For the past month or so I’ve felt a bit like a toy of Pace’s. It’s a fairy with big collapsible wings and a long rope hanging from her feet. You wrap the rope tighter and tighter around her, and when you have her all bound as tightly as possible, you rip the rope as hard as you can and she goes spinning and flying all over the room. The rope’s been winding tighter and tighter around here, but I haven’t been able to find anybody to help me rip away the chord. I actually found myself mopping the kitchen last week and thinking, “If I had a genuine nervous breakdown, maybe I would get checked into the hospital and I could really rest.” THAT’S when you know you’re going nutso–when the hospital sounds like a fun break!

I told y’all about last week’s list…and getting sick. I did get my taxes turned in and have been chipping away at all the paper-work that has to be completed before Jeremiah can begin his fellowship in Seattle. It’s just that it wasn’t only the physical stress of having a lot of things to check off my “To Do” list. I was dealing with some mental anxiety as well. We were facing our second wedding without Mom. We were facing it without her…and with Konie. We were facing it without her, with Konie, and with my normally very sensitive Dad, sporting the sensitivity of…a tree stump :). Before I go any further, let me point out that I would not be telling you any of this if I had any anger, or even anything negative to say about Konie. She has been the picture of kindness, discretion, helpfulness,…absolutely great. Konie is not the problem. The hard situation was the problem.

Most men don’t like to talk, especially about awkward things like emotions or relationships. My Dad has never been most men. He lived in a house with five women, and while he is a man’s man from the top of his head to the tip of his toes, there is also nothing in the world that he likes more than to have us all gathered around him for a good talk. However, when Dad is under stress, his people skills and his emotional radar don’t tend to function very well. We know this. It’s not a new condition, but when you combine his extremely high stress level (wedding at his house, planning a lot of it himself, his own wedding a week away, taxes, demolition/remodeling beginning yesterday to get ready for Konie to move in, 2 daughters in college…) with the sensitive matters being handled you get a volatile mixture to say the least.

So, on Sunday afternoon, when the wedding was over, Taylor and I sat down at our dining room table with Dad and vented a whole lot of crap. And cried. And talked in circles. And cried. And could hardly talk because we were crying so hard. He listened, apologized for some things, explained some others, and also had a few areas where we had hurt his feelings as well (which I didn’t know was possible–shows how sensitive I am). It ended in hugs and relief, and eyes that were so swollen (on my part) that I could hardly keep them open.

I slept the entire drive back to Birmingham–until I was awakened by Jeremiah calmly but severely stating, “Abby, you need to wake up because something b.a.d. is happening with the car.” I opened my eyes and we were bu-bu-bu-bumping our way down the shoulder of I-65. A tow truck, some divinely placed family members that could cart 2 adults, 2 children, a dog, and enough wedding luggage to clothe a small country on to Birmingham, a friend who works at a Chevrolet dealership down the road from the break-down site, and $1300 later (agghhhh!) and all is well, with the car.

I, however, was still not doing what I would call well. I felt like somebody had significantly loosened the rope binding me, but it certainly wasn’t ripped off and letting me fly around the room. And then… … …I took my first run in real Spring weather. I almost didn’t go, because I still have a lot to do, and today was the first day my sickly lungs have felt 50-75% better. But I just WENT, and about 200 yards into the run I knew Somebody was about to set me free. I let it all go, pounded right out under the bottoms of my shoes. With the sunshine on my face, and cool air filling deep down into my lungs I let Winter out and welcomed Spring in. Then, I spotted the biggest Japanese Magnolia I’d ever seen. A profusion of big pink blossoms stretching towards the sky, a green lawn, and crisp white house in the background, and Somebody had ripped the cord–I was flying. On the drive home from the gym, we rolled all the windows down and I pointed out the beauty of the Japanese Magnolia to the girls. They proceeded to squeal with delight and point out each one that we passed (which are a lot in our neighborhood right now). We took the long way home just because none of us could get quite enough of the beauty and the wind. It’s funny what He uses, isn’t it?
**I “stole” both of these flower pictures from Google images. My camera is still in my car in Clanton 🙂

13 Responses to “A Japanese Magnolia Set Me Free”

  1. Lindsey says:

    praying for you. and thankful He pulled the cord!

  2. Kendall Clark says:

    I love you

  3. Blueprint Bliss says:

    Abby- please call me if I can help in any way. I'm serious! I can babysit or cook or clean.

    And I have a japanese magnolia in my backyard if you want some blooms for your house!!!

  4. Gail says:

    Abby, I LOVE every word you wrote. From my heart to yours…You touch mine, dear. God Bless and just know you are one, darling, loving child of God. I lost my Mom, too, to cancer. I was 29 yrs. old. I understand every word you wrote about. Thanks for sharing. It's not easy to do. Love, G

  5. Susannah says:

    Oh Abby! You ALWAYS put everything so beautifully! I am praying for you during this time. God and your mom will give you the strength you need. And that tree is SO BEAUTIFUL! It would free me too. I definitely KNOW what you are talking about. I do the same thing when I see new leaves on a tree, out with winter and into the glorious spring! 🙂

  6. Ekkehard says:

    See, that's why running can be so good for you:
    Run into peace (Meister Eckhart, 14th-Century Philosopher).

  7. Kate says:

    Love you

  8. mitzi says:

    My Kate must have been the last on this computer. From Mitzi, I love you and am here for you.

  9. Gail says:

    Abby, I pray that tree is still in bloom for you. Go pick a flower and tuck it behind your ear! I am off to watch Whales– today– with a very active LIL' five yr. old..LOL..I have a flower behind my ear! It helps! It's always good to remembr…Stop and smell the flowers! G

  10. Laura says:

    Abby – I found your blog off of Darby's but have never commented before. I love your posts – your wit comes through in each of them! And your family is beautiful! Who wouldn't be stressed with everything you have going on? Just know that this stranger/blog stalker/friend is thinking about you and praying for you!

  11. Love Being a Nonny says:

    I understand every single word you wrote. My dear sister died. It was very sudden. She was 49. She was planning her first daughter's wedding. We finished it. Her husband was getting remarried. We planned her second daughter's wedding. Holidays are hard with the new wife. It's not HER. It's the situation. It's things that have been said. It's tender feelings. And raw emotions. And what could have beens. I understand your words. I wish I didn't. Run. And when you run…PRAY. He will release even more.

  12. Debbie Nix Douglass says:

    Abby, you write so beautifully it is as if we can all feel your emotions. Becky is missed very much and I can't imagine how wonderful it was to see Caroline married in the very dress your mother wore and one that your grandmother made with her loving hands. How special that must have been. Your family is very special and the love, hardships and emotion that you so willing share makes us all yearn to know more.
    Koni seems like a wonderful match for Ken, yet, I know she isn't your mother. No one will ever fill those shoes and I know Koni would never attempt to do that nor do you expect that of her…it is just a painful experience that has no easy way out. Trust God, He will lead you through your difficult times….it is during these times we find ourselves clinging to Him more and noticing His majesty in the simple things. I love you all very much. You truly bless my life.

  13. Debbie Nix Douglass says:

    You bless my life Abby..your write with such elegance that it is as if we are all there experiencing all you feel, the emotions and deep love for your family and God. Turst God, for the hardship you experience the tightness of the rope, is a growing change. Your mom is always with you and she is no longer sick, she is always young and beautiful and she is the breeze you feel in your hair, the warmth of the sun on your face and the love you see when you look at your daughters the way she looked at each of you many times. We love you and we face challenges and raw emotions with you. God is good and His plan is Perfect!

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