Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dogs will roll in anything except something that smells good to cover their scent. My dog, Rose, found some kind of animal feces to roll around in today while we walked back to the creek. I was walking, Rose and Gunner were hanging back and I had only looked away for a minute. I kid you not, it was probably less than a minute when she came trotting up next to me with a happy grin on her face, brown smear down the back of her neck and across her right shoulder smelling as if someone had dunked her in a septic tank.

My first instinct was to be angry but I new that wouldn't do any good. Rose would not understand that and it would just make me feel lousy for reacting badly. We were probably a 1/4 mile away from the creek and Rose does not like to go into the water but today she would be going like it or not. As we continued walking with me keeping an eye on Rose and my distance from her as well I couldn't help but start to think about all the 'shit' I've allowed myself to go back and wallow in. Dogs do it, people do it. Knowing some things aren't good for me and in fact may actually be harmful is not always enough to prevent me from delving into them time and time again, covering myself with the stink and knowing I shouldn't be doing it but there I am again. The difference between me and Rose is she doesn't want to wash it off. She wants to strut her foul smelling mess for all to see. I want to hide mine, appear to wash myself clean of it yet have it there for sometime later just to repeat it again. If it's something I'm not willing to have in the open then it's something I probably shouldn't have.

Rose took her dip in the water with a lot of help from me. She hated every moment of it but was fine with me when it was finished and she was washed clean. She came right up to me tail wagging expecting a pat on the head as we started back. The things that are hidden or secret are not so easily dealt with it seems. It's not so simple as washing these things away. We go back again and again and then coat our souls with grime that no one sees. But it's there. And it must be Washed away, cleansed, or it comes to the surface in other ways like how we treat others, the things we say about them, how we look at them, how we do our work... Just like Rose doesn't like to wash herself and needs help doing it no matter how much she hates it, I find myself doing the same in a sense. The Help is there to reach the places I can't but I have to be willing to let that happen and ask.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's been brought to my attention that my journals need a little work lately. I would agree with that assessment as I didn't even care for the last entry I made and I wrote the darn thing.  This week is about change, not just doing the norm, not just 'feeling good' about something, it's about actual real change.  People can read about me in my journal but they really only know what I choose to let them know. Even at that it can be manipulated so that unless someone's very clever or taking time to read between the lines what's written appears mean one thing while the writer intentionally misleads the reader. How often do we do that in our every day life? We say the right things, we act how we're expected but when it really comes right down to the nitty gritty how much of that is honest and how much of that is a cover to distract from who we perceive ourselves to be?

In a journal entry it's very simple. I can say something like, "Things are looking up at work and I'm really excited about the changes that are coming. It will pick up." (I actually feel this way, but I need a relevant example.) It's what we leave out that is the deception. The concern that maybe the changes are going to be too many and too difficult, good changes but can I keep up with them? What if one questions whether they can support some of the changes that are being made even while admitting they are probably good? How long can one do deceptive lip service and get by? It's the things we keep inside and hidden away from others that really cause the deception. We hold onto them out of fear, because we've become comfortable with them, because to let them out into the open means change, means we have to become different, we are seen differently, what if the people we are seen as after exposing our secrets is NOT the person others want to see?  And can real change occur without the divulging of certain things we hold secret?

I try to say something positive the every kid I work with through out the day. Last night at bedtime one of the boys who had wanted to go to church was unable to because we had neither the proper number of staff nor a vehicle that would hold everyone legally. To be honest, he made the decision to not go after we discovered that there were just too many of us to be able to take everyone. It turns out he could have gone because another boy opted out as well, but it was a bitter/sweet situation where we had 7 of 10 boys who wanted to go to church but then had to make them choose which one would not go because we couldn't accommodate the large number. It made me sick to have to make someone stay at the house. This boy struggled throughout the day. He had mentioned the week before how he doesn't go just to see the girls but he also like the Word. It was very difficult for me to have him stay back. He was agitated, it showed in his face and his actions but he never once let it get the better of him. Using drawing, writing, and shooting hoops he somehow managed to get through his day without a blow out. This is progress for this boy. I don't understand the mind of God but I do trust that there is always a greater good. By days end this boy had turned off his lights and crawled into bed on time without staff having to say a word. He's always threatened to lose control in the past when I've complimented him about his behavior so I've jokingly told him for weeks now just how "awful" his behavior has been during the day and he grins and knows it's a compliment. This night I knocked on his door and said to him, "I really don't know what you think you're doing or how you managed this but today you've had a really, really, really, really, really.....excellent day." Knowing this could cause him to get upset because I'd stated it in the positive I was ready. What he did instead was turn his head away from me, but I could just see the huge grin across his face, and looking at the wall he quietly said, "Thank you."

I guess this is the kind of change that needs to happen. One that's not just words trying to convince others of what's good about us, what we want people to know or think about us. It's the kind of change that shows just who we really are inside and out to everyone we meet. Admitting our shortcomings and failures and trying to do the very best we can no matter what, but never ever deceiving people about who we are.

I'm not there yet.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I'd like to know what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. I'd like to visit my cousins who live out of state and I haven't seen for a very long time. I'd like to visit my cousins who live IN state and I haven't seen for a very long time. I'd like to catch the remaining feral cat that lives on our property that is not fixed and her new ornery kitten along with her. I'd like to feel like I know enough about what to do to fix up the house and get it cleaned up and enjoy it for about a month. I'd like to convince myself that I can actually do some of these things and DO them. I'd like to be a better neighbor. I'd like to live more like every day is my last. I'd like to say that I don't ever question my Faith but that wouldn't be honest. I'd like to love others more than I do right now and think less of me.

I have been blessed to be able to enjoy the outdoors with little distraction. Woods are just out my door and through the field. The dogs tag along, nature sings around me, breezes push me along, the sun warms my muscles and limbers me up for walking. It's difficult to not be selfish in thought and action. I try to remind myself to get out and do for my neighbors but I too often find it's easier to talk myself out of it. It's a far too lonely life that way though. Even so, it's no easier to go out the door with the intent of doing rather than distracting from everything that needs doing.

Cryptic? Intentional? Self-indulgent? Waste of time?

Friday, May 07, 2010

Time Away

It was chilly walking the dogs this morning but it didn't prevent the birds from chirping excitedly perched from their branches in the trees around us. The dogs were pretty much oblivious to the songs as they trotted left and right, noses to the ground snuffing the smells of creatures crossing the field the night before. My brother's dog, Gunner, is getting up in years for a larger dog and is showing signs of slowing down. It's difficult to watch yet at the same time I feel closer to this dog now than I did when he was younger. He was a terror to anyone but Mark when Gunner was younger, running after anyone or anything, growling ferociously at strangers followed by his heavy bass tone barks, not really understanding playing with small animals but trying his best. This dog has really grown on me after my initial disliking of him. He's still beligarent when commanded to return but he's also much slower and kinder these days. He likes to be rubbed down and the aches worked out of his muscles so he doesn't lose his footing quite so  much as his hip sags and his back toes drag across the sand. He's become quite affectionate as he's aged but it may also be that I have learned more what to expect from him, how to deal with him and it's made things better for the two of us. 

I sometimes forget these important things at home with work pressing down in my conscience nearly all the time. One of my cousins reminded me that even when work is overwhelming and demanding much more attention than it deserves it's important to take mini-vacations from it. He means in the sense of taking a couple hours at the end of the day or before going in to work. It makes sense to me as those are the times that I relish most and feel like I am finally connecting a bit with my true life away from work. I'm grateful that he reminded me of these moments, this time away that's available to everyone even when we can't take a week or two to get out and about. Those are my mornings, my mini-vacations, my time away.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Daily Fog

My mornings are rarely clear to me. The sun will be shining in through my window yet once I am raised to consciousness my thoughts are muddled and whirling around my head like a gang of restless teens all demanding my attention at the same time. "Look here, pay attention to" I don't know if this is from a state of restless sleep induced by stress or I just have no method to categorize my morning thoughts. I do know that I haven't been looking forward to mornings lately.

I force myself out of bed after attempting to streamline the many thoughts, most of which seem pretty random and unimportant. Lately to deal with this I have been getting clothes on and taking the dogs outside immediately just to get out of my room, out of the house, away from the frustration zone and clear my mind. When the nice weathers nice there are birds chirruping in every direction around me. I see the occasional deer. Sometimes a sandhill crane or a blue heron will pass overhead and the sun is warm at my back with clouds passively crossing the sky. These are currently my only moments of lucidity during the day. I sometimes wonder if I'm cracking up or losing my faculties. This past week was really nice because we had training at work every day. This was something concrete and specified to focus on throughout the day.

At work my thoughts seem just as jumbled. Not so much random but I am pulled by that gang of restless teens that demand my attention AND response RIGHT NOW. It feels like crisis mode 24/7. Even away from work, apart from the morning walks with the dogs, my thoughts are on what could be done differently, what worked, what did I do wrong, what did I do right?

I breathe deep and pray for the Breathe of God to fill my lungs, my soul. I pray the same for my co-workers and the residents. Sometimes I am able to get a sense of the Goodness of God and His watching over me. At times my concern is that fear shows a lack of faith. But then I remember too that our Savior literally sweat blood and asked repeatedly if there were any other way. I don't think anyone would accuse Him of lack of faith. After all He is also the Father/Creator and Spirit.