Friday, October 7, 2011

The Year I Lost It: The Budley

This is Part 5 of 5

Part 1 - The Job
Part 2 - The Boss
Part 3 - The Father
Part 4 - The Earring

There was a lot going on in the spring of 2011. The calendar filled up quickly with all kinds of things that kept us busy. Honestly, we needed the activity to distract us from the emotional side of life for a while.

In the midst of all that busyness, we learned that Scott needed eye surgery. It didn’t appear to be serious, but because his problem developed sort of rapidly and rather largely, and because it was on the same side of his head where he’d had some more issues before, we had a little trepidation.

We had to delay the surgery for at least a month because of all the other commitments already on the calendar. By the time we got around to it, it was the end of May.

In anticipation of the eye surgery, I kept remembering scenes from his two previous surgeries. Two craniotomies. What a weird couple of years that was.

I thought about how much he looked like a baseball after the first surgery (2002).

I thought about how he looked like an alien after the second (2005).

I wondered how he would see things after this surgery.

Just being in a healthcare facility with all the scrub uniforms and beeping machines and, um, interesting smells you don’t get anywhere else is definitely a catalyst to make you consider things that you don’t usually give much time to when your calendar is full and your brain is otherwise distracted.

The eye surgery went fine. Once we were on the back side of it some of the anxiety eased, but we both we still left with that feeling that you get when a medical episode, no matter how minor, leaves you contemplating your own mortality.

Scott had a new eye with 20/10 vision, but we both felt the need to take another look at our lives. Our purpose. God’s call. All those things.

Our 25th wedding anniversary was less than a month away. We had been talking about taking a trip to celebrate. We originally had big plans but the cost of the eye surgery forced us to scale back a little. But, given everything that had happened in the last several months, we were GOING to get away for our anniversary. It didn’t really matter where. We just needed the rest.

So, about a month later we set out for a week on the Atlantic coast of south Florida. We didn’t do anything spectacular. No amusement park. No major airports. We just went somewhere else and lived for a week. We did the kind of things we normally do around here, just in a different environment. We went out to eat. We shopped. We went to the movies. We drove around looking at houses we will never be able to afford playing the What-If game.

The Florida coast is a wonderful place. Ahhh…..

It’s interesting how just doing what you normally do, but doing it in somebody’s else world will put things in a new light. It took us only about 24 hours after being there to come to an agreement about something.

That something was this: This is killing us. Living where we’re living, doing what we’re doing the way we’re doing it is killing us.

We kept saying that over and over to each other. It was one of those things neither one of us could really explain. We just knew that something had to change or we were literally going to die. We knew it and we felt it, but we couldn’t explain it. The change that needed to happen wasn’t just a physical thing. It was emotional and mental and spiritual as well. We didn’t know exactly what specifically needed to change, other than EVERYTHING. We just knew we couldn’t go on the way we had been.

We get back home with the new revelation and have no clue where to start. But we still know something’s got to give.

We signed up for Weight Watchers. We decided that maybe if we physically felt better, the less tangible elements would become clearer.

Scott signed up for a year-long leadership program with ministers from around the state, hoping to learn and be changed and challenged to grow.

I started thinking about leading Bible studies again and thinking about getting serious again with some other pursuits. I’m basically a thinker first, so it takes me a little longer to get into action (note to self: this is really a funny story for another day).

We had begun an attempt at change for the betterment of ourselves and those around us.

And then it happened.

Bud Summers, our Minister of Education, dies of a heart attack. Suddenly. We all knew he had health problems, but we were not expecting him to leave this world so soon. He was 56.

I have never been more sobered by my own prophetic words.

“This is killing us.”

Bud was one of us. He and Scott served on staff together along with Randy. Between the three of them, Bud was always the middle ground between the two other extremes.

This changes everything.

It changes the people we love, especially Bud’s wife and children.

It changes the lives of all the church members affected by the loss.

It changes the future of our church. The dynamics of the staff have been forever altered. The void now created in the staff will change how everything else is done.

It changes us.

We came back from our vacation convinced that something needed to change. We felt the urgency to do something immediately. We had no idea that it would start with something beyond our control.

Our hearts are broken, but I guess it takes that to change sometimes.

The transformation is far from being over. Look out. This is just the beginning.

The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you. 1 Samuel 10:6-7

This is Part 5 of 5

Part 1 - The Job
Part 2 - The Boss
Part 3 - The Father
Part 4 - The Earring

The Year I Lost It - The Earring, with a side of biscuits

This is Part 4 of 5

Part 1 - The Job
Part 2 - The Boss
Part 3 - The Father
Part 5 - The Budley

January 2011 was the month that made me want to eat biscuits. Eating biscuits (or as they’re known around my house – lard sandwiches) is what I do when I’m at the end of everything I know to do and have no clue what to do next or how to handle anything. After getting through the whole Scott-losing-his-job-and getting-it-back-event and the Christmas program that sustained us, my dad died, my boss retired, I had jury duty, and then I got sick with a nasty sinus infection. It took a lot of biscuits to make it to February.

February started with my annual gynecological exam, bone density test, and mammogram. I lost one of my favorite earrings that day in the women’s center. It was one of a pair of tiny silver and red hearts that a friend gave me when we were in college. Her dad was an English professor and had taken a sabbatical in Poland. She took her own sabbatical that semester and went with him. She came back with these precious little earrings for me. I have treasured them all these years.

Of course, I didn’t realize I was one earring short until I got home, an hour away. It was only then that I realized that the little tug I felt on my ear back in the dressing room when I disrobed was not just due to a narrow neck opening in my shirt, it was my earring leaving my ear lobe.

I went back to the women’s center a week later, but not specifically to look for the earring.

I went back because I had to re-do the mammogram.

At my initial appointment, after I’d gotten outfitted in a little pink paper bolero shrug and unknowingly deposited my earring on the floor somewhere, the sweet technician called me in. She got me all pressed down and squeezed in and told me to hold my breath (why do they tell you to hold your breath? It’s not like you can breathe all squished up in that thing anyway). The machine locked up. With me in it. She apologized and finally figured out the code to get it to release me. Whew.

She worked with it a little and then we tried again. Press, squeeze, don’t breathe.

The machine locked up again. Again with me in it.

I had contortioned into a breathless pose two times now but still had no pictures to show for it. At that point we all agreed the best thing to do was reschedule the appointment and call a service technician.

I went through a drive-thru on my way home to order a biscuit. Or twelve.

I went back to the women’s center a week later. No problems with the machine that time, and no sign of the missing earring either.

I celebrated the success with a biscuit. I followed with a chaser biscuit to console my disappointment about the earring loss. Those lard sandwiches are good for just about anything.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9

This is Part 4 of 5

Part 1 - The Job
Part 2 - The Boss
Part 3 - The Father
Part 5 - The Budley