "fútbol") didn't have any impact on our itinerary. But 4 years ago, our itinerary literally revolved around the World Cup. If there was a game going on (and it didn't matter who was playing), there was no one at the market, in the park, or the plaza. So, we would hunker down in a coffee shop or restaurant and watch the game too.

It was a very, very cool experience being in Latin America during the World Cup. And, really, the intentionality of setting aside everything to watch a game (no matter who was playing) was what made the greatest impact on me. I mean, fútbol meant something important to the Ecuadorian people. It's a HUGE part of their culture. Much more than our seasonal sports are here, I'd argue. So, now when I hear about people taking off work to watch the games or planning their lunch break around the game schedule, it doesn't surprise me. There's something about this very international sport that speaks to people and unifies a lot of us.

Side note: I'm always impressed by the referees... Some Eastern European country will be playing a Latin American country, and I can't help but wonder, "Why is that player even talking to the ref? He probably doesn't speak their language!" To which David replies, "They know what a yellow card means."

Another international sport I enjoy is Formula One. I'll watch a whole race and dream of watching the Monaco Grand Prix while basking on top of one of those yachts. I actually got into Nascar first, and it was about the same time I was starting to work as a nurse. One day I was taking care of a special needs patient who was in her late 20s/early 30s, holding a stuffed animal as she woke up, and she was scared and disoriented. One of the OR nurse's had told me that this patient was a Nascar fan. Well, when she was awake enough to respond to questions, I told her I liked Nascar too. She groggily asked me who my favorite driver was. My answer, Carl Edwards. She asked me what I thought of Kyle Busch, and I made a disapproving face, "I don't like him. I think he drives dirty." From that moment on, I couldn't get her to stop talking about Nascar. She was so happy when she rolled out of that recovery room because she had someone to talk with who knew something about a sport she loved. I remember thinking as the techs wheeled her away, "She might be the only reason I ever got into Nascar."

I think sports are interesting like that. It doesn't matter where you're from or who you are or what you believe about life or the universe or even what language you speak, sports transcend all boundaries. And, I'm really glad I'm starting to appreciate this world. I'll give all the credit to my husband, who patiently explains every call, rule, and off-the-wall question I have. I'm sure our future kiddos will be sports kids, so it's a good thing I'm learning so much now before they come along! Who knows how sports will create a connection of unity between them and new people they meet or cultures they're exposed to. As I think about our future, trips to World Cup games, the Monaco Grand Prix, and an NBA Championship game between the Heat and some contender seem like very enjoyable vacation options. Who ever would have thought this girl would be considering such locations as vacation destinations? Not me. But, I also never thought I'd live in Arkansas. ; )

There's a whole wide world out there... It's kind of cool that something as simple as a game could connect so many of us.

Monday, June 16, 2014

To Share or Not To Share: Part 2

Wow.. Never promise that you're going to post something on your blog in x many days unless you've already written/edited said post and scheduled it to post automatically.. Because it just won't happen!

I promised my dear readers a Part 2 post to "To Share of Not To Share" within 3 days, and it's very possibly been 3 weeks!

And in the 3 weeks (or whatever it's been) that have passed, I've had a little bit of time to mull over my answer to, "Why is finding the balance between transparency and discretion important [when it comes to what we share with other people]?"

It's been a very, very busy 3 weeks. I've had so many experiences that I've wanted to share with other people. Funny things neighbor children say. Things Sperry did. Successes and disappointments.

But, I don't have permission from the parents to post to Facebook the embarrassing things their kids said.

And really, only David cares that much about Sperry being silly in the backyard.

My successes I share with the people who will appreciate them.

And my disappointments I choose the people who have offered to walk through them with me to confide in.

"Why is finding the balance between transparency and discretion important?"

I had one of the longest posts ever written out to explain the answer... But, as I've mulled over it, the answer can really be summed up into one word ... Respect.

Respect for ourselves.

Respect for those whom our situation involves.

And respect for the ears/hearts who are going to hear/read what we share.

Respect for Ourselves:

If we would just think before we spoke / texted / posted... We can make ourselves look very uneducated, ignorant, naive, and even disrespectful when we share too quickly.

And we say a lot about how much we respect ourselves and our reputation by what we post to social media.

(Side note, classy people do not post about their own bodily functions on social media... It's one thing to talk about it with a friend who understands bodily functions, or your doctor, but Facebook is not the place. Someone had to say it, so I might as well clue you in here while we're talking about discretion.)

Respect for Those Whom Our Situation Involves:

Can we not talk about ANYTHING that involves another person without their expressed / written permission? Of course not. That's ridiculous. But, we should do unto others as we would want them to do unto us, right? ... I mean, really, that sums it up. If I wouldn't want someone to bash me for some reason on social media, then I shouldn't do the same.

For example, I was at this thing one night recently in a nearby city with a bunch of "church people." (Disclaimer: These were not people who attend the church David and I are currently attending.) You would have thought I was one of Xavier's X-Men, and I had the super power of invisibility. I didn't get a returned smile, hello, even a nod! I wanted to leave, but I couldn't. It really hurt my feelings to be treated that way, and selfishly, I really wanted to call them all out. I could have posted on Facebook in great detail where I was and exactly who these people were that were hurting my feelings in such a hypocritical way... But, I didn't. I texted my sister instead. She knows my heart. She has my confidence.

What good would it have done to call them out on Facebook like that? None. I have friends on Facebook who don't go to church, so why would I remind them that if they decide to check this church or any other church out, there's a chance they'll be ignored... That wouldn't have done any good at all... I don't like it when people post things like that about church people or Christians, because I go to church and I am a Christ-follower, and I try really hard to be super welcoming to everyone. So, I just did unto others...

Respect for the Ears/Hearts That Are Going to Read/Hear What We Share:

Other people's ears/hearts... Sometimes that's easy. You don't mention that Santa isn't real in front of a 6 year old. But, other times it can be tricky... Like, you would never know my sweet friend was sexually abused as a teenager by looking at her or talking with her. But, discussing a recent violent incident in her presence will set her into a panic attack.

I tend to be more aware of stuff like this because I'm often the one in the panic attack chair. So, when I was having a causal conversation about domestic violence with another woman, and she froze like a popsicle when I mentioned a d.v. statistic, I realized the tables had been turned and made sure she knew that I was a safe confidant.

Learning to read body language is a skill that will better you and better other's until the day you die.

Unfortunately there are some people who aren't that considerate. They just like to hear themselves talk. After completely clamming up, fixing my eyes on the floor, and practically wringing my hands while a woman told me about a raping/murder that had happened just miles from my home, I finally interrupted her and said, "I'm sorry to interrupt you. But, I can't hear this." Those of us with traumatic histories have to learn when to speak up, when to just leave the room, and how to heal... We can't live in a bubble, and people can't be expected to walk on egg shells around us.

So, why is finding the balance important? It's better for everyone... It's really just that simple.