Rock bottom – not to be confused w/ rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock.

So many thoughts flooding my mind right now.  Not expecting anyone to read this, so, if you are here… thank you.  This blog will mostly be a written reflection of where I am – at any given moment.  Any nuggets you may find are courtesy of God – from whom all wisdom comes.    Any ramblings are courtesy of me – a work in progress.

Across the span of this journey called life, we sometimes hear quotes or lessons repeated.  Over time, the lessons seem trite or meaningless – even when filled with truth.  Not because we are unaware of the truth, but because we are 1) not in a place to accept the truth, 2) cannot relate to the truth being shared, 3) the truth is overwhelming – where do we begin, or 4) yada, yada, yada – we hear the truth so much we are desensitized.

Let me share some examples:

  • ActiveWater (http://www.activewater.org/The_Hard_Facts.php) shares 1 of every 8 people on this planet lack access to clean drinking water.  Really?  I have city water (allegedly clean), soft water (compliments of our water softener), and purified water (yep, love our reverse osmosis system), too.  Oh, and I live in America – land of abundance, so there’s bottled water from Costco sitting in my garage.  You know – in case I’m too lazy to fill one of our portable water bottles (BPA-free, of course).
  • What about AIDS?  According to JoinRed (http://www.joinred.com/red/#lazarusEffect) 33 million people have HIV.  Interesting.  Makes me sad, because I knew a gay man who died of AIDS.  His death was slow and painful.  Broke his mother’s heart.  Know lots (okay, about a dozen) of gay men.  None have AIDS.  All are friends.  Not once have I taken the time to ask – if they know someone… if I can help… if they know that I love them… more importantly, if they know that God loves them.
  • Want to see me get fired up (honesty alert *for a moment*)?  Ask me about slavery and sex trafficking.  The International Justice Mission site (http://www.ijm.org/ourwork/injusticetoday) tells me, “Trafficking in humans generates profits in excess of 12 billion dollars a year for those who, by force and deception, sell human lives into slavery and sexual bondage. Nearly 2 million children are exploited in the commercial sex industry.”  As a young girl, I was molested – on more than one occasion, from more than one perpetrator (neighbor, Boy Scout leaders, and the list goes on).  Sexual abuse stays with you for life.  I am married to the most amazing man, and to this day, there’s still a certain way he cannot kiss me, because it triggers a flashback.  He respects me enough to never cross that line, so it’s really a non-issue for us.  It took me years, however, to forgive those men and to not desire revenge.  Sexual abuse stays with the victim for life.  How dare a man put his sexual desires over the safety of a child!  How dare a woman put her daughter in harm’s way!

That’s such a small sample of the ‘information overload’ that bombards us on a daily basis.  Walk into church (if you need a one, you’re more than welcome here: http://www.kingswaychurch.org/) and our pastors tell us how many in our community (80K w/in 25 miles of Avon) do not know Jesus.  What?  How can my neighbor not know that God loves her (gender reference not important) unconditionally?  Surely, she knows that even though I go to church, I still sin daily.  God loves her so much that He sent His holy and perfect Son.  She knows that.  The statistics must be from a different county – maybe Putnam or Johnson.  Or, maybe downtown Indy – Marion County.  Here?  Hendricks County?  Where I live?  Are you sure?  I’m sure I’ve done my part.  <sarcasm intended>

Which brings me to my point.  I am writing this at my personal rock bottom.  Is it my only rock bottom?  No, unfortunately, I have been here before… different day, different situation, and different topic.  So, why now?  Well, honestly, my hero died.  His name was Robert Martinez.  I loved so much about him, and someday soon I will share his eulogy.  Today, you just need to know how much I respected and learned from his honesty.

For years he told me that I should drop some weight, watch what I eat, and avoid diabetes at all cost.  Ok, Daddy.  Love you, too.  Yes, I know we have a family history.  Yes, I know that Aunt Delores went blind.  Yes, and Pie (Reuben Jr) too.  Of course, but this is us.  This stuff doesn’t happen to our family.  Wrong!

Daddy died as a result from complications that stemmed from diabetes.  Note: he was NOT overweight (unlike his daughter).  First, his kidneys shut down.  We knew he needed kidney dialysis by the end of the year.  On December 16th, however, he went via ambulance to the hospital because fluid (not being filtered by his kidneys) began building up on his lungs.  Ok, no problem.  Dialysis will start sooner.  And, it did – December 17th.  Mom was with him.  She called.  I thought it was for an update, but, instead, it was to tell me that Dad had a heart attack.  I needed to pick Sarah up from school.  Surely, this was just a bad dream.  Christopher came to get me, Sarah went to Auntie M’s, and I prayed all the way to the hospital.

Christopher and I were there when the cardiologist told us it was a “small heart attack.”  He also said, “expect blockages.”  Daddy’s heart cath would be Monday.  “What are you going to do until then?” I asked.  I sounded calm, cool, and collected.  Years of project management, I can handle any crisis.  Daddy’s health advocate – that’s my role.  I can help my family understand what’s happening.  The cardiologist assured me (yep, I got what I wanted) by starting my dad on Heparin IV… would keep his blood thin (preventing clotting or an attack) until the cath on Monday.

Monday (Dec 20) – heart catheter successful.  Daddy needs bypass surgery.  Scheduled for Wednesday.  On this day, I just took care of him as he went through dialysis.  You know – wiped his forehead, retrieved the emesis basin, whatever I could do to make it a little better.  Tuesday (Dec 21), Daddy transferred to the Indiana Heart Hospital.  His brother (my favorite uncle) came in to see him.  I took Sarah up to encourage him, too.  Wednesday morning, he was scared.  My brother came to the hospital (first time they spoke in over nine years).  Seeing them reconcile was a beautiful thing.  Those present: me, my mom, my brother, my husband, my uncle, and one of the pastors (he’s also a friend) from our church.  What did we do to ease the fear?  We prayed.  Just give it to the Father.  He loves Daddy even more than me.  We exchanged an “I love you,” and I told my dad that he was going to feel so much better.  Now, I realize the part after “I love you” was an empty promise, a platitude from his scared daughter.  The promise was never mine to make.

Doing my best to rejoice in between tears.  God answered so many prayers.  As much as I took charge of my dad’s medical care (Riley Hospital is the first place I started project management – for the Cancer Center – years ago), it never once occurred to me that he could die while on life support.  He flat-lined.  The cardiologist and nurses restarted his heart – long enough for me to get to the hospital.  What a praise – I was with him as God stopped his heart for the last time and as he took his final breath.  I had visions of singing praise songs, but the tears and pain of losing the blessing that was my dad was too great.

When Daddy died, I fell down the side of a cliff.  Fortunately, I fell right into my Heavenly Father’s arms who lay me gently upon the rock below.  Today, I am wavering between laying and standing on His rock.  Remember the classic lyrics, “On Christ this solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand?”  There are a lot of people who prayed and continue to intercede on my and my family’s *yes, I know it’s not all about me* behalf.  Words really are inadequate to describe the joy and peace that brings my soul.

Which brings me to ‘rock bottom.’   Daddy died on Thursday evening, December 30th, around 7pm.  I never heard him speak after his surgery.  There’s much more to the story, but right now the point is simple:  I have to live my life differently – starting now!

My world will never be the same.  Thursday night, it felt as if the world stopped even though it didn’t, it hasn’t, and it won’t.  No question:  I will miss my daddy every day.  That brings me back to ‘rock bottom’ and another topic: change.

  • Mahatma Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  Really?  How about if I just be Sonia?
  • Heraclitus of Ephesus offered, “Nothing endures but change.” Which over time acquired numerous variations including, “The only thing constant is change.”  Gotta love it when people state the obvious!  And the sun rises in the East and sets in the West in the northern hemisphere.  Not helpful!
  • Alcoholics Anonymous contributed this one, “Change occurs when the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of changing.”  Ouch.  That one hurts.

Feeling ultra-sensitive to the last one after my dad’s death.  I cannot remain the same.  To do so would dishonor my dad’s memory.  So, this Saturday, I begin a journey of transformation.  I am privileged to be a ‘new recruit’ for a program called “Bridging the Wellness Gap.”  You can read more here:  http://bridgingthewellnessgap.wordpress.com/about-btwg/.

Praying that this program provides the tools I need to turn my life around.  Then, I will teach Sarah (and Christopher and whoever else God puts in my path) how much sugar is ok (never met an Oreo I didn’t like).  The cycle stops here ~ no more diabetes!  Every time I want to quit, I want to say that I will remember my dad and press on.  If for some reason, you see me with any other attitude, then you have my permission to call me on it.  Please hold me accountable – I’m not just saying that.  Please remind me of this post.  I can assure you, my daddy was more than worth it, and so am I.

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5 Responses to Rock bottom – not to be confused w/ rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock.

  1. Pamela White says:

    Sonia, your blog really touched my heart in many ways. First, the pain of losing a parent (especially one that is our hero) is so difficult. You made a comment that you made an empty promise to your dad, but in truth it was not. You told him that he was going to feel so much better. You know that now in the hands of God, his earthly human body has no more pain. We should not concern ourselves with God’s justice after our loved ones make death’s journey. God’s mercy is infinite, and His love is everlasting. Rejoice with your daddy…every day!

    The second pull on my heart is because George and his brother have diabetes, as do my brother (Ed) and, since May, the diagnosis has been added to my chart as well. George takes medicine to control his, his brother maintains a strict diet and stays healthy. Ed was diagnosed a long time ago but hasn’t made lifestyle changes so I believe he is still in denial. He is dealing with some of the long-term effects of the disease which become more troublesome each year. Doc put me on medicine after the diagnosis. I didn’t like the side effects and decided to shape up and do something to fix the problem myself. I joined Weight Watchers at Work (at Purdue) and I’ve dropped 29 lbs since July. In October I received praise from Doc about the progress I’d made and the new results in my blood tests. My sugar and my cholesterol were both down.

    Recently, it’s been more difficult – the holidays, friends who don’t help me follow my normal routine, and being ill recently the past week, all make it much tougher to maintine my healthy standards. I’ve had 2 bouts with arterial fibrillation (heart arythmia) in the past 2 years – the most recent one in November. I’d just been on vacation and couldn’t figure out why it would happen again – especially when I was rested and active. The visit to the heart specialist told me that I can look forward to more of them in the future and added a medication to try and fix the problem without a visit to the ER. He also added a $300/month pill that will keep my blood thin and “help prevent a heart attack.” The story of your dad hits “very home” for me. I could be in his place soon. Thanks for the reminder and helping me renew my pledge to be a better vessel for Christ.

    Finally, I empathize with your vow to change your attitude toward your health. It’s time to thank God for your life and let him know you will honor that gift by taking care of it. He gave you a loving eartly father to guide you to know what you need to do and who would set examples for you.

    All of the love we feel in our hearts for our families and others are undermined when we don’t take care of the body that allows us to show that love. That’s so easy for me to say…it’s so hard to follow and to be an example. I will pray for you every day. I believe in you Sonia. I admire your efforts. I am only a phone call away whenever you just need to talk or if there’s a temptation that you’re having trouble avoiding.

    I look forward to future thoughts and hearing about your successes – no matter how trivial they may seem. Thanks be to God…you had a daddy who taught you how to love – and your love brings other to you (like many of your other friends – and me) who will help hold you up when you are down.

    Rock bottom? Didn’t God’s church begin with “the Rock” and aren’t the strongest foundations built on rock bottoms? It’s the best place to start…how blessed you are!

  2. Sonia says:

    Pam, thanks for taking the time to respond. I had no idea that your family (including you and George) struggled with diabetes. After Daddy’s death I decided it was not about the weight – it was about choices, as it has been all along. Trouble is – I am not sure how the pieces fit into the larger puzzle. Historically, I go on a diet and count calories. Now I better understand -all calories are not created equal. Trying to get informed. Yes, ‘rock bottom’ was intentional, but so is the blog name – ‘standingonrock’ -for the exact reason you said. On Christ this solid rock on stand! 🙂

    I will pray for you, too. Always good to know we’re not alone – amen? Amen! 😉 And, congrats on your recent weight loss -that’s awesome! Praying that God will restore your health (including the heart arrhythmia) to normal soon.

  3. Lori says:

    My Great Friend,
    Thanks for writing this blog. This has encouraged me and given me many things to reconsider in my own life.
    The first…God has a plan. Sometimes we like His plan, sometimes we don’t. And…sometimes we feel like there is no plan or we just don’t understand it. But, for sure, God has a plan for everyone – for you, for me, for everyone — including your Daddy. Not sure I like this plan right now, don’t completely understand it but I am beginning to accept it as….it is His plan and not mine. Is it a control issue for me? Maybe. (OK – for sure). I need to take the back seat and let Him drive.
    He has brought many blessings to me. I thank Him for bringing you into my life. Best friends are hard to come by and you are certainly one of them. We have laughed and cried together but most importantly, your friendship has brought me closer to having a relationship with Jesus.
    I will also reconsider to not take anything or anyone for granted. That would include my parents (still here on Earth), relatives and friends. Only God knows when each of us will die here on Earth to be raised to Heaven. Gods plan. Until that time, I will be grateful when He wants me to come to His house and, yet, try to remain unselfish while I wait here on earth.
    I am and always will be here for you, Sonia.

  4. (Aunt Mary) Mary A. Waschak says:

    My precious Sonia,

    What a wonderful gift you have of sharing your heart! You express God’s love & His promises so well. Jesus said that He’d never leave us or forsake us. You’ve reminded me of that & so much more.

    You took me back to the loss of my mother, over 6 years ago. I know the “peace that passes all understanding” mixed with the unexplainable sadness of knowing that things will never be the same. I still have a hard time seeing a precious elderly ladies with a walker.

    We’ve lost several pets since Mama passed. I know that many do not believe that our pets go to heaven. But I believe that Mama is sitting on the front poarch of her “castle” with Sheba on the floor by her, & Tukie, Sabastian, & Chickie (our white shepherd, our kitty, & 2 of Beck’s kitties) vieing for a spot on her lap!

    Sonia, you have such a warm, honest, & gentle way of sharing Christ thru the written word. I hope you will send this testamony to Guide Post. I know that many will be touched by it. Have you ever considered writing a daily devotional? I’m so excited by the stories of your faith as well as Chris’ & Meredith’s.

    May you & your family soon have all of your greif replaced with wonderful memories & the excitement of knowing that your dad is waiting for you.
    My love to each of you, Aunt Mary

  5. Karrie Beaumont says:

    Sweet Sonia,

    I have been praying for you as have many it seems. I hope you have felt the prayers..I know I have felt the prayers you have sent up on our family’s behalf. I don’t have any words of wisdom or even deep thoughts to share. I just wanted to say “thank you”. Thank you for being real and nothing less. That sounds like such a little thing, but in today’s world it is so huge. So many people are so busy trying to be anything but real…so thank you for putting yourself out there…for being vulnerable when that is one of the hardest things for you to be. God is using you…even when you feel unworthy. He (and so many more) know your worth is beyond rubies and gold..You exemplify a true woman after God’s own heart. Trust in that…and thank you for reminding others of their worth..even when you feel the most unworthy.

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