Monthly Archives: September 2007

The Broken Hearts Club Isn’t Just For Lovers

It’s for parents too.

I’ve known my youngest stepdaughter since she was 4. I’ve loved her as my own daughter for many years now. She moved in with us 3 years ago and I poured my heart out into her. I called her the light of my life, the delight of my heart, the daughter of my heart, to everyone I knew.  I’ve called her my daughter to anyone I talk to about her. And, she has always responded with enthusiastic love back to me. The day wasn’t right if she didn’t get hugs and kisses every morning before I left and every night before bedtime.

I knew that wouldn’t last forever. The teenage years were bound to change things. But, I tried to do everything I could to give her a good family life, a good home to be in, a stable and consistent parent, and be there for her whenever she needed me, and hoped that when the teenage years came that she would see me as someone safe. Someone she could trust and come to with problems or whatever she had on her mind.

It wasn’t totally hopeful thinking. Her older sister moved in the year after she did, and moved in during the middle of her teenaged confusion (just barely 16) and I think didn’t trust me to be there for her, but I was consistent and kept trying and she came around to see me as a safe haven. She loves me and knows I love her and that sometimes we’ll fight but mostly we just like to laugh together and listen when needed.

But I didn’t expect this passive aggressive rejection from my youngest. I’m sure it would be worse to be yelled at but this silence is almost as bad. She’s pleasant to me when she talks to me, but mostly she just doesn’t talk to me, doesn’t want to be around me, removed me from her friends lists online, etc. I know it’s in response to me getting mad and yelling at her, but when someone lies to you over and over, eventually you break. So, I broke. Instead of calmly talking to her about lying and how it affects our relationship as I’ve done before, I got pissed and told her off in no uncertain terms that what she was doing was wrong. I had hit the final straw where I felt like she lied more than she told the truth and I couldn’t trust her anymore.

So, now I have a daughter who doesn’t trust me either. Tit for tat you might say. But it doesn’t feel like that. It feels more like getting stabbed in the back and turning to face my attacker who is smiling at me and pretending not to know what she has done. It’s completely heartbreaking. And, for someone like me whose major fears in life have surrounded abandonment, rejection, and the idea that people leave you and stop loving you when you get angry at them, it’s pushing ALL of my buttons.

To kind of top it all off, her view of her mom is totally idealized. She can do no wrong. I think we’ve been placed into the roles of good mother and evil stepmother. I’m not going to go into it, but let’s just say that her view is a little skewed.  I don’t practice revisionist history. My actions remain consistent, my history remains consistent, and my heart remains consistent. But right now, it’s a little broken, so try not to step on any of the pieces. I’m trying to put it back together and I’l be needing all of them.

The people you love the most are also the people that hurt you the most. Nothing new there, but I am fully reminded of this fact right now.


You Changed Everything
(A song to Jesus)

I wasn’t raised to think this way,
Was taught to question every day.
Every thought and every notion,
Every undefined emotion.
But then You came, and changed my tune
You lived in me, and made me new.

(CHORUS)
You bring me joy, You bring me peace,
You bring my body to my knees,
You came to me, You called my name
You lifted up my voice in praise.
You are the earth, You are the sun,
You are the sky, the Holy one.
You are the song, You are the day,
You are the night, You are the Way.
God, you came and made me sing,
Jesus, You changed everything.

My teachers were so scientific,
Every thing must be specific.
For everything I ever heard
There must be proof, not just your word.
But then You came, and changed the rules
You were in me, and I could choose.

(CHORUS)

Choose to believe or choose to doubt,
Take their word, or throw it out.
Change my heart and change my ways,
A leap of faith, a joyous praise.
Where once my life seemed meaningless,
You changed my life, and now it’s blessed.

(CHORUS)

For those who can’t see You in me,
I know they think I’ve gone crazy.
“God is for the stupid masses,
Those who cannot pass their classes.”
But You chose me to spread your news
and I am speaking out for You.

(CHORUS)

© 2007 Sandra Adams


Would you like a side of O.J. with that?

The O.J. Simpson “Side Show” is back, as reported on by CNN. I believe that it’s not really a question in the public’s mind of whether he’s actually guilty of this rather minor (in the full scheme of things), petty act of robbery of his own sports memorabilia. (He says it was stolen, they say it was purchased. He says he was getting it back, they say they were kidnapped and robbed at gunpoint.) Does it matter? Do we care? The “victims” involved have criminal historys of larceny, arson, stalking, etc. They have it all on audiotape from the hotel room where the meet-up was held.  (And seriously, why the hell wouldn’t they use videotape if they were worried in the first place??)

I believe that the general public doesn’t give a crap whether he’s guilty or not. They (we) believe he got away with murder in 1994/1995! I think the general public just wants to see O.J. found guilty, to see him serving time because HE’S DUE.  I remember watching the verdict being read in 1995. I worked in an office with no TV (normal i think.) and everyone from the four offices on our floor was huddled around this little 13-inch TV in one of our neighboring offices to see the end of this debacle. The shock on everyone’s faces and the cries of “NO WAY” echoed down the hall as the verdict came in “Not Guilty”. 100% of us thought he was guilty. I read a poll on CNN about “do you think OJ is guilty of this (new) crime” and some huge majority said yes…. in the 80-20% range. My supposition is that most of the 80ish % that said yes, DON’T KNOW, DON’T CARE, and HAVEN’T EVEN LOOKED INTO THE EVIDENCE for this crime, because those 80ish% believe he was guilty of murder and got away with it because he had enough money to buy his way out, and they want him to do some time. In fact, I’m sure plenty of them want him to get tossed in prison with a life sentence, and some others want him to see the downside to the death penalty. (The downside being the dead side). Actions have consequences, and evil actions have harsh punishments. The point is, they want him to stop getting away without a penance and see him be punished.

I know I do! Now, I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to say that God will judge him, and it’s not our duty or our business to judge him. But, I think human nature is judgmental, even when we try not to be that way. My first reaction was “YEAH! GIVE HIM THE AXE!!!”

So, what about you? What’s your opinion?


Life Vision? What Vision?

Shortly after college I realized I had no vision for my life. In college I had studied psychology with an eye toward becoming a Marriage, Family, and Child Counselor. But, in my senior year, the bottom dropped out of that vision when I decided I wasn’t cut out to listen to people’s problems all day. My experience at peer counseling had been successful but draining. I couldn’t put their problems away when I went home. That and the fact that I looked about 17 convinced me not to go further in schooling for that career.

Since then I’ve worked in offices; answering phones, typing letters, doing some desktop publishing.  Questions posed to me repeatedly over the ensuing 19 years with my old answers:

“What do you want from life? What are your goals? Where do you see yourself in five years?”

I  just want to be happy. That is my goal: a happy life. I don’t know where I see myself. I hope that I am in a happy relationship.

“What would make you happy?”

I don’t know. To be loved I guess.

I have changed my mind. My primary goal is that my life reflects God’s call on my heart. My secondary goal is that my life have meaning to someone besides myself. That I make a difference for the better in someone besides myself. That at least one person on earth will be better off for me having been here to help them or listen to them or advise them. I think it would be grand to have helped many people in the end, but one person will do.


Famous Amos

Bible Scholars BEWARE, I probably butchered this more than necessary because I was typing quickly and in short spurts in between working. I was just trying to tell my friend what I was doing in class. It’s a little irreverent and i didn’t go into deep detail of everything, and I don’t want to hear how I might be blaspheming thank you very much. This is MY opinion, and MY interpretation after only one week of study. So,without further ado, here is me explaining Amos 1-2 to my friend Sonja on Instant Messenger (slightly cleaned up for clarity):

Okay, Sooooo…. Amos was a shepherd in the north of Judah, and Judah was just south of Israel. Judah and Israel had a covenant of brotherhood formed during the time of Solomon, so one could say they are friendly nations. Surrounding Judah and Israel were a bunch of other Mediterranean nations, so it’s one portion of the continent and it’s divided up into larger and smaller kingdoms.  Amos is given a vision by God. I assume vision because the text says these are the words of Amos that he saw regarding Israel, but my personal understanding of that would be he was given supernatural knowledge in his head. So Amos travels from his home in Judah to Israel. It would be sort of like someone from Canada coming to the USA to deliver a message to our leaders about God’s words. And all of these surrounding nations are kind of at war with each other to more and less extents. Anyway, so Amos tells Israel.. “Here is what God says… Because of the many transgressions of the people of … (let’s use places we’re familiar with) say, Cuba, I will not revoke the punishment, because this is what they did, and he lists out some great atrocity, so this is what I’m going to do to them. I will send fire and destroy their cities and peoples. They will be utterly destroyed.” And, of course we Americans all hate Cuba so we say YEA!!! Go God! Then he says the same thing about Brazil, and we say to ourselves, ok, Brazil is kinda way down there, but those people are barbaric and he’s going to punish them.  Right on God! Then he says the same thing about Colombia, and we go yeahhhhh, those Colombians are a bunch of killers and slave traders. Woot God! So in all Amos delivers news from God about 6 of the surrounding nations and how horrible they are and how he’s going to destroy them and we say Yay God! You are the MAN! Okay, now Amos reports on Canada (his homeland), and God says well they haven’t been following my laws and statutes so i’m going to destroy them too. So, apparently not following the laws and statutes is as bad as all these other things in those nations that don”t know this God. Basically the people he is talking to have heard all about these nations they hate getting destroyed, and now they’ve heard about this nation they kinda like getting destroyed. Now Amos repeats the same “formula” of “thus says the lord, for these transgressions I will not revoke the punishment, because you have done all these things (and lists them out) I will destroy you, only NOW he’s talking about Israel! And, the wrongs that Israel has committed are not atrocities against other men (which the first 6 were), and they are not just disregarding the statutes (like Judah, the 7th), they are about not following God, about ignoring the things that God has told them over and over are important to Him, the people close to his heart, that they are AGAIN following false gods, they do crimes against the poor, the needy, the righteous, defiling his temple etc. “led astray by the same lies as your ancestors”. So, for my analogy: imagine this guy is coming from Canada to tell us these things about all these surrounding nations, and now “oh wait, now he’s talking about US” and the complaints aren’t that we are mass slaughtering or working the slave trade or any of the major atrocities against man, the complaints are that WE are taking advantage and trampling on the needy, the poor, the righteous, the hungry, that we (the leaders) are greedy, selfish, gluttonous, overbearing, betraying God, and defiling God’s name.

INTERESTING PARALLEL!!

God said “I took you from Egypt, I rescued you from this and that, I gave you this land of milk and honey, i raised your children as prophets, and you denied them”, so God says he will crush them, the strong will be made weak, the swift will not get away, etc. Now, AFTER chapter 2, at some point in the book, he relents and says he will only crush the sinners, the righteous and repentant he will let live, but the part i thought was so super interesting was the parallel to today’s USA. Not to compare USA to Ancient Israel or the Americans to the Ancient Israelites. That would be incorrect. But to notice the similarities in our willingness to castigate the other countries, and then treat our own people poorly, and go to war, and to use God’s name injudiciously. Amos could be read as a parable, or a warning, to our own leaders. I love that he talks about all the other nations first and brings the Israelites into complicit agreement: “yeah, those dirty dogs! destroy them! oh wait….! ummmm but we… well God, we can explain…. “. Of course, THAT is not in the text. There is no discussion of the Israelites reaction in the first two chapters of Amos, but we know from reading ahead that the Israelites become angry and scorn and dismiss Amos, but what we also know about the text from history and other texts is that Israel and those surrounding countries were not friends; they were enemies to a large extent, so we can know by knowing human nature, that they were probably cheering God on, and then got caught, hoisted on their own petard as it were.

The teacher is so right! When you sit with the text for long enough, it “opens up”, and you make connections that you couldn’t see on the first reading (and second and third), which makes it both tedious and exciting! But the fact that i can tell you the essentials of what happened in two chapters of a book about a fairly minor prophet from 750 BC approximately…. that amazes me! That i can restate it into a story that you can follow and understand! I don’t really think you can do that unless you have really read and understood the text. I think the poetic nature of the original Hebrew manuscripts makes it hard for us to follow. Even if we could understand the Hebrew, we’d probably still have trouble following it because we don’t talk that way, we have a different cultural perspective and all. So, yeah that class is definitely going to kill me, but i love it!


A LETTER TO MYSELF WHEN I WAS A YOUNG WOMAN.

To my dearest younger self, who can never let her guard down and be happy: I’msorry.

Let me explain.

When I met Ray I was so impressed by his good looks, his generosity, his charm,his eagerness to see me again, and his entrepreneurial spirit that I overlookedimportant things about him that should have been signs to me that he was not tobe trusted. My friends didn’t, my parents didn’t, but I did.
I’m so very, very sorry that I didn’t keep you safe from harm, when I couldhave had I only been willing to look past my immediate wants and needs.

I was fresh out of college, 22 years old, and had no idea what I wanted to dowith my life. I was lonely and wanted to meet someone special. He owned ahouse, and his own business. I thought this made him stable. I wanted tobelieve that someone who could do those things would be able to take care ofus. He swept me off my feet and I wanted that so badly! All of those romances Iread as a young girl had given me a deep desire for someone who would bestrong and romantic and just dangerous enough to be sexy, and I finally had aman willing to play the part.

I should have known when he “seemed too good to be true” that he probably was.

  • I should have known when he wouldn’t tell me how old he was that something wasn’t right.
  • I should have known when he sent two dozen roses to my workplace every day for a week, starting two days after we met that something wasn’t right.
  • I should have known when he bought me a leather jacket after knowing each other a week that something wasn’t right.
  • I should have listened to my friends and my family who said “something isn’t right, I don’t trust that guy.”
  • I should have known when he suggested that I move in with him after knowing him for only 3 weeks, that something wasn’t right.
  • I should have known when he asked me to help him buy a boat because he had bad credit from something to do with his youth and my credit was good, that something wasn’t right.
  • I should have known that when “he” (me) then had to buy a bigger truck to pull the boat that something wasn’t on the up and up.
  • I should have known when we had our first argument and he terrified me by screaming at me that something wasn’t right.
  • I should have known when I came by to see him during our falling out and saw that he had another girl there, that something wasn’t right.
  • I should have known that when my parents told me if I got back together with him that I couldn’t come back home that something was urgently wrong.
  • I should have known when he told me that he used to be a ‘lock expert’ for the Chicago mafia that maybe he wasn’t kidding, that maybe he had dangerous friends.
  • I should have known when he told me about his psycho ex-girlfriend that was claiming bankruptcy and blaming it on him that maybe she wasn’t psycho.
  • I should have known when I found out that she was accusing him of assault and battery that maybe he was dangerous.
  • I should have known when he flew me off to Mexico for a vacation with him over Thanksgiving after being together for only 3 months that he was trying to isolate me from my family.
  • I should have known when he almost abandoned me in Mexico after we fought because he called me fat that he wasn’t really a very nice guy.
  • I should have known when he started needing Nyquil to fall asleep that he was probably an alcoholic.
  • I should have known that when I started waking up every morning feeling like I had to throw up and getting the dry heaves for weeks on end that my body was telling me to get away from him.
  • I should have known when he came home from his court date after being convicted for assault and battery and he was threatening to call his “buddies” in Chicago to have them put out a hit on her that I could be in danger from this man someday.
  • I should have known when he told me how much he hated women (except me of course) that someday he would hate me.
  • I should have known when he fled California in the truck that I had purchased before his appeal  date that I should get out and go to the police.
  • I should have known before I flew to Chicago to spend Christmas with him that flying to see a man running from the law was not a smart move.
  • I should have known that installing a security camera on his front door that could be viewed from his office was going to lead to me hiding him.
  • I should have known when he returned from Chicago that helping to hide him from the law for months on end via hiding him in my trunk every time we left the house was a very bad idea.
  • I should have known when the cops came to the door and asked for him that I should have shown them where he was hiding under the house.
  • I should have known that when he allowed me to be put in danger of being arrested for aiding and abetting a criminal that something needed to change.
  • I should have known after the boat and the truck that when he suggested buying a house in my name, that saying yes could lead to financial ruin.
  • I should have known when I found a picture of a boy that looked just like him and found out he’d been married and divorced and had a son but hadn’t mentioned it in the previous 10 months we’d spent together, that something wasn’t right.
  • I should have known when he began to regularly yell and scream at me, calling me names and accusing me of cheating on him, and doing it where the neighbors could hear us, that he was abusive and crazy.
  • I should have known that when my friends stopped calling and stopped making plans with me that it wasn’t about me, that it was about him.
  • I should have known that when he needed me to account for every minute I wasn’t with him that something was wrong.
  • I should have known when he got caught and thrown in jail that I could leave him. I should have known that it wouldn’t make me a bad person who gives up on people when the going gets rough.
  • I should have known that when he was let out three months later and he was able to get into the house without a key or breaking a window that he wasn’t kidding about growing up in Chicago.
  • I should have known that every time he left the house angry (with and without a gun) was an opportunity for me to leave him, not an occasion for fear.
  • I should have known that when he called me every day for a month on end at my temp job to threaten to kill himself that he was crazy and I should leave, not cry and not panic.
  • I should have known that when I stopped crying and panicking about him suiciding and started telling him to just do it already that it was past time to leave.
  • I should have known that once I left him I would be living a life of fear and made better arrangements for that day.
  • I should NEVER EVER have gotten together with him. All he did was hurt me, and hurt me, and hurt me for three years in a row.
  • And I let him hurt me because I was damaged inside emotionally and I didn’t know yet that I deserved someone better.
  • And because I let him hurt me, I let him hurt you, and I hurt you, and I’m so, so, so, so sorry!!!!! I hope that you can forgive me.
  • I NEED YOU TO BELIEVE THAT JOHN IS NOTHING LIKE RAY. He is not trying to control you. He is not a hurtful person. There is no need to get angry and defensive every time he asks you what you are doing or why you are late, or where you have been. HE’S ONLY CURIOUS! It’s okay for him to want to know those things, and it’s okay to tell him without being spitting angry. He loves me and he loves you and he wants only the best for us. His love comes without conditions, which is more than we can say about our love. Let’s let it slide and stop over-reacting to him.

I am writing this to you with all of my love and a heart filled with sorrow that I ever let anything bad happen to you.
~ Sandi


What Dreams May Come

My dream this morning had me trying desperately to save “my little girl” Sophia from death. It was very distressing and when I woke up I knew I had failed, and every time i fell back into a doze I went back into this dream and tried desperately and then failed to save her.

My “daughter” (God-daughter?) Sophia was originally about 3 in my dream. Then I was told that in fact she was 14, and that I had been gone for 13 years, and suddenly she was a long-legged young scrawny teenager, reminding me of my niece Clara (who is only 7.) Sophia was extremely attached to me, spending as much time as possible physically attached to me.

Some disease had rendered much of the population into little more than zombies, barely alive and physically dead except for some form of consciousness allowing them to move. If they were given a particular thing to drink (a yellow-green-tinged thick liquid, almost like car oil fresh from the container) with some kind of berries in it, it would bring them back to good health for a short time; but within two weeks they would be almost dead again, barely shuffling around and unable to care for themselves. The liquid could only be ingested every two weeks without causing permanent, irreversible death. This death would not be the peaceful slumber of the dead, but the living pain-filled death of the zombie, never-ending and mindless. I was completely unprepared for it, but for everyone else it was just part of how they lived life. I spent a lot of time being scared.

I didn’t know Sophia was also a victim of this disease until I had been there a little over a week and she began to visibly tire and lose her energy, no longer able to wrap herself around me crying “Sandi” with joy. When I realized she too was ill and needed this medicinal drink I panicked. I didn’t know it couldn’t be taken more frequently. I told her that I wanted her to take a smaller dose earlier than normal so that she wouldn’t have to go through the shutting down of her body, and asked her if she could do that. She wanted to please me and didn’t really understand the consequences I suppose, and said yes, we could try that.

When I gave her the drink it burned her throat and she began to have trouble breathing. I held her tightly trying to get some water into her to dilute it and ease her pain. It didn’t help. I held her in my arms as she was dying and in the midst of screaming “No! No! Sophia! Sophia! Somebody help me! Please! Sophia! Oh God, Sophia! No! God, help me!!!”, I woke up. Then fell back to sleep to find myself holding her and screaming, and woke up. And again. And again.

It was horrible. After about 5 rounds of that, I began telling my husband that I couldn’t save her, that I didn’t want to go back, that he couldn’t let me go back. He couldn’t hear what I was saying, but tried to comfort me anyway, waking me back up when he heard me starting to fall asleep again. It’s been on my mind all day.


School – a lot to process and I’ve been busy, so not much mental processing has begun, but here goes!

  • I found it very exciting to be in a classroom that opened in prayer, that wasn’t full of cynical and jaded people, that didn’t see religion as politics.
  • I found it disconcerting to have a few people in class who seemed to have the Bible memorized, and knew lots of bible study terms that I wasn’t familiar with. I recognized my own brand of arrogance in them for broadcasting how much more they knew in a way that appeared to be answering a question, but was in my opinion a way of showing off. I’ve done this. I know that score. It’s less than humble for certain, clearly a point of pride.
    • Were I in their shoes would I too be showing off? I don’t know.   …Maybe…   I come to this as something of an empty vessel, waiting to be filled. But, what if this was a class on a topic with which I was quite familiar? What if I felt I could be teaching the class myself. Would I not be spilling over with knowledge myself?
    • It’s a tough question. Not a tough question to answer necessarily, but a tough question to face. Could I, and would I, harness my knowledge to keep it apace with the class as a whole?
    • In general I’m somewhat shy if I’m in an unfamiliar situation. Therefore, in the hall waiting for class, other students surrounding me, talking to each other, I don’t say a word, I don’t look around, I try to become invisible. I do not know these people.
    • Then, in class I am on familiar ground to a certain extent. We are all sitting there, students together, but not individual people talking, we are waiting for instruction to begin. My shyness fades away and is replaced by my joker. I’m perfectly ready to make anonymous jokes and smart ass comments.
      • As I’m in seminary and not in San Francisco State University, some semblance of common sense wakes up and reminds me that smart ass comments might be best kept to a minimum.
        • My friend Candi is certain they will have to burn the seminary down after I leave to reconsecrate the place…)
    • As instruction and teacher-class interaction begins, I feel motivated to try and answer some of the questions or respond to the request for comments. I am unsure of my responses but feel confident in my ability to say something worth saying. My words stumble over themselves.
        •  When did I get a stutter?  When I’m nervous, my words disappear, somewhere near the back of my tongue rather than the tip.

       

    • The Know-It-Alls start talking. Who-da-what? I’m unfamiliar with the words being used. (Not a familiar feeling by any means) I’m unfamiliar with the stories to which they make reference. “we know this because it says in Deuteronomy blah blah blah”
        • My thought? NO WE DON’T! You might, but not all of us are up on our Deuteronomy bud! Cool down! You’re not impressing me with your knowledge, you’re irritating me with your arrogance!
          • My further thought today, as I’ve already mentioned…. Do I do that? Oh God, I hope not. It’s off-putting and annoying.

       

More thoughts later. Caffeine headache is beginning and work is looming. Must go track down intravenous tube for caffeine intake and get some damn filing done. The growing pile is killing me!