Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cheetah Burrito

Today I had one of my companion animals euthanized.  She's been with me for 15 years.  Cat was an incredibly sweet feline, feminine--a delicate flower of a girl.

She had a beautiful white bib and milk-stained pitty paws.  She had the classic tabby "M" on her forehead as well as a cat face.  She also had wagon wheels on either side of her body.  She had tiny little paws with pink and black pads.

Even though I've had other cats, she felt like my first cat.  For several years she was my lone animal companion.  She inspired me to learn about cat being sure to greet her by touching her nose whenever I came home...and to pet her from her head, down her back and down to the tip of her tail.

Because we lived by ourselves, I talked to her.  She became a very vocal creature.  One of the things I've loved but know I'll soon forget is her repetorie of trills, whirrs, yowls, and meows.  One of my favorites was a questioning whirr when she was touched unexpectedly.

I sang songs to her, called her my swirlin' girl, my girl, sweetheart and cheetah burrito.  The nonsense song I sang to her was:

You're a cheetah....burrito
A cheetah...that's neato
A cheetah burrito
Cheetah burrito today.

But I wanna...iguana
I wanna igunana
I wanna ignuana
I wanna iguana today.

It's been such a long time, I don't even remember the origin of the song or nickname.

I agonized over it for the past two days.  Today I have peace that I did the right thing out of compassion.

The weird thing is that tonight I feel relief instead of the profound grief I thought I would.  I think I front-loaded my grief as I delayed my decision.  I almost feel guilty at feeling relief.  I didn't know how much and how deeply the strain of having a sick pet affected me...together with the strain of losing my ministry and church and my own health issues...I guess having one of the strains lifted bring some relief.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Your 100 Day Prayer

Unlike other books on prayer, Your 100 Day Prayer places less emphasis on the content of prayer and more on the process of consistent prayer. It encourages the Christian to spend just a few moments a day, every day, for 100 days consistently and intentionally praying about the same issue. This process is transformative in shifting the focus from the immediate to the eternal perspective. It’s a great lesson in learning to wait…wait…wait for the answer.

The book is structured like a devotional journal; therefore, some readers may prefer a hardcopy book that can be written in rather than an eBook. Each day’s lesson consists of a scripture, a devotional reading and a jumping off point for prayer.

The scriptures and devotional shine different perspectives on the issue being prayed for. It’s these different perspectives, together with the consistency of returning to prayer again and again that begins to reshape the content and process of the prayers. In the journal area, the reader can reflect each day on his/her progress.

The one thing I wish I’d taken onboard earlier, is the author’s suggestion to use it together with a group of other people as it’s “hard to keep on praying by ourselves for something every day for any length of time.”

Your 100 Day Prayer was provided to me as an advanced reading copy by BookSneeze.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Another one nearing her expiration date

Cat is nearing her expiration date. I already wrote her story long ago so I don't need to write it again.

These last months have been very hard on both of us. Her kidneys are failing so she gets subQ fluids and lots of pills. She doesn't like it. I was a coward about the subQ at first. It took me a week, 3 tries and a vicious jab to my own finger before I could get it started. Ultimately I was able to overcome the squeamishness by deciding that it was actually loving to make my girl more comfortable.

This time, there's not as much guilt to go with the grief. I haven't cheaped out on vet care. I've done my best. I haven't taken care of her perfectly, but I've done okay.

The places I suspect I'll miss her most is in her permanent spot on the side of my bed. I'll miss her when I take a bath, sitting by the tub and begging me to dribble water from my hands while she drinks. Many times I've wanted to push her away and just relax in the bath...but I don't because I don't want the guilt.

I notice more and more that her eyes are dialated. I think that means pain. She eats but she's thin. She still wants to be petted and she shoves her muzzle into my belly.

We're going to the vet again on Monday for bloodwork and Dr. Saltzer's opnion. Shit.

It might be easier if I believed that animals went to heaven. That God loved them as innocents and collected them in the same way he collects and resurrects little babies. I know I won't care when I get to heaven, but oh God, I wish I could have that comfort here.

But today my tears are breaking as hard as the rain is coming down outside my window. Shit oh shit. On March 24, it will be 4 years since Mommie has been gone...and I've forgotten her. I never look for her any more. I never call for her and she was with me for 10 years. And what sucks is that, when I do remember her, I only remember the crappiness of her last month with me--not the 9 1/2 years of petting and cuddles.

It's like with Dad. I remember the horror of the board and care more than I remember all of the walks and laughter. If I didn't have photographs, the good stuff would be long gone.

I can't believe that Jesus would leave heaven to come to this world. Walking around in a decaying bag of meat, in a world perverted by evil and death. I guess that's what love is.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Keeps on giving

Out of nowhere, I miss my daddy tonight.  Almost 50 years old and I miss my daddy.  I miss his smile.  I miss his laughter.  I miss his terrible puns.  I miss his quiet strength. 

Last night, I heard a teenager sob, "I miss my Daddy."  Even though she lost her father to divorce and not death, I understand the depth of her cry.  I see Emerson and Reese, run to their daddy and throw their arms around his legs or stand with him in worship and I miss my my poppy.

Even though he's healed from Parkinson's.  Even though he's with Jesus and a better man than he ever was here with me, I miss him.  Even though Jesus is supposed to be my anchor, I miss my Daddy as the anchor for my life.  Even though Jesus is supposed to be my strong tower, I miss the safety and unconditional love of my earthly father.

He's been gone almost 6 months to the day and the grief tonight is as fresh as it was then.  I understand the Jewish custom of rending their garments and throwing ashes on their heads and keening with grief. The grief is so powerful that it demands physical expression.  Out of nowhere, I miss my Daddy tonight.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Who are the trusted?

In 1978, Danny Olsen turned me onto a cool new artist, Elvis Costello. I was cautious at first as Elvis Presley had died the summer before. As a junior in high school, I really, really wasn't interested in an Elvis impersonator.

And yet, Danny was incredible hip. An urbane high school senior with a dynamite smile and the ability to wear Jewish heritage like a crown, he was like catnip to the junior girls. I felt privileged that he would include this shiksa in his group of friends.

Elvis was just breaking big with "Alison," from his first album, "My Aim is True." His music was a big departure from the disco and hair bands that filled the airwaves. After all, "Saturday Night Fever" had taken the radio by storm in 1977 and young adults were doing the hustle in discotheques from Danceteria in New York to Osco's in Los Angeles.

And yet, Elvis rocked our world when he played our Millikan High School auditorium. It was my first taste of New Wave and I wanted more. Instead of the glib, glitziness of the hair bands and overprocessed techno grind of disco, Elvis' music had a raw energy that summed up the cynicism and angst of teenagers who had grown up a steady diet of Vietnam War casualty lists and the Watergate scandal. The strong men of our generation were sent to die by the politicians whom we trusted.

Although my favorite Elvis Costello album is Get Happy, one of my favorite songs, "What's so Funny About Peace, Love, and Understanding" came from his third album, "Armed Forces."

As Elvis asked, "Where are the strong? Who are the trusted?" I only wished then that I'd known that answer was Jesus because I was wrong in many of the people whom I trusted in my 20's and 30's.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Should auld acquaintance be forgot?

Some vacation time has allowed me to sort through 30+ years of memorabilia--photos, concert ticket stubs, cards, and letters. The hard part is that I'm finding a lot of people whom I loved that have passed out of my life.  Some of them passed out of my life because that's the way life is.  At key junctures, like high school graduation, you take divergent paths and loose touch.

The hardest things to look at are the people I let go from my life because of disappointment or anger...where I purposely severed the relationship.  In some cases, it was unavoidable.  In other cases, I feel like a fool and there's a sense of loss.

As I look at these people from 5, 10, 20, or even 30 years ago, the bad feelings that caused our friendship or romance to hit the rocks is gone.  In the images I see people whom I've loved and who love me.  I realize that I may have cut them out of my life, but I cannot cut them out of my heart--ever.

Do I wish all of them back into my life?  Not really.  Only a couple of them.  But, for the first time ever, I'm willing to let their faces inhabit my walls and my daily life rather than being relegated to a box in my closet. 

I would never regard myself as a sentimental person, and yet, the first present a boy ever gave me--a framed pane of glass etched with flowers--still hangs in my window 33 years later.  Yeah, it's my laundry room window but, still, if I was a bag lady, I'd carry it around in my cart with me. 

I think I cherish these things because I never made a family for myself.  Somehow, I missed that class in college.  So all of this "stuff" is evidence that I've loved and been loved in my life.

My goal this past year has been to work towards getting rid of stuff that I don't use or don't love.  This means that a lot of the photos and cards are getting thrown away.  Some, I'll scan and then toss.  Only the special ones will remain...the people who have changed my life just by passing through it.