Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Pondering

I am not a person who suffers many downs emotionally.  When I do have them however, I find they cause others as big an upheaval as they do me.

Remembering a time we were on the Bliss Family website and there was a picture posted of me with several family members. I was eight years old,  eight years old, and the thread about that picture was all about "I wonder what was wrong with Leslie because she isn't smiling and Leslie is always smiling."   When I was about 35 I remember someone else telling me something similar,  "Leslie, you are always smiling, I don't remember ever seeing you without a smile."  At our family reunion one year there wasn't a doubt when they awarded me with the "Pollyanna" award.  My sister, Lyn, tells me that she thinks of me when singing the song "Scatter Sunshine" because she believes the song fits me.    I am so grateful for all of these comments and I'm so grateful to my Father in Heaven for blessing me with a happy spirit.  But, guess what??!!  Some days you don't feel like smiling!!

Yep, that's true!! We know for sure when I was eight years old it happened, and there have been many more times than that I guarantee.  Social media along with trying to not keep things bottled up have let people in on my little secret more easily. I'm a little more open with my bumps and bruises along the way, especially if I think they will help someone else.  Sometimes I've wondered if I have said too much, and I have actually been chastised for it in some cases.  I am not a person,  however, that does things on impulse...ever.  So even if I am making a mistake it is a well thought out mistake not just "open mouth insert foot" sort of mistake.

That was just a little sidetrack, but for all you people out there who know positive people who always have a smile on their faces, don't let it rock your world if they need a break, want some space, or actually are not happy.  They will survive and so will you.

My world has tipped upside down since 1995.  I sent a newsletter out at Christmas that said "Our life is a little routine".  Please don't ever say that.  Our life was not boring it just hadn't changed a lot since the last Christmas letter.  Right after it was in the mail I think Heavenly Father said  "We  will just change it up a little for Leslie and her family."  Wow, for the last 19 years it has been anything but routine, we all the sudden found ourselves on a roller coaster ride.  I'm going to list just a few things that happened in the past 19 years... good and bad, and I'm not saying which is which, but you can probably figure it out:  Seven moves in three states, seven grandchildren, our three son's  marriages, eight jobs for me, Bud's loss of his lifetime career, depression, new job,  psychologists, marriage counselors, psychiatrists, loss of identity, bankruptcy, new homes, lowered hours and pay, house foreclosure, divorce, heart attacks, stroke, Lupus, parathyroidectomy, hysterectomy, scare of ovarian cancer, fibromyalgia, heart valve issues, degenerative back disease,  Large cell nueroendocrine carcinoma, dying, death, extended family members with addictions, death of a niece, guilt for not being capable for living up to vows at the altar, an illness creating undependability and guilt, dying, care giving, death, laying to rest, watching children and grandchildren grieve, mother going through care  giving and losing her second spouse, and the list could go on and on.  I don't pretend in any way that this list is in any way more horrendous than any one else's. We all could enumerate the things we go through and the list would be as long or longer.  My point is, there are those things in the list that bring a smile to my face every single day.....my kids and grand kids most especially.  I am so blessed to have the testimonies of God and the Savior to help me understand the "why's" of the good and the bad, the bitter and the sweet.  But sometimes I have to back up and take a moment to breathe in BAD as well as the GOOD.

My friend and I have talked about how quickly we plant beautiful flowers on our pile of poop.  But sometimes you have to just stop and smell the poop.  Another friend and I talked about not just putting a band-aid on the wound.  It requires taking some time to  clean the wound out, find just what is really needed to heal it.

Funny I used this analogy because I just had some skin cancer removed from my leg in January before I went up to my Mom's to help her care for my step dad.  Even though I put polysporin and a band aid on it , it wasn't healing. I sent a picture of it to the Dermatologist who told me to stop the neosporin and put another medicine on it.  This helped, but soon i could tell the band aid was causing it to get infected so I stopped putting a band aid on it.  It was in the back of my leg so I didn't have to look at it so I chose next to ignore it. That didn't work either and at the end of my stay in SD I went back to the Dr. and he gave me some additional advise.  I won't say how invested I was in following that direction but I went back to my mom's in February after my step father passed with the sore still there and still infected. When I got home three weeks later I went back to the Dr. and he determined that the wound was still not healing correctly and gave me an antibiotic.  Three months have passed since the original surgery and I will tell you how happy I was to find that the scab finally fell off the other day, and the wound is looking much better.

This story ties into the way I usually treat my negative life events. Try to ignore it, when it doesn't go away go to the physician (a friend, Dr. or the Lord) for some advise, use the advise for awhile and when things don't seem to be working, ignore it again, wait for a miracle without putting the effort in, without using the advise given, or without even looking at the problem seriously.  I'm not stupid it isn't that I would just purposely ignore good advise, I am just too busy applying band aids to other people's wounds to heal mine.

This week I wasn't happy.  I had a cold, my back was out, my house was a mess, I had some blood tests that  were troubling, I started some new medications, I even felt a little angry (I NEVER feel anger, well very rarely).  This anger wasn't directed at anyone or even myself, it was just kind of a surface thing.  I had an MRI the other day, actually a couple which put me in that tube for almost two hours and when I came out all my feelings were exacerbated hugely, I felt like I was going to flip into the hinterlands (not Holland, but into nowhere).  I wanted to escape, but I didn't know where I wanted to escape to.  I know I'm an open person, I tell all, there are no secrets about me, but not at the moment I am going through something.  Digging a hole into my soul is where I go.  I don't pull up my sheets over my head, I don't find a friend who is also suffering because "misery loves company", I just bury myself in me.

Two things I have learned is that I don't get in funk very often, and I always know I will come out of it.  I know there are others that suffer from major depression and I honor them for their courage, because it is really tough stuff if this is your life day in and day out.  My friends, family, and acquaintances seem to tell I'm in a funk very quickly; if I see them it's because I don't have that characteristic smile on my face, if they don't see me then it is because they don't see me, or hear from me.  They worry.  I thank them for worrying, but they needn't because I am doing what I probably should be doing much more often.  I'm examining the wound, discussing it with the master physician, writing about it, applying the medicine and band-aids suggested, going back to Him for advanced treatment, and then setting priorities, goals, and "righteous desires of the heart" that will allow the wounds to heal properly and for the bitter to become sweet once again.

This wound wasn't anyone's fault, and it isn't my desire to leave anyone out of my life.  My desire is just to allow me to stretch myself the way the Savior and my Heavenly Father want me to.  I can't serve anyone if I'm not okay.

I am so grateful especially this Easter week that I can say not only is Jesus Christ my Savior, He also takes time to bless my life because He loves ME!  Happy Easter!!