An Old Poem I Wrote

Prayers are wishes
Thrown to the Almighty above
Asking for things
We shall never know

Wisdom, peace, knowledge
These are all fleeting
On a planet
Condemned long ago

Love does not exist
Without pain to coincide
Nor grace
Without condemnation preceding

Have faith whispers the masses
As they ignore the broken souls
They trample on Each and every day

Just believe
Thunders the man behind the pulpit
Ignoring the reality
Beyond the stained glass doors

What if instead of service
Predictable and sure
We took the hour to really listen
And be honest before friends and God

How many pews would we fill
How much money in the plate
If we allowed the Spirit to lead
Instead of the charlatan.

Jenny Hansen
Originally Written 05-04-13

Leftovers

For years I’ve had this terrible habit. I will go to a party, a family gathering, or somewhere that involves food and people. I laugh, I eat, I have a good time….and then I take home leftovers.

Even when I know there is too much for my husband or I to eat, I take it home. Even when people say, oh I’ll just throw this out…I just can’t let it happen. So we break out the paper plates or if its a best friend or family member you might get lucky and get Tupperware or an old plastic container that used to hold grated cheese or something else when the person is tired of having to replace their Tupperware or Rubbermaid.

I come home and plop it in the refrigerator. And it sits there…..and sits there……and sits there until it becomes moldy or old or smells funny. Then I throw it out. Sometimes I will eat part of it, especially if it was a really good dish or dessert. But almost never the whole thing.

So after recently throwing yet another something away, I started to think about why I do this knowing 9 times out of 10 I will not finish or ever eat this food. And I think I had a kind of AH-HA moment.

I keep the food because I want to keep the moment. I want to savor the happiness, the comfort, the essence of that day, that event. I want to keep it close and that is sometimes why I take but do not eat. I also think this may be why dessert has a higher chance of getting eaten (aside from I’m a fat kid who loves cake). Dessert usually involves sugar or sweetness and that usually makes you happy.

So thank you for listening to my little revelation for the day. Also I may not always eat the food but I ALWAYS return the container 🙂

Summer Is….

The bright sun beating down on your back as you mow the lawn. Sweat pouring down your face as you just walk from the house to the mailbox and back. Warm rain storms and puddles to splash in. Bright fluffy white clouds and laying on blankets arguing over what each one looks like.

The smell of charcoal grills and propane grills firing up all kinds of goodness; hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, vegetables. Your mom’s potato salad that you don’t really like but you eat because you love her and don’t want to hurt her feelings. It is cherry jello and ice cream with sprinkles (jimmies as they say in Philly) and lots of whipped cream and a cherry on top. It is water ice and pretzels with mustard.

The loud bang of fireworks bright in the sky, twinkling as they fall and disappear. It is a sweaty hand intertwining with another sweaty hand as you walk the boardwalk. It is the pounding of the ocean waves, the smell of pizza and popcorn as you walk down the boardwalk. It is mini-golf, tag, kick the can, and sweet first kisses that you’ll never forget.

The brown skin of my Italian husband and the red skin of my Irish/Polish skin. It is SPF- 100 suntan lotions and sprays. It is the smell of salt and sand and coconut lotion. It is the soothing balm of aloe at the end of a day spent swimming and splashing with friends. It is the best sleep all year because your body is warm and has been soaking up sand and sun all day.

The crackle of bonfires while camping at the lake and eating smores. Ghost stories, late nights, cabins, and finding God. It is the best fruit time and corn on the cob with butter melting down your face time. It is family and friends and a coming together of people who matter most to you. It is lawn chairs and beach chairs and book after book. It is the songs of summer and wearing the coolest shades you can find.

It is a feeling, it is a memory, and it is indescribable although I’ve tried.

 

I Have No Words

I did not know what to say for the last few days. I have no words to express the depth of my sorrow, my anger, my frustration, and the ache in my heart. I am watching the country I grew up in, and loved, tear itself apart.

I am seeing hatred on levels I never thought possible in my lifetime. I am seeing destruction and chaos. I am seeing broken families, broken people, and broken lives.

I keep thinking it can’t get any worse and then 2020 proves me wrong again. I have watched videos of people I respect sobbing, and hurting, and raging. And I can’t do a damn thing for them.

Or Can I….?

I can stand up for people who are being treated as animals and not the beautiful people they are. I can open my mouth. I can protest. I can demand change.

And most of all….

I CAN LOVE PEOPLE JUST AS THEY ARE BECAUSE THEY ARE MY FAMILY!!

I personally believe that God made each and every person exactly who they were made to be with skin tones that vary, and heart and souls that may be different from our own, but still beat and are capable of working together. I believe everyone is my brother and my sister and I will defend them and love them because we are one big family.

I WILL NOT TOLERATE HATE!!

I am crying as I type this because my heart hurts for Mr. Floyd’s family and all the other families who lost a sweet soul for absolutely no reason other then pure hatred.

Please be kind. Please share some love today. It is so needed. And to all the friends I said I didn’t see your color when I looked at you, I apologize because I did see it, I just never saw the difference it made until these last few years. I see you now. I love you. And I stand beside you in respect and solidarity.

Corona Craziness in New Jersey

COVID-19 also known as Corona Virus. We are all talking about it. If you want more details about what it is, how it works, and why it’s such a big deal, please go to a reputable site like the Center for Disease Control or your local government website.

In the past month I have heard so much about this virus I feel like I am a scientific expert on it even though I am clearly not. It has caused the world to talk about it like a celebrity the likes of which we have never knows. It’s all over the radio, the internet, the news, Facebook, Instagram, etc. etc.

Initially, I will be honest, I was getting more and more anxious about it the closer it came to my home. I mean initially it was halfway across the world in China. Then it started to creep into other countries. Then it arrived on the West Coast of the USA. Now I was getting worried. Slowly it made its way across the US and into NJ where I live. It started in the north and crept its way down to where I live.

But now that it’s actually, truly here, I have a strange sense of calm about the situation. Maybe it’s because I’ve been fed medical facts by my husband and our CEO at work about what is really happening versus all the fear mongering going on. But I think the biggest reason I don’t feel afraid anymore is because of a message my pastor sent out right after it was apparent that we were not going to avoid this crisis. He said God has this under control and He will take care of his children. So simple but it hit my heart and soul in a way I can’t really describe in words.

I’m not telling anyone what to believe, I’m just saying for once in my life when everyone else is panicking I actually feel very calm and still. Is my job super stressful right now? Sure. Am I worried about running out of groceries and toilet paper? Maybe a little. But my neighbors have been banding together to help each other so I’m not too scared about that. I have seen some real love and kindness shine through all of this.

So please wash your hands, take a deep breath, and realize it will eventually be okay. I’m not saying it will be perfect, I’m saying we have gotten through much worse and we survived. Maybe this is the time we need to band together, not just as a country, but as human beings in this world, and realize that we need to slow down and take some time to appreciate what we have and stop chasing what we think we need or want.

Please be safe and I love you all so much. Also if you are going stir crazy I recommend coloring, exercise, reading, and anything else you love to do at home.

How are you handling the Corona Crisis?

Sometimes It’s All Too Much

Sometimes I feel like the world is going a little too fast for me. I like being able to Google almost any and everything. I like cell phones and texting, You Tube, Facebook, etc.

But sometimes I miss hanging out with a friend in person. I miss family gatherings where none of that existed and you had to gasp talk to people. Kids could watch TV or read a book. Now sometimes when I go on visits to families even the parents can’t tear themselves away from some sort of electronic device.

There is always so much pinging, dinging, and ringing that I literally hear it in my sleep. I have woken up certain I missed a call only to find it was all in my dreams (nightmares…whatever).

I wish there was a national unplug day. Where all the WiFi and the internet would go down, and we would be forced to interact with one another. Just for 24 hours. I know as far as national security that’s probably not a great idea, but you get my point. People today are so wrapped up in themselves that they forget there are other people around them that are going through things too and could use an actual hug and not just an emoji or GIF of a hug.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. However you feel about the holiday I challenge you to reach out to someone in person and let them know they are loved. Even if it’s a friend, a parent, a grandparent, or your local barista. Because everyone in this world needs to know they matter and that can’t always be accomplished with an emoji.

I’ve Become So Numb

My Pop-Pop passed away on Sunday, December 8th. He was not my bio grandfather but he was the only grandfather I knew on that side of the family. My bio grandfather died when I was two years old. He looks like he was a nice gent. But my Pop-Pop I grew up with was a spitfire. He could make you laugh and ten minutes later make you cry. My grandmother married him when I was 8 years old and I remember him wearing a sombrero and starting a conga line all around the bar they were having the reception at. He always had a joke for you or a sarcastic comment.

He has not been doing well in the last couple of years and has kind of been a cantankerous brat to my grandmother. He made it to 98 so I guess I have to give him a break for that. It’s just weird that he’s gone. The funeral is on Wednesday this week and I don’t really know why I’m not sad. Maybe because he was suffering so much and causing my grandmother so much heartache? I just feel numb. Like okay this is one more thing we have to get through before this year is over.

Add all of that to my job and the crying, screaming, meltdowns galore, and being on call this week as well. I am literally crawling over the finish line of this year. But I am going to finish and so are you. My Pop-Pop has a new glorious body that isn’t aching, breaking, or taking the life out of him so that’s something to celebrate.

Sorry for the randomness here. Tired and just needed to get some thoughts out.

poppop

This is my Pop-Pop and Grandmom at my wedding in 2010. Aren’t they adorable?!

Lost In The Darkness

Friday, September 27th, I said a final goodbye to my Aunt Marie. She lost her fight to a rare lung disorder that snatched her up faster then a kid grabs a cookie.

My heart physically hurts. I have been crying on and off since the viewing on Thursday and the day of the funeral, naturally, I was a tearful mess. I went through 2 packages of purse tissues. My husband hugged me and didn’t say much which was exactly what I needed at that moment.

The priest for the funeral looked and acted like someone had woken him from a nap to go and perform a funeral. He actually fell asleep at one point! Then he wound up going to the wrong cemetery so the funeral director wound up doing the grave side service. In his defense, this priest was new to the area so I guess we give him a pass.

My job does not give time off for aunts or uncles, only parents or grandparents (including step-parents and step-grandparents). I took off Friday for obvious reasons and Monday because I need it. I need to be able to wrap my head around the fact that she is gone along with my Uncle Peter a few years ago.

Every time I think about going back to work, my heart pounds out of control, I feel sick, and I start shaking. I feel the same fear I would feel if someone was chasing me with a chainsaw and not because they were excited to get to my lawn. My job has literally driven me to the brink of insanity. My boss changed my time sheet without even consulting me before turning it in which in itself made me angry. Then there are the twenty or so e-mail waiting to tell me how wrong I am in everything and how I’m not doing enough. Just typing this I feel ready to burst into tears.

I know it is long overdue for me to leave this company. While I love what I do, the pressure to complete more and more within the same amount of time per week is overwhelming and exhausting. It has caused me to spiral into a deep depression that I can’t seem to get out of. All I want to do is sleep or kill myself.

I’m tired of losing people, I’m tired of bills, I’m tired of going to church and feeling so empty and hollow inside. I’m tired of feeling like a failure. I’m tired of not having any energy to do anything, even things I love. I am just tired of life. And I’m really tired of trying to explain depression and anxiety to people that don’t understand and think I should just “snap out of it” “think positively” and my favorite “you just need to have faith.” My faith is dead. I know God is there but I don’t think he cares about me anymore. I have no more faith that things are going to get better and I’m too tired to try to get off the ground. If I wind up dead it is because I gave my all and I couldn’t give anymore. I feel that I am doing the world  a favor by going away.

But  I don’t even think God would be merciful enough to let me die. He’d rather watch me be miserable and hurt and cry. Sometimes I think he gets enjoyment out of it. But maybe I’m wrong. Sorry if this is bleak. This is my only safe outlet to say these things because I work in the mental health field and you can’t talk to your co-workers about it, definitely not your boss, and all my friends are busy with their children and their own lives. Nobody wants to hear this because nobody knows how to fix it. So if you read this thanks for being there.

The Last Words You Ever Want To Hear

“There’s nothing more we can do.”

These to me are the worst words you can hear from a doctor when you love someone.

They said them to my mom when they called to tell her my father passed away from a heart attack.

They say them in countless hospitals in countless places countless times a day. I can’t imagine having to say those words to someone. I can’t imagine seeing faces filled with hope when you walk in the room and then seeing the light in someone’s eyes as you destroy it faster then a boot can kill and ant.

Today these words were spoken to my cousins about their mother. My Aunt Marie was the most favorite of my aunts because she was so kind and loving. She always made me feel special and loved. She had my wedding shower at her home so both my mother in law and my mom could invite all the people they wanted. My cousins already lost their father and now they are losing their mother. Their kids will not get to know my aunt the way I did or her kids did. They will never hear her great stories or taste her home made pierogies (although my cousins make them well so maybe they will get to taste them after all).

I am so mad at God right now I could spit. I don’t deny His existence but right now I wish he would end mine. I’m tired of losing family. In a few days I will lose my aunt. My cousins will lose a mother, and four grandchildren will lose their grandmother. Where is the righteousness in that?!

Aunt Marie and Family

My Aunt Marie is the third one in from the right. This is her with my cousins Kim, Steph, and Peter and their husbands, wife, and grandchildren. WHY?! Why God Why?!