.posthidden {display:none} .postshown {display:inline} By His Own Hand. . .

8/21/2020

Provision and faith

The past week these two verses have stuck out to me (they have parallels in Matthew but I have the feeling this entry will get too long so I'm going to stick with the Luke ones for now).

Luke 12:25-26
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 

Luke 17:6
And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

As far as provision- Jesus says that adding an hour to our life is a small thing.  If someone said "if you drink this mixture you will guaranteed live for an extra hour" and it were proven to be true somehow, people would go crazy.  In some ways we try to add time to our lives through medicine, eating habits, working out, etc, although actively I don't think we think of it with quite that mortal of a view.  But just the concept of adding time to life is not something we really have any control over.  Having that kind of power would be HUGE.  Yet Jesus says this is a small thing for Him.  And so in the context of not worrying, Jesus is showing just how powerful He really is and how well He can provide all the things we need for life.

As far as faith- I did a little research about growing mustard, apparently it grows pretty easily with basic needs met (tilled soil, some sunlight, etc) and also grows pretty quickly.  It's common in the middle East and there are wild mustard plants that grow quite large (there's more talk of mustard seed and other seeds)
along the Jordan river.  Some translations make a size comparison (faith as small as a mustard seed) but I think that cheats a little of the original language.  There's more to compare than just size, even in the context of the disciples trying to figure out why they didn't have "enough faith" to expel demons.  But either way,  it's not the size of faith that "makes it work"- it's where the faith is placed.  If you don't put a seed in the ground, it won't grow.  And while the farmer may plant the seed, water it, care for it, but he is not actively growing the plant through any power within himself.  So the challenge for us is to actually put our faith in God's power.  And that means giving up control, letting go, and actively planting that seed of faith.

And what is faith?

Hebrews 11:1, 6
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek him.

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It's been rough.  Really since March, but also the past 10-12 weeks spiraled into darker places.  But this past week there have been some Spirit-led discoveries through some trainings I've had to do for a new job I've taken.  I've been dealing with a lot of feelings of rejection through this pandemic; being alone for an extended period of time is never a good thing, but then when I have managed to reach out, I found myself being ignored, forgotten, or brushed aside. . . and so the past few months I've found myself beyond the ability to cope with that.  It seems easier to live with the problems than to risk another rejection.  So between that and the PTSD of the pandemic response being like bone marrow transplant land, I'm a mess.  But some of that rejection I think I have misinterpreted; instead of rejection, what I was getting was sympathy.  One training module described the difference between empathy and sympathy:
Sympathy is looking down into the dark hole; empathy is coming down into the dark hole.
Sympathy says "well at least _______," empathy says "I've felt that and you're not alone."
Sympathy moves on quickly; empathy stays and listens.  
Sympathy tries to give a response to try and "make it better", a band-aid for a gaping wound; empathy makes a connection, a compassionate listening to let the other person just empty their heart. 

It's the connection that helps the healing process.  There's no "answer" to be found, that was never the goal- but people need to be heard and feel loved.

So yesterday I did probably the healthiest thing in a while and actually initiated, granted to no feedback which was not unexpected, but I know two things to process through: I need an empathetic listener, and I need to reevaluate some of my perspective on what was rejection and what was well-intentioned but ill-received sympathy.

7/16/2020

Fear

I've been avoiding Facebook for quite a while now, primarily because when I get on, I barely have to scroll before I find myself becoming very angry.  This is not my typical M.O. and so I don't like to bring myself into that.  But, a friend recently made a point that helped me see the reactions of others to the coronavirus, both those that are doomsayers and those who are deniers, are all at their core based in fear.  And as I've mulled this over the past couple days, it has really helped me think through things.

For some, the virus is scary because it might kill you, it might kill your family and friends, it might leave you with physical problems that cannot be rehabilitated.  Essentially, it's a fear of death (not only the idea that we might die but also that we might be the causation of someone else's death by passing the virus).

For others, the virus is scary because it has shut down our economy, our livelihood, our identities, our families, our ability to act freely and live independently.  Essentially, it's a fear of submission (in this case, to a virus that has no political agenda and yet has changed our lives in ways we can't control).


Ultimately for both, it is a fear of the idea that we don't have ultimate authority in our lives to shape it the way we want.


I won't go on a tirade about the American values that exacerbate the problem, but the desire to control our own destinies goes all the way back to the first created people.  Adam and Eve choose to eat the one fruit that has been set aside as "hey, don't eat this!" and so there is no surprise that we who have inherited that nature continue to approach life in that manner.

So what is the cure for this fear?  The answer as I see it is twofold.

For the non-believer, the only cure is found in Jesus.  The world is broken; if anyone thinks otherwise, just look around at what's going on.  I'm not saying that being optimistic is wrong, but at the moment a virus has effectively shut down the entire world (hence, pandemic).  However, life is broken on small scales as well: family problems, financial woes, inner turmoil, hurtful political agendas, addictions.  The world is broken beyond the repair of the people living on it.  And so what can we do?

Nothing.  Nothing on our own anyway.

God's design for man is that we would share a relationship with Him, enjoying His glory and worshipping (that is, assigning God as the object of worth).  His holiness requires perfection, but unfortunately our brokenness as expressed in sin keeps that relationship estranged.  One may say they are a "good" person, but certainly no one would say they are perfect.  And yet God is perfect (because if He isn't then He isn't a very powerful God), and He cannot mix with imperfect.  However (and this is a HUGE however) God hasn't left us without a Way.  God came down as a human, Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, the Promised One, and lived a perfect human life.  He was killed by His own people for no legitimate reason, providing a perfect sacrifice that would pay once for all the price of sin.  And Jesus rose again, bringing victory over death and sin for all mankind and leaving for us the hope of a restored relationship with God as well as the power of God Himself via the Holy Spirit.

That's the gospel Hope.  That's the message the Church is sent to share.  That's the lifelong journey of discovering the power of God in our lives to affect change, what takes a monster like Saul and transforms him into the most prolific writer of the New Testament.  That's what takes a prideful, highly opinionated, attention seeking jerk and begins to transform him into someone who is more patient and compassionate (and I'm still working on the pride and appropriate deliverance of opinions).  That's what takes any and every person who will accept their need for salvation from their brokenness, believe in Jesus's death and resurrection, and confess their own sin before a holy God and be brought into a glorious new life for the immediate, for the future life on earth, and for the eternal life after death.

For the believer, we are told in 1 John 4 that perfect love casts out fear.  And so we must meditate on the love of God.  And we have to encourage one another in that way.  The promises of God are not always fulfilled the way we want, but that goes back to Who has authority in our lives.  "Not my will, but Yours be done."  Is this easy?  No, not always.  But open any part of the Bible and you will see both the faithfulness of God and the need of man to depend on Him.  This is why we need each other, why God appointed the church as the primary medium of His mission, because we need others to help us pursue God.

I could go on and on but instead, I will end with three things:

First, if you don't buy into the whole Jesus thing, then ask me questions about what you don't like.  I won't pretend to have all the answers to every single thing that comes up, but also the answers I will give you will come from the authority of Scripture, not just out of my own head.

Second, if you do believe but you are struggling, reach out, to me or someone else.  This pandemic has been awful for some and not so bad for others, but even without that added in, we are not meant to navigate life in isolation (physically we may be isolated, but technology allows us to make some connection).

Finally, wherever you fall, consider how fear may be playing in to the way you are currently living/acting/posting on social media.  Fear is a powerful motivator but it's also very manipulative.  Read primary source materials, not just headlines.  Look at the research, not the interpretation of the research.  Recognize that no one knows everything about what is going on.  Consider the golden rule of treating others the way you would want to be treated, regardless of if they treat you that way.

7/01/2020

Getting back to the light

So I did a little research to see if there were any tips for getting your body off of night shift and guys, it turns out that night shift is bad for you!  How did I miss out on that little detail!  I did nights at Wal-Mart for 7 weeks but that was also like 6 months after Camz died so all of that was a hard point in life anyway, but hey! my going crazy is more legitimate than I wanted to give credit!  And then you add forced social isolation and a job that didn't require talking even though there are people around (like literally I would say I made three work friends and I don't know any of their names) and hey! your losing your mind is extremely circumstantial!

I've been in a peculiar dark place for the past couple weeks.  There have been ups and downs through the past few months but I wonder if I had not quit now, then how much further down I would have gotten. . . I still have no specific plan though I have some options presented, and as I pursue them I know God will make it clear which one(s) are for me to take.  But I've got to get back to living in the light of day, and I'm going to bite the bullet and try and stay up through most of today.  I can't stand the thought of another 8-10 hour chunk of time in the dark, alone, waiting for anyone to wake up in order to get the most meager of human connection through text messaging.

Last night I tried my best to sleep extra or at least stay in bed.  I stayed up pretty late (until like 12 or 1) so I didn't wake up until around 8 PM, but then around 10:30 I went and laid back down).  I didn't get back out of bed until 2, and I fell asleep twice which I know because of the dreams I had.  The first was one where we were moving into a new house.  There were no closets but lots of oddly designed armoires that opened from both sides. . . like most dreams, the physical layout of things didn't really make a lot of sense (like, a handful of steps up or down into each room, and I feel like I never got to the bottom floor of the place).  I was doing my best to organize things but not get too far because I knew that Camz would want to be a part of it, and especially with treatment knowing that any time to express control over using her brain power was an important thing for me to provide.  And so when she got there we got to doing the work, and it was going well, just looking through all the stuff and finding a place for everything, and then I woke up.

Those kinds of dreams aren't super common for me, at least not lately; the last couple have been much worse because usually I'm trying to get somewhere but I have a problem navigating the roads, and then when I get to whatever location it is it turns out I had been making my way to her funeral.  I've had that dream twice in the past three months, I think this has been the only time in recent past where she's been alive in a dream.  (The second dream was much less interesting, I was just going to some public park and fighting with people about wearing masks, but it was just as clear/realistic)

And then finally I wake up for real to reality, to coronalife, to unemployment, to 2 AM.

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Clinging desperately to vv. 11-12:

Psalm 77 (MSG)
1-6 I yell out to my God, I yell with all my might, I yell at the top of my lungs. He listens.   I found myself in trouble and went looking for my Lord; my life was an open wound that wouldn’t heal.  When friends said, “Everything will turn out all right,” I didn’t believe a word they said.  I remember God—and shake my head.  I bow my head—then wring my hands.  I’m awake all night—not a wink of sleep; I can’t even say what’s bothering me.  I go over the days one by one, I ponder the years gone by.  I strum my lute all through the night, wondering how to get my life together.

7-10 Will the Lord walk off and leave us for good?  Will he never smile again?  Is his love worn threadbare?  Has his salvation promise burned out?  Has God forgotten his manners?  Has he angrily stalked off and left us?  “Just my luck,” I said. “The High God goes out of business just the moment I need him.”

11-12 Once again I’ll go over what God has done, lay out on the table the ancient wonders; I’ll ponder all the things you’ve accomplished, and give a long, loving look at your acts.

13-15 O God! Your way is holy! No god is great like God!  You’re the God who makes things happen; you showed everyone what you can do—  You pulled your people out of the worst kind of trouble, rescued the children of Jacob and Joseph.

16-19 Ocean saw you in action, God, saw you and trembled with fear;  Deep Ocean was scared to death.  Clouds belched buckets of rain, Sky exploded with thunder, your arrows flashing this way and that.  From Whirlwind came your thundering voice, Lightning exposed the world, Earth reeled and rocked.  You strode right through Ocean, walked straight through roaring Ocean, but nobody saw you come or go.

20 Hidden in the hands of Moses and Aaron, You led your people like a flock of sheep.

6/23/2020

three failed attempts

My first name for this post was going to be "waking up from the nightmare" but the idea of calling the past three months a nightmare seems to pessimistic, and also coronalife is not over by any means.

My second name for this post was going to be "waking up from the fever dream" but with fever being a symptom of corona and also figuring out that waking up makes it sound like the past few months were not reality.  And certainly there is an unreality about it all, but the fact is that all of it has really happened.

My third name for this post was going to be "the shifting sands of time" which is a play on living a night shift life but then there's like a sahara desert sand cloud thing coming?? (which PS I know is actually not only normal but also a good thing for hurricane season but still)

So. . . three failed attempts it is.

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God has been very good in the past few months, and so I struggle with not wanting to complain about being provided for but also recognizing that there is an aspect of un-sustainability that is coming to a head.  I don't know that I will be able to completely articulate everything concisely but I also don't want to continue to let the streak of not writing and keeping everything as an inner one-sided dialogue as that has been pretty much my life for most of this weird existence.  I recognize that all humans are social creatures, and I've had my first real tastes of spending time with people again.  I've heard laugher come out of my body that almost sounded foreign, not because I have been in some horrible dark place but because it was actually mixed with other human voices.

And so, a little update.

My tenure at Amazon is coming to an end, primarily because I cannot do night shift in combination with church and gigs, and a close second being that the job is starting to hurt my hands regularly (as in, my left index finger has not stopped hurting since mid May, and even now, my last shift having been Friday night into Saturday morning as I took Saturday off in order to be somewhat functional for Sunday morning's first gathering, both hands ache when I make a fist).  But it's the first one I need to record, at the very least for myself, so that when I look back in a couple weeks and realize that I'm quitting a job in a climate where financial security is totally gone, that there is legitimate reasons and also God's hand of provision is here, though I can't see exactly what the next step is at this precise moment.

The first few weeks of work are a blur, partially because I was 100% on survival mode and partially because I was choosing to do 4-5 shifts a week.  I think I worked like three weeks in a row of close to 60 hours.  I literally have no idea how I did it.  The job itself isn't horrible, but I have to remember the salt in this sentence because the job as it is supposed to be isn't horrible.  That has only represented about 20-25% of the shifts.  Most of the time there has been shenanigans, sometimes little ones and sometimes big ones.  Thankfully the past couple weeks have been mostly good, and I have high hopes for this final weekend.

But. . .

Night shift is having grand emotional and physical repercussions.  I could not tell you what has happened any given Sunday night, because I spend more of it in half conscious or unconscious states than conscious ones.  Even just now, so Sunday was church and I woke up around 7 PM but I didn't get out of bed until like 9, and then slept on and off from 11-2 before I finally was fully awake.  And then I had my first gig since March Monday morning at 10 AM, so I got home late again and woke up around the same time as Sunday.  About an hour ago (so like just after midnight) I finally have sense of my brain and where I am.  I went back and forth between my recliner and my bed, lights on, youtube playing, in and out of consciousness and the added fun of sleep paralysis the past three weeks!  Or maybe four, definitely and particularly bad the past two either way.  I'm not sure what's the symptom and what's the cause (am I falling apart because of night shift?  or is the thought of getting off of night shift causing my body to rebel?) but I'm definitely over it.

Related, I didn't realize how much of my internalizing my thoughts about this different work life was drawing inspiration from Steven King's IT.  Like. . . my hands! mirroring Kay (friend of Beverly) who gets attacked and spills the beans when her face is threatened with a sharp object. . . or "SHENANIGANS" like how Richie puts trademark phrases.

I don't know.  I'm rambling a little but basically I'm getting off of night shift starting next week, which is really the point of this all.

I didn't realize I was earning PTO, being a seasonal hourly employee.  But there were lots of changes made when they hired the corona force, and that was one of the benefits.  So I was able to take the Saturday's off that I needed to in order to be present physically, emotionally, and mentally for Sunday mornings.  My last day there is this Friday, so happy early birthday to me.

Psalm 119:89-96 (MSG)

What you say goes, God,
    and stays, as permanent as the heavens.
Your truth never goes out of fashion;
    it’s as up-to-date as the earth when the sun comes up.
Your Word and truth are dependable as ever;
    that’s what you ordered—you set the earth going.
If your revelation hadn’t delighted me so,
    I would have given up when the hard times came.
But I’ll never forget the advice you gave me;
    you saved my life with those wise words.
Save me! I’m all yours.
    I look high and low for your words of wisdom.
The wicked lie in ambush to destroy me,
    but I’m only concerned with your plans for me.
I see the limits to everything human,
    but the horizons can’t contain your commands!

6/04/2020

I've meant to write. . .

. . . and I knew that if I didn't I would lose some pieces of thought.  Which, that is not the end of the world, but suddenly it is June and I have been I don't know where.  So, some of the tattered pieces I'm trying to keep from flying away completely:

Is this transitionally going to the apartment or going back home?
Related, new normal is not quite yet; we are going to be transitional for a while.

When things are working out too perfectly in timing, it is likely that it is not from my brain or my doing.

My heart hurts for the world, for this country, for the insanity perpetuated onto other human beings.

God is good and God does good.

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Romans 8:18-39 (MSG)
That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.

o, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

5/14/2020

where is the wind?

Mood swings.

I'm sure I've talked about them before.  But I think there are many people who may be facing them for the first time because of the situation coronavirus has put us in.  And sometimes just recognizing what's going on emotionally is what allows us to take the first steps forward instead of just stagnating.

Because the thing is, we don't have to let our emotions control us.  In the same breath we also have to understand that we don't have complete control over our emotions, especially in a time of crisis.  So instead, one thing we can do is redefine our approach to emotions- rather than seeing the emotions as inherently positive or negative, we can see that our response to emotions can be negative or positive.  Anger can be positive (like standing up for the rights of mistreated individuals); happiness can be negative (like rejoicing at the closure of a rival's business).

For me, there's some sadness this week.  I should have ran a half marathon last Saturday, and I had been training for several weeks before the virus shut everything down.  I should have been opening a cabaret tomorrow night, one of my favorite gigs because it's low time/high risk/high reward.  The magic of making music with old and new faces in a short period of time is unique and exciting and I miss it.  I could react to these both in a number of ways, but:

- I am choosing to recognize that God's timing of putting me in the midst of training put me in a good physical place to make a pretty seamless transition into a physically demanding job.

- I am choosing to see that I may be getting good at making boxes for people but I'm much better at making music with people.

- I am choosing to see the temporary nature of the situation and to both cherish the memories of what I have been able to experience and look forward with greater appreciation to the time where I will get to perform and collaborate again.

These choices don't make the sadness not sad- they make the sadness not negative.



The realm of the mind I think is also the realm of the spiritual. . . I don't have time to flesh all this out right now but these three passages (but particularly Romans 12:2) is the beginning of that conversation.

Galatians 5:16-24
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Romans 12:1-2
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Ephesians 6:10-18a
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
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I don't know if I expressed it here or somewhere else or just internally but soon after all this corona stuff started, for a couple weeks, the phrase I kept coming back to was "yeah I've been through hard times but this is not inspiring me to overcome; this is just taking the wind out of my sails."

What I've realized over the past few days is that it wasn't the wind that was taken.  I had taken down my sails because the wind shifted.

My wife often said, "I feel God in the wind," enough so that I was gifted wind chimes after her death with a similar sentiment etched onto the paddle.  I am having to remind myself that there's so much more than the what-is-in-front-of-me.  There are no accidents and there are no coincidences.  There is some value in physical training but value for all things in godliness, both the present and the future (1 Tim 4:8).

So I'm putting my sails back up, because I know Who controls the winds and the sea.

5/05/2020

time is bendy

A few unfinished thoughts but I'm trying my best to keep putting something down so that my brain doesn't drown and/or just put things into the already overfull "we can think about this later" bin.

I proposed seven years ago (I was going to say today which seems true for me but technically it is yesterday now, Star Wars day, May the Fourth be with you, which is not why I did on that day, in fact it was literally that the jewelry shop let me know that the ring resizing for the engagement ring was finished and I literally dropped everything and picked it up and met with Cam's dad for lunch to ask permission to marry her and then picked her up and took her to Beresford where we had our first serious conversation and anyway it certainly made it easy to remember the date).  Since that day, I went through a life where we were planning a long life together with a long engagement and a summer to honeymoon and find a house and take our time to do all the things.  I then went through a life of returned cancer in a mass in her sternum and treatment plans that started after Thanksgiving and moving and downsizing the wedding because there were three weeks of relative freedom from treatment and planning to do a big party celebration later.  Then there was Bone Marrow Transplant Life that I still can't wrap my mind around, both the process and even the coming home and becoming an untrained health care provider and cleaning all the things.  And then there was the life immediately after her death and trying hard to follow God but also just trying to survive and now I'm in Jacksonville.  And then there's been the past five years of living here and being a performer and a pastor and I'm still not really sure what I'm doing in either of those worlds.  And now there's coronalife where I am working nightshift and wondering when this will all end and knowing that it won't "end" as much as it will slowly fizzle into an ultimate new normal that should last a good long while once this pandemic is under control.

So six lives in seven years.  Pretty soon I'm going to be a cat.

The other thing is a couple days ago at work I had my first physical contact since this all happened.  It was not anything crazy, I went to ask the rebin guy if he had seen sewing needles and between masks and wearing ear plugs and it's just loud in the warehouse he said "huh?" and put his arm around my shoulders as he leaned in to hear what I was saying.  He was an older guy, it was a perfectly normal and somewhat fatherly gesture, and in any other circumstance I probably wouldn't have even seen it on my radar.  But I had several reactions in a short period: comfort, concern, aversion, confusion about all of the previous.  I'm a touch person, and in the correct context, even a stranger's touch is not anywhere near a red flag in my mind.  But touch during this pandemic where we are told we are supposed to stay six feet apart (which even with the independent nature of as well as the physical distribution of people in my job is still almost impossible) is a strange thing.

And also related to that last thought, I bought a weighted blanket, and I love it, but it's strange.  It certainly isn't human but it gives me a similar sensation to ASMR, except all over, and if I'm under it for a long time and then go to stand up I don't have complete control of my physical facilities for a little bit, which I sort of don't like.  So it's nice to be under the blanket and just stay there, and I'm having to learn to only use it when I don't have to do much but sit in my recliner (whether I am working on my computer or on the phone or whatever.  I made the mistake of getting under it before a shift and I was not ok until at least an hour into work).

I guess I'm looking forward to having two days off?  I'm looking forward to not having responsibilities tomorrow at least.  And I ended up as a down stacker so my body will appreciate two days to recover.