Friday, October 24, 2008

A Little Break - of Sorts

One of the wiser things I've read in the past weeks suggests permitting yourself to take a break from grief, noting that we takes breaks from everything else and we need to get away from grieving on occasion, too. True enough. At various points in my working and student life, when the onslaught of expectations has seemed overwhelming, I've made detailed calendars in an effort to find some solace in the light at the end of the tunnel. Only on rare occasions have those calendars, identifying multiple tasks to be accomplished in every part of every day, represented a span as long as fourteen consecutive days in duration. This time, there will never be a light at the end of the tunnel, and we have put only fifty-one days behind us. Fifty-one days of unremitting pain.

So, I am going to take a little break, which I am sure will unleash sighs of relief among my readers. It won't be a 100% break - not matter what I say or do, whom I encounter, or how I pass my time, there is only one underlying reality, and it has a way of popping up. But I will try to limit it to those natural appearances.

And so ~

One of my frustrations with blogger has been the impossibility of posting BIG PICTURES, which were so much fun during my AOL Journal days. I'm not much of a technie, and I've never been able to figure out how to do it over here. But with the imminent demise of AOL Journals, a number of bloggers have made their way over here, and one of them, to my delight, is my former mentor and technophile buddy, Sunflower Kat of
Walk with Me. Her photography is often wondrous, and in no time flat she mastered the BIG PICTURE blogger conundrum. I have her instructions, I have her email, and I have 100 photographs from Oregon. So I'm going to play around for a few days and try to enjoy myself a little. There won't be much writing, and what there is will still reflect the sense of loss that never recedes, but I'm hoping that some of the images will work out.

And ~

In the category of Life Goes On, Gregarious Son and I voted today. With about 75 people ahead of us (lunchtime at the downtown Board of Elections), it took about half an hour, but that was about half the time it took four years ago at our local polling place, the church on the corner, at 7:00 am with maybe 15 people in line. The poll workers were gracious and efficient, the voters were relaxed and even jovial, and it has now been my pleasure to cast two historic votes this year.

And ~

I went back to my spiritual direction training program this week. It only meets once a month this year, so I have an idea that it might be manageable. It was an extremely difficult few hours, with a couple of conversations that nearly sent me over the edge, but I had done the reading and written the paper and I did not start to cry and I did not need to excuse myself. I also signed up for seminary classes, only because this is the week that that had to be done. I have no idea what, if anything, is possible there. Emails from professors have been generous and encouraging, but due to the quarter system, the unfortunate reality is that those classes begin in only six weeks and the first weeks lie right between Thanksgiving and Christmas, two holidays I would just as soon not acknowledge this year. Or maybe ever. (Yes, somewhat problematic in ministry.) I will probably return for the first week of classes and see how it goes. I am not overly optimistic and I know that my life has changed in ways that are not remotely apparent to me yet. We'll see.

And, finally ~

In an effort to be positive rather than negative, I have some advice about what to say to the newly bereaved when you run into us, rather than what not so say. (Oh, that second list lengthens every day!) It's pretty simple. "How is your morning/afternoon/evening going?" If I think that you care enough to ask a specific question and I think that you might actually be interested, I might be able to respond with something equally specific, and it will be a big help to me. And if all I can manage is, "Really sh--ty," that's a big help to me, too. Just so you know.

So ~ some messing around on the blog and maybe some BIG PICTURES coming up soon.


Beach Walkin said...

Emailing you a bunch of blank paper to write down all of the stupid things that people have said to you. When you get done writing them all down... you can roll up the paper... and whack them with it!!!! It's not that I don't think people care... it's more along the lines of I think people don't think before they open their mouths. PS... if I'm one of the people... I deserve to be whacked too!

Stratoz said...

look forward to some more Oregon photos, may inspire me to digitize some of mine from back in the day. But I can't even keep up with the ones I take these days.

Kathryn J said...

Looking forward to the pictures - the one you already posted was stunning. I appreciate the advice on what to say and am sorry there is so much pain.

Carol said...

Ditto what Kathryn said. And it's good to see you beginning the moving forward process. As painful as it is...(or is that another stupid thing to have said?)

bean said...

so? ignore thanksgiving and christmas this year. give yourself permission. supposed to doesn't count.

sunflowerkat321 said...

If you need help with your big pictures just give me a holler. I'll see what I can do to help. During the original AOL exodus I didn't move over here specifically because I was discouraged by the photo/size quality. I really didn't want to dive into that HTML code. But, it's amazing what we can do when our options are limited.

I know that conflict between wanting some semblance of normal...and feeling that it's out of the question. Let your heart guide you, don't take on too much. But at the same time, you know you need to ease back into life. You just have to do it in your own time...whether it's now, or much later.

Mary Beth said...

I'm glad your today includes pictures.

Many blessings.

Sarah S-D said...

it was satisfying to wait in line, early, to cast a historic vote this year. glad you got to have that experience too.

yes, i look forward to the photos too.

and i am happy read whatever you write.

"PS" (a.k.a. purple) said...

Brillent advice on what to ask people. I am tucking that one into my memory banks.

RevDrKate said...

It was good to hear how your day went, GG. Prayers and blessings on all those forays and on your break, too. Loved that picture!

Deb said...

praying for peace

P.S. just so you know... the word verification fits MY day