Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Looking Deeper

I originally wrote the following post a couple of months ago but never published it, it had been saved as a draft. It contains things that I am still thinking about. I have been thinking a lot about how we make judgements of others based on what we see or hear or are told. If we were to look deeper than the initial appearance or sound, we might very well discover we had reached a hasty, false judgement. I am publishing this post now, because, as I have said, it contains thoughts that I am still thinking on and want to blog about more in the near future. So..........
Several conversations that I have been involved in lately have started me to think on some different things. I was telling my sister Teresa how her daughter Rachel had commented on one of my blog posts and had said she loved hearing about our childhood and I should include more of these stories in my blogging. Well, Rachel, your comment was both sweet and disturbing, all at the same time. Sweet for all the obvious reasons… Disturbing because I use to love hearing my grand mother talk about her childhood!!!!

As Teresa and I began to talk, though, I also began to think on how two people may experience the same thing, but both may walk away telling two totally different stories, based on their perspective and how they viewed it. We all develop our opinions and thoughts on others based on what we see or hear. By going on what we see and hear we may be totally misreading someone. If we knew why they really reacted certain ways or appeared certain ways, what really was behind “who” they are, we might be surprised.

I began to think about how very few things are just "cut and dry", there is usually more to the story of peoples lives...who they really are... why they react certain ways or appear certain ways...All the things we can't see or are not aware of may be the key elements in why a person is the way they are.
The following is one such incidence, in my own life, that I feel as if others may have came to a different conclusion about me than the one I intended or thought I was giving. I have overheard comments, not meant for my ears, of others remarking on my appearance and how I felt as if I had to have every hair in place.
I have always tried to look “decent” when leaving my house and going out in public. Even if I was just "running" to the store to pick up that one ingredient needed to finish dinner. I know people have thought my need to have my make up on, and hair fixed, before leaving the house, was due to my being vain. I guess in a way that is true, but if you knew my heart and if you knew the experiences in my life that have brought me to the place of needing my appearance to be a certain way, you might view me a little differently. I am saying all of this out of a great desire to not be judgmental of others. I want to view and love others with a pure heart. I truly believe that we are a total package of the circumstances and experiences that we have experienced in this life.
I have the desire to be a better person, especially in the way I see and view others. God made us all. He does not love me one ounce more or less than He loves someone else. I may dissappoint Him more, but He loves us all the same. "For God So Loved The World...." Wow, it's mind blowing!!! And then to think that I may look at someone and have a not so nice thought enter my head like "who do they think they are?" If I truly knew "who they are" I might never had had that ugly thought to begin with.
I remember the exact moment as a child that I became aware of my looks. The moment I realized that the way the world treats you is directly related to the way you visually appear to them.
I had developed Rheumatic Fever as an eight year old child. I remember my Mom taking me to one doctor after another trying to convince them that was what was wrong with me. Mom had had Rheumatic Fever, herself, twice. Finally, she found a pediatrician who listened and ran the tests. I remember the night they called and said I needed to be admitted into the hospital. I was admitted that night. It was before Thanksgiving of my second grade school year. I spent close to three months in the hospital and then was bed fast at home for an extended period of time after that. The medicine I was on, it may have been steroids, I don't know, just a thought. Anyway, the medicine caused me to gain a lot of weight. I went from 60 something pounds to over 130 in just a few months. The medication caused my appetite to go through the roof!!! Most of my childhood memories begin during this time. I have very few memories before the Rheumatic Fever. As an eight year old little girl, I spent hour after hour, day after day, lying in a bed, alone, in a private hospital room. This is where my memories of being so lonely began. To this day, I believe loneliness is one of the worst feelings in the world. It breaks my heart to think of someone being lonely.
My family had moved to California when I was six years old. My Mom & Dad had worked in the hosiery mills in Harriman and had both been laid off. My Uncle owned a fire sprinkler business in CA. We moved there for my Dad to begin the apprenticeship program, and eventually become a certified sprinkler fitter. My Uncle, Aunt, and there three kids, were our only family there in California. So there were not a lot of options as far as visitors went!!!!
I remember being so excited to get a day pass to leave the hospital on Christmas Day. I still remember the presents that awaited me when I got home that morning, a brand new bike and a pair of roller skates where two of the main ones. I remember pushing my bike around the dining room table at the urging of those around. That’s so funny to me now!!! The thought of this bushy headed, chubby girl, in pajamas, grinning to please those who were watching and waiting, pushing her brand new bike around the dining room table while everyone watched, as if this brought some sense of joy to my little girl heart!!! It would have been as much fun to have laid down and let Teresa ride her brand new bike over me!!!! Too funny!!! I was also denied the opportunity to try out my new roller skates latter that day with the sisters and cousins. I did however decline the opportunity to try them on. I could imagine it now…this bushy headed, chubby girl, in pajamas, sitting in a chair, sweating from the process of lacing up those never ending shoe laces that accompany roller skates, grinning for those watching and waiting, as my legs dangle off the chair, feet adorned in brand spanking new roller skates that are forbidden to touch the floor with my feet in them!!! Too Funny!!!
Anyway…. I was eventually discharged from the hospital, sent home and eventually was able to return to school….
I remember being so excited to finally get to go back to school. My Mom had bought me a new dress to wear. I think I thought wearing a dress made you pretty. I went back to school only to be a little disappointed that no one seemed to remember me or care that I was back. I left school that evening and started the walk home only to realize B. H. , the boy who I had spent every recess with, from the time I started school there until I went in the hospital, was walking behind me. The boy next door was walking his bike talking to B. H. I remember being so happy thinking he would see me!!! I remember feeling those butterflies in the pit of my stomach just knowing he was behind me!!! When the neighbor boy and I had to turn down a street and B.H. continued on.... the boy next door caught up with me and was laughing as he told me B.H. had asked him who the new ugly fat girl was. I was heartbroken. That was the day I knew it took more than wearing a dress to be pretty. From that day forward until finishing middle school, I was the "fat girl". I was teased and tormented at recess. From that moment on I just wanted to do everything I could to blend in, to be invisible, to fit in. As long as no one noticed me I wouldn't be teased or judged. I guess that just carried over into my adult years too. As long as I had my hair fixed and my makeup on I just kind of blended in and wouldn't be noticed. If no one noticed I was there, I wouldn’t be teased or humiliated. So, you see, even though I may have been viewed as vain with my appearance, in my mind I just want to blend in!!! This is just one personal example that comes to my mind when I began to think of how we could possibly have a very wrong opinion of someone based solely on what we see or hear. I want to use this realization in my life to try desperately to be less judgmental of others. I can’t say that cancer has really changed the way I see or view things or has changed the way I want to live and view my life but it has made me want to get on with it…not waste anymore time in striving to be a better person…a better friend…a better family member…a better child of God. I want to not make hasty rude judgments, but I want to always take the time to look deep enough to see who is really there. It’s kind of mind numbing when I think of all the people and opportunities I have surely missed in this life by seeing only what I saw, not looking deep enough to see who is really there.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Happy Birthday to my Mom today!!!! She would have been 69 today but instead the Lord called her home 2 years ago when she was just 67. I miss you Mom. I miss being able to call and get your advice and instruction on just the simple things in life. We had a huge family get together at my house a week ago, the Saturday before Labor Day, I really missed you being here. I thought so much about your macaroni salad, I could almost taste it, yours was absolutely the best ever!!! I wish I would have came up and had you give me hands on instruction for making it. I wish I had done so many things differently and better where our relationship was concerned, but it is to late for that now, I know. I Love you Mom and miss you terribly, but at least I have the promise of being reunited with you again one day. Until then ....HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mom, I Love you!!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Just Lazy...

No, I haven't died or experienced anything too physically dramatic in the last month or so....just lazy, I guess, when it comes to updating this blog!!!! I have however had many thoughts that I wanted to "air out" here, but just haven't took the time to begin typing.

Physically, I am about the same...I wake up with my bones and joints stiff and hurting. I get up some mornings at 4 or 5 a.m. to take a hot shower to relieve the discomfort until my medication takes effect. I have days where I spend the whole day freezing but sweating profusely, those days I am pretty miserable. I still run a low grade fever from time to time, for no explained reason. My swallowing has seemed to have slightly improved over the last few months. I am able to swallow some breads now where I wasn't previously able to. Yeah!!! I love and had missed eating bread!!!! My face and ears still hurt some days more than others, I have begun to think that may be related to how much I talk on any given day!!! The chronic fatigue is my biggest complaint. I just have no energy most days, where as pre-cancer, I could have worked circles around a much younger person, now I feel like a thirtyish, (heehee), woman trapped in an 85 year olds body, that becomes disheartening on some days when my mind is working harder than my body can even think about!!!

I would like to be able to blog that my life feels like all sun and roses since my cancer is in remission right now, but if I am to be honest, that is just not the case. Several things have transpired over the last year or so that have been less than joy evoking. A lot of circumstances have changed that have left me feeling a little lost some days. I plan on blogging about them, it's just hard to find the time to start and when I do the fatigue sets in and I find it hard to keep my eyes open long enough to write much. But anyway... for now....lifes' happening that is forefront on my mind...

My aunt, Sue Coffey, my dad's younger sister, lost her ten year battle with cancer last week. She travelled home to be with the Lord on August 25, 2011. She had courageously battled cancer for ten years. Having cancer is an awful, awful, experience, but Sue didn't just battle one cancer she had went to war with three different kinds and then on top of all those she developed Pulmonary Fibrosis. My Grandmother, Sue's Mother, had Pulmonary Fibrosis which is a lung disease that causes hardening of the lungs. One would think since Sue and her mother both had it, it would be hereditary, but that was not so in their case. Sue developed Pulmonary Fibrosis after having undergone so many different, large doses of chemo therapy. We had celebrated Sue's 67th birthday in May. I had traveled to South Carolina twice in the last month or so to visit with her. She ended up in the hospital both times. Her attitude, even on her death bed, astounded me. She wanted desperately to get better and live to see her precious grand sons graduate from high school. But she knew at the end that that was not going to be the Lord's plan for her. She laid in her hospital bed struggling to breath enough to speak with all of us gathered around her bed side. I watched and listened as God provided the Grace she needed to endure until her walk here was complete. A young preacher boy named Austin came to visit her one day while I was standing by her bed feeding her ice chips. It was all I could do to keep myself together as she told him I was the one he and their church had prayed for for so long. She struggled to breath as she told him how very sick I had been and how it was a miracle I was still here and how God had been so good to me. Then she started bragging on the goodness of God in her life!!! It was such a tremendous blessing to listen to her, as she laid there struggling and pausing frequently to catch her breath, praising and worshipping her God!!!! She told Austin how she had never been sick one time from any of the many chemos she had had to take. She bragged repeatedly on the goodness of God in her life. What a testimony she had!!! After all she had gone through, she had kept the faith through it all. What an inspiration she was to me!!! Through it all she had never became bitter at God, or life, or the circumstances she was living in...instead she kept her focus and continually praised God for His grace and goodness to her!!! Everyone, I had the pleasure of meeting while there, talked about what a Christian my Aunt Sue was, how she lived by the principles of the Bible for as long as they had known her. How, through the good and the bad, she praised and honored God. I wasn't there when she told those in the room to tell my dad she loved him and she would tell Pat, (my Mom), hello for him when she got there. I can only imagine that reunion. Sue's husband Jack, passed away in 2001 as the result of cancer, a brain tumor. Her sister Barbara's husband, Liege Roberts, passed away in 1998 as a result of colon and then brain cancer, Sue's Mother, and my grand mother, Roxie Hurst, passed away 4 or 5 days after Liege in 1998 as a result of pulmonary fibrosis and then colon cancer, Sue's father and my grandfather, Luster "Buckeye" Hurst, passed away in 2000 as the result of a stroke, and then my Mother, Sue's sister in law, Patricia Hurst, passed away in 2009 as a result of a brain aneurysm. What a reunion it must have been on August 25th as Sue entered the gates of heaven. I believe they were all there anticipating her arrival. Although she will be greatly missed here, she was reunited with so many of our loved ones who have already made the journey!!! What a day of rejoicing that must have been for them!!! How could we possibly overcome the grief that accompanies the death of our loved ones without the sweet, precious, promise that those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and saviour will eventually be reunited to spend eternity together in the presence of an almighty, loving, gracious God!!!
How good He is!!!!

Please help me pray for Sue's children and grand children they loved her dearly and will miss her greatly. They spent many, many days and hours caring for and taking care of her every need. I know it will be hard for them to suddenly not have those things filling their days and nights. It was a precious thing to witness the love she poured out on them and the great love and afffection they returned to her.

My Dad: Tommy Hurst, My Aunt: Bonnie Lowery,

My Aunt: Sue Coffey, & My Aunt: Barbara Roberts.