Archive for Grandma

“Everybody Hurts…Sometimes…”

Posted in FAITH, FAMILY and FUN, LIFE IN GENERAL / RANDOM RAMBLINGS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2010 by erikball123

I’ve often referred to my Grandmother as my Superman. I’m not quite sure why either. I mean, the symbolism makes sense to me as I feel she can do just about anything from the comfort of her screened in front porch…but the reality is Superman doesn’t exsist and my Grandma doesn’t give a flying poodle about Kryptonite. So, why the need for such symbolism? I thought about it. My grandmother is a faithful, stand-up, decent, kind, and loving…but flawed, human being. She’s not out flying around the world. She has weaknesses just like all of us…and to see her this week in a recovery center, strapped to a walker, with thousands of dollars of titanium in her knee, brought me back to earth for a while.

Having not been back to visit my family in over a year has also abruptly wrestled into my brain the fact that no matter how hard I try, I will never be able to convince myself to believe that my family has nothing to hide. “Erik’s Family: Sans Issues,” is a lie I’ve been telling myself for years, running away from issues to Never Never Land…or at least Summer Summerlin. It’s hard to look forward to the future when you’re too blind to see your hand in front of your face.

With a huge sigh of relief at visiting my Grandmother and family this summer, (she’s looks great!) and with a very heavy heart at the passing of my other Grandmother and in dealing with other family “issues,” I have decided to do the following…think positive. Cliche, huh? I’ve caught myself saying to people that I’m sending “positive energy your way.” What does that mean? It isn’t a laser beam from my eyes…I can’t summon the positive energy spirits…and I can’t shoot rainbows out of my butt either. It means nothing! Perhaps it implies that I’m thinking of them in a positive way and hoping for a better tomorrow for them. But that takes too long to say…and there’s something fun and contemporary about “positive energy,”  right?

Perhaps that’s why I love my Grandmother so much. She’s so freakin’ positive. I mean…does she sweep issues under the carpet and stand on them like the rest of us? Yes. Does she purse her lips and wish she would have interjected at times throughout the years? Yes. Has she walked in on Emily and I in mid-make-out session in my college years? Yes. So…why would she CHOOSE to move forward, forfeiting these burdens? Is it cowardly? Is it easier?

Let’s come back to this in a minute. Let’s shift gears here.

Everyone knows I’m a God-fearing Christian. If you don’t…I am. I also like to think I’m a fairly positive, happy person. With that said…..I don’t understand atheists. Okay…I believe in God. They don’t. End of story? Yeah…no. Why do atheists go to such GREAT lengths to attempt and convince me, and anyone within earshot, that there is no God. If you TRULY believe there isn’t one…why spend so much time and energy on the matter? Why not just leave Christians alone…and do your own thing? What if God didn’t exist? Why does it matter to atheists SO MUCH that other people find peace, hope and joy in something THEY DON’T BELIEVE IN? But, no…they’ll spend an eternity on a soapbox so that they can have the final word. And they are angry, angry people too. A conversation between a Christian and an atheist cannot remain positive. It always weaves into sensitive territories laced with accusations, theories and personal agendas. It’s hardly positive.

Now…bring this thought into what I’m talking about. What if…my Grandma…CHOOSES to remain positive. Why? I don’t know! (And frankly…I’m so intreagued about this notion, I don’t care!) What if it’s because she’s getting older….or maybe because she care about impressions she’s making on her grandchildren (and great grandchildren.) Perhaps she’s scared of fighting past battles alone? Or, perhaps it’s none of these things…and I’m over-thinking.

Why should I CARE why she wants to remain positive. My atheist friends…take note. Shouldn’t instead I be happy that she is in this state? Even if it was a ruse…a complete falsehood…doesn’t that say something about her character that she cares enough about me to put up a front for MY benefits? (Maybe I will admire her acting prowess!) Then again…this is assuming that she is merely putting up a facade…and that she’s a miserable lump of goo.

I’m not sure that thinking positive…having hope for the future, and asking God for things (like a stinkin’ genie in a bottle) during prayer time is the answer for everyone’s hardened questions. (And I’m fairly certain that no matter how GIANT my issues are…there will always be ones out there, bigger and scarier.) But, I can tell you this….it certainly is PART of the solution. I’m a big believer in prayer. Prayer, mixed with positive energy (shooting rainbows out my butt!) and having hope will AT LEAST give you something to hold on to. (Which is SOMETHING…especially when you feel like all else is lost.)

I think God gave us free will for a reason. (Not merely because we needed some heated topics in Social Issues class.) I mean…how can we appreciate the “highs” in our lives if we never have experienced the “lows.” That free will is what helps to get us motivated to find answers and turn back to God…even when things are crazy and don’t make sense. You see it all the time in movies. My favorite is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Sittin’ at a bar, with all hope lost…at the end of his rope…George Bailey says, “Dear God, I’m not a praying man…but show me the way…” I betcha you didn’t say your prayers last night…neither did I. I forgot. Wonder why? I had a great day yesterday…and I felt good…and I was WORN OUT when I plopped into bed. Perhaps that was it. Sheer exhaustion. But, what if….I was lost…alone…ashamed…. broke…..banished….scared….sorrow-filled….or lonely. I betcha “putting my head down” at the end of the day would be just a little bit harder for me under these circumstances….and a heck of a lot easier to turn my thoughts over to God. When you and I are down…we don’t want to mourn alone. Human nature. We have a fundamental need to SHARE grief, so that collectively, we can pull through. (Hence the reason for post-funeral dinners, yellow support ribbons and candle-light vigils.)

I like to think that I’ve got the image right in my head when I look into my Grandmother’s eyes and think “there’s my Superman.” But the truth of the matter is…no one person can be super all by themselves. Even if Superman did exsist….no one would even notice unless someone pointed to the sky and said “look up there! It’s a bird, it’s a plane! No…it’s Superman.” It takes a collective to turn something concerning into something POSITIVE.

Share in your common miseries today and tomorrow with your family and friends. Be that shoulder to cry on for somebody you love…and CRY if you need to cry. Christians and self-proclaimed atheists….we’re all human beings with wants and needs…and feelings…and yes, issues. None of us are Superman, and we need to help each other out. We need to support one another….even if “we’re right…and you’re wrong,” one things remains regardless.

NO ONE wants to be alone.

——————————————————–

When the day is long and the night, the night is yours alone,
When you’re sure you’ve had enough of this life, well hang on
Don’t let yourself go, ’cause everybody cries and everybody hurts sometimes

Sometimes everything is wrong. Now it’s time to sing along
When your day is night alone, (hold on, hold on)
If you feel like letting go, (hold on)
When you think you’ve had too much of this life, well hang on

‘Cause everybody hurts. Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts. Don’t throw your hand. Oh, no. Don’t throw your hand
If you feel like you’re alone, no, no, no, you are not alone

If you’re on your own in this life, the days and nights are long,
When you think you’ve had too much of this life to hang on

Well, everybody hurts sometimes,
Everybody cries. And everybody hurts sometimes
And everybody hurts sometimes. So, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on
Everybody hurts. You are not alone

– R.E.M.

One-Upped!

Posted in FAITH, FAMILY and FUN, LIFE IN GENERAL / RANDOM RAMBLINGS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2009 by erikball123

IMG_7821

My wife and I celebrated my birthday Saturday. I got my Grandma’s card in the mail today…and there’s just something about an envelope-sealing kitten sticker that brings a smile to your face.

I can’t say I eagerly anticipate birthdays. I’m not much of a cake guy, really. I’ve always been a pie man…cherry or pecan. You can’t beat a sliver of pumpkin with a cuppa Joe either. But, this year wasn’t any big hoopla. My beloved surprised me with gifts (even though I told her not to) and we went out and feasted upon crab and over-steamed potatoes and enjoyed some music from my friend’s band RAVEN HILL. (They rocked.)

But as far as birthdays go, in general…I’ve never been a very sentimental guy. I suppose the tradition of a formal get-together including the gift unwrapping ceremony was never really my bag. I don’t like death…I like my life…and birthdays always “instill the fear of the shroud in me.” (To quote Jack Nicholson.)

I wonder if sometimes we do things backwards. I mean, if you think about it…nobody gets gifts at funerals. People send flowers…that in return wilt and die within three days. What a thoughtful reminder. At funeral receptions, people usually bring three-bean salads wrapped in their see-through condolences or a card with some perfunctory message about “a new life” or something. I suppose that’s nice in the big picture, but wouldn’t a funeral be the perfect time for an iTunes gift card or new clothing or a dinner out for a grieving parent, spouse or loved one? Perhaps I’m dwelling on the fact that I’ve always found the functionality of a birthday party a bit contrived, and funerals are too solemn. A celebration of life should be had at a funeral, and a birthday should be more of a toll-booth on the highway to heaven. A brief stop to take a look at yourself for a moment. It shouldn’t have to be a formal affair. I certainly wouldn’t feature three-bean salad. Not if it were the last food on earth.

I went and saw the Pixar movie “UP” the other day with a friend and have to say that it was the best movie I’ve seen in a while. (Which isn’t saying much since I’ve embraced my nonexistent movie-going social life.) But, still, Pixar tends to crank out highly enjoyable, crazy expensive flicks that are very, very marketable. Surprisingly, this one wasn’t necessarily like that. It was highly enjoyable with phenomenal animation…but it wasn’t a one-trick pony. There were no farting ogres or forlorn cowboy dolls, it was a simple story about a simple man. I can’t see them pushing old man dolls at Epcot after this one. Granted, like all good stories, it waved it’s magic wand to bring out the fantasty…but throughout the mayhem, the simple duel relationship between an old man and his love, and the old man and his goal to have an adventure…was perfect. I was hooked.  It was character-based rather than concept-based. I found myself engrossed in the old man’s adventure and I HIGHLY recommend the film to young and old.

I sometimes scratch my head and get angry at the wispy-ness of my once thick head of hair. I grow concerned with how tired I get after midnight. I can’t sleep in anymore. My internal clock buzzes around 9am. I luckily don’t have any gray hair yet…and the one I saw in my patchy goatee I plucked and burned with a match. (I think I heard a tiny scream.)  I’m taking a multi-vitamin now…which is recommended by my multi-opinioned doctor, and is nothing more than a white flag in my eyes. *Sigh* Yup…let’s face it kids, the big boy needs his power nap.

I didn’t take my thirtieth birthday hard. I was cool with it actually. I looked at it as a milestone. I was a force to be recognized with and I could properly use the term whipper-snapper without feeling out of my league at that point. But this year’s birthday…(and I’m not telling you how many I’ve had since, to my students, I’m eternally 28 years old.)…was different. It was solitary…and unnerving. Kinda like passing gas in church. Everyone around you knows it’s there. Nobody really acknowledges it…but afterward on the car ride home, everyone talks about it.

But, why should I be so concerned? Huh? I mean, who knows what’s in store for me tomorrow. My friend Chris has a saying that she spouts usually when she’s stressed:  “Maybe Jesus will come tomorrow and we won’t have to worry about a thing.” Who knows! Right? My brain could explode. A bulldozer could fall on me. I could get electrocuted by my $50, buzzing toothbrush. The neighbor’s dog could eat my neck. I could turn to stone! Anything can happen…and it won’t matter if it’s my birthday or not. It would be my time to go, and I will never see it coming.

I guess my unpleasant thoughts come from a “what if” perspective. I think about my life now and how blessed I am, and all the things I have done. Then I immediately think about all the things I’d like to do shortly after…and I sometimes feel that time is running out! But, perhaps that is a wildly “glass is half-empty” way of thinking. What is our life’s big adventure anyway?

With all the goals in the world (and I’m just thinking about mine…imagine the complex web of oft-dismissed goals of the world’s population) what will it all mean in the end? You can’t take anything with you…so why worry about it so much now.

So, why throw birthday parties? Are we saying “yea! No bulldozers fell on you this year!” Or is it truly a celebration of the day you were born? I think it should be a celebration of what you’ve done with your life. Good, bad, ugly….where ever you are, and whatever situation you are in…that one day a year you can say “dude…but look at all that you’ve done!”  And if you’re sittin’ in jail, or in the basement playing guitar hero with your only friend Buddy the hampster…then it’s a chance to say…”look at what I’ve done, and look at what I could do.”

Who care about the Costco cake with pasty frosting. Forget the rolls of streamers and the butterfly pinatas. (Is my family the only ones that do that?) Forget the gifts. They should really go to your mom anyway. After all she has to live with those purple veins in her legs.

But just like the old man in the “UP” movie, our big adventures is the every day. Everyday the Lord puts new things in our path so that we may endure and live and learn.Who knows what tomorrow brings. Crab legs? Rockin’ the night away to the tunes of a friend’s band? Three-bean salad? Who knows.

My birthday this year was a reminder that things are looking up.

I WANNA BE A “PRODUCE”-ER

Posted in ACTING ONSTAGE, FAITH, FAMILY and FUN, LIFE IN GENERAL / RANDOM RAMBLINGS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2009 by erikball123

It got to a blistering 108 degrees today in Las Vegas and I thought my beaded, metal necklace was going to burn a rope mark onto my chest as I walked through the parking lot.

I was at the grocery store getting the weekly goods and found myself spending a lot of time in the freezer section! Upon lugging our frozen waffles and crusty French bread home in doggy-walk bags, my wife and I decided to clean out the freezer. That’s when Emily found it! Not Jimmy Hoffa’s body… (I still truly believe the corpse can be found in the bottom drawer of my teacher’s desk at school)…but, rather,  a bag of frozen broccoli from 2006. We didn’t even live in this house in 2006…how did that happen!? It’s 2009. That’s three year old broccoli. (They say it loses it’s nutrients when you boil it. Hmm.)

broccoli

Got me thinking: What ALL do we forget about? Mind you, I’m not digging for vast philosophy here…I’m merely suggesting that in our daily clouds that are muddied with Americano chugs, “sup” nods and dress shirt pressing, we have a lot tucked in our proverbial freezers that we forget about. It sits there…frozen. It was at one point in time something significant, or useful. Something that we planned for…desired….obtained or toiled over…and then forget. Tossed aside, cozy against the Otter Pops and Pizza Rolls.

EXAMPLE: How many birthday’s did you forget this year? (And the term “forget,” in this setting, refers to something that you didn’t plan for or look forward to. Not necessarily forgot completely.) I can’t remember how many times I’d be watching TV and see a Father’s Day commercial or something, and find myself going “hmm…Father’s Day must be coming up.” And it was Father’s Day. Or, I recall my mother saying to me, “your cousin’s husband just lost his grandmother. They we’re very close. A phone call would be nice.”  I forgot. I never called.

Yeah, that broccoli could easily be something that you purposely avoid…because it’s something you have to deal with and can’t be bother by the insignificance of it all. After all, who wants to eat broccoli anyway, right?

It might be the weekly war between the church pew and the snooze button. It might be the backyard lawn and the hedges that you can’t manage to find time to trim. It could be the “thank you” letter that you forgot to write….or PLANNED to write, but found that re-run of Scrubs more enthralling and the chaise much more comfortable.

That bag of 2006, frost-bitten broccoli could be anything.

I saw a dude pull into the supermarket as I was pulling out. He had a Great Dane in the back seat. I thought to myself  “he’d better not leave him in the car and run in.” Of course he didn’t…because if I didn’t think that, I would sleep at night. But, there ARE morons who do that sort of thing. For those morons…for some reason, at that moment…that broccoli is not as important as whatever he needs to do in the supermarket. People who leave pets in cars are immediately  inconvenienced and are too lazy to deal with it.

That broccoli could be one-more beer past the time you promised to be home. That broccoli could be the prayer forgotten about as you lie half-asleep, actually thinking about how you didn’t pray. That broccoli could be forgetting to say “thank you.”

Forgetfulness in general, is not a happy thing. I visited my two grandmothers last week in Michigan (and it was GREAT to see them both!) and one of them celebrated her 90th birthday. As we visited, I struggled in my communications with her using a college-ruled notebook and an over-exaggerated mouthing technique I call “BALLTALK.” (I usually talk that way anyway.) She’s forgetting a lot. It’s hard to watch someone you love struggle to find a single word so that they can complete their thought. It was a work-out for her.  She had so much to say…and with us living in Las Vegas, expressing herself otherwise is close to impossible. The visit was like watching her struggle to play that Clock Game on the Price is Right. She had to get all she wanted to say out, before time was up and we had to leave. Broke my heart.

The struggle with that sort of “forgetting” is something I can appreciate and lovingly forgive from a third party perspective. But, the “thoughtless” forgetting (for lack of better words) is something we should all strive to work on. It is closely related to a catch phrase that I find myself less willing to accommodate as I get older. It’s called “WHATEVER.”

I have a guilty pleasure. It’s called Judge Judy. I don’t know how to explain it. I certainly do not apologize for my TiVo-ing every episode. I don’t apologize for laughing at the litigants. I even like Burd the Bailiff.  I find great entertainment in watching Judith Sheindlind set traps for the defendants…and then watch them walk right into them. Boo-ya! It’s like a modern day, 12-minute Miss Marple. I try to figure it out before she reveals it. I don’t know….it’s a guilty pleasure.

I find myself in CONSTANT awe at how people get SO wrapped up in their own selfish lives. Granted, I’m no saint! I put off work today for a nap. I find loopholes and “easy way outs” all the time, just like the next guy. But, I can’t explain the number of times litigants simply don’t have answers to simple questions like “why did you do that?” or “when were you going to pay her back?” They truly don’t know…and don’t care. Strike that. They DO know…but hoped that “it” would expire, and then years down the road when someone noticed “it” they were hoping they would simply throw “it” away.  (Did you follow me there?)

I laugh and enjoy the show…and then go back to my own finger-pointing, sinful life doing the exact same thing in differing degrees.

Let’s call it “selective forgetfulness” or rather the need to find daily obligations conveniently forgotten. It’s not the right thing. It’s how dog’s get left in cars…teenage students get pregnant…and broccoli get left in the freezer. We know…we just don’t care ENOUGH to act.

What a sad existence. Hm. Makes me wonder what it would TAKE to light that fire under my butt TO care? I mean, I bought that broccoli in 2006…planned on eating it in 2006…and I imagine I saw it in there from time to time. It HAD to be moved from one house to another when we moved 3 years ago. Yet…I didn’t care enough to strap on my hounds tooth hat and portray “Sherlock Holmes and the case of the Expired Broccoli.”  It remained…comfortable…cozy….forgotten about in the recesses of my temperamental freezer. (Maybe the ice cubes are sending me hidden messages when I ask for cubes and get crushed.)

So, what’s the solution? Should we take a vow of of fresh produce? I don’t think it’s necessary. We’re human and change our minds often. Working out the details in life is something I think God would want us to do, right?

Onstage it’s our job as actors to find moments to make the structure of the story we’re offering live, and thrive…and extend to the receptive audience. The role is one thing…the relationship is another…but it’s the choices we make as performers that binds it all together, breathes new life into it, and propels it forward. If we start character analysis at the beginning of the process with a bag of broccoli…we can do whatever we want to with it…except forget about it. That would be like denouncing the stir fry in which it was originally intended!

I don’t think it’s a crime to change your mind. I think we live in a fast-paced world. It’s okay to feel bad that we can’t communicate effectively with our grandmas like we used to. It’s okay to struggle with a part onstage. It’s okay to find it “hard” to read the Bible, go to church and find time to talk with God. It’s okay.

Again, I’m not digging for vast philosophy here. I just think that we have a natural tendency to find it all too convenient to forget to clean out the freezer from time to time. We shouldn’t assume that nothing actually “goes bad” when it’s frozen.

White Noise.

Posted in FAITH, FAMILY and FUN, LIFE IN GENERAL / RANDOM RAMBLINGS with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2008 by erikball123

I slept in this morning until about 10:30am. I’m finding as I get older that I cannot sleep like I used to. I recall in college not even bothering to register for a class before 11am. Now, there is some sort of internal clock that opens my eyes sometime around 9am. It’s a wonder how I lasted so long today.

While I found myself quite refreshed, recharged, etc. (And a smidge head-achy.) I also had a lot to think about regarding that decision to stay in bed and not roll out and do something more productive. Let me explain.

Recently, a friend of mine and colleague lost her husband to complication after a heart attack. It was sudden, it happened very quickly and my friend’s life has taken a huge detour as a result. While this particular situation is nothing less than tragic, it’s effecting me in a weird way. You see, (as you may have read in a previous post), my Grandmother who is very dear to me is heading into exploratory surgery this upcoming Tuesday. Something no one is looking forward to, especially me. She is my Superman and is in her late 70s, so any “procedure” is something to raise eyebrows about. So I’ve been thinking about that a lot, and as a result pondering mortality in general. I’ve never had someone close to me pass away. I recall my Great Grandma Bair passing when I was six years old. Grandma Bair played checkers with me and sang to me, and I remember her playing the piano at Thanksgiving once. But, in general, I’ve never experienced the tragedy of losing someone close to me.

At the passing of my friend’s husband…I’ve been catapulted back into the fuzzy world of “what’s going to happen next.” I’m nervous, confused, and saddened. I can’t imagine how my friend feels and my heart goes out to her.

Who hasn’t been forced to think about the ever present saying “Life is short.” Every effective marketing campaign begs consumers to act now before it’s too late. Whether or not you’re interested in that particular product…you either rush out to the shoe store to buy those new NIKEs and “Just Do It!” Or, you sit down and relax, choosing to stay home instead of heading off to McDonald’s, because you already “had your break today.

Currently we have Presidential candidates boxing back and forth trying to convince the American people that they are right person for the job. They argue, mud-sling, bear their claws, and appeal. They stand on their toes to try and “show” you that their cause, their efforts, their platform…is the most important, and ultimately deserving the right to run the free world. Hmmm. Supports, marketing and killer Vice-Presidential hopeful speeches aside, it sounds hard to do to me.

I wake up every day and go about my day facing the onslaught of “here’s what you need to do” and “right here, right now” and after a while it turns into white noise to me. I pick and choose what interests me the most and I tune the rest out. I tend to, as Barry Manilow says, “turn the radio up, and turn the negative down.”

These everyday marketing campaigns, these efforts to attract and influence….are they effective? Well, let’s take a look at my current situation. I consider myself an ignorant Lutheran. Someone who wants to live my life for Christ. I freely admit that I’m no scholar of the Bible, and I try through self-study, prayer and worship to gain a fuller understanding of what the Lord wants me to do. But throughout that journey, I find myself distracted…thoughtless….and tired. I sleep in. I don’t take advantage of the time that I have in a way that would be positive and influential. My marketing campaign stinks. I’m suppose to be a spokes-person for my Lord and savior, spreading the good word of the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and I have a hard time getting both legs out of bed sometimes. In this time of sadness and worry, that doesn’t sit well with me.

One of the scariest verses in the Bible to me is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, and it details that the second coming of Christ will happen like a thief in the night. My first house was burglarized about 5 years ago. I remember that feeling of hopelessness and fear as I collected up the remainder of my personal belongings off the floor. Should I live in fear of the second coming? Should I live in fear of my own death? Lately, I wonder.

I don’t think God wants us to live a paranoid life filled with constant worry and grief. Instead I think He needs us to know about how great He truly is. It’s incomprehensible. I suppose we can find comfort in the fact that my friend’s husband is in heaven with his Father. But, for us who remain living this mortal life on Earth…what’s next?

I argue that unforeseen tragedies like my friend’s husband’s passing, and anxious, worry-filled moments like my Grandmother’s surgery…..or anything, like a pop quiz in your class, or a flat tire….all are opportunities to reflect on the greatest marketing campaign we could ever turn around and launch. “GOD IS LOVE.” Through Jesus Christ, all things are possible, and through Him there is salvation in heaven.

It’s not enough to live life trying to be a better Christian. It’s not enough to pray, to worship….to believe. It’s not enough to worry, to fear, to be thankful, to be passionate. It needs to be more. It’s can’t be a slogan on a billboard that others might just pass by. It can’t be something someone can tune out. We all must go out and make disciples of all nations. We must be that active force and that loud noise. Salvation through Christ for all should be a goal. If we live our lives day to day….sleeping in, putting off tomorrow and ultimately skirting our chief responsibility….we will have no excuse in the end. We left the door open for anything, let alone a thief to enter in the night.

So, what now? I don’t know. I know I’m not perfect. BY FAR! But I want SO badly to express my condolences to my friend, and I want so badly to express my faith, trust, and support to my grandmother in this scary time for her. How can I do this? By making sure that my Lord is in charge. By sharing that same Lord with these people, and everyone else within earshot. That’s the sweetest white noise one could hear.

1 Thessalonians 5:2
1Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

I’m no Superman.

Posted in FAITH, FAMILY and FUN, LIFE IN GENERAL / RANDOM RAMBLINGS with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2008 by erikball123
Many of you asked to see pictures of FRANKIE, the newest addition to the Ball Family. Well, here he is in all his fluffy glory! What a big, beautiful beast. We love him and he’s going to be a dream come true for my wife on those scary nights when I’m at rehearsal, and she’s home alone. This mighty protector, who is gentle to his family (and brothers and sisters) but fierce to visitors will give her peace of mind for sure. He’s like a small lion. When we first got him home, he needed to get used to the other little ones running about. (For those who don’t know, we have three others. Penelope the Pug, Beatrice the blind, elderly, diabetic Chihuahua, and Johnny the…uh, Johnny-dog!) They are all much smaller that the Frankster, and so watching them tumble down for breakfast was kinda like that one scene in Cloverfield.

I’m kinda looking forward to this weekend. Three day weekends are nice because it puts a friendly curve on the entire week. Who doesn’t want to think it’s Wednesday, but realize it’s Friday, am I right? I look forward to sleeping in and resting the muscles that awoke from their summer hibernation suddenly during Miss Chris’ M.S. Dance workout. I look forward to prepping for Beauty and the Beast coming up next week. I’m actually even looking forward to putting the first set of grades in the grade-book! How crazy is that! I guess it’s good to look forward to something.

I continue to be concerned for my Grandmother…I’m not sure if you all know, but she’s going in for surgery early September. To try and describe how this makes me feel would be very hard. You know how everyone has that one person in their lives that is their “Superman?” That persona who exemplifies the character you wish you had. My grandmother (aside from my wife) is my best friend and she’s just the best thing since sliced bread. She’s wise, giving, thoughtful, kind, considerate, a hard-worker, a devout Christian, a mother, a sister, a grandma, a great-grandma…and she continues to shoot from the hip and make me laugh. There has never been a moment, a success, a triumph, a pitfall, etc…where she hasn’t been there for me. I love her more than words, and….I’m scared. She went in for a routine check-up…the doctors found something to be concerned about…and two tests later, she scheduled for surgery. She’s 78 years old. *Sigh* Hmmm. I’m not sure what to think about that. What do you do when you see your Superman struggling? What do you do when a source of your own strength is weak? What do you do…when you can’t do anything? Have faith? It’s hard sometimes. I pray. I ask the Lord to please take this burden off of my heavy heart. But even that doesn’t put me in Jackson, Michigan, sitting next to my Grandma in her enclosed front porch.

It’s a scary thing, surgery. Putting your life in the hands of another…willingly. But, if you think about it, I suppose we do it everyday. Not on the operating table, mind you. But parents put their kids in the care of teachers. I care for my new little Frankie, and he trusts that I’ll fill his food dish everyday. We put our trust in the Lord, don’t we? We try anyway. Perhaps that’s what makes this situation so hard. Perhaps I’m still “not used” to putting my trust in God. (Which begs the question…does anyone ever “get used to it?”) In a cage match against a tiger…I KNOW my Grandma could fend for herself. She’s Superman. But…I have such a very difficult time dealing with the fact that I have to trust in the Lord, that whatever happens, it’s part of his plan…it’s part of a bigger plan, that is….and I need to have faith that everything will be okay, including Grandma.

So, I’ll continue to worry. I’ll continue to call Grams and talk about the giant deer that are haunting her front yard and robbing her bird feeders. I’ll continue to hope that from 2000 miles away, my fervent prayer will lift her up as swiftly as if I were right next door. I’ll try to shift focus and look forward to this Christmas, because she’d better have some yummy cheese-straws waiting for me, darn it!

I’ll hope. I’ll pray. The Lord is good, and I know that no matter what happens…Grandma will be taken care of. The power of prayer is unmeasurable…and when you have to put your trust in others….sometimes, it’s all you got. We’re not Superman, you know.

My new doggie Frankie, my white-haired fluffy new buddy is something else. He’s a gentle giant, I’ll tell ya. His droopy eyes and warm welcomes make coming home very pleasant. I’ll sit on the couch and hold his heavy head on my lap. I’ll hug his big ‘ol head and hold his paw.

I’d give just about anything to give my grandma a hug right now or to hold her hand. I know she’s scared even though she’d NEVER admit it. But like a Army private taking his orders from the Admiral, I will keep my chin up, and I will be confident that things will be okay. “Aye, aye, grandma.”

Until I CAN see her again…and look her in the eye…I’ll continue filling my doggie’s bowl…I’ll continue to look forward to three-day weekends…and I’ll continue to pray. Sometimes that’s all you got.

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