I believe Christine and Mike were trying to deliver a not so subtle message to me when I discovered this picture text sent to my phone one evening. It seems they were out browsing the dozens of galleries and non-traditional exhibit spaces during the monthly Short North Gallery Hop which is Columbus’ favorite night of the month to spotlight the best of established and emerging Ohio-based artists. They thought that perhaps I might want them to purchase it for me given it’s very appropriate message, to say nothing of the fact that it was done in black and white…..my favorite color scheme!!! Perhaps, you may be wondering how in the world I can get up every morning and “put two feet on the floor” when I must carry this burden of being the ‘”glass half-empty”, pessimistic “dreamcrusher”!!!! I admit that it is an onerous responsibility that I joyously bear to ensure that my very large extended family are never without “the other side of the story”. Several recent photos may reveal exactly how I am called into service on their behalf.
You see, it is just not in my DNA to even contemplate the notion of actually paying money to go up in a small plane, 10,000 to 14,000 feet above terra firma, with the sole purpose of intentionally standing near an open door in order to willfully jump from a plane, free-falling for sixty seconds…….hoping……and praying……..that your parachute will indeed open so that you can canopy safely back to earth!! It is this incredulous and pragmatic fear (some other “pessimists”, I do believe, would also concur) of such a risky adventure that compelled me to at least make an attempt to “crush” Erin and Maddie’s (two of my dear nieces) “dream” of soaring through the sky like the birds (my own well-documented antagonistic relationship with birds not withstanding!). Obviously they chose to disregard my “dreamcrushing” counsel and in fact, lived to tell all about their thrilling “crash-dive”! LOL And then there is Katie (another of my dear, tenacious nieces) who researched, planned and funded a solo, six-week excursion to Cusco, Peru. Please keep in mind, that her particular “dream” was the direct antithesis to the dream from my youth of one day travelling “all the way” to New York city. A “dream” that was left unfulfilled until I celebrated my 60th birthday!! Earlier in the year, quiet, unassuming Katie delivered the news to her family that she had made arrangements to travel 3,761 miles to Peru for the summer to volunteer at one of Mother Teresa’s medical clinics to assist the nuns with caring for developmentally challenged children. The pictures she has put up on Facebook of the sites she has visited in her free time are absolutely stunning. She is definitely encountering a culture far removed from her own, and while I and her parents, were concerned about a young woman travelling so far away to such an unfamiliar destination, we have all come to embrace her selfless and gutsy decision. We are anxiously and excitedly awaiting her return this weekend…………I just hope and pray that her plane is well fueled and thoroughly inspected!! (refer to the introductory picture……remember…..I am represented on the right side!!). It suddenly occurred to me as I re-read this paragraph that in many of my blogs, I am frequently explaining/defending my ISFJ personality!! Now that could be a topic for an entire blog, but I am not quite sure that I want to open that Pandora’s box! LOL Suffice it to say, years ago while working in a dental office, the staff was introduced to a survey by Kiersey and Bates (similar to Jung/Myers theory) in order to help us better understand our individual behavior traits, particularly as they related to our work environment. Well, mine was so spot on, that for eighteen years I saved the explanation/evaluation so as to better defend myself in any future “discussions” with DH (dear husband)! As I just recently came across the evaluation while in search of a document, I will briefly highlight a few of the behaviors which I am certain that all who know me will be nodding vehemently in agreement.
Portrait of an ISFJ …… “Six out of every one hundred people are ISFJ’s (gosh…I am practically in a class all by myself!!)……..ISFJ’s carry a sense of history, continuity with past events and relationships (must be why I love #TBT – ThrowBack Thursday – photos from the past, for those who don’t use Facebook)………….ISFJ’s highly value traditions ……….ISFJ’s believe work is good, play must be earned (ahem!)………they are seldom happy where rules are constantly changing (ahem #2!)……………. ISFJ’s prefer routines which call for repeated, sequential procedures (could that be OCD??)………….speculation and theory do not intrigue them (is that a put-down??? ha, ha, ha),…………… they prefer to leave the less practical matters to others, while remaining themselves practical and down-to-earth (can you say “dreamcrusher’??!!)
I will let you digest that for a moment, while I move on to share some family highlights of the past month. This motley crew of twenty-five siblings/in-laws, nieces/nephews and even great-niece/great-nephew hit the links for our 4th or 5th annual/once or twice skipped (it’s the Clark family, for crying out loud!!) golf tournament. And for once it was not played in 95 degree/100% humidity!!! Our partners for the scramble were “randomly” selected…….someone in the family must have a vendetta against Dave (nephew-n-law) as he got stuck with “moi” as his golfing partner!!!! He was truly a great sport……..I never saw him once roll his eyes or duck behind a tree or hide under the cart or put a bag over his head!! He proved to be a really good golfer who deserved a better partner, especially as I had not played since last year and hadn’t even gotten myself to the driving range at all this summer. Usually, the best part of my haphazard golf game is teeing off, but after the first couple of holes, even that one bright spot faded away so that it was I who was searching for a bag to cover my head!!! I desperately needed motivation to lift me out of my slump. Some inspiration to rise up out of the ashes……….who would I call upon??? No, not Crick…….this moment cried out for an amazing amount of animosity, not just mild irritation!! ha, ha, ha. And then, in a moment of clarity, it came to me. As we approached the eighth hole, I grabbed my driver from my bag, approached the tee box, stuck the tee into the ground, placed the ball purposefully on the tee, stood up and declared to my fellow golfers, “This ball represents Harry Reid.” After which I put my head down, eyed the ball, reviewed in my mind Harry’s political pranks, drew my club back, took a full, smooth swing and…………….SMACK!!!!!!!!!!!………………….that little ball sailed off the tee and took flight high into the sky and landed 250 yards right in the middle of the fairway!!!!!! (okay, okay, I got carried away for a second……..the ball only went about 150 yards, but it felt like a hundred more!!! ). Each hole thereafter, I continued to use my arsenal of political foes to better my golf game and you .know what??? It worked! So, I will give credit where credit is due…..thank you to Nancy Pelosi, Valerie Jarrett, Arne Duncan, Lois Lerner, Al Sharpton, Hillary Clinton, Chris Mathews, Eric Holder, Chuck Hagel…………you made my day :) (Please note that I purposefully left out the President – out of respect for the office!)
This past month has also concluded my brother, Bobby’s treatments for his cancer which was diagnosed ten months ago. Through the many prayers of family and friends, and God’s infinite grace and mercy, he has finished a six-week round of combination radiation/chemotherapy, followed two months later by a six-hour surgery, followed by an additional eight rounds of chemotherapy……..all while continuing to hold down his full-time job at the OSU golf course. He has one more surgery to go at the end of August, and then he can finally echo St. Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7…….. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith.” His journey has truly been inspiring to all of us for he has rarely, if ever complained. Early on in his treatment, he made a conscious decision to allow himself an occasional brief period of time to feel sorry about his situation, and then he would give himself a pep talk (or has Crick would say he, “would be glad he was able to put his two feet on the floor”) and begin again to embrace life, one day, one moment, at a time. Bobby has an infectious and self-deprecating sense of humor that lifts up everyone around him………even his oncology surgeon has marveled at how his “optimistic” attitude has enabled him to rise above the physical challenges of the past year. A case in point, is that just three weeks after his 8th chemo treatment, Bobby is planning a twenty-five mile bike ride to raise money for the annual Pelatonia race to cure cancer. The picture above is of his great-nieces and great-nephews as they conducted a bake sale/lemonade stand following the end of their vacation bible school week in which they raised $300.00 to donate toward Bobby’s Pelatonia goal. The riders commit to riding a certain number of miles and agree to fund-raise a specific amount of which 100% goes directly to fund Ohio State researchers whose goal is to cure all cancers. Bobby has raised $1900.00 so far which is $700.00 over his stated goal. Way to go Bobby……..you are our hero ♥!! The Schultheis family has their cancer hero also…………my notorious brother-in-law, Mark who has been undergoing treatment since January for non-small cell lung cancer. He too has just finished a rigorous radiation/chemotherapy regimen while also having had to battle back from two different bouts of pneumonia. Mark has always adopted a rather deceptively quiet and reserved persona which completely belies his mischievous propensity for picking on such a sweet, charming, demure, sister-in-law as myself! It has been well documented in previous blogs his gleeful delight in watching my reactions as I come upon the disgusting plastic roaches that he sneaks into rooms I am about to occupy or creeping up behind me with wispy branches to brush across my neck so that I scream and jump as if I am being attacked by some vile, furry insect or animal. He also has this uncanny knack for jinxing my beloved Ohio State basketball team. It often happens that whenever Mark watches the Bucks play, they end up losing!!! In spite of all his brother-in-law failings LOL, I have to confess that I kinda’ ♥ the guy…………..I feel that I can safely say that, because he never, ever reads this blog!! LOL
Now for the pièce de résistance of this post (LOL). While looking for my lipstick in a small make-up bag which I keep in my purse, I discovered what I at first thought must be a quarter. When I pulled it out and looked at it, I saw that it was one of those pocket coins that usually has some scripture verse or inspiration quote on one side. I looked down to see the insignia of a rose petal on the one side and when I flipped it over, I saw the inscription “Dear Husband”. Now what makes this so remarkable to me is that a few hours earlier I had been out running a few errands and had experienced one of my wistful moments when I felt this strong need for Crick’s presence. Any way, what is curious about the pocket coin is the fact that I have no recollection of where it came from or how it got into my cosmetic bag, of all places. Now I am not intimating that there was something magical about its appearance (I may be a “nut”, but I am not a lunatic!!), but, I have been racking my old brain trying to remember the circumstance for when I would have purchased such a coin. Perhaps I bought it to give to Crick when he left for Kosovo and only recently rediscovered it as I was searching for something and then just tossed it in………my cosmetic bag???? I am quite sure there is a logical explanation for its appearance, however, the timing of my finding it and the significance of “Dear Husband”, my Caringbridge acronym for Crick, is what is so astonishing to me. For in that moment that I turned the coin over to read “Dear Husband”…….Crick was present to me in a way that I can not explain. It is in rare moments such as this that I remember what someone once told me shortly after Crick’s death……..that it is when, through our prayer life, we become open to the very real Presence of God in our lives, that we can truly see how God, who knows our every need, sends us that grace (in a variety of “messages”) in which we find His peace and hope.
As you listen to birds calling to one another, hear also My Love-call to you. I speak to you continually: through sights, sounds, thoughts, impressions, scriptures. There is no limit to the variety of ways I can communicate with you. Your part is to be attentive to My messages, in whatever form they come. When you set out to find Me in a day, you discover that the world is vibrantly alive with My Presence. You can find Me not only in beauty and bird-calls, but also in tragedy and faces filled with grief. I can take the deepest sorrow and weave it into a pattern for good.
Search for Me and My messages, as you go through this day. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with your whole being. from Jesus Calling
When you call to me and come and pray to me, I shall listen to you. When you search for me, you will find me; when you search wholeheartedly for me. Jeremiah 29:12-13
P.S. I must remind myself to stop reading news articles before going to bed……the other night I had a dream about Al Sharpton!!!!!
P.P.S. That was no dream……………..that was a nightmare!!!!!!