Remember When…

“Remember before email,

facebook

and unlimited talk?

We would communicate

several times a year

instead

of

never!”

said Ted Boyl-Davis.  

 

 

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Living Together. Might it Help a Future Marriage?

 

Today a couple friends came over to spend the day with me – helped me piece together a quilt for my baby grandson.  It’s been a long time since I sat in a kitchen, barefoot on tile floor, adult conversation moving through the hours of a morning.  The topic we happened upon – What’s wrong with living together as a next step for a couple that is moving toward marriage?  The topic wasn’t the expanded version of people living the wild life.  It was all about committed Christian adults who truly believe it’s best to first get to know someone, date, and as a next step, move in before marriage.  And why doing so might or might not be the best idea.  Scriptures were discussed, the ‘one-flesh’ and ‘the break up would be a divorce’ ideas, hypotheticals, stories of heartbreak and stories of those who seemed to have made it work, and talk of our fears. 

After all the ideas turned and turned again, I thought to myself “A trial run wouldn’t have worked for my husband and I because it would have taken all the years of our lives to get a realistic representation of what we’d be getting into.” 

Because no two years – no two days have been just alike.

Because every time I think I know him, he’s someone new.

Because I’ve changed too.

Because what cuts me deep one season is what I desire most the next.

Because anything we set up long ago has gone along the wayside and  been replaced 100 times over by the current needs of life.

Because our goals and dreams have changed.

Because it doesn’t really matter what use to be, what is now is what we’re dealing with.

Because kids have changed us.

Because jobs have changed us.

Because changing a church has changed us.

Because having cancer once and then twice has changed everything all over again.

Some seasons in the game of life we’ve been top of the world. 

Others seasons we’ve been giant losers

– just trying to make it through the day.

A trial run would not have helped us to know if we could stay together and hold a lasting love, because we would need to have given our love a spin for about an eternity to know for sure,  which is why we said I do.  That’s what the promise for us was about.  Deciding he would be the one I’d take the lifetime chance on.  And I’d be his roll of the dice. 

It has not been easy.  Because I’m not an easy person to predict, and neither is he.  That’s the problem about marriage.  Who knows how to maneuver unless we know what to expect.  The year we fell in love, if someone had told me I’d better live with him to discover that he stomps around in the kitchen and slams things down loud when he’s mad, I’d have to tell them that it wouldn’t be a fair trial as a few years later he found his voice at which time I wished he’d start stomping again and stop talking!  If they’d told me living together would help me understand his struggles with God, and how that would affect our kids, I’d have to tell them that just as I have grown, so has he, and that our kids seem to have outdone us on their love for Jesus despite our struggles.  If they told us I better try him out to know more about the way he’d adore me one day and despise me the next and that I had found myself a moody man, I’d have to say nothing has changed in this department, and probably never will.  Moving in would not have helped me.  I knew when I said “I do” that I was marrying one part sweetheart, one part demon, and eight-parts kitchen table.  In the end, who would I have married that could have made my life as full and interesting and good as the one I rolled the dice for? And how would trying out one after another help me find a better man?

I know that if I go out and lease a brand new Suburb, I’ll love everything about it for the first little while because the engine hasn’t yet frozen up – 350 miles from home.  The door handle hasn’t fallen off in my hand.  The seats haven’t yet cracked and cut into my leg.  The frame hasn’t morphed and wobbled down the washboard road. 

The heartbreaking problems that have caused the most pain in this marriage didn’t show up for 15 years, and nearly tore us apart.  They would not have shown up in a 14 year trial.  That would mean that trying our relationship out for 14 years would have not provided either one of us security. 

Date.

Take your time. 

Big Issues will usually show themselves even when not under the same roof. 

But some things don’t show up for years.

What has pulled us from the brink has not been a guarantee of a predictable soul-mate, but a guarantee from God.  God will never leave us or forsake us.  We call on GOD and HE will show us great and mighty things.  The Lord will take our hearts of stone and turn them to hearts of flesh.  God is the reason we are still together.  This one thing we’ve done right in our marriage.  Turn again to God when hopelessness suffocates our functioning.  When I took a gamble and choose my husband, I was betting on GOD to get us through.  The Scripture says to not be unequally yoked.  That one’s a biggie, and we didn’t do that perfectly either, as a person can fake their love for God.  I think in some ways we were unequally yoked most of our marriage, but because there was a willingness for both of us to turn to God in tough times (“Will you pray with me?” says one enemy to another.  “OK” says the hated one), we continued to become more closely yoked then we had been before.  For all the horrid things I know about my husband, and he knows about me, I would still choose him over any other person on the planet, and I’m pretty sure he’d say the same of me.  Most days:)

The 6th Love Language – Bike

Theory goes that 5 love languages exist.  According to Gary Chapman there are five primary ways of expressing love and five ways of feeling loved. 

They are as follows:

Gift Giving

Words of Affirmation

Acts of Service

Touch

Quality Time

They forgot one. 

Bikes 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped by bike shops thinking to myself ‘if only Mom, Adored Husband, Sister, Daughter, Son, Teacher, Friend, Patient just had a bike that fit his/her body, their life would forever be changed’.  Bike is my own personal love language.  I know this to be true.  If it were simply a personal obsession, I would have filled my garage with fancy bikes for myself, which I have not.  I still ride my old trusty 20 year old beater that the kids have taken over a jump one too many times.  Yes, it’s my love language.  Rather odd, I know.  Especially if the person I love doesn’t happened to ride a bike. 

Some might say Bike fits into gift giving.  Nope.  BIKE is it’s own category, and all categories in one.  GIFT, TIME, TOUCH (If you don’t believe me, ride awhile and then tell me you’ve not had a physical experience), ACTS OF SERVICE (what could be more service – like than to work them muscles and get those corpuscles jump’n) AND WORDS FOR AFFIRMING THE BIKE AND THE RIDE AND THE GREATNESS OF THEM BOTH. 

Over the years I’ve bought two bikes for Adored Husband.  I could never get him into a bike shop, nor a test-spin around the block… an absolute must for finding a bike that is really an extension of your body and not just a hunk of metal to be ground beneath you. But what can I do?  He’s a farm boy, after all.  To him, bikes are simply parts and pieces.  Any ‘ole bike ‘ll do.  One of these days I”ll get him to the bike shop with me. I know there is a bike that will become his baby one day.  I just know it! 

My kids have experienced my love language.  Redline mostly.  I was visiting our oldest son a few weeks ago.  He informed me he was selling his bike.  I remember the day we bought it…. was a really big deal, even though he paid half, the total cost was amazing.  He’s married now, baby on way.  No space in life for fancy biking… so it’s a goner.  WHAT?!  I wonder to myself.  How in the world did I concoct a reason in my head for my son to need a very expensive bike?  Now, I know bikes these days have come down in price.  That same bike with same functions might be much less, these 5 years later.  Still, what was I thinking!?  Adored Husband helps me out.  Says he’s pretty sure that if I thought Martians were in need of bikes, although Martians have not yet been cited by most of us, I’d send a ships-load over, just in case. 

Yesterday I took our 14 year old son all legs and arms on a bike shopping excursion.  Cycle shop after shop, he’d point one out, try it – and onto the next shop.  We finally found the one.  No need to look further.  An absolute beauty mountain bike with matted paint and bright expression.  All the important pieces, solid and usable.  He has to work another couple weeks to afford the extra, but it’s love, I tell you.  LOVE.

If you happen to ever get a bike from me, think of it as a kiss.  Or in your case, think of it as a handshake.  Think of it as a smile.  As a good floor scrubbing.  As a thoughtful hour of listening.  Because some of us are made more of tires and spokes then roses.  Just Say’n.

I Saw Your Son Yesterday

I saw your son yesterday.  Standing on the corner for a brief moment before he jaywalked in front of my car  – blue jeans, t-shirt, flip flops stride wide cross the downtown Seattle thorofare, tall frame and wide shoulders, black hair, the curls all wild. 

Beauty – I caught a glimpse of beauty beneath the emaciated form – the body torn down by a substance that owns him.  Leads him  – ring in nose – under the bridge to where he feels OK.  To an army of ‘ease the pain’ worshipers who sacrifice themselves for a fix. 

I saw your son yesterday, and yelled at God.  “What does it take for you to touch a body and make it whole again?  What if he’s too far gone to reach for You?  Can’t you just take the voices in his head and hush them still so that the fix is not his only relief?”

I saw your son yesterday, as light turned green, I passed him by.  Behind me, he and hundreds of other mother’s sons there to just make it through…

Another crave. 

Another fix. 

Another sleep it off. 

Only to wake up needing more. 

I saw your son yesterday, and asked God to be ‘The More’ for him, and all the mother’s sons with him. 

The Quiet Voice low. 

“…saw her son?  

He’s my Son, too.”

I Collect Good Men – Oops… stories of:)

This past couple years disrespect of women has become more public than in the recent past.

The Stanford Rape Case – girl gets left like garbage out on on the ground and swim jock rapist get community service.

Bill Cosby – 60 women destroyed and he calling it “casual sex”, admits to using sedative hypnotic methaqualone with the women – admits knowing that giving it to another person is illegal, but won’t call it rape.

Mark Driscoll the lead pastor of Mars Hill is off’d his mountaintop for a variety of reasons – I’m sure his graphic sexualized prophecies and hyper-fixation on teaching women in the church to provide certain kinds of sex to headship husband lest they neglect their Christian wifely duty have added to the list of reasons why.

Seventh day Adventist Church:  Women’s Ordination.

Donald Trump.  Lets see, strip clubs, objectifying his own daughter.  Filth spoken to his buddies long ago, (‘We all do it’, quip the supporters.  No, many of us have never had thoughts like the words that came out of his mouth, or ever heard such words.  And needed a shower after hearing such words.  No, we don’t all act like that and talk like that.). Reports that he raped a 13 year old girl (read the reports. Yes she dropped charges after her life was threatened.  This was a group effort, the other man accused, Jeffrey Epstein, Trumps buddy, is a registered sex offender and payed the girl off for his part.) 

This is the year it became impossible to talk about the happenings in the news round the dinner table. The year we couldn’t have our kids involved in the election process as it became X-rated and revolting.  The year an old family entertainer we all love and who made us laugh was found to be too violent and grotesque in his secret life to be funny at all anymore. 

Today I ran across a short little video about a single Dad who started classes in his community to teach other Dad’s how to do their daughter’s hair.  This Dad says knowing how to care for his daughter’s hair became one of the challenges for him and as he figured out what to do, he decided to share what he learned with other Dads.  Thirty-four classes later and 800 plus guys through the program, he reminds the guys it’s not a gender thing  “Even a messy braid is still time spent together. It’s not about the braid, it’s about the bond”.

I ran across a story about a woman who went to her husband’s work because he had been working late.  She found him sound asleep in his chair, feet up on desk, holding a little two year old on his chest.  This man works for Child and Family Services, the baby had been taken, and was between placements.  A big kind-hearted guy sound asleep on duty, helping the little one during this terribly painful time of transition. 

There are the abusers.  The selfish.  The toxic and manipulative.  Liars and users.  There are monsters.  The types who say words with a smile, but words that cut holes in the souls of those around them.  There are people all about power over.  There are small types who have to talk filth to feel big.  Small ones who drive giant trucks, suck up gas and burn tires to prove how important they are.  The people who do not care the scars they carve into those who trust them.

And then there are the others.  Not perfect, and still day after day he goes to work, brings home all that he has been earned, rarely uses money just for himself.  The guy who grocery shops.  He cooks.  The one who still tell bedtime stories, he doesn’t do it all just right, but cares deeply for the people in  his life.  The guy who doesn’t spend his life angry because he is hamstrung by the old lady and a couple-a snot nosed dependents.  No, a guy who loves and adores his wife, still finds her hot despite the way they’ve both aged… the marks grooved deep into her being, stretched lines telling a story about their love and their love babies.  A guy who doesn’t want the plastic of porn.  It’s his wife he desires.  Not just her body, but her friendship.  

This year I hope to collect stories of respect given by men to women and women to men.  Men and women to children.  Not tales about why it’s so important for women to respect men and why women don’t need respect but love.  The church has contributed to the abuse by ideas that we have propagated.  The Bible is crammed packed with why respect and love are important for all.  Male headship, leading and following.  Balderdash.  He who is greatest must be servant of all.  Jesus, God himself, says he calls us FRIENDS.  Men and women are all in this together, we either all contribute to love or to destruction.  We all need each other.  I am collecting stories of mutual care and love given between equals.  Help me collect the stories. I look forward to each one. 

P.S.  Happy Birthday Adored Husband.  Thank you for the little ways you remind me every day that not all guys are like the horrific males who make the news.  The kids and I are blessed.   

Here’s That Rainy Day

Maybe
I should have saved
Those leftover dreams
Funny
But here’s that rainy day

Here’s that rainy day
They told me about
And I laughed at the thought
That it might turn out this way

Where is that worn out wish
That I threw aside
After it brought my love so near

Funny how love becomes
A cold rainy day
Funny
That rainy day is here

It’s funny
How love becomes
A cold rainy day

Funny
That rainy day is here

Written by Jimmy Van Heusen

Refrigerators and the Presidential Election.

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I’ve decided that this election is all about refrigerators.  Those homely green things that would have run 1000 years had we let them.  Eternal living fridges, faithful cooling machines still cooling our milk and sandwiches, had we, the homeowners, not rejected them for something more chic.  A demand for bells and whistles in exchange for units that would never leak, shoot ice cross the floor, rot through flimsy non-stainless steel exterior walls, taking chunks of pretend metal with it.   Have you been shopping for a fridge, a microwave or dishwasher lately?  I’m guessing in the past 5 years, you have.  My point exactly. There is no good reason an appliance should last less than 50 years or 100.  And now they last, what?!  A grand total of 10 years if we pay a maintenance man to keep fussing with them!! 

There was a time when reliability was more important than appearance.  When a person’s ‘name’ or company name was protected by solid workmanship.  Refrigerators are but one way our world cares more about the ‘cool’ factor, more about making an impression, taking up a place of position in the kitchen then it does function.  Let’s see, there is the lovely expensive blouse perchance at Nordstrom’s, a blouse I can’t do without.  One wash later, limp and faded, it should be tossed, but still takes up space because, after all, it use to be so lovely.  No conscience about the choice of fabric.  No name to uphold.  Books with a catchy title by a well known author, and inside the book, 7 ways to do such and such, a nice format and lacking anything of creativity and depth.  The can opener that looks the part and can’t do the job after a couple months.  An fine looking brand new all wheel drive in my favorite color, and along with the name, an expectation that the head on the engine has to be reworked routinely.  Seriously?!

We complain bitterly about the election this year, and about the lack of good choices in whom to vote for, but our options match who we have become.  T.V., radio, movies, music, books, art, the news, housing architecture, we have thrown out beauty, form, substance and have replaced it with a shell, one that appears to have some of the elements of something that once was.  What seems to be most important to us now is not goodness, but persons who act like they belong on a reality show.  We love the angry, loud, crass, shallow, dishonest, we idolize bullies, we devalue human life, both the old and young, people different from ourselves, we crave brazen show-off’s and have no respect for the quiet spirit of a green fridge.  The person that has few frills, no scandals, does their job, holds respect for those they answer to, (we are all under someone whether we scrub toilets, play football or serve ‘we the people’), does not see themselves as ‘the living end’, a person who uses power granted to them with humility, and uses it toward the achievement of peace, with the maturity to use force as a last resort.   

I can’t march over and change up the election process this year, grab a couple brats by the scruff of the neck and put them in time out awhile, bringing in two kind hearted, honest candidates.  But I can ask myself, what am I doing to perpetuate power and flashy?  What about me likes to hear a radio money man lip off at an ‘idiot’?  Likes to see wrongdoers put in their place in a disrespectful way?  What if we all move through our homes and cars, our entertainment, our faith, our parenting styles, through our lives and take to tossing everything lacking substance?  This election season will come and go.  We might forget what we’ve done to cause what happens this November.  The regrets on death bed are mostly about love.  Life is too short to be about power games and show.  What if the rest of my life I became the best green fridge I can be, and support all green fridges around me?  That’s what I’ll do.  This November I’m going green.

Sleep Apnea

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“The hose of solitude,”

he says

The tube that carries air to lungs

For tired body fast asleep

a-dreaming dreams forgets to breathe

“The hose of solitude”

he says

And so he leaves it lying there

And lays beside me

gasping hard

The man is breathing shallow snores

And now no breath

Long stretch of still

If I can wait

he’s got to breath

I can not take this sleepless night!

The moments pass

Before I dig

With elbow into silent side

The gasp

and now he starts again

He starts right up as my heart jumps

The hose of air

Might it be true

Could mean more left of me and you

Lisa Boyl-Davis

September 7, 2016

What Race are the Kindest of Doctors?

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I had a doctor once, slight of stature, brown kind eyes, practical wash and wear hair, nothing fancy about her, and the one who sifted through mountains of charts – two separate charts belonging to one giant medical system.  One chart spelled with an “e”, the other spelled correctly without.  Both charts mine – and she found them.  Bent over her desk.  Diligent she was. 

Discovered, out of dozens of notes that I have 2 MTHFR gene mutations.  This information was not found where one might expect.  She found it anyway, because she worked on my case.   From this information she realized I must not take Tamoxifen, a medicine used for breast cancer patients who are found to be estrogen positive.  A medicine that can cause a stroke for those with my gene mutation.  She suggested I not take it.  Diligent hunt.  Diligent follow-through. 

I had 6 miscarriages before the gene mutation was looked for and identified. 

The gene mutation that caused the miscarriages. 

A number of doctors did not check, though they knew my history.

One did. 

Brown kind eyes he had, too.

Found it. 

Treated it. 

And Butterfly was born perfect and alive.

“Miscarriages are not unusual. 

They are nature’s way of discarding what is flawed”

say lazy doctors everywhere,

brown and blue eyed alike. 

Those doctors who do not see the value in learning the cause of a problem

before using one-liner’s to shush up the likes of me.

My PCP, always respectful of me, when I mentioned how heavy my sheets felt on my neck at night while laying on my back, immediately stepped out of the tiny examining room, hurried down the hall and ordered an ultrasound.  There it was, thyroid cancer. My endocrinologist who hand checked my neck each and every visit paid no attention when I told him the same story.  One doctor listened. On doctor didn’t.  Taking little stock in what the person that lives inside the body might know about herself.

After the thyroid cancer diagnosis, my husband and I asked my oncologist if thyroid cancer might have been related to the breast cancer I had months before.  She said “no”.  The next visit, the same oncologist brought in research showing us she had been wrong.  Said that it very well might have been related. 

She didn’t have to tell. 

Didn’t have to admit she had been wrong. 

There are doctors who are sloppy, lazy, don’t read the fine print. 

Make mistakes because they don’t listen,

don’t trust,

don’t respect. 

And then there are the doctor’s who do.

Thank God for the gene testing doctor’s of the world.

Doctor’s who don’t take it upon themselves to social engineer other people’s lives. 

Doctor’s who don’t minimize another person’s need when it causes them inconvenience.

For doctor’s that hunt and read and listen. 

The doctor’s who set aside ego, and act accordingly.   

I am alive because of some good ‘work hard for another’s sake’ sort-of doctor’s.

Women,

Men,

Asian,

Puerto Rican,

Jewish

Irish,

Tibetan,

Middle Eastern,

African American,

German,

a mix of them all. 

Each of these good doctors have more in common with each other than language and country of origin.  Hard-working kindness is a culture of it’s own.  A race of kind hearts, and kind eyes. 

I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin,

but by the content of their character.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Billboard Hiding

Sitting on a bench alongside my friend in a sundown park, people, they are everywhere and we watch.  Watch the milling about, the comings and goings.  A group of boys silently step out of the overgrowth, walking slower than boys going any place at all, more silent than any collection of guys together on any August evening. And without a billboard announcing drug sales and drug use, 7 boys let the entire park in on what they’d been up to.  Hiding. 

I know this hiding.  Our kids start young.  Round eyes watch through soft blond lashes, little arms tight behind back.  I peek round the little hider.  Melted blobs of green, yellow, orange, red.  Warmed M&M’s concealed behind brown smudged lips and chubby fists.  It’s hard not to laugh just a little.  It’s cute at 3.  Not so cute thereafter. 

What if boys and girls of all ages came right out and stated:

“I use drugs and sell it to my friends.”

“I sneak your credit card number and use it intermittently so you won’t notice”

“I prefer porn to people”

“I cheat on my taxes”

“I live in more of a house than I can afford so you will think I’m important”

Honest, and still not helpful enough.  I’m thinking it’s not the lie that feels so worth hiding.  It’s the action.  And why, with all the variety of ways to think about life, with a wide range of taste in popsicle flavors do people choose to hide and lie about certain behaviors rather than just say “I’m grape, you’re strawberry”?  Maybe lying is used for avoiding trouble.  The law doesn’t support kids snorting coke in bushes.  Doesn’t support streakers.  The baby doesn’t want M&M’s taken away. 

And still, at times we hide because we don’t like and don’t approve of the way WE act, and don’t want anyone who isn’t doing what we are doing to see us act the way we act. 

Shame is a thing of the eyes.

It’s eyes catching the action of another person’s shame.  Eyes seeing bottle downed.  Eyes watching as item is lifted.  Eyes that make pretese hiding so ridicules.  We think no one can see our pretense, and then we parade it out for all.  Never knowing.

What do I hate about my own actions?  What do I think I hide from you – that indecent piece of me I’d rather die than let you see?  The hiding I do is a waste.  I’m not hidden.  I’m announced.  The knowledge of good and evil.  The garden gift we all share.  To see the shame of another, no matter how much we try to conceal. 

Let my eyes be used for loving, no matter another’s shame I see.  Let my own eyes notice my own shame – with purpose in mind.  Let me allow kind eyes to peer into who I am, those healing eyes of knowing and loving anyway.

  

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked.  Genesis 3:7

Jesus looked at him and loved him.  Mark 10:21.