Better is….

Got together yesterday with a few friends to catch up and talk about life.

Lots of coffee….lots of laughs…

Wife made a no-bake, blueberry cream cheese pie.

Wish you were here.¬† ūüôā

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Here are a couple of things that I shared…

A week ago, I stumbled across some  words written by an old fool at the end of his life:

“Better is a handful with quietness than two fists full and trouble with it.”

I’ve said something similar myself, probably started saying it about the time we started having children. ūüôā

I would say:¬†¬†“Peace and quiet is entirely under-rated.”¬†

Second quote (by the same guy) I have been chewing on:

Remember: The duller the ax the harder the work…”

We heated with wood growing up. On those rare times when I picked up an ax¬†instead of a chainsaw, I quickly realized a dull ax was worthless….

I was watching a class online  recently on how to build a timber-framed structure.  The first  thing  covered  was tool care, and keeping your chisel sharp, both literally and  figuratively.

Wow.¬† That was deep.¬† I’ve been thinking about what that means ever since.

(ie. how to keep my life “sharp”.)

I am a carpenter and nobody has ever taught me how to sharpen a chisel.   Ever.

In all fairness to me,¬† with the kind of work I do, (framing, siding, roofing, concrete)¬† I don’t use chisels all that often, but on those rare occasions when I need one, i usually end up buying a new one.

So I’ve¬† been on a mission the past week to learn how to sharpen my chisels.

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A friend of ours  recently updated us about  her son. Son  lives on the east coast.   Both he and his wife have great paying stress filled jobs.  Just had a new baby, (that makes 3)  Son recently decided to go back to school to finish his degree, (while still working full-time.)   Made me stressed just hearing about their lives..  I know her son just a little.  Good guy.  I like him.

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Dad is 86.¬† Didn’t stop farming until just 2 years ago.¬† Worked full-time as a general contractor into his late 70’s. One of his few regrets was working too much while the kids (myself included) were growing up.¬† We never saw him except on weekends.¬†Then my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer in her mid 40’s.¬† I had moved out of the house and gotten married by this time. There was definitely a shift in¬† dad’s priorities after that.¬† He started taking each of us kids out on our birthday’s for breakfast.

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It’s all about balance.¬† Finding the balance between work, money, bills, wants, desires, relationships, life…

In my late 20’s as I was chasing my own mechanical rabbits around the track, I came across two quotes that stopped me dead in my tracks…“If you make it to the top of the company ladder, but loose your family in the process, you are a fool.”¬† and , “If you are a hero to others, yet strangers to your own children, you are a fool.”¬†

I’ve written about that season elsewhere on the blog so I won‘t repeat it right now.

 

The fifteen or so of you that regularly interact with me here are in a very real sense my on-line family.¬† I appreciate each and every one of you!¬† If you’re a somewhat regular reader that has never made a peep, I would love to hear from you..even if you just say, “I’m here.” ūüôā

Anyway, this is what has been on my mind the past week.

How about you?

Take care. DM

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Christmas Eve, Slivers, and PTSD

Marie came up to us after church that year and asked if we’d like to join their family for Christmas eve.¬† Sure we said, it beat sitting in our little rental house 1000 miles from home, missing family.

As it turned out, Marie had also invited Nancy, Karen, and Scott,¬† all singles, also away from home over the holidays. Marie had the gift of hospitality.¬† Those are still some of my favorite Christmas memories…

I remember coming into Marie’s kitchen, the smell of turkey and pumpkin pie, dimly lit Christmas lights,¬† scented candles..

It felt like I’d just stepped into a Hallmark card movie…and we were part of the story.

Pause.

As I sat in a big stuffed chair after dinner, visiting with Sid, (Marie’s husband)¬† I absent-mindedly picked a callous on the tip of my pointer finger. ¬† It had been¬† numb for months.

All of a sudden,  out popped an inch long wood sliver.

I thought back to early September when I had helped Joe V install a new set of pine steps.¬†¬† I’d gotten a nasty sliver, and assumed I’d gotten the whole thing out.. guess not. ūüôā

Pause.

The same thing happened again yesterday.¬† I came into the house for lunch and I noticed a¬† small piece of wood protruding out of the middle finger on my right hand.¬† Last month, I was moving some old lumber in my way on a project, and I got “stuck.”¬† At first, I thought I’d gotten another nasty sliver but when I got home that night and dug around, I couldn’t find anything.¬† (I wasn’t sure then whether I’d gotten a puncture wound or another sliver. Figured if something was in there, it would eventually work itself out.)

I know how these things work now ūüôā

Pause.

Buried slivers are a great word picture for PTSD.¬† Trauma comes in all shapes and sizes…it could be sexual abuse. Could be trauma from combat.¬† Could be trauma from a surgery as a small child….¬† Sometimes after a traumatic event, in order for our brains to cope, a part of our heart goes numb.¬† It’s one of God’s coping mechanisms (I believe). The numbness initially allows me to continue to function…all the while the memory¬† foreign object stays buried in there somewhere, festering..and at the right time,¬† it will come to a head.¬† I don’t think you have to go looking for it.

I’ve seen this played out three times, in the lives of people close to me.¬†¬† 15 to 30 years after the initial trauma, weird things started to happen…unexplained panic attacks, the desire to cut, being in a state of constant hyper-vigilance, etc.

A marriage counselor told us¬† about the waves of terror that would overtake him when he started to deal with the abuse¬† he’d experienced as a child. Things didn’t come to a head until after he’d gotten married. Something would trigger the PTSD and it would incapacitate him.¬† One day, a friend of his stopped by unannounced, while he was in the middle of an episode. He told his wife to let his friend come up and see him…. The friend, a former marine,¬† had no idea that this guy was going through ptsd.¬† When he saw him, curled in a ball, covered with tears and snot, he crawled into the closet with him and just held him.

It was a turning point on his road to recovery.

If there is an emotional wound in your life that is giving you fits, don’t suffer in silence.¬† It means you are human.

Open up and let someone in.

DM