Simple Woman #5

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For Today…

~Outside my window~

It is gorgeous! Cool breeze, 57 degrees, birds singing, ground DRYING UP! Is it finally, really SPRING? I even see 3 Robins in my front yard!


~I am thinking~

What in the world am I going to fix for supper? The kids are both working. Why is that becoming the norm? Why are Terry and I eating more suppers alone? I miss having supper as a family frequently. But I recognize that this is where my life is now… though it’s kind of sad!


~From the learning rooms~

I am “neck deep” in grading papers. Chris worked today so no school for him (and wasn’t he glad of that?) Wait until he gets home and sees his very full lesson plan book. I can hear him “groan” now!


~I am thankful for~

I am so thankful for our church. We have been studying Job, and our pastor is doing a great job. (Funny to see both Job and “job” in the same sentence…) Each week a different person is giving their testimony prior to the sermon. Pam spoke this week, and it was really neat to “get to know her” a bit better through what she shared. I’m very glad we are a part of this church and call this group “our church family”. I found myself drifting off to sleep last night, thanking God for our church.


~From the kitchen~

I went to the grocery store first thing this morning so my shelves are stocked. I plan on having chicken tacos tomorrow night, and chili one night this week. I also have spaghetti on the menu and chicken casserole. I doubt I have any leftovers, although that has more to do with having an 18-year-old son in the house and less to do with what I’m fixing.


~I am wearing~

Black jeans, black turtleneck, and a purple Ravens flannel shirt. Go Ravens! (Actually I like the Redskins, but I LOVE purple… hence the Ravens).


~I am reading~

I finally bought a copy of “The Shack” in spite of the controversy surrounding it. I’ll read it and let you know what I think. I can’t stand being “told” what to think as a Christian about a fiction book! I’m only on page 3, so not much to tell yet – grin!


~I am hoping~

I am hoping I finish this class with an “A”. It’s been harder than I thought to get organized and stay that way. But I do feel a sense of accomplishment. I am also hoping that I will have enough students to teach 3 classes this Fall. So far I only have two lined up.


~I am creating~

I am creating a research paper. I’m sure you’d oooo, and ahhh over it if you could see it. The sources go together just right, and it took some necessary writing skills to develop the thesis statement. The APA formatting is TO DIE FOR! Yes, I’ve not much time to “create” anything other than necessary “evils” right now. Bite me.


~I am hearing~

I am hearing very little. Both “big” dogs are asleep at my feet, the kids are at work and there is little noise other than what I am making. ‘Course when you were once completely deaf, “hearing” the click of the keyboard as I type is pretty COOL BEANS to be hearing! (I all of a sudden have a huge smile on my face!)


~Around the house~

I need to clean the upstairs bathroom, but it won’t take long. The house is looking pretty decent, thanks to my son vacuuming this morning, and my daughter loading the dishwasher.


~One of my favorite things~

My daffodils are here! I just love daffodils! Mine are mostly yellow, although I have a few white ones with yellow centers. What’s not to love about a daffodil? Sigh. I love daffodils!


~A few plans for the rest of the week~

I need to finish grading presentations, finish my paper, meet with my team on Tuesday night for class, and then teach on Thursday. At some point, I need to trim my service dog’s nails.


~Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you~

wild_daffodil_flowers_durham_england

It’s Not Enough

Denise and Chloe wait for Kyersten to show up at the airport
Denise and Chloe wait for Kyersten to show up at the airport

It’s Not Enough to Love Me

You know Chloe loves people. Chloe loves her trainer and people she knows at Fidos For Freedom. Chloe loves the people I work with and she loves her family. Chloe loves me, and it just isn’t difficult at all for me to “love her back”.

But you know something? It’s not enough for Chloe to simply love me. She’s a working dog, and has a job to do. If all she did was “love me”, I’d still love her as well… but then she’d just be a pet.  It is my opinion that even PETS should have good manners, so we teach and enforce basic obedience at home. If Chloe doesn’t obey me at home and when we go out, she isn’t going to be able to do her job.

Because of her job description, it’s not enough for Chloe to love me. She has a job to do and must understand and obey commands. She has learned skills that alert me to sounds that I do not hear, and she assists me by picking up things I’ve dropped. I have a job as well. I not only have to keep her safe, but it is my responsibility to make sure the skills that she has learned are practiced and honed.

It’s great that Chloe loves me, but I have to tell ya… when she obeys a command or successfully performs a skill she has learned and I praise her? She just puffs up and BEAMS with a warmth so bright, that it reaches all the way to my heart and warms me as well.

Distractions Can Interfere

Friday we went to the airport to pick up my daughter who was returning from her spring break in Florida. I put Chloe in a sit/stay, but her paws kept slipping on the slick floor. To make it a little easier for her to succeed at “staying”, I put her in a down/stay. I was really surprised for two seconds to go by and see her POP UP. I didn’t repeat the command, but gently tugged her collar towards the floor until she remembered she was suppose to be in a down/stay. She only stayed there for another two seconds.

I raised my eyebrows and caught my husbands eye. He walked over from where he was sitting to stand nearer to where Chloe and I were. (I don’t think Dads feel compelled to be able to see the doorway from which an absentee child will be coming like a Mom does!)

He said, “Denise, you know the luggage conveyor belt is making a LOT of noise, right? It is buzzing a warning every few seconds to let people know that more luggage is coming up the conveyor”

Oh. Well, umm… NO. I didn’t know that. But at least I knew what was distracting Chloe from being in a down/stay. In order to put her mind at ease, I got down closer to her level and put her in a sit/stay. Now I could feel her tremble every time “that noise” sounded. She just needed a “pat” and “encouragement” that all was going to be ok. She needed to feel my hand.

It’s Not Enough to Love Him

You know? It’s not enough that I love God. I can go around and tell people about how much I love God, but if I am not obeying Him… not fulfilling a purpose for my life, I’m really no good to Him. Sure, He’ll love me back, because that’s what God does… it’s what He is. But if I don’t live my life in such a way that I am obedient to Him, and follow His commands that are MEANT to make me useful to Him, then I’m just one of His kids that happens to love Him.

I want to have a life that counts for something. I want a purpose, and want to make a difference. I want God to use me. If I’m not obeying Him – not loving others, forgiving, being kind, tender-hearted, understanding, etc., then He can’t really use me.

When I know I’m living my life in such a way that He can use me, I know He just looks down with praise. I just puff up and BEAM with a warmth so bright, that I know it’s a reflection of Him.

Distractions Can Interfere

Sometimes I allow worries, problems with other people, or relationships interfere with living my life in such a way that I’m being used by God in a positive way. Sometimes the distractions are really negative things, like extreme bigotry or someone’s prejudice. I don’t care for mean people, and I can very easily allow them to drag me down into a long-term commitment to despise, plot to get even, or wish their downfall.

The reality? A distraction is a distraction. If I’m distracted, I’m not doing Him any good. I’m not doing what He’s called me to do. I can’t make a difference to any one else if I’m distracted by things that do not matter. I’m really glad that I have a personal relationship with God that is ‘real’. I don’t look at God as this impersonal Authority “up there” who rules and controls. When I’m distracted and no good to Him, He gets down and CLOSER. He puts his hand on my back and can feel me tremble. He comforts me and then “I’m good”. I can go back to “work” and do what He’s called me to do. It only takes a touch from His hand.

Denise Portis

© 2009 Hearing Loss Journal

Simple Woman #4

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For Today…

~Outside My Window~

A street cleaner is whooshing, and rumbling by in the cul-de-sac. The dogs are totally enraptured. I am totally annoyed. The cats are totally sleeping. (What do you expect?)


~I am thinking~

What a treat that Terry is home this week. His college is on Spring Break, and I get him underfoot, I mean… at home all week. I don’t have any school work today so he’s taking me to Gettysburg to shop. wOOt!


~From the learning rooms~

Both kiddos work today. I suppose that is why I don’t feel guilty about going to Gettysburg to shop.


~I am thankful for~

I am thankful for my husband’s steady job and the fact we are paying our bills. Things are never “easy”, but we do at least pay the bills. Can’t complain about that in this economy.


~From the kitchen~

I need to make sure I have everything I need to fix supper tonight. Kyersten gets off at 5 PM and will likely be hungry. She has a lot of little extra things to do tonight before leaving for Florida tomorrow. Maybe I’ll fix brownies too, although we do have some other sweets that need eaten. Hmm. Decisions, decisions.


~I am wearing~

I am wearing a brown warm-up suit, and tennis shoes. It is suppose to be in the mid 50’s today. I’ll probably need a jacket, but then I’m always cold.


~I am reading~

I finally finished “The Mysterious Island” by Verne. Now I am reading Jane Eyre by Bronte. Guess I’m into the classics right now.


~I am hoping~

I am hoping, really I am PRAYING, that my daughter’s flight goes well tomorrow. Only one thing I hate worse than flying alone and that is one of my kids flying alone. Nevermind, the squirt is 19-years-old and independent.


~I am creating~

I am creating another blog post for Hearing Elmo. This one is taking longer for some reason. I had a lot of school work last week, and I think my brain is fried.


~I am hearing~

I am hearing the street cleaner truck over on the NEXT cul-de-sac! How is THAT for hearing with bionics? Thing is… hubby said my daughter’s Chinese Crested is screeching like a banshee downstairs and I CAN’T hear THAT! (It’s all about tone and pitch folks!) What is a banshee anyway? (runs to look) Oh my! It’s the spirit of a wailing woman! No wonder hubby grimaces and flinches when Pegasus is in “full throttle”.


~Around the house~

I need to dust. Both of my kids have written their names on the piano bench. (grrrrr…)


~One of my favorite things~

I love to cross-stitch. I need to find a new project to do. I have a beautiful country house that I need to get framed. The craft is relatively cheap to do, the framing is NOT. Perhaps I should take a framing class and learn to build my own. I’m told one can do that! Wonder where I’d go to look for classes? Home Depot? Or a craft store?


~A few plans for the rest of the week~

I need to grade my son’s British Literature test and then finish his lesson plans for the week. He still has a lot of catch up to do.


~Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you~

Here is Gingery’s Baby Pegasus when he’s NOT acting like a banshee…

peg4

They Grow Up so Fast

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From Puppy to Adult in 2 years

I didn’t know Chloe when she was a puppy. I’m told that she was the perfect puppy and was the brightest “pup in the class”. GRIN. Those of you who KNEW Chloe then, know that I am being deliberately sarcastic. Chloe was incorrigible, and many a trainer wondered if she’d ever GROW UP. Pat J., at Fidos For Freedom told me that, “we just kept seeing little glimmers of what MIGHT BE“. Trainers from the Puppy Program just shake their heads when they see her today. No one was certain she’d make it. Today, she is a mature working dog who honestly loves what she does. Her tail is in a “constant state of wag”.

She and I were walking this evening and I had my cochlear implant on so that I could walk “more safely”. I was amazed at all the birds I could hear, and I could hear a basketball being bounced in the park. I was thinking how “safe” I felt walking with my cochlear implant, when Chloe stopped dead and whirled to face the direction we had come. I looked quickly to see what was up, and there wasn’t anything that I could see to be excited about! Her hair began to stand on end, and she continued to stare behind us. Right when I thought I was going to say, “let’s go Chloe!”, a big black and white pitbull came racing around the corner headed straight for us.

I stepped closer to Chloe and desperately tried to remember which pocket of my pack had the pepper spray. I don’t “remember” very quickly. The pitbull raced up to Chloe and I could hear her growling softly. A boy who looked to be all of 8 or 9-years-old came running after the dog. The dog’s tail was wagging the whole time, but I kept trying to insert my body between the two of them. It didn’t take the boy long to come up and apologetically collect his dog. I continued on my way, but was actually pretty shaken. Here I was thinkin’ I was all of THAT because I was hearing so well! I really would have never known that a dog was coming if not for Chloe. (Something tells me had I been by myself, however, the attraction would not have been so keen!)

Even when she’s not working and “naked” (a.k.a. without her vest), she is a help to me. I really do feel more confident when she is with me. I do not see the “puppy that was” in her big, brown eyes.

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From Baby to Adult in 18 years

Chris is the baby of the family. It is hard to believe he was born over 18 years ago. He barely weighed 4 pounds when he got out of the hospital. Today he is 6 foot, 3 inches tall and is “all growed up”. He goes to community college this fall (as he gets to go FREE thanks to dad), he works part-time and enjoys serving in our church and community.

A couple of years ago, I didn’t know if Chris would “make it” in the transition to adulthood. He lacked the maturity I thought he needed to really succeed in high school. My husband and I kept seeing “little glimmers of what MIGHT BE”. Today, he is a hard-working young adult with a lot of compassion for his fellow man. His tail is in a constant state of… well you know!

Denise Portis

© 2009 Hearing Loss Journal

Simple Woman #3

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For Today…

~Outside my window~

It is drizzling rain. This basically means that I’ve been walking like a drunk person all day. Oh joy. At least I’ve learned to be careful, so that’s somethin’!

~I am thinking~

About how I’m going to squeeze MY homework in with my regular work tomorrow. I have to get my lesson plans done. I’m making lists, and filling in my daytimer. (LOVE IT! I’m a list person)

~From the learning rooms~

My kids were very independent today… and I didn’t even threaten their lives. For some reason, that makes me a little sad.

~I am thankful for~

I am thankful for a large screen monitor. At the time, I told my husband he was being silly to get such a large screen. Now I love it, and I don’t think I get those headaches like I use too.

~From the kitchen~

I have been a bum today. My daughter worked and my son got home right as supper was “suppose to get ready”. I begged my hubby to go get some chicken. It’s 9:30 PM and I just got done with work, so don’t you know how much I appreciate that he did that?

~I am wearing~

Blue jeans, black turtleneck and a purple Ravens pull over. I love purple. Do you love purple? I just love purple… it’s my favorite color. I see purple, and honestly? I just smile when I do! I love purple. (Umm… I must be tired)

~I am reading~

Still reading The Mysterious Island by Verne. I just love that story. I want to be shipwrecked on an island like Lincoln Island. ‘Course, ya know, later it blows up because of the active volcano and everything. I guess I want to be shipwrecked on an island like Lincoln Island minus the volcano.

But then there wouldn’t be any “chimneys”, or Granite House, or Longview Plateau. Hmm. Maybe I’ll just vacation there.

~I am hoping~

I am hoping that my daughter left me hot water. I have my cochlear implant on, and she got home just now and went straight to the shower. The little booger takes 30 minute showers. Rats.

~I am creating~

I am creating a new blog post. Does that count? I just don’t have “sit around” time really anymore. I love to crochet. I wonder when I can do that again?

~I am hearing~

I am hearing my computer tower hummmm, and the tickety-tick, tickety tick-tick, tickety-tick of the ceiling fan. I love hearing weird things.

~Around the house~

I need to go clean the kitchen. I’ve designated one “clean” room per day. Monday is the kitchen. I can’t go to bed unless I clean it. I better get started, huh? Maybe by the time I’m done – THERE WILL BE HOT WATER! She came and hugged my neck hello… can’t very well be put out with her.

~One of my favorite things~

besides hot water? One of my favorite things is baked macaroni and cheese. I was thinking about that at supper tonight, eating the KFC my darling hubby brought home. He always gets a little thing of mac & cheese for Chris (my 18 year old son). He loves the stuff, but frankly I practically gag to look at it! I was sitting there (gagging) and looking at him chow down and thinkin’, I haven’t made baked mac & cheese in awhile. My friend Patti gave me a killer recipie for it. I need to see if I can find it!

~A few plans for the rest of the week~

I have to meet with my team for school tomorrow night. We aren’t doing that great. I suppose you could say we need to work on teamwork. I also need to email a “new friend” back at church. She’s been asking me about sign classes. I ran into her at Wal-mart today and I didn’t have any make-up on. I could have sunk through the floor… until she assured me she didn’t either.

~Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you~

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Make your mouth water? Mine is!

Denise Portis

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

Major tail wag... guess who isn't normally allowed up here?
Major tail wag... guess who isn't normally allowed up here?
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What's a dog to do when YOU are down THERE?

Limited by YOUR Barriers

I’ve gone “round and round” about even sharing this with you, as I’ve already caught a lot of GRIEF from my beloved family. I decided to go ahead and post about it, however, because I did learn some things about myself and limitations.

About a week and a half ago, I got what SEEMED like a wonderful idea. I was sitting on my deck drinking my morning tea in the brisk air. Not a cloud in the sky, which meant I was going to have a “good balance day“. Chloe was dozing at my feet. The kids were still in bed. I had a great night’s sleep.

For the past several weeks I had noticed a dead vine hanging on the corner of my house. I also noticed that it was level with the deck in my backyard. Being the intelligent woman that I am (clears throat) I ALSO noticed that it was within arm’s reach of my deck if one was but to “lean a little”. When I first noticed it, my thought was that “I need to get Terry to remove that vine. It bugs me”.

Well sitting there on my deck and feeling particularly FINE, I decided that I would reach around the corner of the deck and grab the vine and jerk it off. Eyesore gone… and I didn’t even have to bother Terry!

Now our deck has a barricade at the staircase, because the stairs are dangerously steep. We plan to replace our deck in the next year, and my biggest “plan of action” is to make a more gradual staircase to the yard below. For now it is barricaded so dogs do not injure themselves going 100 mph down the stairs. (It also keeps ME from thinking I can descend it safely!)

I told Chloe, “Chloe STAY. I’m going to just step over here and grab this vine.

As soon as I put my leg over the rail of the deck she SHOT out of her sit/stay and looked at me with “fear and trembling“. If she could have said, “What the HECK are ya doin’?” she would have!

I perched on the rail and pointed my finger at her and said, “Chloe! Sit! Down! STAY!” She lay there with her forehead all wrinkled up and eyes wide as I slipped my other leg over the rail. I remember thinking, “She is really a piece of WORK! I mean this is easy, it’ll take me 10 seconds!”

That’s the last thought I had.

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

If a person with hearing loss has a balance disorder as well, it just isn’t smart to do things… UP. High. On. Purpose.

Sigh.

I’m not sure how long I was out. When I came too, I could see Chloe barking from the deck above me. She was no longer in a down/stay. (Obviously, I didn’t fuss at her).

I lay there a minute to evaluate “where it hurt“. It only took a second to realize that it was my leg. A stick was poking out of my calf near my ankle and it certainly hurt!

Here’s a picture of:

STUPID:

STUPID
STUPID

LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCES OF STUPID:

My ankle 10 days following STUPID
My ankle 10 days following STUPID

Chloe couldn’t get to me, and was barking like crazy. I couldn’t have been out very long, because I’m sure her barking would have eventually woke up one of my kids. She has a really loud hound bark, (not at ALL feminine!).

Barriers Put Up by ME

As I sat there pulling the stick out of my leg I began to talk to Chloe. As I talked, she stopped barking and just sat there looking down at me with a look of panic on her face.

The real dilemma? All the doors were locked! I was going to have to get to the staircase across the yard, get up the steps and over the semi-permanent barrier we had erected “for safety’s sake”. The door from the deck to the house was the only one unlocked. I could have knocked, but the metal security door under the deck to our laundry room is solid and doesn’t produce a very loud knock.

To make a very long … somewhat boring story – SHORTER (grin), I made it inside. It took me awhile, and I had to find my cochlear implant before even starting on the “trip”! Chloe whined her encouragement the entire way.

My kids were pretty surprised to come upstairs for breakfast to find me with my foot in the air with ice on it. Ok… actually I’m stretching the truth here. My kids know me. They weren’t at ALL surprised to come upstairs to find me with my foot in the air and ice on it.

They DID call dibs on who got to call “Dad” and tell him what happened.

Barriers Can be Good

I put up that barrier for a reason. It should have been a reminder to me just how high off the ground I was. The barrier was to serve as a preventative for descending to the yard below from the deck. By-passing the stairs all together was just a little bit STUPID. That barrier should have served as a reminder AND a preventative.

Sometimes we put up barriers in our lives to protect ourselves. Maybe you’ve learned the hard way to avoid critical people. You put up a block… a barrier to not allow people like that close to you. The barrier can keep people who aren’t “safe” for you emotionally, at a distance that is healthier for YOU.

But why do we sometimes slip a leg over the railing to by-pass the barrier? Why do we seem to embrace people who have a history of causing us emotional duress? Perhaps someone with an expression like Chloe’s, looks on in concern and asks carefully, “do you know what it is you are doing?” Ignoring the possibility that they may be right, you slip your leg over the rail anyway and think, “Gee! They are a piece of WORK!”

Friends? The only work is that long walk “home” after falling on your butt. It may take years even to get back to a healthy place. Almost “home“, and you step over a familiar looking barrier that you had up as a warning and preventative prior to being duped again.

Safe People

Surround yourself with “safe people“. These folks are individuals who bring out the best in you. They love you warts and all. They are an encouragement to you, and cheer lead you to reach for your dreams.

What’s tough is when some of those people who aren’t safe are related to you. There are times you have to interact, but you can learn to do so in a way that they don’t breach even the barriers you put up for them.

I am not encouraging an unforgiving heart either. If someone is truly repentant (meaning they have made a CHANGE) and want to be a friend to you again, you should be willing to trust they mean it. If their efforts fail, however, and they still are a “toxic person”, at least you have the experience and “supplies handy” to put that barrier right back up.

Sigh.

You know the BOOGER of it?

That. Vine. Is. Still. There.

Denise Portis

© 2009 Hearing Loss Journal

Reflections from Baby Mirrors

How do I keep an eye on Chloe?
How do I keep an eye on Chloe?

Baby Mirrors for Vans

I had only been matched with Chloe about a month, when I overheard another client from Fidos For Freedom say she had a “baby mirror” in her van. She, too, was late-deafened, and she explained that having the “baby mirror” attached to the rear-view mirror, added confidence about how her canine partner was doing “back there“.

I took a picture of Chloe at work yesterday next to the mirror. (It cracks me up that the Chloe BOBBLE-HEAD made it in the picture too… it’s a long story. I needed a quick way to identify MY silver van from everyone else’s!) Normally, Chloe is in the seat in the far back of the van. She has a special seatbelt, as well as a “sling” that zips her up in order to keep her from sliding on the floor should I make a sudden stop.

Because I have a hearing loss, I depend on that mirror to help me see Chloe. I suppose you could say I hear pretty good with my eyes. The peace of mind this little mirror has brought to me, was well worth the $4.99 that I paid for it at Wal-mart.

The reflection I view in that handy little mirror, gives me confidence and assurance about the well-being of my dog. I see her at a different angle, and can evaluate whether or not I need to speak to her or praise her.

Baby Mirrors for Life

I think too much. Perhaps it’s because I’m married to a Psychologist; or, it may be that as my oldest daughter is a Psychology major, I’m encouraged to THINK. I often “reflect” when I enter a really effective quiet time of thinking/evaluating my life. To reflect is to think seriously about and ponder the past. (This according to my own understanding of the word that is!) Confucius said, “By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is most bitter.” I want to be noble.

I’ve discovered that it’s the “baby mirrors”of life… the angles, or viewpoints that are not a direct line of sight, that give me the best perspective of where I am and how I am functioning.

I suppose an obvious question we ask ourselves when we are evaluating “how are we doin’?” would be, “Am I happy?” However, happiness is not JOY, and the latter is what lasts… what gives us real peace.

FIERCE JOY

A friend of mine writes at a wonderful blog entitled: “The Grace and Wonder of God“. She recently wrote a post called, “Fierce Glory“. I’ll let you read the post, because frankly she said it much better than I could. Sometimes her posts end up on the back burner of my mind – just a simmerin’ away while I contemplate the truths she shared along side of the the reality of my own life.

There are times in my life where I feel desperately unhappy. Those times often occur during times that I put my eyes on “self” and have major PITY PARTIES that family and friends are encouraged to attend. Reality bites, and the “norm” is that I’m at that party all by myself.

I don’t think it’s wrong to acknowledge that sometimes we just aren’t happy. But happiness is a choice (it’s even the title of a great book!). If I need to feel unhappy for awhile, that’s OK. It’s not OK to LIVE THERE. Even in the midst of feeling unhappy, I can and should have joy.

Life can suck. (grin) My joy is not dependent on whether or not I am happy. It’s deeper than that. When God changed me, that inner part of me morphed into a confident child of the King. As a matter of fact, sometimes when I’m really feeling unhappy, what turns that around for me is simply being reminded of my joy. I am FIERCELY joyful.

Heck! The price Christ paid to make sure I had that peace… that assurance,  was too high to act as if it is temporary. The reminder of why I have TRUE joy, feels like a fire rising up within my very soul. My tearful, depressed, worry-bent spine is lifted and straightened with the power of that knowledge. Perhaps it’s a little bit like that saying, “I am WOMAN, hear me ROAR!”  I am HIS, I have JOY.

Lack of Joy is a Red Flag

I was recently contacted by someone through my blog. She is 33-years-old and has started to lose her hearing. Just as she makes adjustments in her life and “finds peace”, her hearing fluctuates and she’s back to “square one”. She admitted to me that the constant battle to “stay sane” is wearing her out. She has thought about how easy it would be to give up the fight. After probing a little bit, she admitted that this could mean “dropping out of life”, or even “taking her life”. (By the way, I have her permission to share this without using her name of course).

I’ve been there. Trying to constantly adapt can wear the starch out of any of us. An acquired disability that is in a constant state of “change” can make someone feel like “givin’ it up”.

In January of 2003, I was “there”. I had just lost more of my hearing and was having trouble communicating with even those closest to me. I was alone in my car headed to a meeting at my church. I remember thinking, “Wow. It would be so easy to just turn the wheel and drive off the interstate at 65 mph. It would be over quickly. No work involved. Those who might miss me would get over it quickly.” It scared me spitless that I found myself there. Perhaps that is why God continues to put people in my life who are also “there”. I “get them”, for I’ve lived that same roller coaster of thought.

It took the reminder of why I have JOY, that I began to “see past today”. If you do not have JOY, you may never find that true peace all of us yearn for in our lives. If you can STAY unhappy, and truly have no reason to exist – take my word for it that this is a RED flag.

Don’t Primp – Look!

Get a “baby mirror” for your life. Stop your primping. Don’t just look at what everyone else sees. Look past that. Check out the different angles that are “you”. Do you have joy? Are you unhappy too much? What do the answers to those questions tell you about your reflection?

I’ll close out this long-winded post with a great song one of my students signed in class recently. I love the words to the song. I’m not a huge Christian Aguilera fan, but the girl can SING.

“Reflection”

Look at me
You may think you see
Who I really am
But you’ll never know me
Every day
It’s as if I play a part
Now I see
If I wear a mask
I can fool the world
But I cannot fool my heart

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

I am now
In a world where I
Have to hide my heart
And what I believe in
But somehow
I will show the world
What’s inside my heart
And be loved for who I am

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
Why is my reflection
Someone I don’t know?
Must I pretend that I’m
Someone else for all time?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

There’s a heart that must be
Free to fly
That burns with a need to know
The reason why

Why must we all conceal
What we think, how we feel?
Must there be a secret me
I’m forced to hide?
I won’t pretend that I’m
Someone else for all time
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

Denise Portis

© 2009 Hearing Loss Journal