Sunday, June 25, 2017

An awful Sunday but I did talk to my sister Judy and my niece Jen

      Sunday was simply an extraordinary day.  I was so anxious that I took a 2.5 mg valium right after I got up because I was obsessing so much.  Then did some reading and praying and my knee exercises.  Then I saw I had a voice message and it was from Judy so I called her back and it was one of the most emotional conversations of my life.  She forgave me for how I acted and she brought up the incident down Tom’s River where I deeply hurt Jen and Patty by forcing them to stay at the Holiday Inn (I think this was the incident with Roberta where my Mom uninvited me after Roberta said she was coming down and didn’t want me there but now I realize that my anger probably had a lot to do with the whole thing so I don’t want to place any blame on Roberta) but I didn’t remember that I had hurt the girls so much.  Judy said they were so upset that Val and Esther had to come down and comfort them.  Judy was so loving and caring on the phone and I felt so, so bad.  I wept after I got off the phone with her.   I had to take another 2.5 mg valium.    
      Then I saw I had a friendly message from Jen and I called her and she said I didn’t need to apologize and that she hardly remembered the incident.   How could I have done that to those girls?  I must have been crazy.  I must have been a very sick man with a hard, hard heart.
      I ran into the Sisson group and they were friendly and Chris Patrick talked to me some about his Christian faith and thought I was going down a good path.
      Later I drove into town after playing a good bit of piano and found out that prednisone even at 10 mg. could affect my short term memory (that made me feel a little better} and then walked with Rob and he is going to put me on something for my anxiety (perhaps Prozac or something else).   I told him that I really understood why people commit suicide.  You can’t live with so much anxiety and I have been anxious and obsessed and foggy headed since January.  Rob is going to see if Triveti can reduce my prednisone a little and also the Lasix.  He also suggested seeing if I could cancel my unpaid leave and get on sick leave for the fall since I will still be in chemo treatment until late September, and my 4 pints low blood won’t go up until well after I get off chemo.  It looks like I will be on prednisone until then and I don’t think I can do much serious writing while I am so sick and hopefully recovering.
       What a day, a thousand foot roller coaster that seems to have slowed down a little. 
                     



Saturday, June 24, 2017

Reconciliation and a good Saturday

Friday started out pretty tough and I got very anxious but I followed Dave’s advice and took 2.5 mg of Valium and that helped.  I did take a walk down to the first stump and I did some piano work and some straightening around the house.  At around 12:30 I headed into to meet with Jen and discuss Luke Chapter 3.  As usual she showed me a lot more than I got out of it, including the reason for the long genealogy at the end.  I was pretty down the whole time but she was great and she said she would sure that my efforts to come closer to God would be rewarded.  Toward the end of our session she gave me a card on which she wrote: “You are my beloved son; with you I am very pleased.”   What a lovely gift.  Then she prayed over me and that felt better.  
       Later I drove over to Stoubles and took another look at the apartment.  I actually has four windows and I met one of my neighbors, Jonathan.  I then took a 45 minute ride over to the other side of 460 and then had a fall on my return (my end of my pants got caught in the chain) and a young Asian woman helped me up and took a video of me thanking her.  Riding around Hethwood was very nice and I can stay on the Hethwood side and get a very good ride.   I finished up in time to drive back home for my prayers and they went well.  My voice came back and I think my praise was genuine. 

On Saturday, I struggled to get up, but eventually did and then did my knee exercises, and then drove down to the gate, pruned my way up to the lawn tractor, cut the grass in the orchard (apples and an amazing crop of blackberries which I munched on), then pruned some more on my way back to my truck.  I played twice through all the prayer songs and I guess I am getting a little better.  I can’t really fight the chemo effects or the drugs so I just will do my best and make my playing a prayer.  I emailed Laura and David but got no response yet.   I read more in the Rediscover Catholicism “There is only one question and one course of action that leads to lasting happiness in this changing world: God, what do you think I should do?  To think you can find happiness without asking this question is one of the grand delusions.”   “The will of God is a mysterious thing.  In my own spiritual journey I have learned that God reveals His will one step at a time.   This creates a great deal of uncertainty, and we don’t like that….If we could only learn to enjoy uncertainty.  Uncertainty is a sign that all is well.”  179  “We can pray while we are driving to work and while we are exercising, while we are doing the shopping or washing the dishes….” 181   prepare yourself for mass    mass journal    “Life is about whom you love and whom you hurt.”   I realize that I have hurt a lot of people in my arrogance and insensitivity.   I have achieved some forgiveness but there is plenty more to go.  I called Judy on my way out of the hollow today but all I got was the answering machine.  I did ask her for her forgiveness about the way I treated her over the years and I hope she will forgive me.  I also covered the section on the Mass, and it explained the order of the Mass clearly.  I am certainly getting more out of each Mass as I learn more.  
      I got to St. Mary’s around 3:15 and a big wedding was letting out but Father John said there would be reconciliation, and I was first to go in.   I think I covered all my major sins and I am very glad I went to reconciliation.  Father John reaffirmed that I was forgiven and that now I was cleansed of my sins, what a relief.  I sat in my truck reading for a bit and then went in and met Mike, and bought a rosary and talked with him for a few minutes.  I tried to focus more on what was going on during the Mass and I can’t say I noticed much different.  I did hope that Judy would respond to my contrition at some point and the words fear and peace stood out a little.   After the Mass, I chatted with Joseph a little and he is so kind.  He said that my path may be very small steps but that is okay.  Only God knows where my path is taking me (uncertainty) and I just have to accept that.   I am just about to go on my bike ride at Tech and it is has been a pretty peaceful day, no valium and no real panic.   I do think my writing is prayerful since it is helping me to look closer at my life and how to became a better and more Christian person.
                     


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Chemo and more repentance

     Wednesday night was a long one, up at 1:30, at 2:45, at 3, at 4:15, and several other breaks.  I finally took 2.5 mg of Valium at around 4 and I did sleep for at least 45 minutes.  I got to the Radford hospital around 7:45 and I was pretty quickly moved to my room, but they misplaced my bloodwork so I didn’t get my IV until well after 9 and they didn’t start me until at least 9:30.  That means another long day (it is 4:39 and I get my next meds at 7:15 (that lasts a half hour) so I might actually  get out by 8:00 or so.  I tried calling Judy again but no response so I won’t call anymore.  If she wanted to talk, she would call.  I also called Roberta but all I got was a voice message.  That the two of them want to have nothing to do with me is my fault.   I broke off relations with them after my mother died and they have ever reason to avoid me.  I did write a friendly message to Glen Martin to try to end the silence I have continued with him, even though he tried to be friendly all along.  I have separated myself from a lot of people and it is almost always my fault.  “When you have singleness of purpose, everything else is embraced or discarded according to whether or not it moves you in the direction of your goal.  When you don’t have this singleness of purpose you get lost in the tossing and turning of daily life”  Mother Teresa: “God may never give you clarity.  All you can do is trust.”    “But this walking humbly with God is difficult.  To achieve it, it is essential that we acquire the habits of recollection and self possession”  I think I do okay on recollection (my whole life seems a grim painting now) but self-possession is another story.  Early on in my chemo I didn’t think I could take one more minute of the constant anxiety (I’m sure the 60 mg of prednisone was a big factor).  Now at least I have a place to move to on August 15 and the hollow is sold and I am 2/3 of the way through my 3rd chemo.  I have had several crying bouts out on my porch, hysterically bemoaning my fate, but for the most part, if I can keep fairly busy I can keep the anxiety level fairly low.  Still, the joy of my life has become sleep, usually around 12:15 am when I can finally forget how stressed my life had become.
     Later in chemo I called my sister Roberta and had, what was for me an extraordinary conversation.  She was very friendly and she seemed to me a different person, even her voice seemed changed.  She rather quickly accepted my request for forgiveness and she wondered why I had separated myself from my siblings.  She said that when I was younger she thought I might have Asberger’s and I told I am pretty sure I had ADD.  I told her of my efforts to reconnect with the Catholic faith and she thought that was a good thing for me, even though she still has no faith in God stemming from the death of her husband in an automobile accident just after her son Christopher was born.  I made it clear I wasn’t going to preach to her and she told me that she wasn’t sure that Chris and Angie’s marriage was going to stay together, although he himself is doing quite well as a construction supervisor.  I really felt good talking to her, and seeing her so differently, and I really understand that it was my actions that separated me from her and my other siblings.  She told me how involved Judy was with the church and the sadness that my brief dealings with her had brought her and that she always prayed for me (and for Roberta).  My brother Greg is in France with his wife Chris and I will try to talk to him when he returns.  It amazes me that I could be so arrogant and insensitive.  Roberta said that I was always confrontational and that has been true throughout my life, even as an environmental activist.   But I told Roberta I think I really am becoming a different person and I know I need to keep working on this.   I asked her if I could contact her in a couple of months and she said that would be fine.  “We waste time drowning in unforgiveness.”  Kelly 128
     Earlier in my conversation with Claire about the upcoming move and the book she loaned me Captivating, she thought I had already changed a good deal, and she told me two things that bothered her about when she studied with me in that Graduate Creative Writing class: one was that she thought that I was very alone (this was right about when Tracy left and I published the chapbook dedicated to her) and that I was much too critical of one of the students who used Christian imagery in her poems and my sarcastic comments hurt this students feelings.  I hope this will help me in my future teachings.
Matthew Kelly writes: If you want your future to be different from your past, there is only one way: Change your habits.  Our lives change when our habits change.”   This to me is a profound truth and I do hope that my focus on connecting to Jesus and the Holy Spirit will influence my habits.  I do hope that I can keep working on this change because for me it is so difficult, but I am already starting to see the rewards.  I think I am much more approachable and there is a warmth in me in being friendly to people.  One of the nurses, in response to my saying that I thought I was an average patient, said that she wished she had a whole unit of patients like me.  I think I was getting outside of myself and focusing on those around me.  When I talked with Leeanne, the nurse who may have lupus, I think my friendliness had a positive effect on her. 
      I finally got to leave at just about 8 and I made it home in time for my evening prayers.

Thursday morning was a bit rough.  Thoughts of how well financially, my siblings are doing and how well Marv and Joyce are doing kept me up and I had to battle to clear my head of such thoughts and try to concentrate on Jesus.  Their success has nothing to do with me financial stresses and I just have to make sure my single purpose is my spiritual goals.   I finally got up around 8:30 and trimmed the grass around the house and then I watched the full stations of the cross, praying along with it, and I think that discipline was good for me.    “in the course of the entire Gospels, the disciples make only one request of Jesus as a group: ‘Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11.1  Kelly 134   “The process of identifying strengths and weaknesses and transforming weaknesses into strengths is classic Catholic spirituality” 139  Confession is most important  because we “almost never see things as they really are” 147   “There is no treasure like a clear conscience.  If you want the joy of a clear conscience, come to Confession.”  In my own case, my confession with Father John at St. Mary’s really did make me feel much cleaner.  I confessed a sin I had never confessed and when I went to confession before my colon resection and my knee replacement surgery I confessed many of the major sins I had ever done, and I think now of a few more I should confess.  “Haven’t you noticed the way people living good lives have a glow about them?”  So true when I think about Glenda and Joseph and Deacon Rick. 
        “The best way to spend your time while you are waiting for temptation to pass is to pray.” Kelly 159   I don’t think I am much of a sinner at this point.  I don’t lust for anyone, I am certainly not greedy, I wish the best for my friends and colleagues, I pray more and more and try hard to stay focused on my prayers.  That is very hard.  “The reason prayer and contemplation are so integral to the Christian life is because thought determines action”  167  My thoughts after my mother died were that my family was dysfunctional and I wanted out so my action was to write to them and ask them to leave me alone, which they did (except Judy twice tried to reach out to me).  My thoughts toward certain of my colleagues were negative and therefore I acted negatively toward them (Eric, Glen and Don Samson) for instance.  My thoughts about certain students were negative and my actions toward them often ended in confrontation and certainly had little positive value.  I think my thoughts toward children and toward nature and my early volunteer work at St. Albans were my most positive ones and when I examine my dealings with children (I was a very good babysitter) and I cared deeply about nature especially rivers and my environmental activities and my writings reflect this deep love (although people who harmed the environment often gained my wrath).
    I reflected on my anger while doing my knee exercises and I think that was helpful.  New instances came to mind (how angry I got with my parents at points when I thought they were favoring my siblings) and I am beginning to really understand that even if I had a good justification for my anger, what real good did it do.  I am pretty smart and I can justify almost all of my actions.  So what.  Where did those “victories” leave me?  In my mind, I had proven myself right again (the time my mother asked me not to come to Toms River to visit after she had invited me because Roberta wanted to stay and I was incensed that she uninvited me is a clear instance) but again where did it lead.  My mother was very upset and I was angry for a long time about that.  I have to let that anger about injustices leave my heart.  I will never grow spiritually because I will always see myself as a victim.  I apologized to Gloria when she visited me for a week and I was pretty mean to her, finding flaws in many things she did, and again I could justify almost every one of the things she did but what did it accomplish.   I tainted her trip and I ended up feeling like a bully toward a woman who was one of the best I ever went out with.  I also called Alfredo and apologized for arguing with him while they were moving.  Again, I could rationalize it in my head, but where did it leave me.  Isolated from Alfredo, causing some tension for Kelly, and making me feel that I had interfered in her life, something I have always promised not to.  Claire Hall sent me a nice email responding to the class stuff and I was thankful for that.  I also spoke to Cathy Gallo and she said that I had been very good to her daughters and a good friend to her so that was a very positive part of my personality. 

                     

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Closing on the Hollow and a genuine "Rebirth in the Hollow"

      On Friday I finally got word from Laura and David that the deal had closed at 1.  Thank heavens!  Even though I had to lower the price by 55K at least the hollow is sold and I can move out on August 15. 
      On Saturday I went up to visit Gyorgyi and Laura, her niece,  and Gyorgyi made us a fine lunch, then we drove downtown and Gyorgyi graded papers and I took Laura around the Market but she stayed mainly in the Chocolate Gift Store.  I was somewhat surprised by all the racy stuff in it and how much you saw the “F” word all over the place.   After that we went back to Gyorgyi’s and played Scrabble and I left in time to get home to do my porch ritual.
      Sunday was a difficult day, one of being anxious and lonely.  I ended up playing golf and riding my bike and heading back to do my porch prayers.  I was so upset and tired that I broke down and cried and I didn’t even finish my porch prayers.
      Monday was okay because I had so much to do.  Drive to the Radford Hospital while fasting for bloodword, then picking up meds, then driving to Hethwood to sign the lease (which I know is a little too expensive but I will live with it for at least a year).  Stroubles is a nice area.  One of the reasons I am so tired is that it is almost impossible for me to nap.  A good hour nap would feel so fine and I am sure I would function better.  I drove back home around 12 then did some cleaning around the house (Laura and David are visiting Wednesday while I am in chemo).  Then I did my knee exercises and eventually headed into town to go to the Holy Spirit group.  This was a good one, with almost 20 people and a lot of singing (most of the participants know the songs but I certainly don’t although I do sing low and it gives me comfort.   I spoke up once about how angry I used to get about the people who harm the environment and how I still have a bitterness in my heart because of that and how that may be interfering with my connection with the holy spirit.  I talked to Joseph after the meeting and told him how much I respected him, how much holiness and goodness he contained, and that I felt I was so far away from such things.  He told me that I was now on the right path and that I had to keep at it and my spiritual life would get better.   I drove home feeling pretty good about things and the meeting was the main reason.
      On Tuesday, I got up pretty early but had a tough time getting out of bed.  I finally did and then I did more cleaning around the house, then my knee exercises, then a good bit of reading from the Bible and from  Rediscovering Catholicism   Matthew Kelly  2002  “The authentic life is compatible with any honest human activity.  All honest work can be transformed into prayer.  You can transform your work into prayer one hour at a time, one task at a time.”  So as I am writing my blog—which I realize is becoming more and more about my spiritual striving—I want to think of it as a prayer.  I am not so sure trimming my road was a prayer but I do see the point.  “Offer the actions of your life to God as a prayer, whether you are washing the dishes, repairing a car, or studying for an exam, and by your inner intention, you will transform ordinary daily activities into the noblest tasks.”  61  This seems a little too much for me, but for someone like Glenda or Joseph, I think that most of their lives are a prayer.  What a lovely thought. “Whether your work in this life is as a street cleaner or a senator, remember that the interior effect that the work we do has on our soul is infinitely more important than the exterior fruits of our work.”   I hope to be returning to teaching in January and this is something I really want to concentrate on.  I don’t want to just teach to get paid (and I think I am still a decent teacher, as Nancy Taylor said) but to have a real purpose in my teaching sounds very comforting.  I want to have more patience with the students and conference with them more, instead of seeing some of them as adversarial.  “Every day God invites you to be all he created you to be.”  That is a noble thought and I think my getting more involved in the Catholic Church, my porch prayers and songs, my watching more and more Christian TV (mass, rosaries, the stations of the cross), listening to Christian music as I drive all are helping me to become a better person.  I have stopped watching violent or sexual movies or much news (which is so often filled with violence) and I do think, the lack of such imagery has helped me.  I have to learn to be more reflective about the spiritual and allow that to bring peace and joy to me.   “My experience of people and life continually teaches me that those who have no central purpose in their lives fall easy prey to petty worries, fears, troubles and self-pity” 72    I certainly have been guilty of that.  Right now my central purpose in life is to connect with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  That I am really struggling is not the important thing; the crucial thing is that I do have this higher purpose, not just to be a decent teacher, not just to be a good friend, not just to take my hikes and ride my bike, but to see the limits of these things (though I understand how prayer can enter in) and to see that my connection to Jesus and the Holy Spirit are so much more important.   
      My blog is certainly changing.  Earlier the title “Rebirth in the Hollow” was far, far off.  I loved the hollow and every hike I made I would stop at my white pine and thank it for each hike, each night in the hollow and that I might stay in the hollow as long as possible, but that was really no “Rebirth.”  After the beginning of my battle with lupus in December, the hollow became a different place, especially after I ended up in the hospital with pneumonia.  However, lupus has allowed me to return to the Catholic Church and to try to achieve a much greater purpose in my life.  I hope that once my chemo ends in September, I will be able to be more active with the Church.
      One of the things mentioned again and again in the books I am reading is repentance.  When I look at how many sins I have committed I realize how skewed my sense of right and wrong was when I was younger.  Getting drunk through my teens, and my twenties and into my mid thirties (finally stopping after my first year at Radford), having sex with a number of women and having dark and violent fantasies when I pleasured myself, treating my ex-wife disrespectfully (although she told me recently she forgave me years ago), getting angry with a number of people for very small reasons, being less that compassionate with my students at points.  When I try to look at my good points, certainly my love of nature stands out and the many articles I wrote to protect the natural world.  I have also been a good and generous friend and that remains a positive.  But I was so stubborn and arrogant and contentious so, so often and for so long.   Thankfully Lou and I have gotten back together and we both admit it is helping us both.   I do think I have been given a chance to change through my connection with the Catholic Church and I am a real fool if I don’t try my hardest to move toward connection with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.              


Friday, June 16, 2017

No closing today

Friday is supposed to be the day of Laura and David signing all their papers and making the closing complete.   Jim Shortt mentioned around 9 am but it is already 1 and I haven’t heard anything.  That is unsettling but one thing I must learn is that I am not in control, God is.  I just have to be patient and by 5 I should know the status of things.  My reading for the day is Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelly and he tells us of the need to “abandon the illusion of control and surrender out hearts to the Spirit of God.”  That certainly is one of my foremost goals and I think I am doing okay with that.  After my bout with cancer (and it was the first year I felt out of control), the last seven months have proven how little control I have over my life.  That is very humbling and I realize it offers a great opportunity of grow spiritually since to “abandon the illusion of control” will make it easier to surrender my heart to God.  “It is easy to be a follower, but to be a disciple means to be a student—to be humble, docile and teachable, and to listen”  I think I am doing that with my lessons with Jen.  I also think Glenda, Joseph and Deacon Rick are helping to embrace these traits which I need for further spiritual growth.      
What I want to focus on more are two quotes: “turn your pain in prayer” (from 22 Reasons) and “the transformation of ordinary activities into prayer is the very essence of the inner life.”  I think the first idea is wonderful, but since I am not in any real pain, just weak and tired, I am not sure the Lord is challenging me in that way.  However, it is that transformation of ordinary activities into prayer that seems very important.  I look back at my life and realize how little it was connected to God.  I did pay to my special white pine, thanking it for another hike, another night in the hollow, for health for all my sick friends, and now for good natural energy to help me heal, but God has not been a presence for me.  Even when I had my first communion and confirmation I really had no connection to God.  It was my parents’ choice and since then, I may have gone to church a half dozen times, two funerals and once with my mother and I think a couple of times with my Aunt Marie.  I remember the time with my mother and I was distressed that so many people walked out right after communion.  Anyway to get back to living a life of prayer is my central concern.  “Offer the actions of your life to God as a prayer, whether you are washing the dishes, repairing a car, or studying for an exam, and by your inner intentions, you will transform ordinary daily activities into the noblest tasks” (61).  Is this really possible?  I am trying to make more of my life a prayer; for instance, I listen to holy music as I drive, often chanting along.  I do my porch prayers and singing and that certainly seems to be making my life more of a prayer.  My readings are more toward the spiritual and though I haven’t done much in this area, I am doing more and that makes my life more of a prayer.  My blog is still recording what is going on in my life but more and more I am writing about the spiritual.  I am not watching violent and sexual programs on TV and I do think that is helping me to focus on the more important thing, my relationship to God.   Kelly writes, “One of the most ancient practices of Christian spirituality is the unveiling of the deepest desires of our hearts through contemplation and reflection….God alone can satisfy the deepest cravings of our hearts” (41).  I do some contemplation and reflection particularly when I am resting in bed, usually after I have done something physical like a walk, but I am not sure that I am unveiling the deepest desire of my heart.  I think it is for the peace of the Holy Spirit to descend on my and allow me to be fully connected with the Lord.  That seems the most important thing in my life right now and I will continue to go to do the things I am doing as well as going to Mass and the Holy Spirit group.  
     I am sitting in the McDonalds in Blacksburg to use the internet and get a bite to eat.  It is six o’clock and I finally emailed at 5:21 to ask if she had any word on the closing and she texted that “Laura and David were working on getting documents notarized yesterday.”   Darbi said she would contact me later.   This delay doesn’t mean the deal is off but it may be put off till Monday and I only have till Tuesday to sign the Stroubles Crossing lease (perhaps they will give me a few day’s extension).  I have tried to stay calm and focus on making my day a prayer but this is a tough one.  I did some piano practicing and I am going to go bike riding shortly.  I know I have no control of the situation but accepting God’s mysterious will is so difficult.            




Thursday, June 15, 2017

Humility?

Thursday
I slept okay at the Quality Inn but it was very hard to get going.  Finally I got up for breakfast and then did a few knee exercises.  As I was shaving Shannon called from Toyota and I was able to rush over and get my phone paired with my truck.  I am in the waiting room at Shelor killing time and adding a few quotes from 22 Reasons: “First,  choice is the essence of love.  God let us choose because God loves us and wants us to choose to love Him back.”  Sounds easy enough but perhaps I have never really loved someone so if I don’t know how, how can I choose to love Him back.  “Instead of being bitter over the hardships we face, we must be thankful for all the blessings we enjoy.”  In my case, certainly I enjoyed many, many blessings: all the wonderful natural places I have visited, often again and again, becoming a writer with hundreds of publications even though a number of people questioned whether I would ever become a writer, living in my lovely hollow for over 20 years, many, many good times with Tracy, good friendships with a number of people, becoming a decent professor, now with 37 years of teaching.  I am not bitter right now, more anxious and wanting to make a connection with the Holy Spirit.  My lupus certainly is no fun but the hollow sale is very anxiety producing and if it does come off, then the move to Stroubles.  I thought I had retirement planned out and if I do sell the hollow for 165K, then I will surely have to keep working for at least 3 years.  And I will have almost no money to pay Tracy off right now, which I know is terribly unfair, but when Laura and David cut the price by 55K, that put me is such a bad spot.  “Ultimately we need God far more than we need explanations.”  I don’t think I am looking for explanations for my present problems but I really do need God.  All my accomplishments mean
Nothing if I remain without Faith and connection with the Holy Spirit.  I tried to pray a little this morning but my prayers seemed very superficial, very ineffectual.  I listened to the Kris Kristofferson song “Why Me Lord,” the version were he tells of his transformation in church, and it was clear that the Lord just chose to enlighten him at that moment; he wasn’t looking for such an experience.  It is a powerful story and song and I wish the Lord would allow me to have such an experience.  “Pride is a rock that is uneasily broken.”  “Nothing makes us more like Jesus than pure humility.  Nothing is as honored by God as true humility.”  I certainly have been humbled by my months of sickness and the whole situation with the hollow.  But pure humility seems to evade me.  Psalm 51:  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”  I’m as broken in spirit as I’ve ever been and I do have a broken and contrite heart.  I understand fully all my sins and I am deeply sorry for them all.  But I can’t go back and change them, though I so much wish I could.   I have confessed them, and I am going to Mass, and I think I have repented for my sins.  How do I proceed?   I get a lot out of the church stuff and I get comfort from my porch prayers and songs but is that the right path?  Jen says I need more patience and I will try to do that but I get so anxious (not only from the real stresses mentioned above but from the chemo and the many meds I am taking, including the prednisone) it’s so hard not to want relief from all this anxiety (though the small doses of valium have helped calm me during the day and allowed me to sleep.  “It is only through setbacks, suffering, and sorrows that we really understand who we are, who we aren’t, and even more important, who He really is.”  “True heartbroken humility is like a magnet that attracts the God who is hopelessly in love with the hopeless.”      
         







    


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The roller coaster continues

      Sunday I had my usual hard time getting up but I read some and eventually did my knee exercises and decided to take a walk down to the first resting stump.  I said the Hail Mary all the way down, a sort of nature rosary and I think the repetition was helpful.  On the way back (without stopping), I chanted the words from “The Chaplet of Divine Mercy,”  “For the sake of the sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on all of the world.”  That was comforting, letting me stay focused on prayer and on Jesus.
      I also got back into writing and I think I wrote some decent things about when I was diagnosed with cancer.  I think that was a time in my relationship with Tracy that we were closest and that seems a better place to focus on instead of the opening I worked on when she first left.
       Things changed rapidly after I headed out of the hollow.  I got a message from Darbi that Laura and David had another counteroffer, this time the fire sale figure of 165K.  I could have rejected that offer but Dougie had only talked about a 180K figure and that was not a committed figure and he would still have to obtain a right of way from Sisson and Ryan.  This would mean I have to pay off 13K on the equity line plus another 25K or so for the rest of the closing expenses.  I had the 50K in my AXA account but I can’t get to that for at least 10 days and the closing was to be by the 19th, only a week away.  So I called Dave, Rob, John and even Tracy.  She had heard of the problems from Jim Shortt and was pretty friendly, had no money to help me with, but when I asked her to forgive me for how I treated her (which is still the bad behavior that haunts me most), she said she had forgiven me years ago, and that gave me a lot of comfort in my new Catholic mode of repentence.  She asked about my health and I gave her an update.  Finally I got through to Rob and he said he could get me the money tomorrow so that will at least solve that problem.   I didn’t head home to do my prayers but I did end up riding my bike for 40 minutes on the Tech Campus. 

      On Monday I got up at about 7:20, washed and dressed and headed to Union.  I got there at 8:30 (they open at 9:00) but I called and they told me that I could do the deal by making up the difference in the balance.  I was so glad about that.   After a nice bike ride, I ended up going to the 7 pm Mass and Holy Spirit group at St. Mary’s.  That was comforting and then I drove home and cooked dinner and did my weights and yoga.

Tuesday I got up and cut the grass, leaving my truck at my gate and walking up.  After that I did my knee exercises, and then played some piano and headed off to meet Cathy for lunch at Panera in Blacksburg.  We  had a long chat about Maddie, Claire and Lou and about how she was feeling about the girls heading off to Winston Salem.  It was very nice to see her and I explained the situation with the hollow and my possibilities of foreclosure or bankruptcy.   I did go look at the Jefferson Street Apartments but there are 8 stairs to get to all of the units, no washers and dryers in the unit, and I would have to drive to go biking.   Stoubles has no steps, washer dryer inside, and the Huckleberry trail is a few hundred yards away.  It is more expensive but it is a much prettier area and has a lot more positives including the parking situation.  I have to decide on Stoubles by the 20th, just one more stress.
     Interestingly, at 4:25 I get a call from Darbi, that the closing will be at 10 on Thursday at the fire sale price of 165K so that means I will lose 55K which will really makes things tight till January.   That was wonderful news but I should have realized that I am not off the roller coaster yet.  I rode my bike at Tech and then headed home for my porch ritual but it was hard to concentrate thinking about the closing.

Wednesday has proven the roller coaster ride has not ended.  There were problems with faxing the final payoff figure (finally Lisa emailed it).  During this I had my meeting with Jen and we went over Luke Chapter 2 and she said a lot of interesting things and got me thinking a lot.  She thinks my urgency to connect with the Holy Spirit is way ahead of my pursuit and I think she is right.   I am so glad to have her support and guidance at this very difficult period.  After she left I called Jim Shortt, and he said that there would be no closing tomorrow since he is going to send someone to the courthouse to explore some new material about the history of the railroad crossing.  If they find something he thought Laura and David should go back to the 220 figure but I told him I doubted that would happen although it would be great if they at least raised it to the 180K equity line figure. I just don’t want them to back out of the deal.   It was too late to cancel my room at the Quality Inn (I didn’t want to take a chance on being in the hollow since a downed tree or a flat tire would make me miss the closing) so I am going to head over there soon.  I did do a 40 minute bike ride along the river here in Radford and that helped calm me a bit.