Plenty of Tea and Hands To Hold

DAPPER ESSENTIALS

It’s a bit like turning the heat up on a pot of frogs. Which, come to think of it, is a silly idea really.

You can be in that state of mind only for so long. Push you way past any limits you ever dared to think you had and then some.

In time the water will get so hot, that even though you have trained your mind to a mental state of resistance, your body will eventually tap out.

When that tap out happens, may the strength of your mind be enough to land you in the shade with plenty of tea and hands to hold.

We like to think it’s smooth sailing after the landing, if only that were the case.

The reality of the situation will only come to be as the breeze blows over you and your wounds get attended to.

Not just some quick miracle healing. No, that would shell shock the system and dismiss the beauty in forming and shaping of each scar individually.

As your hands get held and your wounds begin to seal, the taste of the tea becomes sweet, and you begin to acknowledge the shade not just as a dark cloud keeping you from the sun, but as a protection from more heat.

In that place, people may come and people may go, some bringing salve and others tearing the band-aid off carelessly. Revealing those never ending scars.

In time, that will matter less.

As the feelings start to return, so will your strength. Emotional, mental and physical.

Enough so, that you may come to a place of recognizing that many of those scars won’t be going anywhere for years to come. But you are able to look at them no longer as to what happened in that pot, but as to what happened under that tree.

And oh the beauty of you sitting under that tree, grasping the hands of so many hot pot frogs to follow.

There you will let your ever faded scars shine bright on the ever gaping wounds of those in your presence.

How sweet the tea will be!

Until next time,
Eva

Shedding

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You guys, I’m shedding. Like a mad dog over here and it’s kind of terrifying but also SO freeing.

In the last couple of weeks, I have come to realize the extent of layers and layers of crap like expectations I was carrying around. It’s no wonder I could hardly breathe!

This started to happen when I felt that I had officially disappointed every single soul on this planet in what they expected of me. I couldn’t even pretend that I was living up to who I was supposed to be anymore.

What I should do. What I shouldn’t do. Who I should be. Who I shouldn’t be.

Some of this goes as far back as my mom and pops and some of it is definitely from the last decade. It was like these crazies had made a permanent home and were choking out any and all new growth.

I found myself on my bathroom floor in a deep pit and I needed out. I needed out NOW. I was suffocating. Eva who?!

I begged God for something. Okay, I yelled at him to give me something and to do it NOW. Reminding him (or myself) of his promise to never leave me or forsake me, and that now would be a good time to show up.

He gave me something very simple. Me…. and Him….. Just like that. That’s all it is.

I sat there exhausted in that silent, dark pit. Really?! But…. But…. Expectations… I can’t….. All those people…

I had lugged my heart on that road for so long, I couldn’t imagine anything else. It was comfortable in a weird twisted way. Without all those extra layers I would need to start feeling me. I would have to get to know me, find out what gives me life.

That’s freaking scary stuff.

I was at the bottom of the pit though. Couldn’t go any lower so I had to choose another way. So frightening! But as the layers started loosening, freedom started shining through.

It was the start of something new. Something good.

Expectations can be deceiving. Did other people really put them on my or did I just think they did? Maybe I put them on myself and it really has nothing to do with the people around me.

Perhaps it’s a game my mind and heart have been playing with each other and the rest of us were never invited.

Either way, it’s coming off.

It’s a slow and messy process but I’m blowing off my coat, even if those around me aren’t sure what to do with it.

It needed to happen. It’s good you guys!

Each one of us is so unique. To live a life in chains of what we feel others want and need from us is a death sentence. I’m not talking about being self-centered and disregarding others.

There is something very different about serving those around us, and living for those around us.

One is life-giving. The other is death-defying.

Have a few coats weighing you down? Shed my friend, shed!

 

Until next time,

Eva

The Hard Truth

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I have been thinking for a while now about how I would tell you this. It’s long over due but I have no idea how to do this. This is the most exposed I have EVER felt.

Over the months of thinking and discerning through whether I should or shouldn’t write about this, in the end it was Glennon and her post that made me realize I could and should.

This is big, hard news you guys.

 

 

Gary and I are separated. Have been for a year now………

 

 

If you feel sick, disappointed or angry right now. I get it. It’s ok.

For those of you that know and believed in us, I am sorry. So sorry! My heart breaks for you in your disappointment.

So why haven’t I said anything sooner? To be honest, we were encouraged to keep it quiet…. Out of love for us I’m sure. But I’m at a point where I just can’t anymore.

You are probably wondering, what the heck happened? The story is not just mine and it’s big and so, so complicated you guys. I wish I could explain it to you in one sentence, but for you to really be able to wrap your mind around it, I’d need to sit with you for days.

To the world it may look like I’ve given up and I’m choosing an easier route. You guys, I have never actually met someone in a similar situation who just decided to give up. It comes after a long hard, hard battle.

This last year has by far, been the hardest year of my life. I know, I say that every year. Seriously though, this last year doesn’t compare to anything I have lived through.

The pain of death does not come close to the pain I have felt in this.

In all of the other tragedies, although I felt deep pain, I didn’t need to carry it. I had a large community carrying it for me. In this, the pain has been far, far greater and besides a few close friends, it has been on us.

I’m not casting blame because many of you had no idea, and for those of you that did and didn’t know what to do, I get that too.

So how did we get to where we are today? I ask myself that every. damn. day.

Some things are not okay and cannot be denied. Even in missions, illness and community expectations.

With respect to Gary I can tell you this, I was at a place emotionally and mentally that if we hadn’t made this change, I don’t know that I would be here today, functioning. Because of what day-to-day life was like.

It was a slow process with a few BIG episodes where I knew something had to be done. I found myself in a place where I no longer knew who I was. I was completely numb and felt nothing to love or harm. My thought patterns and actions were so foreign to me.

I had become a puppet to fear, shame, self-doubt, harm and pain.

Over time I became smaller and quieter. I had no idea where to turn. No idea what to do.

When I finally started talking, very few heard me. But a few sweet souls not only heard me but they heard us. They held my hand. They held Gary’s hand. They loved us right in our mess. That brought the brave out in me again.

I believe more than anything that pain is not meant to be carried alone. It’s meant to be shared. Only then, can it reach it’s fullest potential.

Opening up about a broken marriage is taboo and I don’t like it. Is it any wonder marriages are struggling all around us? The enemy devours what we keep in the dark. We need to change that.

So what about Alayna? It is actually because of her that I knew we needed to do something. I believe in leading by example and yes, if Alayna were ever to be in this situation, I would want her to make changes to heal and become whole, however that may look.

I understand that many of us feel very strongly about what this looks like to God. I can tell you that this does not separate us from God’s love. This does not surprise him at all. He has walked with us every minute of our hard and he will continue to do so.

I am not asking for your opinions, suggestions or advice. And I most certainly do not need you to try and fix us. I imagine this to be a great “did you hear” story, but I have been called to be open and vulnerable with you, what you do with that is not on me.

My hope is that it will encourage others to care for their soul in all situations and circumstances.

To always be ready to choose love over judgment.

I will keep my head high and continue to speak up when I feel lead, to make a difference where I can. Always.

Now I’m going to go throw up as I hit publish.

Until next time,

Eva

 

P.S. Gary and I are trying to continue to do ‘family’ together the best that we can. My hope is that we both be treated with love and grace. Please know that there are details in this that I can’t share with the world out of respect for Gary, Alayna and myself.

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Entry 3 ~ Anniversary Series

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It’s been a few days since my last entry, and each one of those days is filled with weighted memories, but I needed some time, the last entry knocked the wind out of me.

Physically, emotionally and mentally.

I think the concept of how much our emotional pain affects our ability to function as a whole, is so often overlooked and under played.

Allowing myself to really feel through the emotions of that day, left me wanting to sleep for days. I probably should have, but instead I dragged my tired self through the days in a haze.

I convinced myself more than once, that I wasn’t going to do it again. Why would I put myself through feeling that, when it seems so much easier and less draining to just bury it.

Well, the haze has somewhat passed and the reality of what burying it does set in again, so here I am.

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March 1 – March 5, 2009

The plane did land and a sea of heartbroken faces welcomed me.

I have since walked through those same doors at the airport a handful of times, and that image never fails to greet me there.

A sense of reality set in as I saw the gut wrenching pain in the eyes of each of my siblings.

I didn’t go home to make funeral plans for my momma and the sweet littles. No, not long after getting off that plane, I was sitting in a small cold room in front of a computer screen, with images flashing before me.

Words like grey matter, stroke, non-responsive, major damage, vegetable state and life support were all thrown at me like a knife to my heart.

‘You’ll need to make a decision soon’ ended that meeting.

I was so numb at that point, I can’t even put it into words; a state I am not sure the English language can depict.

I was still finding it hard to swallow through the fact that momma, Johnny, Neta and Tony were gone, and now I was supposed to think of ‘making a decision.’

They gave us a few more days. We needed to get home for the funeral of the other 4.

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March 5, 2009

The funeral. Gosh I dislike funerals…. So, so, so much.

I grew up in a culture that believed in open caskets. Frick, I kid you not, I have seen everything under the blinking sun….. I won’t even get started on how I feel about viewings.

I saw momma for the first time at the funeral home, before the viewing.

Goodness I miss her. Hurts so bad.

I wish I could look back on that day and think, “we celebrated them well,” but that’s not the reality of funerals in that culture.

All the details of that day are not for me to share, for respect of others involved, but I can tell you this; according to my psychologist, a lot of my pain is not from the loss itself, but from the words spoken to me in that loss.

My heart remembers nothing but cold, gruesome, stark facts about that day.

After our final goodbyes, the dirt starting hitting the caskets and the wailing echoed far into the distance.

A piece of my heart was buried that day. Momma’s got it with her in heaven.

I picture the kids sitting on grandma’s lap, having some chocolate covered cookies. Sharing a few with Jesus of course.

I wish this was the end and rest awaited us in the following days. That was not the case.

 

Until next time,

Eva

 

P.S. For those of you that don’t know about my background. When the time is right I hope to write about what life was like growing up in ‘that culture.’ For now, this is all consuming.

 

 

 

Entry 2 ~ Anniversary Series

March 1, 2009

I had called my mom just before I got onto the plane. I told her that I loved her, she said, “Me too.”

This was big. I never, ever heard, ‘I love you’ growing up. Never. From anyone. I actually didn’t know that wasn’t normal.

My friend Lis and I graveled up for the long flight to Tel-Aviv. It knocked me out good and proper but my poor girl didn’t sleep a wink. She almost went insane.

We arrived in Israel late evening and since I had slept the entire flight, sleep eluded me. Lying in a new bed, in a foreign place, I wondered what the days ahead would hold.

At suppertime I had prayed, for God to prepare us for whatever he had prepared for us.

At around 3 am I had this gut feeling like something wasn’t right……..

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Ugh, I don’t know if I can do this.

The raw details of the events that followed are buried so deep in my heart. I haven’t gone there in so long, if ever really. I have shared bits and pieces here and there, but never really felt it. This time is different. This year I’m feeling it. From deep with-in.

My supper wants out. My bones are aching.

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I couldn’t shake the feeling, so I finally turned on my phone to check the time. Much to my surprise, I had tons of messages. I didn’t think I had phone service.

The first message just said, “Eva, call us as soon as possible.” The second message said, “Eva something really bad has happened, call back please.” I don’t know why but I listened to message after message, until I was completely numb. I knew deep in my heart what had happened because of a ‘vision’ I had had about 9 months prior (that’ll be for another day).

I got Gary on the phone but he couldn’t say it, he just kept repeating my name over and over, until I finally asked, “My parents passed away, didn’t they?” He found his words and said, “They had an accident, mom is gone………..” I didn’t hear anything else after that.

Gary kept talking but I couldn’t make out what he was saying. His words all slurred together. My mouth was so dry, I was so numb, Lis was looking at me, pale as can be.

Then I felt this presence wrap around me and I caught my breath enough to mutter, “I’ll come back as soon as I can.”

I don’t remember much of what happened the following 12 hours. My girl Lis tells me I went 100% into survival mode with burst of tears.

The earliest flight I could get out was that day at 2pm, so I had the morning to go crazy. The team I was with was so gracious and supportive (Thank you Abe). They took Lis and I around to see a few sites. I don’t remember any of it. I have the pictures… I’ve never had a desire to get them printed. Those pixels carry so much weight.

By the time I got onto the plane that day, I had become aware of the awful reality that was now my life. I had lost my momma, two nephews and a niece, with my dad and brother in critical condition.

I sat down in my seat, buckled up and whispered, “Jesus, I’d be ok if this plane doesn’t land.”

What awaited me in the days ahead seemed insurmountable.

 

Until next time,

Eva

 

P.S. I don’t know that this post can hold the amount of emotion I felt typing these words. My heart feels pretty raw. I feel pretty naked. Like I’m letting the whole world into a place I find so hard to go myself. My body is begging me to release all the pain I have stored away for so long. To be whole again.

 

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About 7 hours after ‘the call.’ I have no recollection of this moment.

Forever grateful for you Lis!