Wednesday, January 01, 2014

A new mission...

I really want a chest freezer.  For one, having made stew, I now realize I need make beef stock.  How can I make beef stock if I have no place to put it?  And—more importantly—how can I figure out the acquisition of a chest freezer if I have no place to put it??

Ah ha!

I realized that if I were somehow to manage to combine my six filing cabinet drawers into two, I could relocate the smaller filing cabinet to where the hoses for the shop-vac went and use the space from the two filing cabinets for a chest freezer indoors!  Voilá!!

So, today, I put on a movie from Amazon Prime, "Mystic Pizza," and got to reducing.  [Seriously, streaming is a truly great tool for reducing/organizing/donating work.]  Going through the files was interesting, because I discovered all the letters my students from Africa sent me and all my grades from both graduate degrees.  I also found my cache of graduate papers.  [Am I weird that I would really like to scan those??]  I think the most interesting discovery was a thumbnail photo from my first official bike race.  My, was I still thinking more about fashion than speed!

Part of the reducing was letting go of three academic dreams.  I have all the data from unique studies that I worked on, but never published.  I always thought I would get around to writing them, but the truth is that I am no longer capable of focusing on such things.  I know ... because I am trying ... without much success ... to work on a free study series on Luther's Galatians Commentary, based on a copyright free version someone is letting me use. I have had positive feedback on what I have written thus far, but I struggle to concentrate on it, despite how much I long to be able to help make this resource accessible for others.  So, in to the recycling bin went all the data.

Yes, I wept.

Perhaps I am sounding like a broken record, but I do not believe anyone in my life pays attention to just how much my brain is changing.  I talked with the doctor about it.  I know my cognitive function tests were why I was declared disabled straight off, rather than all the illness struggles.  The results were devastating.  I know that were I to repeat the tests, now, they would be worse.

So many days have moments in which I am not sure what is real or not real, where I live, or what I am to be doing.  I will awake in the afternoon and crash out of bed, certain I am going to lose my job for being late.  I rehearse so many of my conversations and encounters, partly for the knowledge and partly in the hopes of not melting down when confusion or setback inevitably happens.

Take the doctor's visit.  I spent three days working on getting the 2014 pre-authorization forms faxed to her office. I had a supervisor assure me that the faxes were sent.  However, when I arrived only one was there and it was not for the erythromycin, which I have to pick up again on Sunday.  When I called the prescription management company from the doctor's office, a supervisor assured me that she was going to send the fax just then and it would take about five minutes.  I left an hour and a half later and the fax still had yet to arrive.  When I called on Tuesday, the fax to my regular doctor and to the one to the surgeon still had not arrived.  I called the prescription management company again, for the 5 day and learned than nothing had been sent.  A woman stayed on the phone with me while she verified the fax numbers (which had been verified three other times) and then sent the faxes herself.  It was all I could do not to start weeping at the doctor's office when I had to leave without the erythromycin form completed.  It was all I could do not to simply just give up on life when I learned yesterday that it was "right there in our system that the faxes were not sent."

Everything is a battle.

I girded my loins for many days and set out to go to the New Year's Eve service at church.  I actually dug through my closet to find female clothing to wear with my skirt, rather than a men's hoodie or zippered cardigan.  And I actually spent time on my hair and put on jewelry.  I know that it matters not to God how I look, but I wanted to feel like a normal human being, rather than a miserably ill one.  However, when I got to the church, it was completely dark and the parking lot had not a single car in it.  I was actually 13 minutes early and briefly thought that I might be the first one.  Then I pulled up the church website on my phone.

I was certain that the Christmas Eve service and the New Year's Eve service were at the same time:  11:00 PM.  Certain.  I had written it down and put two reminders in my phone and even texted someone to text me back to remind me to start getting ready to go.  I napped in the afternoon so I would not be tired.  And I checked the website earlier in the day just to be sure the service was still being held.   It was.  It was held at 7:00 PM.  No Living Word for me.

Yes, I wept in the parking lot.

Then I called Becky and ranted and grieved and asked her to stay on the phone with me whilst I went searching for french fries.  Silly, I know.  It is not as if french fries would really make me feel better.  Both places I tried were closed.  So, I drove back home, certain this was some great sign about my belonging in church/being at Divine Services with all my struggles and confusion.  Becky, the dear woman, left her family's celebration to go into another room and read me a psalm so I could at least have a bit of Living Word.

In Thee, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
Let me never be ashamed.
In Thy righteousness deliver me, and rescue me;
Incline Thine ear to me, and save me.
Be Thou to me a rock of habitation, to which I may continually come;
Thou hast given commandment to save me,
For Thou art my rock and my fortress.
Rescue me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked,
Out of the grasp of the wrongdoer and ruthless man,
For Thou art my hope;
O LORD God, Thou art my confidence from my youth.
By Thee I have been sustained from my birth;
Thou art He who took me from my mother’s womb;
My praise is continually of Thee.

I have become a marvel to many;
For Thou art my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with Thy praise,
And with Thy glory all day long.
Do not cast me off in the time of old age;
Do not forsake me when my strength fails,
For my enemies have spoken against me;
And those who watch for my life have consulted together,
Saying, “God has forsaken him;
Pursue and seize him, for there is no one to deliver.”

O God, do not be far from me;
O my God, hasten to my help!
Let those who are adversaries of my soul be ashamed and consumed;
Let them be covered with reproach and dishonor, who seek to injure me.
But as for me, I will hope continually,
And will praise Thee yet more and more.
My mouth shall tell of Thy righteousness,
And of Thy salvation all day long;
For I do not know the sum of them.
I will come with the mighty deeds of the LORD God;
I will make mention of Thy righteousness, Thine alone.

O God, Thou hast taught me from my youth;
And I still declare Thy wondrous deeds.
And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me,
Until I declare Thy strength to this generation,
Thy power to all who are to come.
For Thy righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens,
Thou who hast done great things;
O God, who is like Thee?
Thou, who hast shown me many troubles and distresses,
Wilt revive me again,
And wilt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.
Mayest Thou increase my greatness,
And turn to comfort me.

I will also praise Thee with a harp,
Even Thy truth, O my God;
O Thou Holy One of Israel.
My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to Thee;
And my soul, which Thou hast redeemed.
My tongue also will utter Thy righteousness all day long;
For they are ashamed, for they are humiliated who seek my hurt.

~Psalm 71 (NASB)

Whilst laying in bed last night, I thought about what I am trying to do with cooking—both the cognitive exercise and eating more homemade foods—and figured out that I could put a chest freezer in the utility closet if I were to be able to get rid of the large filing cabinet.  It had to be that one, because the 4-drawer one will not fit where I am going to move the 2-drawer one.

So, today, for much of the day, I said goodbye to bits of me—to my past and to my dreams—once again.

I am Yours, Lord.  Save me!

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