Not in the Happy Ending

I read something somewhere this week about the story of someone’s life not being in the happy ending, and it resonated with me strongly.  I try not to focus on the happy ending.  I really do.  But I always feel the need to have something I’m working towards, something to gauge my progress, or a milestone or event that should bring me ever closer to things being ‘easier’- whatever that means.

I once continued to date a guy way past when it was clear that he was not the one for me, simply because I thought I’d invested way too much into the relationship to not believe there would be a happy ending.  I’ve spent a few years at a job (several times) really enjoying it, but always thinking of how it would help me toward long term goals.  I’ve maintained a positive attitude about the search for Austin, because I knew there will come and end one day.

Newsflash Anita!  There may not be a happy ending for every situation.  Or the happy ending may not be what I hoped for or expected.  And even when there is, that isn’t where the story is.  They story is in the daily details, the ups and down, the good and bad, the joy and the pain.  And when we focus our own lives on the happy ending we expect, we miss out on our real story happening. Or at least I do.

Chill as he waits for surgery

This week, like most, we’re going through the not so fun trials of normal life for us.  Last weekend, Michael was sick and home in bed for much of it.  Tuesday, Drew had minor surgery and spent most of the week recuperating.  Austin’s birthday was Wednesday.  Today, Drew is doing another not so fun medically necessary activity.  I could have so easily been stressed out this week, because between all of that and working and hosting a party this weekend and preparing for travel next week, it’s just a lot.  But I kept taking deep breaths and remembering these things.

Michael was able to enjoy some of the weekend and is doing well now.  Drew’s surgery means that he should have relief from the constant sinus problems, asthma and headaches.  Austin’s birthday is a day we can celebrate his life.  Drew’s day today will go a long way towards solving some other issues he has going on.  A party to plan means we have friends to love.  My busy work schedule means I have a good job to provide for us.  These are good things!  Sometimes it takes looking at the flip side, to see the good through the junk.

There is one thing going on that I just can’t see the good side of this week.  32 years ago Wednesday, God gave me a brother.  28 years ago, God gave me more brothers, though not by blood or marriage.  One of them is in the hospital after a stroke, at just 37 years old.  It’s not his first stroke.  His kidneys are also not doing their job well enough, and different specialists are all involved to help him.  There’s nothing good about this happening.  But I do know there is this to be thankful for in his story:  He has been blessed with a wife that takes care of him with such strength, and is such a good partner.  He has four kids that love him and need him.  He has family who feel the same.  He has good doctors who will figure this out.  He has good therapists helping him work towards recovery.  For all that I am thankful.  For not knowing how to help more, for that I am lost….

I still hope for happy endings for us all.   But they may not come as we want them, or as quickly as we want them.  So for now I’ll keep looking into our stories, seeing all the good there is.  And praying for strength for the times it’s too hard to even see that.

Because our story is not in the happy ending.  It’s in the life in between.

~Anita

 

Happy Birthday Week

It’s Birthday Week in our house.  My other half is turning the big 3-4 on Thursday.  And yes, in case you care to point it out, I’m older.  The word Cougar didn’t have quite the same meaning when he was 20 and I was 22 when we met, but it now gets jokingly tossed around.  Thankfully, I have less gray hair than him, but that’s not saying much these days.

I personally believe in birthday week month.  I should get to celebrate all month long, and everyone else should at least celebrate all week long.  It should involve family dinners, fancy dinners, spa days, girlfriend getaways and family football weekends.  It never does, but a gal can dream.  (And it’s September for those of you who believe in making dreams come true!)

Ideal Birthday Meal/Gifts

Michael on the other hand just wants some cake and a gift- and a gift of junk food, kool-aid, and chocolate is acceptable.  He

Goofy and Annoyed- typical!

will certainly not appreciate a blog post!  But since I’m jetting out the morning of his birthday for work, I thought I’d make sure that more people know about his big day and can help me say Happy Birthday.

This guy of mine is pretty cool, and here are some examples of why:

Best Baseball Dad

** He’s funny.  And mean.  But the mean is usually joking, and people know it.  I share the same sense of humor, though I seem nicer at first.  But he makes me laugh.  A lot.

Fun Rollercoaster Dad

** He’s ridiculously smart.  As in, can master anything he puts his mind to.  He can give you detailed stats on a baseball game at the end of it, without ever taking a note.  Drives me nuts.

** He loves our kids as much as any Dad ever could.  And they feel the same.

Ready to Go Home after Hospital Stay #30ish

** He loves God.

** He loves people and will do anything for his friends.

** He has a lot tougher battle than he lets on to most people, battling Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome about as many days as not it seems.  He downplays it and how it impacts him.  But our kids are seeing a good example of how to fight through challenges.

Surf Lovin Guy

** He’s good lookin’.  Just a bonus.

** He loves sports, is competitive and knows a lot about baseball.  For me, those are musts.  Gotta keep it interesting!

I’ll do a future post on all the things he needs to work on.  Kidding.  He knows he’s not perfect, though he’ll tell you otherwise.  He knows there are some areas that he falters, like we all do.  But we’ll keep him

Happy Birthday  <3

Easter 2013

Happy 30th Birthday Austin

Austin’s birthday is coming up in just a few short days, and as birthdays are usually good for, it makes us reflect on his life.  We’re in that really odd situation, that horrible situation, of not knowing if his life is ongoing or not.  Wait, I really should rephrase that, because it’s just not true.  This year, Easter and Austin’s birthday are on the same day, April 24.  With Easter, comes celebrating that Christ gave His life for us and rose from the dead so we can be with Him forever.  Shortly after Austin’s disappearance, we heard from a friend that he had just recently reiterated his Christian faith to her.  What a gift.  Because I do believe that his life continues- maybe here on earth, or maybe in heaven- and I also believe that he’s only lost to us, not to God.  God knows exactly where Austin is, he knows and he still cares.  Remembering that helps me remember Austin with a smile, even through the pain.

Austin and I shared a similar sense of humor, and I actually most often miss him when I want to laugh at something we would have laughed at together.  It was usually family, sometimes at truly funny things, and sometimes as a way to cope with the tough things that we didn’t truly think were so funny.  I like to think that if Austin were asked about me, he’d say that I tried to help him when I could, and I laughed with him.

This weekend, while celebrating Easter with my kiddos and all their excitement, and with friends at church, and with a bit of family time, I’ll be smiling remembering his life, and thankful that God is still in control.

Matthew 6:25-34 (The Message)

 25-26“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
 27-29“Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
 30-33“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
 34“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.