Monday, November 13, 2017

Welcome Home, Dear Ring - a story about redemption

So, today ended up being a pretty great day.

That ring on my middle finger celebration of our 5th wedding anniversary. Hold that thought... Several years ago, in the midst of our financial collapse, pretty much right before the nervous breakdown that I had, I needed groceries. I wouldn't have felt so desperate, but I remember that my son needed food. His foods were not cheap, nor were they easily substituted. I had already asked to borrow money from my mom on countless occasions and I couldn't bear to do it again, because I didn't feel like I could pay it all back. Ever. My husband was working as hard at as many jobs as he could hold. So, I thought about what I could possibly sell of mine. You're looking at it. I knew my dad's connection to the owner of a local pawn shop, so I went in with my ring and explained that I wanted to sell it to him. He said he couldn't buy it, because he knew he'd never end up reselling it. Those were tough economic times and he was certain he'd be taking a complete loss. People were not in the market for something like that. He was kind and compassionate, but asked if there wasn't something else I could do? Enter full out waterworks followed by, "I can't have my dad knowing I was in here, okay?" and "Isn't there anything you can do?" and "Can you please just help me?" He gave me $100 cash. I immediately drove to the store and bought the groceries. I remember thinking of all the things I would tell my husband. I also remember knowing none of those statements would ease the hurt. But hey, rock bottom is both the ugliest and most beautiful place, right? Rock bottom is where the band-aids are ripped off, the masks are thrown aside, and you're forced to get real. For once. I've seen a few ;)
Fast forward to 2017. August, actually. I got to talking with some friends about this ring and the circumstances surrounding it. I wondered if it was true that the store owner was never able to sell it, but I was too proud (chicken) to revisit the store. I didn't want to bring all those feels back to the surface, to remember the nervous breakdown that took place within days after that. Because if you've never found yourself locked in your car in the bank parking lot, screaming, crying, swearing, and punching the roof and steering wheel until a kind and incredibly brave man knocks on your window to ask if you're alright and offers to call an ambulance...well...I feel like you're doing better than I have ;) So, back to this ring. My friend was amazing and offered to go in the shop with me. For me. Whatever I needed. I was, it's okay. I got it. But, I didn't "got it". I chickened out again and hid behind my computer monitor, messaged the shop and asked if they happened to have a 7 stone diamond anniversary ring. "Nope sorry." Just like that. Literal cut and paste. Two words were like a hammer in the chest, but my compartmentalization game be strong, so I stuffed it down. Fast forward to yesterday. For the heck of it. I went onto the website I didn't initially know they had. I paged through. Paged. More pages. "What am I doing with my life? Is there nothing else I could be doing right now? Dishes? Laundry? This is dumb. It's just a ring. It doesn't matter." Until I spied with my little eye...a "Diamond waterfall ring" that certainly looked identical to my ring.

I zoomed in on the pictures. Scratches on the one side, just like mine. A knick on the front, just like mine. Y'all know how I can't judge stuff in space and I still remember banging that hand and putting that mark in it! I clicked the "purchase" link, which took me to ebay...and I bought it. I messaged my loyal and incredibly lovely friend to share the good news! My ring!!! Can you even? I mean, seriously? How does that even happen? But, as I looked more closely at the description, the size didn't look right. I was sure my ring was larger. So, ugh. It probably wasn't my ring. Or if it was, maybe it was sold, resized, and came back at some point? Either way, my husband said "it IS your ring, no matter if it's 'yours' or not..." Yeah. But. Okay, yeah. I went to bed thinking about how neat it would be to have "a" ring like my old one. In the morning, I would have my coffee and pick up the (not my actual) ring. I could get it resized. Still nice. It's ok. It wouldn't matter if it was the exact ring. I woke up with excitement over picking the ring up today! But, as MS and/or anxiety would have it, I also woke up with some pretty concerning health stuff. No driving for me. A trip to urgent care was more like it. This is why we have kids, right? Sure! My son dropped me off and went to the shop on my behalf, while I got to play with doctors and nurses. Because he is a good boy, he returned for me. As I eased into the passenger's seat, he had opened the box and asked if I wanted to try it on. I knew it wouldn't fit, because of the description and all. It was far more shiny than I ever remembered it. It was so not my ring. It's okay. It's "like" my ring. Close enough.
:::impatient me with 200mph mind that cannot rest:::
Meh, why not. I'll try it on. It's not like I need to go to the ER from urgent care. I've got the time... You guys. The description was wrong.
It. fit. perfectly.

Just like always. And see? The shop owner *did* end up reselling it. Like, years and years and years later. But still! Thanks, God, for this good day. Thanks for redemption that comes in all sorts of crazy ways. Thanks for being at the bottom of all those rocks right along with me. Thanks for new mercies. Thanks for friends who offer to show up. I can't thank them, or You, enough.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

I Come Alive In The...Ocean!

Fans of Kim Walker Smith are reading that title like...don't you mean "river"?

Well, sure.  Just not for the purposes of this writing ;)

Our family was blessed with the ability to take a vacation this year.  Just typing that brings feelings of overwhelming gratitude and joy!  Having concentrated time together is such an incredible blessing.  There aren't actual words in existence that could properly describe all the feels.

Even though it started out with my husband wanting to drive...

Just look at his smile.  Compare that to my son's and my "meh" faces and you've summarized the trip down to Virginia Beach.  My beloved is a truck driver, which means he instinctively leaves 58 car lengths between himself and the car in front of him.  He starts off at a snail's pace.  When a light is red ahead, he lets off the gas and coasts with about 1/10 of a mile's distance.

But we're in a 3,000lb car, not a 70,000lb tractor trailer.  So:

Rather than silently screaming and nail picking for nearly 7hrs (shoulda been about 6, but...) I directed my thoughts to the goodness of God for providing the trip, the fun we would have, and...the ocean!

I absolutely *love* playing in the ocean.

Because in the ocean...

  • The natural ebb and flow of the current kinda makes me feel oddly balanced on my feet.  
  • Everyone is equal, putting forth effort to remain upright - not just me.  
  • The chill of the water shuts pain off.
  • I feel weightless.  
  • I feel indescribable joy.
  • I do not care about how I look.
  • I do not care if I fall.
  • I do not care that I'm wearing the absolute ugliest knock-off brand of crocs you could possibly imagine (worn due to the fact that the raised dots inside somehow help the bottoms of my feet to *not* freak out.)
  • I do not care, nor think, about my health, my hair, my weight, my anything.
  • I do not all.  

And so, I "run" (my version of running) toward it.  I settle the stabbies in my scalp by running my hands through the top of my hair over and over and over again as I approach the water.  I clomp and stomp, full speed ahead, until I'm in far enough to jump and splash and dive head first into the waves!  I swim and smile and laugh!  If my kids are next to me, I splash them...because I'm kind of a brat like that.  Sometimes, I relax my body and allow the waves to throw me all around.  Other times, the waves do that without my permission.  When my legs and equilibrium decide my shenanigans are quite enough, thanks..I resort to either floating or sitting in the ocean's waters, depending on how close I've been thrown to shore.

No matter, because I feel nothing but joy and love and adoration for God, whose grace is like the very ocean I'm jumping, swimming, splashing, diving, tumbling, and floating in.  It's a place, or maybe a thing, in which nothing really matters - except love.  The love of friends and family sharing the experience with me.  Most of all, the love of God.  

It's overwhelming.

I mean, just look at it.

I come alive in it.  I rest in it.  I allow myself to be completely enveloped by it.

Or maybe that's grace.

Tomato / tomahto...