Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One year ago today 4/20/2011

My mother in law tried to call me but I was on a teleconference.  She texted me asking me to call her.  When I called she told me, my sister in law, my husband's oldest brother's long time girlfriend, was going to die within 24 hours. of lung cancer.  My mind immediately went to her 4 children barely adults some of them, 2 grandsons barely school age, and two "stepsons" my nephews who lost their mother a mere 5 months before of cancer.  And then to going outside and having a cigarette.  I was stressed, I needed help.  My cigarettes had been my friend, comfort, stress release, appetite suppressant, and so many other things for 20 some odd years.  I loved them.  I loved smoking.  I enjoyed it. Except that I hid it.  I never smoked at work.  It was stupid and I couldn't let people know I was stupid.

She hung on for nearly another 24 hours, and then peacefully passed, smoking to the end.  And I had my last cigarette. I was done.

Smoking for me had always been a death sentence.  More so  than the "average" smoker.  My father died of cardiac complications at 54.  His mother died of cardiac complications at 43.  My mother's father died of lung cancer and emphysema at 42.  Those are my genetics.  All three of them had one thing in common.  They smoked like chimneys until the day they went unconscious.  Smoking is particularly fatal to someone with my family history.

I am not afraid to die.  I love God & Jesus and believe I'm going to Heaven.  I'm afraid of leaving my beautiful healthy strong children to fend for themselves at 25 or 31.  I'm afraid of not growing old with the love of my life.  I'm afraid of not having all the life I'm supposed to have.

And I'm really afraid of creating smokers out of my beautiful, healthy, strong children.  I'm one year smoke-free today.  I'm struggling with dealing with stress in my life without my friend, my constant unchanging companion.  And I'm reflecting on my sister in law and my brother in law and my wonderful strong, beautiful nephews who can do anything and will honor their mother and Sharon's memory by being the wonderful men they both helped mold them into.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Those with a GPS know what the title means with nary a description.  For those without a GPS, this is the message that displays on many GPS systems when the driver of the car strays from the GPS route.

It's also the image my Pastor gave me for what God does when we refuse to listen to his plans for our lives. (Which she got from another sermon) It's so perfect and so relatable.  I got it.  Finally.

I used to think that when we didn't listen to God, we got punishment.  Punishment that was due us, not unlike a misbehaving child.  God is a Father, we are his children, the image logically fits.  Except that it doesn't.  God never wants us to hurt.  He wants us to be strong, faith-filled, loving people who live to worship him.  But we are all too often really human. We don't get punished by God for straying from his path anymore than we get punished by our GPS when we stray from the route it has planned.  We may be inconvenienced, driving way out of our way.  We may assign personality traits to our GPS and say it gets mad at us for straying (like I do mine) but that's mere projection.  I don't really think God gets mad at us for not following his path.

God merely recalculates when we stray.  He recalculated when Adam and Eve sinned.  He recalculated when Jonah refused to go to Nineveh.  He recalculated when he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah but spared Lot and his family.  He recalculates every single day in every one of our lives.  My goal is to cause him to recalculate less in my life.