This is my last Thursday for the summer of easing into the day. Beginning next week Thursday mornings are going to look a whole lot different and a whole lot earlier. This is going to be interesting because on Wednesday nights I come home wired from choir and it takes a little while to settle in and calm down for restful sleep. Looks like I might have to pull out an oldie but goodie from the past. Years ago when I couldn't sleep I read all our insurance papers. A jillion boring words that hold lots of meaning yet not even a little bit of interesting reading. A couple of pages later and it's lights out.
Almost every morning this summer I have sat down at the computer looking for an email from Roy. This isn't any ordinary email, it is the safety moment email from the company he works for. They have been so interesting and informative but what I like the best about these safety moments is the commentary or instruction Roy adds to it. Many times he directs his comments to Buddy and her activities and sometimes he directs the comments to me, to help Buddy be a safety minded cat. It seems that Buddy has no interest in safety. An almost daily occurrence is hearing her lunge into the window trying to get a bird. Her bird watching is contributing to a decrease in late night wanderings and sheep disbursement. Bird watching has really cut into her abundance of nap taking. She tries to sleep there by the window but the sound of birds chirps and the of wings disrupts her plans. If she wants to sleep during the day, she goes to the guest room where it is nice and dark, without the sounds of birds. She put both paws over her eyes as if to enforce not being disturbed. Something I didn't realize when we moved my desk into the room formally known as the dinning room but used as a retreat room for me and I guess Buddy is the small speaker and iPod system behind the drop down door of the desk. Yesterday I had music so loud I didn't hear the phone ring. The day before that I played quiet instrumental music. Buddy isn't a fan of either but tolerates the instrumental better. Now what she really likes is the harmonica , and I am using this term loosely, that I play.
Earlier this week I got to visit with a friend I haven't talked with in quite sometime. We got caught up with each other's lives and briefly compared notes on our respective and for a lack of a better word, our respective "toxic" someone or as I refer to them as toxinistas. Her someone has much more active influence in her life than mine at this point. I listened empatheticaly as she shared the difficult road she's traveling and the emotional upheaval that seems to come with the territory. I heard a term used for these toxinisitas, Hoarders-Buried Alive. Of course they aren't like the TV show that tells the stories of people whose lives are cluttered almost to the ceiling with stuff. Their yards littered with bits and pieces of weathered and rusted cars and implements and not in the good way of patina or shabby chic. Most of the stuff that blocks entrance or exits is really just worthless junk and trash. The unmanageable paths they've created to live, move and exist is far more excruciating to those helping them change their minds and emotions and throwing away the junk. Now instead of looking at literal junk think about these toxinistas that have hurts, both perceived and real, unforgiveness, jealousy, envy, insecurity and pain piled up to their emotional, relational, and spiritual ceilings. Most toxinistas are also quite good at sabotage which insures and reinforces their barriers and walls. Nothing, no happiness, no special occasion, no holiday in reality will ever live up to the fantasy they've conceived in their brains or live up to what they think others are experiencing. So they would rather destroy rather than being disappointed. They are also skilled in diversion. So they spend their days hoarding hurts in order to be prepared for the day they might need those hurts to lash out and inflict pain yet at the same time harvesting more hurts to be piled up, to meditate and relive over and over again in that cess pool of poison. Their minds are a prison constructed by, guarded by and imprisoned in by their own making. Sometimes these toxinistas are looking for others to join their group. It's not a fun group because everyone wants to tell their story or top the previous story that has been told. As my friend and I compare notes we were happy, no thrilled and joyful to begin our observations with Colossians 3. We both have chosen not to be a member of that dreary little band of Debbie Downers. We pray for them, we love them but the time has come to not be drawn in by their schemes and mean spirited plans. Years ago, I was borderline and could have joined that negative bunch. When Roy was in law school, there were many Sundays I came to church by myself because he had study groups to attend. Every Sunday morning while I got ready I recounted and meditated on every wrong and injustice and like a good grouser I began at the beginning from childhood and worked my way through the years. No wonder I was never in a good mood when I got to church, not even the music could reach into my miserable spirit. What the heck? Even hearing Beth Moore every Sunday in Sunday School had limited effects. Not because she hadn't studied but because my heart was so hard. One Sunday when she taught from the Psalms on having spiritual Alzheimer's, the light broke through the darkness. It became so clear that meditating on the bad instead of all the good and the blessings from God in life tainted me and continuation of this was going to lead me to a not so good God glorifying life. There had to be a change. Fast forward almost 20 years and what a difference God's Word makes in lives. Now that's an understatement! I continue to learn that thankfulness and thanksgiving are the window openings to light and better understanding of the ways of God. Being thankful keeps our hearts soft and pliable to hear God's direction. Go through the Pauline epistles and see just how much Paul exhorted and encouraged his readers to approach with thanksgiving in the ordinaries of daily life.
As a kid there were those scary stories that we told one another. One in particular, the story of a girl being buried alive and when her casket was exhumed for some reason or another, they, whoever these theys were, found scratch marks on the inside lid of the coffin. She had been buried alive! If you find yourself traversing the path of being a toxinista and feel like you are buried alive on all the stuff and the past and hurts that you won't let go of, it doesn't have to end like the girl buried alive. You don't have to scratch your way out from underneath. No, there is resurrection power that lifts you out of the miry clay that has been beneath, on top of and all around you. That is the miracle of Christ in our lives and then we like Paul who said in Phil 4, I have learned...I have found...I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. It is learning and finding and surrendering, by letting God's Word do its work in transforming and renewing our minds. Cause really when you think about it wouldn't you rather be a Wordinista? With thanksgiving, joy and peace? Maybe even some love thrown in? It is the ultimate catch and release program, catch that thought and release it back into the wild or pin it in the Word of God. Don't take it home, not even in a to go box.