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Sore Spots

Professionals who should avoid growing long nails: nurses, pianists, gardeners…masseuses…
Indeed.  I finally got in today and had  a massage.  My lower back has been especially tight lately and I’m still fighting the sciatic pain I’ve been dealing with for the past 15 months.  I had a good masseuse today, but she had nails!  And there were several times those nails got me.  I had to take Advil when I got home.  Well, that really wasn’t so much for all the nail nicks.  That was more just because she persisted in kneading into my sore spots, of which I have plenty.  As I was laying there getting pummeled it occurred to me that this is what needs to happen in the grief process.  Rather than arch back and try to avoid the pain, you have to “lean into” it.  If you don’t get those painful spots worked out then they just get bigger.
And the reason grief is on my mind right now is because this has been a very difficult week for the Pville community.  Two moms died within 48 hours of each other late last week.  Both each had two children in the schools, both unexpected deaths.  The community is just reeling. When your entire school system is comprised of only 600-700 students, it’s tight.   I didn’t know the one mom.  I recognize her last name, but I didn’t know her family at all.  She was 44 and I’ve been told she was killed by a stroke.  That  hits home.
And then the other one…I knew.  Everybody knew Kim.  She grew up in Pville and used to coach the high school girls’ softball team.  She was the vice president of the bank in town.  Her husband is the business manager at the school and several relatives teach there.  One son is a high school freshman.  The other is in Sam’s class. They came to Ben’s graduation party a couple of years ago.   She broke her ankle or foot a couple of weeks ago and had to have surgery.  Last Friday she died of a pulmonary embolism.  She was my age.  Sam and I went to her visitation Wednesday night.  The line stretched out the funeral home, down the driveway and down the sidewalk.  We waited for an hour and a half to get in the building.  I finally reached her husband and he pulled me into a big hug and whispered to me, “Now, I know.  Now I know.”  Or something along those lines.  He was talking into my deaf ear.  Maybe he was saying, "You're standing on my toe."  Anyway, yeah…it’s a sad and hard club you join once you do. 
I was so proud of Sam.  This classmate of his has been a bit of a problem, off and on, for the past couple of years.  This year the bullying reached a point where I had to contact the elementary principal.  His parents must have come down hard on him because Sam says he hasn’t had a bit of problem with the classmate since.  That’s a relief to me, but now that he is dealing with grief I wonder if some of the old behaviors will flare again.  And then what do I do?  Best to not borrow trouble, I guess.  Anyway, I told Sam what had happened and his mind immediately begin flying with what he could do for his classmate.  He was devastated for this boy.  He finally opted to write him a letter.  When he sat down to do it he asked me for some verses of comfort references and then he laboriously printed them out in his letter.  He just encouraged this classmate that things won’t always be this hard.  It could have been so easy for Sam to feel a sense of satisfaction that finally, the shoe was on the other foot, and now bad things were happening to this kid who has, historically, not been all that nice to him.  But there was none of that.
So, anyway…sigh…sometimes life is so hard.
Sara and the girls came down yesterday afternoon.  We hung around here for a little bit and then went out to Jordan Creek like we always do when they are here.  All was fine – we had a nice time.  It was lightly raining when we drove out to the mall and it was still raining when we left around 8:30.  But as we drove it began to hail!  It was so bad that I finally pulled over under an underpass.  Then, it seemed to let up, but hello – the interstate was now pretty icy.  I had never put that together before that hail will make the roads slippery.  And then it started to sleet!  So, the short story is that Sara and the girls ended up spending the night and went home this morning.  It was actually snowing some when we woke up but now it’s just a light rain.
When I got home Will was in my living room watching basketball with Jonathan and Sam.  Then, when David got home from work all the guys went over to Will’s house with Ben’s Playstation and I guess stayed up until 1 this morning playing Madden football on Will’s 60”.  Guy time. 
Wednesday was kind of a crazy day.  I did my shopping that day, including clothes shopping for Lizzie for summer (which seems like a long, long time away from now).  I was in line checking out at Walmart when Ben called me from work.  He told me that he had hurt his chin and it wouldn’t stop bleeding.  And then he hung up.  I wasn’t sure what that was all about, but figured it if it was important he'd call back.  He did.  I asked him to give the phone to a co-worker.  She ended up using her phone to text me a picture of his chin to see what I thought.  He had stumbled and cracked his chin on a shopping cart handle.  I told her we’d probably better have it looked it.  So, there I was, about 50 min. away from Knoxville where Ben was.  I finally had David go down to Knoxville, pick up Ben from work, and take him to the ER located in Knoxville.  Then, I drove straight to the hospital after finishing checking out and met up with them,  had David take the bags that had ice cream in them home.  Fortunately, David’s friend, Seth, had been at our house all day, hanging out, so he watched Sam and Ellie for me so David could run Ben to the ER.  Anyway – they ended up just gluing Ben’s chin shut.  It looks like he has a bit of a soul patch there now.  That was also the night of the visitation Sam and I went to.  It was a very long, very tiring day.
I ordered my graduation present the other day – from me to me.  Other than my bed, it’s the most expensive piece of furniture I’m going to own.  But I love it, love it, love it.  I can’t wait for it be built and arrive.
It’s an Amish made Hoosier cabinet.  I have always wanted a hoosier cabinet and when Paul re-did our kitchen he did so, making a specific place for the cabinet we were going to get someday.  After he died it occurred to me that I could just go buy one now, but I no longer had the heart.  Last fall I began to reconsider and began to think that maybe I could muster up the desire now.  So, I began to look around in recent months, but I haven’t been able to find exactly what I want.  A few weeks ago it occurred to me that I should check Craig’s List again.  If I were to find something local I had some time that day that I could go look.  I wonder if God was nudging me – but maybe it was just my own desire.  I don’t know.  I did actually find one on Craig’s List, but it wasn’t local so I wasn’t going to be able to look at it that day.  But I pulled out the tape measure and I realized that the spot where I intended to put the cabinet was not going to work with most Hoosiers.  They have tops that extend out close to 3 feet.  That would make the entrance into the kitchen tight.  Hmmm…So, anyway, I began to do some research on-line and found this company that sends their orders to Amish shops around the country.  They had a hoosier design that just happened to be $100 cheaper that day, plus they were offering free shipping, which is a $200 value.  The sales rep I talked to said that “never happens!”  Maybe, maybe not.  I researched the company and they seem pretty solid.  In the end, I ordered it unpainted and unvarnished.  That would have been another $1200 to get the cabinet just like it looked in the picture.  So, I will do that myself.  I’ve been doing some research on “antique-y” paints and I’ve found something called “milk paint” that is sold, pre-mixed on Amazon and I’m going to try that.  I think I’m also going to replace the wooden knobs with reproduction glass ones.
It is supposed to take 2-3 months for the cabinet to arrive.  I have a feeling it will arrive that week before David’s graduation party and then I’m going to want to get it all painted that week before everyone comes out for his party!  But I won’t.  It will be my summer project.
So, anyway – I’m excited!  I remind myself that things are always temporal and it’s not wise to get too attached.  One fire or tornado will demolish this expensive cabinet to rubble.  But even recognizing that still doesn’t seem to damper my enthusiasm for my present.
Now I have to make sure I actually graduate!  Five more months!
I am finally in my Creative Writing class that I have been looking forward to for over a year.  And much to my disappointment…we’re going to have write poetry.  Blech. I actually used to write poetry as a teenager, but it was always free verse and I’m afraid I’m going to be asked in this class to follow specific formats.  But this week we had to come up with a flash fiction piece and that was kind of fun.
Will got my new ceiling up in the living room this week – more planking to match the dining room.  So today I am staining it.  My overhead light has not been hung back up yet and the sky is so gray today that it is kind of hard to see what I am doing, even in the middle of the day!
Last weekend David went to the Timothy retreat up at camp.  This is a retreat for young men who are open to/exploring the possibility of future ministry.  Only 14 young men in the entire state registered for this thing, which surprised me.  David did not want to go.  He felt like he should, but he kept coming up with these excuses as to why he didn’t think he was going to be able to make it.  That is so unlike him.  That morning he told me he thought he was coming down with a cold and should probably stay home.  I just gave him “the look.”  He went.  And he said later he knew it was Satan trying to keep him home.  Our church always has camp attendees share testimonies of what they learned when they came home.  David stood up in front of the church and was really honest.  He told the congregation that he’s been sensing for some time that God has something ministry-wise planned for him.  Last summer he definitely felt like he was experiencing some sort of “call” on his life while at Senior High camp.  But, he said, he has no idea of what this is going to look like yet.
And that’s just it.  I cannot see him making it through a four year college with his learning issues.  I know there are other  ways to go into ministry.  There is lay ministry and there are ministry opportunities for those without Bible college degrees.  But can a missionary support a wife and family without supporting churches?  And in our denomination you’re not going to get that kind of support without a 4 year Bible degree.  So…I don’t know.  But I keep reminding myself that God does.  He has the details and the “hows” already worked out.
David will be up at camp working again this summer.  He is also planning to be a counselor for Jr. Boys camp, which will be good because Sam is going that week.  I’ll get him graduated here in two months and then I guess we’ll figure out the next steps, bit by bit.
Well, tomorrow I will be 47 years old.  I like that number.  I haven’t had a number I liked since 45.  I guess that was only two years ago.  48 and 49 don’t excite me, either, so I guess all I have to look forward to is 50.  And the problem with that…is that it is 50.  But I may feel differently in 3 years, too.  I think the reason I like 47 is because of the ending consonant sounds.  They’re definite and decided – no wishy washiness.  Normally, I buy myself a birthday present but this year there is just nothing I really want right now.  Well, I’m toying with the idea of getting a Roomba vacuum – that style, not that brand.  But I haven’t decided for sure yet.  Besides, I just bought that cabinet.  And I owe Will money for the wood for my ceiling.  That’s enough!  I don’t need stuff.  I could use some more time, but that’s hard to purchase.
Anyway, that’s all I know.  It will be rainy tomorrow – that much I do know.  I have only ever had a handful of sunny birthdays.  It almost always rains – early spring in the Midwest.  That’s what happens.
I’ve got one more coat to get on a 1 foot wide swath across the ceiling and then I am done.  Supper is cooking and the countdown to the kids’ bedtimes is on.  I think I’d like a bath tonight, too.  Sara’s daughter, Emily, made me some scented, colored bath salts and I would like to relax in that and relieve the stiffness from yesterday’s massage and today’s painting.
Life is not bad.  And neither is middle age.  Am I officially in my late 40s now?  I want to ask how that happened, but that answer is that I have, so far, simply avoided dying.


  1. I like 48! It is an even number and has multiple factors: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, 24, and 48. I think 47 is a prime number! I was glad to make it to 48 because I didn't like the number 47 :-). Glad you got to see the masseuse, and agree about leaning into pain. My aunt is a new widow as of 9 days ago. He was in his late 70's and there were weeks when his death seemed inevitable but it is never easy. So very sorry about the 2 moms dying close to you.


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