"dream great dreams and find the courage to live them"

-erwin mcmanus

Sunday, March 21, 2010

looking back

this week i looked back at my old xanga site.
my goodness how much things have changed since then.  how much I have changed since then.

seeing myself now, i don't see much change, but only in looking back do i see how much my thoughts have shifted.  this may or may not be a positive change, but it's real nonetheless.  I find myself dwelling on superficial things now, not spiritual things.  it's as if my faith has been shifting, ever so slowly, to a back burner where it can sit until the water finally boils and i hear the whistling from the kettle.  but for now, i can ignore it.  that's kind of the attitude i've had recently.

i'm considering picking up an ESL certification to with my masters of education that i'm working on.  apparently (and i suppose i had heard this before) schools won't hire you if you don't have an extra endorsement because you're not as useful to them and not as qualified.  therefore, i may have to be in school an extra semester or two to finish that up.  but i'm just considering it.

last quad i was just fine with my homework... i read everything i was supposed to, and suddenly this quad the work is tripled and i just don't know how i'm going to get it all done!  i suppose i just have to learn, again, how to be disciplined.  i guess that would mean utilizing the ability that i already possess from undergrad.  this is going to mean a lot of time at starbucks getting all of this reading/assignments done.

my family is going to north dakota over Easter weekend to see grandma and grandpa again.  we're just afraid that grandpa will have another stroke, because he might not make it through another.  i may or may not be able to go... some things still need to be worked out.  if i stay in chicago, it would be the first time that i didn't spend Easter with family... sigh.

i need to keep reading.  i'm reading about puberty and reflecting upon my own.  what a great assignment, reliving all of those terrible middle school memories...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

the kind of weekend you don't want to remember.

my time in north dakota last weekend with my brother was the kind of trip i couldn't possibly take pictures of.  i don't want to remember.  i realize that people age, it's inevitable.  but i've never really been close with anyone who i consider to be "old."

this weekend i had a chance to sit down with my grandma and just talk.  she rambles some and repeats her stories, but this weekend her repeated stories had particular significance.  the first was about a woman who died suddenly in a car crash, but who was so happy right before it happened.  the second was about a girl my grandma was friends with who, when they were in grade school, was taken away to a mental institution.

memories have a way of showing what you're really thinking about, even if you won't come right out and say it.  grandma is terrified of going crazy.  already excessively forgetful and often confused, she fears she will be a silent bum in the corner (her words, not mine) within a short period of time.  now what can one possibly say in response to that??  questions like these plagued my time there.

beyond those questions, there was grandpa.  a once-strong farmer who made his livelihood with his hands in the fields of roseglen, north dakota, is now slumped in a wheelchair.  sure, he can control his right side, but the left is a "lead arm," he says.  spending his days in tired therapy, being fed meals by careless aides, and his evenings by himself in an empty room, Grandpa lives in a rehab clinic.

he still flirts with all the nurses in his now-slurred speech, winks at me when nobody's looking, makes the same jokes, and enjoys his orange-raspberry shakes.  he's still nearly the same man on the inside.  it's the outside that worries me. more than anything, he wants to be at home to take care of Grandma: his prime motivation to finish his rehab and get the use of his left side back.

i cried most of the weekend.  i take that back, i held back tears most of the weekend.  it's so hard to see people that i love so much, hurting so much.

on the up-side, i got some quality time in the car with my favorite oldest younger brother, timothy.  i also spent a good amount of time with my aunt frieda.  she's the kind of aunt that isn't biological, but is just... family.  my grandma's best friend for fifty years, she is a strong woman of 94 years who drives people into town, stays the night at Grandma's house because Grandpa can't be there, and is essentially the youngest-spirited of the bunch :)  both of these women have lived long, precious, and meaningful lives.  i pray i can do the same (though i'd like to eliminate all the aches and pains that come with it, if you please.)