Spring Is in the Air

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy. They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” — Marcel Proust

I absolutely adore spring! It is a time of hope and a time of renewal. It’s a time of excitement and a chance to start over. All things are new. I especially love the warmth of the sun. It makes my body relax and my soul feel good all over.

As I was walking home from work this evening, I realized it has been a long time since I have really had the opportunity to enjoy something. The past 20 years have been so difficult. Somehow my light within got snuffed out, and it has been difficult to get it burning again.

A few things have happened over the past few months, though, that have stoked the embers and fanned the flame, at least to the point where there are flickers of possibility filled with promises of something exciting to come.

Probably the most drastic thing that has happened is I’ve become a bit of an empty nester with all of my kids in college and away from home now. I’ve gone back to school myself to work on my Master’s in Strategic Communication. I’m succeeding in a completely new area of learning, which is allowing me to use my God-given abilities and get my creative juices flowing again. That in and of itself is wonderful. I’ve so missed the freedom to be creative!

On a more somber note, the second thing that has happened is that I have lost a friend. This has been the most devastating thing ever. My friend didn’t die; he just chose to no longer be my friend. He may as well have died. The result in my heart is the same.

The thing is, I wasted 20 years of my life over this man. I never gave up on him. I loved him deeply. I fell in love with him in my 20s and thought he was “the one.” (I still do.) Unfortunately, apparently he didn’t feel the same. Too bad I didn’t learn that 20 years sooner. Things might have been so much easier.

For a long time, I decided to ignore my feelings for him. I was married. I had children. Then, I eventually realized my marriage was over. I had given it my best shot for 20 years and couldn’t do it anymore. Then the pendulum swung to the opposite extreme, and my feelings took over. I had been lonely and miserable for so long that I wanted to rekindle my relationship with the man from my past. He never married, and I was now divorced. It seemed logical to me.

Unfortunately, lonely and miserable people do not think clearly. They act strangely. They do stupid stuff. I was no exception. I wanted to believe he never married because he couldn’t get over me. Friends told me to forget him; he had obviously moved on. I thought, “But they don’t know him like I do.”

When we met (in a Dale Carnegie class), we started a four-year relationship that blossomed into something incredibly special. We discovered we had so much in common. We had both lived in Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, Boston and New York about the same time. We had the same political beliefs. We enjoyed just being in each other’s company. We brought out the best in each other and became better people because of it. Unfortunately, we also had a lot of baggage; and life got in the way.

In retrospect, I guess it wasn’t so much that this man couldn’t get over me; it was  the demons from his past that kept him bound as a bachelor. He is an adult child of (very high-functioning) alcoholic parents. I don’t know a whole lot about alcoholism, but I do know that it can result in rejection and abandonment issues that never quite go away. My friend lost all trust in me and refused to communicate. I had abandoned him in my 20s, and he took that to mean I no longer loved him. Therefore, I could no longer be trusted.

After years of attempting to make things right, I have finally reached the point where I can honestly say, “I have done all that I can. There is nothing more I can do.” I never gave up on him (and at least I didn’t go down without a fight), but it is time to move on. We can’t make people love us.

So, with spring in the air, I am looking forward to moving forward, starting over and seeing life blossom anew. Next year at this time, God willing, I will be close to finishing up my master’s program. I am hoping to start over in a new career. Virginia or North Carolina are calling my name. I may not get there next year, but I’m hoping to head that way within the next five years. Maybe God is preparing a new love for me there. I can’t wait to meet him! 🙂

Starting over,
Lori Lynn

Dear LORD … thank you for all things new. Thank you for the chance to start over. Even though our hearts may always feel sadness over a lost or broken friendship, we trust that You will either redeem it or have a new friend cross our path. Help us to remember that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to be our closest Friend. Amen.

Life Lesson #1 (Updated): Deal with Your Stuff

“… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. — Romans 3:23-24 (NIV)

{I originally wrote this post in January 2012. It has been rewritten a bit, as events in my life have changed, but the life lesson is still the same (and more important than ever for me to share).}

It’s very difficult when writing a blog to know just how much to share with your readers.  As a writer, I want to touch my readers’ hearts.  I want them to read what I write and say, “Oh my gosh.  I know exactly what she’s talking about!”, or “I SO get where she’s coming from.”  At the same time, I don’t want to share so much that it portrays people in my life in a bad light; because there are two sides to every story, and you are really only hearing mine.  Suffice it to say, because of poor choices I have made in the past, my life has not exactly gone the way I had hoped; but I am hopeful that some of my mistakes can be used for good in teaching others not to do what I did.

Lesson #1:  Do NOT marry someone until you have dealt with your “stuff.”

When I married my husband, I knew I did not love him.  I did know he was a good Christian man, and he had a good heart; and I truly believed that God would help me grow to love him in time.  I was 28 years old, desperately wanted to be a wife and mother, and felt the biological clock ticking.  I had just come out of a four-year off-again-on-again relationship with a man whom I loved more than anything but who had no intention of marrying me anytime soon because of family pressure on his side.  It was actually this man who sat in church with me one day, looked out over the congregation, saw my future husband in one of the front rows, pointed and said, “You should go out with that guy.”  My initial reaction was, “Oh my gosh.  No way.  He is SO not my type!”  (Now I realize that many of you highly-intelligent readers will be asking, “Why did you go out with this guy for four years when he is telling you to go out with other people?”)  Can I just say, “It’s what insecure people do.”  It’s also what led me to marry my husband.

Which brings me back to dealing with our stuff…

We can drag an awful lot of baggage, which we aren’t even aware of, into our marriages.  Are you familiar with any of these:

  • Insecurity
  • Low self-esteem/unworthiness
  • Unresolved relationship issues
  • Poverty (lack of money or love)
  • Emotional/physical/verbal abuse
  • Codependency
  • Anger
  • Mental health issues

If you haven’t dealt with them BEFORE you tie the knot, trust me when I say that you WILL deal with them at some point after.  All of the baggage mentioned above comes with a bountiful set of emotions.  Emotions get triggered in our brains from the darnedest things…  a sound, a smell, a touch, a look, a word, etc.  You may think that you can suppress emotions, but they can only be suppressed for so long.  Emotions are alive, so suppressing them is like burying something alive.  They will eventually erupt and find their way out; and when they do, it isn’t pretty!

I was married for almost 22 years.  I can honestly say, it was a struggle from Day 1.  On my wedding night, I was crying because I had a new last name.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  I had every intention of changing my name when I got married.  It wasn’t having a new last name that was the problem; it had everything to do with thinking, “Oh my gosh, I can’t go back.  I’ve made a horrible mistake.  This is not what I wanted.”  I don’t come from a belief system that says, “Get married today and divorced tomorrow.”  I had made a covenant before God.  This was serious business.  For what it’s worth, my husband was probably feeling the same way.  All of the sudden he was faced with a hysterical wife who was not at all like the woman he thought he had married.

In retrospect, I think I was more in love with the IDEA of getting married (the ring, the dress, the flowers, walking down the aisle) than I was with the man I had agreed to marry.  Also, in my insecurity, I didn’t believe anyone else would ever ask me to marry him.  My husband did; therefore, I thought I better jump at the opportunity.

I had had similar feelings (that I was making a mistake) the morning of my wedding but had brushed them off as wedding-day jitters.  At that point, I remember thinking, “I can’t back out now.  Everyone has flown out here for the wedding.  My parents have put a lot of expense into this.”

Both of us lamented the fact that we did not have premarital counseling before our wedding day.  We were supposed to have it.  We even went to our first session; unfortunately, right in the middle of it, our pastor got an emergency phone call and had to end the session.  We somehow never rescheduled.  I think the pastor thought, “These are two mature individuals who obviously love each other, both from good Lutheran stock, so they will be fine.”  (Of course, I have no idea what he was actually thinking.  Pre-marriage counseling for us may have just slipped his mind.)  I do think, though, that many of the conflicts we struggled with over the years would have surfaced in those counseling sessions, and we could have been spared quite a bit of the heartache we experienced (or at least been a little bit more prepared for it).

So, how did we stay married so long?  In this Married-Today-Divorced-Tomorrow Age, I’d like to think it was because neither one of us could come to terms with breaking the covenant we made before our God; and we were both too stubborn to give up.  In reality, it isn’t because of anything WE were thinking or doing.  The truth is that God was the third strand in our cord; and whereas our two strands would have broken early on, His continued holding on.  There was a purpose to all we went through.  Just as an ugly jagged-edged rock can be put into a tumbler and bounced all over for days on end and come out a beautiful gem, our marriage tossed us around enough to remove the jagged edges off of us whereby (hopefully) we can take our mistakes and use them to instruct others.  It means that all of the junk our children were forced to wade through was strengthening them and building them up for service to others.  They will have a sense of compassion and empathy from having “been there” that will give them remarkable insight in helping others through the maze.  I have also come to realize that divorce does not separate us from our stuff.  If not dealt with, our stuff follows us into any relationship we enter into.

Maybe you are in a similar place.  Maybe you’re about to get married and you realize you’re not getting married for the right reasons.  Maybe you’re already married, were lucky enough to have been in love when you walked down the aisle, but now find you have drifted apart.  Maybe you’re struggling with a wayward or mentally-ill child, and it is wreaking havoc in your marriage.  (I have a daughter who is ADHD/NLD/and borderline Asperger’s.  Trust me when I say I KNOW the havoc mental health issues inflict on a marriage.)  Maybe you are a single person who feels the only way you can be loved is to sleep with every person who asks you to with the hope that maybe one of them will propose.  Maybe you are the child of an alcoholic who has become a workaholic to compensate for the love you never got, and you’ve reached the point where you realize you’ve accumulated a lot of things but you have no one to pass them on to.

We all have issues.  We all struggle.  But there is hope.  We CAN deal with our stuff before it deals with us.  We CAN break the cycle that we’re in … be it codependency, verbal abuse, anger.  We CAN stop it.  It isn’t easy.  It means making some tough decisions (for me, it meant filing for divorce after 20+ years), but remember that it is for your good and the good of those who come after you (my children have told me filing for divorce was the right thing to do).  Dare to be the difference in your future child (or grandchild’s life).  Dare to be the one who breaks the chain.  And remember… the best thing you can do is to deal with it BEFORE you get married!

Saved by Grace …

Lori Lynn

Dear Lord… Thank you for being the third strand in the frayed and broken cord now binding me and my children.  Without you, we would have been done a long time ago.  Continue to show us in a myriad of ways that You have a purpose in all that we have gone through and give us the strength to continue holding on until beauty shines through.  Give us the courage to change what we know needs to be changed, and help us to grow to be more like You.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

Author’s note: Please know that I am in no way advocating divorce. I am not encouraging it, nor am I condoning it; but it happens.

Although I filed for divorce, I still believe it is wrong; and I will be held accountable when I go before my Father in heaven. But I am convinced that God knows my heart, and He knows why I filed. He knows my ultimate goal is to live for His glory and to show others that our sinfulness does not have to keep us from fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives… oftentimes He uses our mess-ups to connect us to people in ways we never thought possible. We all sin and fall short.  May He grace you today as He has graced me…

I Love Funerals

Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.  –Psalm 139:16 (NIV)

Yesterday I played organ for the funeral of my mother’s cousin.  Call me strange, but I have always loved funerals.  The first one I remember attending was my paternal grandfather’s when I was five years old.  I couldn’t figure out why everyone was so sad.  I wanted to go up to my grandma and give her a big hug and say, “Grandma, it’ll be okay.  Grandpa’s in heaven now.”  In my mind, heaven was a wonderful place.  It still is.

I play organ for quite a few funerals.  For each one, I try to learn a little something about the deceased and select the music accordingly.  For instance, if I know the person was in the military, I will frequently play “Battle Hymn of the Republic” as part of the recessional.  They honored our country with their service.  I want to say thank you in my own little way.  (If it’s a faux pax to play a Marine hymn for someone who served in a different branch of the military, well …  at least my heart is in the right place.)  If the family of the deceased is somewhat leery about church, I will play more contemporary pieces that are comforting but less somber.  I frequently send up a quiet blessing to the person who died saying, “This one’s for you.”

But I think the reason I absolutely adore funerals is because I can’t help but think to myself, “Wow, Rose is at peace.  Her suffering is over.”  Or, if the person wasn’t suffering but died unexpectedly in an accident of some kind, I will think, “George is so lucky.  He no longer has to wonder HOW he’s going to die.  He doesn’t have to worry.  He is in a far better place.  He is living the good life now.  He gets to celebrate Easter (or Christmas or his birthday) with the LORD and his friends and family members who preceded him in death.  In my mind, there is so much joy and happiness for the person who has crossed over from this life to life everlasting.  Although we are sad to no longer have the person with us in our life, we can rejoice that they are whole and happy and healthy.

Those thoughts have intensified over the past few years as I contemplate the direction our world is going.  We have drifted so far from Truth and Morality and the fruits of the Spirit.  Up is Down and Wrong is Right.  Selfishness and a lack of the sanctity of life reign supreme.  It’s a crazy, mixed-up stressful world.  However, for the person who has a deep relationship with the LORD, there is hope and joy and excitement.  There is peace and love and anticipation.  We have something to look forward to.  We have a heavenly home waiting for us.  When our loved ones die, we have the anticipation of one day seeing them again.  When we sit by their side as they are close to death, we can lovingly brush their hair and whisper in their ear, “Gertie, you’re going to a party.  We need to get you ready.  You are going to be beautiful.  Wait until your loved ones see you!”

I realize this is not true for everyone.  There are non-believers out there who can’t understand the concept of heaven.  I feel sorry for them.  How depressing and sad to think that when you die there is nothingness.  How frightening to think that this life is all there is.  We have a deep obligation to share the Source of our joy and excitement to those who will listen (and sometimes–in subtle ways–even to those who won’t).  People need hope.  People need something to believe in … something Good and Loving and Right.  We who believe in life everlasting know Who defines those attributes.  Let’s make sure our hurting sisters and brothers come to know Him as well.

Lori Lynn

Dear LORD… you have prepared a place for us.  You know the exact time we will leave this earthly place we call home, and we can look forward to that moment with anticipation and joy.  The best is yet to come!  Amen.


How about you?  What are your thoughts on funerals?  Dread them?  Celebrate them?  How do you feel about your own impending death?