Friday, September 25, 2009

Grace in Small Things #13

1. Every single second of my week in Florida with Mary Alice, Brick, and Gus the Dog. (More to come when I surface from my post-vaca coma.)

2. Feeling truly relaxed and rejuvenated after my week in Florida.

3. Finally making significant, satisfying progress on the work project that has been weighing on me for months. (hmmm, I wonder if that has anything to do with #2??)

4. The Krispy Kreme donut I just ate. I've never had one before because I don't really like yeast donuts, but WOW that was delish!

5. The good news I got last night. I won't share it now because I don't trust it yet...but it has to do with Himself.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A B C Meme

Just the other days, it occurred to me that I hadn't seen a good meme in a while. You know I love a meme. Just found this one over at Emily's spot, and it's a goody.

Available or married? Available

Best Friend? Mary Alice...I really need to blog about her one of these days. Maybe after we get back from the beach.

Cake or Pie? Cake. Unless it's rhubarb pie. But definitely cake.

Drink of choice? diet Pepsi

Essential item for every day use? Deoderant

Favorite color? Green

Google? "I gurgled it." Excellent quote from "Acceptance," a not-so-excellent, made-for-TV movie starring the usually-awesome Joan Cusack. (how 'bout those hyphens, huh??)

Hometown? Champaign, Illinois

Indulgences? Books, Starbuck's Java Chip ice cream, McD sweet tea, "Beautiful" perfume

January or February? February

Kids and their names? Zero

Life is incomplete without? Love in all its forms.

Marriage date? TBD

Number of siblings? Two

Oranges or apples? This time of year it's apples.

Phobias and fears? June bugs. *shudder*

Quote for the day? "For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-control." 2 Timothy 1:7

Reason to smile? The earthquake was mighty last night but my world did not crumble.

Season? Summer

Tag 3 people? It seems to be au courant to not tag, so I'm going with the flow.

Unknown fact about me? Just a few days ago, I thought of something unusual about me...but now I can't remember. Maybe it wasn't that unusual after all.

Vegetable you hate? Brussels sprouts

Worst habit? overanalyzing

X-rays you’ve had? Ummm... not the hands or arms, how's that?

Your fave food? Potatoes

Zodiac sign? Aquarius

Friday Fill-In #141

Graphic courtesy of Tonya we go!

1. That's a boneheaded way to be.

2. You're headed in the wrong direction; I'm over here!

3. The possibilities include: meat or cake.

4. Beef stew is one of my favorite cool day recipes.

5. How will you know if you don't ask.

6. She loved sitting on the porch, looking out over a field and a stormy sky.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to escaping from my life, tomorrow my plans include sitting, driving, talking, and counting the miles, and Sunday, I want to dip my toes in the Gulf of Mexico!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Tall One and the Violet – Epilogue

Oh, the irony! Just a few days after Part Four of this story was published, the Epilogue played out…

The Tall One usually called or texted Violet every day. History had taught her that when she didn’t hear from him for several days, he had usually relapsed. So when over a week went by without hearing anything from him – even after leaving him messages asking him to let her know he was ok – Violet was very worried. She was concerned that if he didn’t respond to her, it must be because he couldn’t – she wondered if he was high, overdosed, arrested, dead on the side of the road… She considered calling hospitals and jails, even considered calling the Tall One’s sister.

Naturally, when the Tall One called after nine days, she was relieved. He said, “I’m alive!” and assured Violet that he was fine and had not relapsed. When she asked why he hadn’t returned her calls, he said he lost his phone on Wednesday, two days earlier.

Violet – OK, but what about the whole week before that? Where were you then?
Tall One – Well…. I met someone.

He explained that he met a woman at a church function, they were starting to date, and that he hadn’t called because he didn’t want to hurt Violet’s feelings.

Violet paused. She took a deep, cleansing breath. Violet doesn’t really remember most of the next segment of the conversation – that tends to happen when she is so angry that her head is exploding. Violet’s feelings weren’t hurt; she was angry because she had been understandably concerned about a friend who knew she would be worried about him and that friend chose to let her worry.

When Violet reiterated how worried she had been, the Tall One apologized for ignoring her calls. When she asked him about all of the times he professed that he is not ready for a relationship, he said, “You can’t help it when it just comes along.”

TO – I didn’t call to get criticized about my relationship.
V – I’m not criticizing your relationship. Oh, wait – yes, I am. I am criticizing your relationship with ME, your friendship with ME. This feels so much like 18 months ago.
TO – Oh no, she’s nothing like Jezebel. She’s completely different.
V – I’m not talking about her, I’m talking about YOU. I’m talking about how you treated me then and how you treated me now. Someone new came along and you stopped talking to me again. That’s not the way true friends treat each other.
TO – I’m sorry you feel that way.

He really didn’t seem to understand why Violet was angry. At the end of the conversation Violet told the Tall One that he has to decide if he wants to be her friend whether he has a girlfriend or not. The more she thinks about it, though, the more she realizes she doesn’t want to give him another chance.

Violet is certain that the Tall One will call again, probably when his new romance fizzles and he needs someone to talk to. Violet is a loyal, faithful friend who understands that friendships ebb and flow, but she is not a doormat and will not allow the Tall One another opportunity to discard her.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Violet is thankful that the Tall One didn’t relapse. She hopes he stays clean and in recovery, and she wishes him well with his girlfriend (and she wishes the girlfriend a strong heart and a clear mind – she’ll need it). Unfortunately, sadly, this is the end of her friendship with the Tall One. Violet has a very soft heart but she is not a fool.

The end.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins #140

Graphic courtesy of Tonya

1. I feel worried, frustrated, confused, irritated, unsettled...and oddly peaceful.

2. Cow racing on the Wii is always fun.

3. Right now, I can hear these things: the air conditioning system, my computer, myself chewing.

4. There are many things on my mind and I'm glad God keeps reminding me to lean on Him.

5. The last time I rode a ferris wheel was decades ago. I need to change that.

6. I do not plan to labor this Labor day weekend.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to welcoming my parents (well, mostly...sorta), tomorrow my plans include a big family reunion, and Sunday, I want to attend church then maybe go to a movie!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Tall One and the Violet, Part Four (it’s long, but it’s the last part)

Read Part One, Part Two, Part Three

Violet strode out of the church, determined never to speak to the Tall One again. Naturally, then, she answered when he called just a couple of weeks later. He told her that Jezebel had relapsed and was using drugs again. When he first got involved with Jezebel, he assured Violet that if Jezebel relapsed he would break up with her immediately. He didn’t. Violet was disappointed in him but not really surprised.

For the next month or so, the Tall One would call Violet when things got bad (ok, they were always bad, so…worse) with Jezebel. Violet asked God to change her heart where the Tall One was concerned…and He did. It was not easy at first, but she was able to be the Tall One’s friend. She listened, she offered advice, and she verbally whacked him upside the head when he needed it (so, pretty much every time they talked) – although she knew he wouldn’t listen. Time after time, he told her that when some new depth was reached, he would break up with Jezebel. But time after time, they sank to that depth and he stayed with her.

After he’d been involved with Jezebel for about three months, the inevitable happened: he relapsed. It started with alcohol but before long Jezebel dragged him down with her and he eventually became addicted to crack. He never called Violet when he was using or high but always called a few days after to tell her what he had done. She felt like his confessor.

Violet soon recognized that the Tall One was sinking ever deeper into active addiction and it was becoming more difficult for her be his friend. Until now, the situation with the Tall One had not affected Violet’s life outside of her relationship with him. However, one night she shared the latest turn of events with Mary Alice, her BFF, and they got into a horrible argument. Violet realized that the chaos from the Tall One’s life was beginning to seep into her own life and that was not acceptable. She would not tolerate anything that would jeopardize her friendship with Mary Alice. She realized that she needed time to think, to wrap her head around everything, to decide if she could – or wanted to – continue to stay involved in the Tall One's life in any way. Al-Anon had taught her that she could not do anything to stop the Tall One from using and she had to figure out if she could abide the chaos that had become his life. So she told the Tall One that she didn’t want to talk to him or hear from him for 30 days.

He respected her wishes for about ten days. He called late one night and said, “I know it hasn’t been 30 days but I need my friend.” His relationship with Jezebel continued to be more and more chaotic and drug-filled. Violet told the Tall One in no uncertain terms that she wouldn’t have anything to do with him as long as he was using. He became angry and irrational and the call ended badly. Violet thought she might not hear from him again. She believed that she would eventually read his obituary in the newspaper.

Time passed. Violet thought about the Tall One often, but she had let go of all expectations. She was simply concerned for his well-being and prayed that he would find recovery before drugs or the drug world killed him. During this time, she met and became romantically involved with Himself (another sad tale).

One day in early summer, the Tall One called. He said that he had finally ended his relationship with Jezebel, who had again left town to seek treatment. He had lost his job, indirectly because of his drug use, and was unemployed. He checked himself into a local treatment center and stayed for three weeks. When he left treatment, he went straight to his drug dealer to buy crack.

A couple of weeks later, he checked back in to the treatment center but left only a few days later after an altercation with a fellow patient. He drove from the facility to Violet’s apartment because he didn’t have any money or enough gas to drive home.

Violet was in bed reading when her doorbell rang at 11:15 that night. When she looked through the peephole and saw the Tall One standing on the other side of the door, she hesitated to open it. Why was he there so late? Why hadn’t he called first? Was he high? Was he in trouble? She opened the door just enough that she could speak with him. He explained why he was there and, after determining that he was not high, she let him in.

They talked late into the night and the Tall One asked if he could sleep on her couch that night. She reluctantly agreed – and she slept with her bedroom door locked. The next morning, they drove to a gas station and she put $20 worth of gas in his car. As she paid for it, she said to him, “this will never happen again.” He promised it never would…and it never has.

That was a year ago. Since that day, the Tall One has continued to struggle with his addiction and hasn’t managed to string more than 60 clean days together at a time. He found a decent job but the company laid everyone off in January and he has been unemployed since then.

Jezebel resurfaced and called the Tall One – ironically, on Violet’s birthday, exactly a year after the Tall One’s testimony at church. He spoke to her but rejected her suggestion that they meet. He hasn’t heard from Jezebel again.

The Tall One’s life is in ruins. He doesn’t have a car anymore, which makes it difficult to apply for jobs or attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings but he really makes an effort to get rides when he needs them. He and Jezebel sold many of his possessions to get money for drugs, so he doesn’t have much besides a depressing little apartment, a borrowed television, and a cell phone that sometimes he can afford and sometimes he can’t. His past behavior alienated most of his family, including his mother. He tries very hard to maintain a decent relationship with his children but it is difficult under the circumstances. He is looking for a job and trying to repair the relationships he has damaged.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that Violet has struggled with her long distance relationship with Himself over these last months. The Tall One has been a surprisingly positive source of support and encouragement to her. Violet’s relationship with the Tall One has evolved into a loving, extremely candid friendship. She believes that he is a wonderful man with a colossal problem. He knows that she will be there for him as long as he respects the boundaries she set.

None of us knows what the future holds or where our lives will lead us. Neither Violet nor the Tall One would have chosen the paths they have traveled. At this point, those paths still intersect, so as long as their friendship works for both of them they will continue to hang out occasionally, provide emotional support for each other when necessary, and encourage each other as best they can.

As of today, I haven’t heard from the Tall One in six days. When he is ok, he calls just about every day. No contact for this long almost always means he has relapsed again. I am worried about my friend but all I can do is wait and pray that he will call to let me know he is ok.

Manic Monday #180

Are you usually late, early or right on time?
I'm usually right on time...even though I'm late posting this!

What would be harder for you, to tell someone you love them or to tell them that you do not love them back?
It would be very difficult to tell someone that I do not love them. I think I would probably not say anything at all.

Which would you rather have: a high salary or job satisfaction?
One reason I'm late posting this is because I have been pondering this question. Job satisfaction is important - we spend so many hours of our lives at work that I believe we must be happy while we are there. HOWEVER, money is always such a huge worry for me that having a high salary - or even one that is more than just enough - would be such a relief. So I'm gonna pick high salary.