Saturday 27 April 2019

Simplicity vs Clutter

(originally journaled Jan 8 2017)

I'm feeling overwhelmed by "clutter" ... so much stuff I truly don't need or even want. My life feels cluttered.

I want simplicity: " ... the arrangement of life around a few consistent purposes, explicitly excluding what is not necessary to human well-being." (Willard)

I'm afraid this constant drive I have to learn, learn, learn, teach, teach, teach, write, write, write, discuss, discuss, discuss, reason, reason, reason—may be driven to a large degree by my fear of dementia. Every time I forget a word I begin to panic (and then I really can't remember it).

Oh dear God, I want peace. And I don't think peace comes with dementia. My mom was such a peaceful person (in You, I'm sure), and then the dementia took her peace away. She became worried and upset as she realized what was happening. She did some bizarre things she would never have done before. Yet at the end, the nurses on the dementia ward commented on how very peaceful she was in her last days. No fear. No worry. Sweetness and gentleness (like she used to be).

But generally, so far as I can see (I spent several years visiting my mom in dementia care units, and so I saw plenty of it), dementia does not seem to be a peaceful state, at least until the patient doesn't seem to know anyone or anything anymore. (And even then, some become more and more unpeaceful... Maybe they're people who never learned to trust You? Or?).

Is it all right to ask You this: Where are You when dementia takes over? Are You still present? Are people with dementia aware deep within of Your presence?

And what about people with serious mental illness? Children born with serious issues who never develop mentally or spend their lives in bodies that don't function? People who never did anything wrong to "deserve" it?

I get (mostly) that what You think is worthwhile and important is way different from what we think. But I feel like time is just rushing by and my life is so busy-busy and cluttered, yet with all my effort I'm not doing anything truly worthwhile for myself or my family or anyone else—even for You. I see so many failings on my part.

Oh! But just now I am experiencing a deep sense You are pleased with me even if I can't see anything particularly worthwhile. Peace in the midst of my self-induced storm. You really do love me, don't You? Amazing grace. Thank you.

Monday 22 April 2019

Stories I've Bought Into?

(originally journaled August 5, 2017)

(And now, a year and a half later, too much of this is still true. Truly, it is time for change!)

My brain is going all over the place. Scattered. Lack of focus.

Maybe I really do need to do that DIY MFA ( with lots of reading—and writing. Maybe I do long for my dream of intentional community where I could be the granny teacher/facilitator/intellectual/thinker.

Is it all right to dream? Or is it greedy? Or foolish? Or self-centred?

happened to listen to an interview on CBC Radio with Harold Johnson, author of "Firewater: How Alcohol Is Killing My People (and Yours)." He said we believe stories. That's why they are so powerful. But if a story is casting us as victims (or other negative things) we need to change the story. We need to make a new story and believe it and act on it.

I think that is right. He talked about "the drunk Indian" story but I think it is also true about other stories we tell ourselves. Or stories others have told us about ourselves and have accepted.

Personally, I think that is why I feel so tired, exhausted, sort of depressed these days: I am believing stories like:

- I am old. (Is 62 really too old to start something fresh and new? Nah ... right?)

- I am likely going to have dementia since my mom and both her sisters have died from it, so it seems like it might be hereditary (but her brother is in his eighties and is still an active lawyer, so what about that?) (and all the girls' dementias were different types, from different causes). And every time I have a little "forgetful moment" (peoples' names, occasional words), I panic and think, "Oh no, it's already happening, so there's no point, no hope in starting something new."

- I can't afford to start something fresh and new because we've always been on the edge financially, and hubby is on disability, and we don't have a big pension to look forward to (and anyway, getting rich ... or even too comfortable ... is potentially dangerous, sinful, isn't it? I seem to recall hearing that little sermon many times back in the day).

- I never got a chance to get my PhD because I made "choices" (bad ones, apparently) so I don't deserve to be a specialist or an expert or whatever. (And anyway, that's not a Christian woman's place in the world, is it? Another sermon I heard a lot back in the day...)

- I'm tired of "obeying" other people, doing what they think is best for me, but all my life I've been obedient (yeah, submissive) to people in "authority" because that is what women (and especially Christian women) are supposed to do? Yep, I'm feeling really rebellious about that sermon...

- I'm kind of "stuck" with tutoring and editing because they make me enough money to pay the bills ... even though I want to do less of them and more writing.

- When I look at all the writing out there in the big wide world, I tell myself I have nothing truly significant to write about, and I'm really not that smart ... and even if I am smart (I must have been a wee bit smart since I was in the gifted program in school, and completed university in fewer years than normally expected, right?) ... anyway, even if I am relatively smart, I should be humble and not let on ... (yes, another oft-heard sermon).

Right. Those are stories I have bought into. Those are stories I want to toss.

I've been doing what I believe. But I don't want to believe those stories anymore.

I want to create new stories. Positive stories. It's time! Now!

Dare I? I so, so, so want to!

Lord? Please!