Does Everything Happen For A Reason?
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 11:51am
“Everything happens for a reason?” Personally, I really do not believe this. (did you just GASP?!!!) I think it is one of those things people say to you when you tell them something about your life that undeniably sucks. I think those platitudes are just our mind’s way of trying to contextualize experiences that don’t fall inside our usual frameworks for making sense of the world. I believe that sometimes we all make pointless, useless choices…..and these are the times you make “lemonade out of lemons”. There are just too many really bad things out there for me to rationalize “everything happens for a reason”. I guess a lot of it comes down to situations like this: The mother of a severely handicapped child who has to listen to the well-meaning chirping’s of her friends who say “everything happens for a reason…(or) God only gives special children to special mothers who are strong” Yes, these people do not know what else to say…they are well-meaning. But this mother is thinking…. “there’s NO reason good enough that I should have to deal with this severe disability….and I don’t think it is part of a LARGER plan!”. Here is what I DO believe: We ALL have life experiences that make us STRONGER. We learn from these experiences. These experiences are what mold us. They help us better our choices for the future. I have no real problem believing in the randomness of life. This is just MY take, albeit a very unpopular view…..but it is what it is And I am what I am:-) I’m definitely not trying to change anyone’s thought process. Just give insight on another view.
This is one of the tougher blogs for me to write. There is no way to make sense of this crazy relationship. Is it a relationship? I don’t even know if what we have qualifies as a relationship. I had always had a lot of respect for my mother as she raised us kids on a tight budget. To this day she has bought and sold houses. Doing work on them at her advanced age. She has no bills. Owes no one. What she has done on her meager income is admirable.
I know there were times she did without so that I could have things. Especially when I was the only one left at home. Mama was never an overly affectionate mother. You just assumed that she loved you. As for me, I did and do love my mama. I would do anything for her then, and I would do anything for her now.
However, when I reached my teen years, I had begun to have misgivings about the religion she had inculcated in me since birth. At the time I had a sister who had already left the religion. Mama told me I could not have anything to do with her. It was perfectly ok for me to talk to and associate with another sister who was never baptized into the religion, yet didn’t go to meetings or have any other ties to the religion. This made no sense at all. I hung on to the religion longer that I really wanted to because I didn’t want to lose my relationship with my mama.
Eventually, I only attended a few meetings. Enough to keep my mother satisfied. I soon met Dennis and we dated for around five years. The religion thing was a huge issue with his family. I could not explain my situation with them. In my heart I knew I wanted no more of this crazy religion. But they were not convinced. The Witnesses disfellowshipped me. This was bittersweet for me. I was finally free of the religion. But I knew my mama would turn from me as well. It would never be the same. Yeah, they think they kicked this “wicked” person out. Cleaned out their organization. What they don’t know is I had doubts all along. I wanted out.
Through the years my mother has sent literature and letters trying to get me back into the religion. In her mind, that is the only way she can have a relationship with me again. She doesn’t know my children. She wasn’t there when they were born, or when they graduated high school, college, or their weddings.….She’s missed so much in my life and in my children’s life. And I’ve missed her life, although I tried to keep up with her as best I can. I know I’m not welcome at her house. But, the “bump into me” rule is in effect! If she sees me out anywhere, she will speak!
On this subject….Something similar happened recently with my brother who is also a Jehovah’s Witness. He was in Kroger and had his new stepdaughter with him. He checked out through a register, then walked to u-scan to talk to me. He chatted a minute then introduced his daughter to me. He said “This is Betty, She is your Aunt.” He then left and I turned around. There was a guy at robot 82 just standing there staring at me. I guess he was in shock ! Yep, not everyday someone just MEETS their kin in the grocery store!
Friday morning, November 4th, 2012, an early morning phone call awakened me. It was my sister, Doris telling me mama had fallen and broken her hip. Feelings of sadness for my mother filled me. She is such an active person and so physically fit for an eighty year old. I didn’t know what kind of reception we would get if we (my sisters and I) went by her side. I got up called around. Talked to my sister Margie. What she told me broke my heart. She said she had called down to check on her and our mother was crying in pain. It is hard to explain the emotions that I go through. I try to distance myself from feeling anything. But something like this happens and it all comes flooding back. The last twenty-five or thirty years of my life have been such a roller coaster ride of emotions in things about my mom.
So,Doris and I arranged to go down to LaGrange as she was having surgery that day. Those who were there treated us nicely, as well. We’ve been back to check on her. So far she hasn’t told us not to come. So that is good. She went to Warm Springs Rehabilitation Center. We visited her there as well.
When released, Margie was the one who picked up the ball and kept in touch afterwards. She followed her recovery and kept us posted. She healed so quickly for her age. Quite amazing.
It is sad that she doesn’t know her 30 plus grandchildren/great-grandchildren. And her daughters seem so insignificant to her. Her life could have been so much richer. And the kids missed out on having their grandmother.
But I cannot control her. Only me. And if she needs me, I will be there. And of course, I will always speak to here when she Bumps into me.
Daddy on his Mower he used as transportation to my house LOL
Betty Aka Peach Fuzz Doris Daddy Brenda, Margie
We all grew taller than him, even Doris But he packed a lot of personality in that small frame! He was also very strong physically, a hard worker all his life. He was a truck driver when I was small. When we moved to Georgia he got on with Peachtree City Development Corporation. That is where he worked until retirement. Daddy had his faults, as we all do. Although sadly I feel his vices probably contributed to his death, He smoked unfiltered cigarettes from the tender age of ten, and he drank a bit. However, Daddy kept a keen wit, and sharp mind to the time of his death. I feel that if he had not abused his body, he may still be alive! But that is just my opinion.
I missed out on a lot as a child because he was either away driving a truck. or his bad habits got the best of him. When he was around I remember how he would play the guitar for us. I remember wild wood flower, was my favorite song he played. His father played banjo. I keep waiting for someone in our family to follow in their footsteps. Maybe it will be Jackson. My dad loved music, One of his favorite country singers was Charlie Pride. I feature a Charlie Pride song in a slide show I made for my dad. (Link at bottom of blog post) I got to really know my dad in my teen years and as an adult. I loved his sense of humor. When I turned sixteen, he gave me the keys to his Gremlin. It was mine to use until I could buy one of my own. It was a stick shift. My first experience of driving to Atlanta was with my dad. He wanted to go to Atlanta and now that he had a willing chauffeur what was to stop him? It was one of the scariest rides of my life. I had never driven on the interstate. My dad, former trucker, was unfazed. He talked me through it. I was a lot more nervous than he was.
My dad was a wonderful Paw Paw to my kids. It was nice having him live two doors down all those years. The kids could ride their bikes over and visit. He was good to them. When I was a little girl he called me Peach Fuzz. I didn’t have a lot of hair when I was little. Sort of like peach fuzz. He would call me over to give me “head sugar”. He would say come give me some “head nug shug” . So when Erin went to see him, he continued the tradition. He would give her “head nug shug”. That was so super special to me.
I miss my daddy. I carry a heavy heart that I didn’t stop by the morning that he died. He had a doctor’s appointment that afternoon. I had told him I’d be there to take him. But I should have checked on him. I should have made him go on in that morning. But hind sight is 20/20.
Daddy loved his family. I know, from heaven, he sees all the new additions since his passing. They would have loved him. But I know that those who knew him and loved him will keep his memory alive
David William Brown
03-17-23 thru 02/09/98
I have the sort of mom that becomes my mom if I see her in public. Very strange. She raised me in that kooky religion, and I still cannot understand why they do the things they do. One thing is very clear, I am grateful I’m out! In all the years since I have separated from the “cult” I guess I average bumping into my mom once every several years. It is random. Sometimes at the grocery store, or maybe a funeral of one of our relatives. As long as it isn’t held in a church. When she sees me, she is always nice. She always asks about the family and tells me the things going on in her life. I am not allowed to go to her home for a meal. This is all based on her religious beliefs. She says there is scripture that says she should not “break bread” with unbelievers. So I haven’t sat down and had a meal with my mother in decades.
Recently I bumped into her. I was at the hospital with my family. Erin had given birth to Jackson. It was the day after, Friday. Stephen and Katie were visiting as well as one of Erin’s friends, Amanda. My sleep had suffered a bit the last night or two and I was getting a headache. So I excused myself to go to the car for my medicine. On the way out the front door of the hospital I saw a woman walking down the walkway. She sure looked familiar. As I got closer I realized it was my mother. I spoke. She was friendly as she usually is when we “bump” into one another. I asked if she was coming to visit someone. But she was there for some medical tests. She asked why I was there and I told her. We talked a few minutes and then parted. As I was coming back into the hospital she was waiting at the elevators. She got on, I asked what floor. She said she wanted to see the baby. Then she said she had come to the wrong facility and she should go to the Summit, but figured she might as well go on up to see the baby. She asked why I had come back into the hospital. I told her I’d show her to the room.
As we approached the room, I stuck my head in and said I had brought someone up to see them. And when I entered the room with MY MOM. You should have seen their faces! She was the last person they expected! She saw Stephen there and didn’t know him. I had to tell her that he was my son, Stephen. I know at this point poor Amanda was wondering What the HELL!!!! She didn’t know the background and I had come in the room introducing my mom who didn’t know my son! Anyway, after the introductions, she started in on the baby. She commented on him a few times, not catching the gender. Then asks the name.
This is her Great Grandson, but it really didn’t register. She stayed a very short time because of her appointment at the Summit. She moved to the door talking with pride about her garden and organic bug spray. If only she was as excited about little Jackson.
Well, this Grandma here will have enough love to make it up. I am so excited about my first grandson. There is no way in the world I could ever be a “Bump into Me” only mama or G ma.
Post note: Another “bump into me” story: Erin was around three, we were in the grocery store. I see my mom. She comes over and asks who is the pretty little blonde haired girl. I tell her it is Erin. She says “Hi Erin, I’m your Grandma!” About that time several other shoppers turn their head to look at us! Utter disbelief! Can a Grandma be meeting her granddaughter for the first time randomly in the Grocery Store!
Last week while monitoring the robots a young woman approached. She was pushing her cart as two small boys tagged along, approximately aged four and six. She pulled up to robot 81 and motioned me over. She told me, in a low voice that a creepy man had followed her all over the store as she was shopping. As she was talking to me the man walked on the other side of the u-scan center and stared at her. Then he walked across the front of the store and out the door. Yes, He was very CREEPY! I asked if I could get someone to walk her out to her car. She seemed relieved that I asked.
I peeked over to see who was on courtesy clerk duty. I saw Kara and Silvia bagging groceries. Both of those girls are super sweet, but not what I would consider a proper security escort. So I went around the corner to see if Mr. Sheehan was available. He was coming down the stairs. Yay! This worked out perfectly! Mr. Sheehan is a Georgia Tech Grad, and a former Tech Basketball player. He stands around seven feet tall and towers over all of us. He is certainly an intimidating presence. I wanted her to feel as safe as possible on her way to the car.
Later on that day, Mr. Sheehan came to me and told me she had called. He said the man followed her from the parking lot. She noticed that he was following her, so she phoned the police. They met her at her house.
When he told me that I got chill bumps! The poor woman just wanted to buy groceries and some man became obsessed with her! Wackos are everywhere these days. You have to watch out!
Post Note: This woman came back to the store the next week. She came over to talk to me. She told me the story of the man following her that day. She said when she noticed she called 911. Then she drove past her neighborhood to the next neighborhood. She pulled in and the man drove past. The police met her at her house and made a report.
As a concert attendee for decades, I saw some pretty intense trashing of property. At a concert, I sort of rationalize that some of the people might be drinking, and are not at their full mental capacity to realize what they are doing. No excuse. It still is not right to leave beer bottles around and your trash everywhere. In movie theaters I am always tripping over someone’s drink as I try to leave my seat. What is so hard about taking your trash to the provided trash containers?
At recent graduation event at Mercer University in Atlanta Georgia, the attendees left litter on the lawn. It was shocking! You would think the families of the men and women graduating would have the utmost class and manners. It is a prestigious school. But as we stood up to leave, I looked out across the empty seats and saw a sea of litter. Paper cups, water bottles, napkins, and programs! Are you kidding me! I could not believe these people left this mess on this beautiful lawn. Quite frankly, It was embarrassing. I looked down on the row where we sat with the Barber family. There was not one single shred of paper or trash. So, what was everybody’s excuse? Trash receptacles were available!
This might seem like a petty thing for me to rant about. But is it? I feel it is HUGE! People just do not care. They don’t take pride. They have not been taught. It is time mama’s and daddy’s started teaching the children not to litter. It IS important. Somehow, I feel like I was the only one that noticed the litter that day. And that is sad. More people should take note and start holding people accountable. If you mess it up, clean it. If you push a cart to the parking lot, put it in the proper area for carts. Not in the middle of the parking lot or the space next to your car. If you do not want the pricey steaks you picked up from the meat department, don’t put them on top of the rice or on the candy isle. You can always just leave them with your cashier if you don’t want them. She will insure they go back to the right place. People who do not do the right thing really cause others to work harder and cost money in some cases. Sometimes it is harder to do the right thing. But other times it is easy. It starts with parenting. Parents have to teach their children. Sadly it isn’t happening.
While I’m ranting….I also feel graduation is a special occasion. When there are over a thousand graduates, the names call one right after the other. The speaker asked that no one celebrate with air horns, yelling, applause, etc. until finished. However, some people did not follow this and they celebrated profusely making it hard to hear the next name. Within the family we call them Hyenas. They make fools out of themselves and sound like a bunch of Hyenas. I would hope that by the time my grandson, Jackson, graduates they will have figured out a way to stifle the Hyenas!
Usually I post more positive topics. But wanted to discuss those issues that were bugging me. However, I am truly blessed to have three graduates in the last few weeks! Erin, a Special Education Major, Bachelor’s from UWG, Stephen, Doctor of Pharmacy from Mercer, Katie, Master/Education from Mercer as well! I’m a proud mama……OH and I taught my kids not to litter It was a pet peeve. I tried to instill a sense of right and wrong in my children. Imagine all children ingrained with a sense of pride and clear knowledge of ”the right thing to do”? What a wonderful world!
My intention is to go by the golden rule. It is sort of my religion. Since my birth religion screwed me up, I have to start somewhere and rebuild some sort of spiritual structure. And the golden rule is sort of what Jesus was saying in Matthew 22, 36 -40, First command to love God with all your heart, soul and mind. Second, love your neighbor as yourself. Well, if everyone did that. The golden rule would be second nature!
The hard part about the golden rule is when you are not given the same consideration. I am honestly writing this in “vent” fashion. Because this has happened to me. Do I hold a grudge? Do I have a verbal confrontation. Heavens NO! After thinking it over. I realize I can only control myself. I have to accept the goodness from friends graciously. And as for the not so good. Well, I just have to brush it off. It is water under the bridge. The situation seems huge . And the hurt is great, but friends will not always live up to impossible standards. I guess I need to lower the bar. Really, I can do a little soul-searching and see there is room for improvement on my end as well.
There is one very big plus. I have three sisters who never seem to let me down. They are always there for me. I really do not know what I would do without them…..and a HUGE thanks to Brittany my vent buddy and my daughter Erin
#1 #2 Boxcars
Back in the 90’s D started buying rental houses. He was at that time, a firefighter, battalion chief, on shifts. He had time to work on them as he worked 24 off 48. It was a sweet deal. He took on the role of Fire Chief , around 1995. which limited his time. But he still kept his eye out for a deal. Now that he retired, he spends a lot of time working on them. It makes me wonder how he managed to handle them while working. But over the years being the wife of a “slumlord” (just a playful term, our houses are not slums, and trust me, he is quicker to keep up them, than his own!) has been an experience. Before we built the house we are in now, we lived in what is now one of our rental houses. It sits near the railroad tracks and close to Railroad street in Moreland. I rarely ever went towards Grantville when I left the house, I always exited to the left and headed toward Newnan. Well, one day I had to take the Dogs to our vet. It is in Manchester, GA. So I head to the right. I glance at our house. And right by D’s Trailer, is a toilet. Oh…….My…….Goodness! How Long????? How Long has that been there? When I got home and asked D, he could not remember. Oh My!!!! How many people had seen that toilet in my front yard? Oh well, D promptly removed it when he saw how upset I was. He did not mean to leave it there. He was busy. Working his job, and rental houses was a little overwhelming.
After moving into our house, I was having my coffee one beautiful morning. I decided I should go on the back deck. So I’m sitting there, sipping coffee, admiring the birds, and I look to the left out across to our field. What the HECK! There sits a BOXCAR! I know we still live near the train tracks, did one derail? Good grief! So, I get out my cell phone and call D……….Ohhhhhhh, so he BOUGHT the boxcar and they delivered it yesterday. He just neglected telling me. Ok. So now we have a boxcar in our field. We will use it to store all that rental house stuff in our basement. So I’m not all that angry. My basement will be clear again. Months later, same scenario, on the porch, coffee, admiring birds, look to left…….What the HECK? Someone has added Graffiti to our boxcar! Or, wait, is that a different boxcar??? I call D. YEP, he has done it again. He bought ANOTHER boxcar! With no homeowners Association. He has run amuck! There’s no stopping him!
We are preparing to finish out our basement. We must have a place to store the items that are down there. So, guess what? Today he purchased BOXCAR #3!
I am not complaining, really. They are really nice storage units. And we are in the country. Our neighbors here don’t seem to mind.
I have to close this story out with one of the craziest rental stories we have to date. We rented to a family of Mexicans on Frank, Street in Newnan. They usually paid their rent on time. Not many issues with the house. I seldom went there to pick up rent, but the few times I did, I made a remark to D that she was always cooking. The house always smelled like food. Once she had even sent home something she made with D wrapped in corn husks. It smelled good, but I was hesitant to try it. They had to leave, so we went into the house to see what we needed to do to get the house ready to rent. WOW! We discovered they had moved a WALL to accommodate a makeshift “take out” window on the back room. Which was a utility room. They had run a restaurant out of the house! Yes, selling burritos, and other authentic Mexican foods right through that window out back! Who does that? Who moves walls in other people’s houses without their permission? They were in Mexico by the time we found out. We could do nothing about it but fix it ourselves. Crazy! That house was a greasy mess. There was a coat of grease on the ceiling fans, walls. I guess the several years of living there and frying foods nonstop had taken a toll. At least we kept the deposit