a little update, in pieces…

“But the stars that marked our starting fall away.
We must go deeper into greater pain,
for it is not permitted that we stay.”

Dante Alighieri, Inferno


(a wedding day in 1983)

We’ve been talking recently about prayer…
but I thought we’d take a little break while I continue working on putting something uninformed for
us to use as our “prayer” tool
Heather, Salvageable and IB all added some great words yesterday, so I’ll compile our composite…
and throw something out to us next week.

I did want to offer an update on a few other sundries but first, a little back story as this
will be a two-part post–in part to keep things relatively brief.

You see that grainy picture up above?
Well, that picture is from a very hot late summer’s day back in 1983.

My mom is happily looking on as my godfather, the priest who was to conduct that day’s wedding,
came to the “brides” room, in the basement of the church, where all the girls were getting ready
for that day’s big event…

A 23-year-old me had stayed up late the night prior in order to write a long letter.
A letter of gratitude and love between a goddaughter to her godpoppa…

I had slipped the letter under his office door early that morning, long before the
big day’s event was to unfold.

He had read it and came to find me.

Ours is a long convoluted story of a relationship that began when I was barely 15.

It was a relationship between a father and daughter who were neither to the other…

He had 4 children and I had a father…yet we both knew God had a hand in this
mismatched union of two unlikely individuals—as I was considered a 5th child and he was
a surrogate father…a true God-parent.

It was a relationship that began perhaps as happenstance but was actually Divinely conceived.

I know that God knew I would need a guide…much like Dante with his guide Virgil—
Virgil leading Dante through his journey through hell—while The Dean guided me through my own
tumultuous life….that of adolescents, adoption, and dysfunction.

Something you should know…we were both adopted individuals.

And whereas that may seem coincidental, the relationship was God-given as there is a great
deal buried in the heart of an adopted individual….the Dean had lived that and knew
I was just in the middle of mine.

I needed not only guiding but I needed healing.
A literal laying on of hands with an anointing of oil and serious prayer.

Dean Collins had had his time of living with those holes in his life…and he helped
me to see, soothe and heal my own.

Shortly following my leap into blogdom 6 years ago…
I wrote a post about that very adoption.

I reread the post yesterday and went back in to clean it up a tad as I have hopefully
gotten a bit better at this thing called blogging and perhaps it flows a bit more easily …

It is a post that explains some of my life growing up adopted…with a nod to the story
(a different early post) of my adopted younger brother’s spiral into darkness and our family’s
sad dysfunction from that darkness.
He could never come to terms with having been given up for adoption despite having been
an infant at the time and yes, eventually committed suicide despite my parent’s desperation
to find every sort of help available—- up to granting him an annulment—
the first annuled adoption ever in the state of Georgia.

In the post, I also explain how I reached out to Georgia’s Adoption Reunion Registry
in order to receive nonidentifying information regarding my “case”…

Yet when the papers arrived, I received only a copious amount of bewildering questions.
More painful questions rather than fulfiling answers.

Here is the link to that previous post:

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/who-in-the-heck-is-sylvia-kay-and-what-have-you-done-with-her/

And so now we fast forward to the present day.

DNA.

Something that wasn’t available nearly 10 years ago to the general populace wishing to glean
information regarding ancestry and or unknown medical issues.

And so I took the two tests that are available for the curious.
Ancestry and 23 and Me.

The latter’s results came in this week.

The genealogy is on the money…English / Scotch / Irish….nearly through and through.

The results also provide a list of those individuals in their pool of testers whose DNA
links to your own…
be it parents, siblings, cousins…on down the line…
meaning that there are relatives…relatives either known or unknown…

And here is where we will end Part I of this long and odd individual’s tale…

Oh—
the man in that picture up above, that man with that mischievous
twinkle in his eye…
well, he passed away two years ago and that young girl is now knocking
on the door of 60.

When I went to bed the other night carrying the burden of what
I should or should not do…
wrestling with the idea of initiating a search for my biological parents…
in large part because I want some solid information about my past to
give to my son and now my grandchildren…
I lamented how I wished my godpoppa was here to continue with his guidance…

And so the following morning when I pulled out those now 9-year-old papers
from my initial non-identifying adoption case packet,
out fell a printed copy of a 9-year-old email.
It was a letter written to my Godfather from a biological cousin
he had found when, in his mid 80’s, he discovered while searching for his
biological family.

The letter spoke of his long-deceased mother and the difficult decision she,
as a young unwed woman bore in the 1920s in having to “give” her infant son “away” —
but as to how one day…they would again meet…and she would embrace him with a lifetime of
love that had been stored away in her heart.

Seems my “Virgil” continues guiding me during this roller coaster journey of mine…
out of the Inferno and Purgatorio, as I work my way to the light of Paradiso…
always pointing me back to the place I truly belong–in the arms of
my loving Heavenly father—our Omnipotent Father…Abba

just running with it…

I can understand a person believing in God without knowing science;
I cannot understand a person knowing science and not believing in God.

Oneta Hayes


(detail painting on a column within Cathedral of Our Lady of Bayeux, France / Julie Cook/ 2018)

Yesterday I offered a few quotes.

Life is still hectic as I continue playing catch-up.

So, therefore, spending the proper amount of time and energy necessary for more
meatier posts continue to be proving elusive.
And so I offer thoughts and observations that I find to be heavenly and even Grace
filled in their offerings…

Yesterday I had found some rather interesting quotes…quotes regarding both
science and Christian faith…
as there seems to always be some sort of friction between the two.

And probably the most famous clash was between Galileo and the Catholic Chruch.

We all know that Galileo actually got had gotten it right…
he had realized that the planets revolved around the sun rather than the sun revolving
around the planets…with the particular planet being that of the earth…
as the earth was and continues to be, the seemingly center of all of our little universe.

Yet his thoughts, observations, and theories challenged a church that was unsure
and even afraid…as the hierarchy was unwilling to think outside of the box.
And so Galileo, who was a devout Catholic and whose daughter was actually a nun,
was in a bit of a pickle.

The Chruch demanded Galileo recant his conclusion…or if he chose not to,
he would be imprisoned as well as excommunicated.

History affords us the answer to this quandary.
He was imprisoned, living his life under house arrest and was indeed excommunicated
from the Church he respected and loved.

A great book which affords us a small snapshot into this moment of history…
is a collection of intimate letters written between a father and his beloved daughter–
Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel

Letters that were written from a father, who was currently under house arrest
by the Chruch, written to his daughter who was living her life for that very Chruch.

It wasn’t until 1992 that the Chruch actually owned up to the fact that they, the Chruch
as a whole, was wrong in their treatment of Galileo.

More than 350 years after the Roman Catholic Church condemned Galileo,
Pope John Paul II is poised to rectify one of the Church’s most infamous wrongs —
the persecution of the Italian astronomer and physicist for proving the
Earth moves around the Sun.

With a formal statement at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Saturday,
Vatican officials said the Pope will formally close a 13-year investigation into
the Church’s condemnation of Galileo in 1633.
The condemnation, which forced the astronomer and physicist to recant his discoveries,
led to Galileo’s house arrest for eight years before his death in 1642 at the age of 77.

(New York Times)

Pope John Paul II, who had one of several degrees in Philosophy, and who actually delved
deeply into the study of both science and philosophy, understood better than most,
the relationship between Science and the Church.
“Karol Wojtyla’s second doctoral dissertation,
submitted in 1953 to the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland,
concerned the thought of Max Scheler (1874-1928)
a leading exponent of the philosophical school known as phenomenology.
Phenomenology, together with the more conventional Aristotelian-Thomistic
tradition, proved to be the two great influences on the philosophical development
of Karol Wojtyla.
From the latter, he learned to be a philosophical realist.
From the former, he learned to develop of rich sense of the moral life of the human person.
It is worth considering these two influences in a little detail.

(Encyclopedia Britannica)

And so thus we know that Pope John Paul II understood the importance of science,
and that he worked to rewrite the previous wrong with his “pardon” of Galileo.

I find the quotes by renowned scientists regarding their studies along with their deep
faith to be so refreshingly uplifting.

There are so many who are rabidly anti-church and who claim that atheists
cannot abide by the Chruch’s lack of acceptance of science…
and yet we have so many notable scientists who are deeply committed Christians…
so perhaps that arugument simply doesn’t hold water.

I find much of their arguments actually mute.

Thus after reading my post yesterday, our dear freind Oneta offered such a wonderful
reflection—a reflection that actually reminded me of something Albert Einstein had once
noted about his belief in God…

The more I study science, the more I believe in God.”
Albert Einstein
(The Wall Street Journal, Dec 24, 1997, article by Jim Holt, “Science Resurrects God.”)

My response to Oneta was that her comment to my post was quite the quote—
as she then resonded with the idea that I could then “run with it”…
and so run I have…

If the universe were a product of chance,
we would not expect to find such order and intelligibility and laws.
We would find chaos. Anyone who has studied the second law of thermodynamics
knows that any system, like the molecules of air and gases in this room,
by their natural state are in the maximum of disorder.
The molecules don’t line themselves up; they’re just bouncing around.
That’s what we would expect to find in the whole universe—absolute chaos.
This led Albert Einstein to make this famous statement:
‘The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it’s comprehensible.’

Fr. John Flader
from God and Science

paradoxes

“The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement.
But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”

Niels Bohr


(wild morning glory deep in the Georgia woods / Julie Cook / 2017)

Paradox: a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition
that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.

My intent was to have written about something else today…
but as God often places something in
my way forcing my hand or forcing my change in direction,
there was no getting around the change
in thought.

My first thought was to talk a little about yesterdays’ brouhaha…
that current national obsession that was playing out on every television channel or news outlet
such that there was an actual news story, I believe it was true but who knows anymore, that
bars in D.C. opened up for a morning run providing a watering hole venue for folks to line up and come watch the hearing
(I should say the Comey hearing but’I’m actually sick and tired of hearing the fellow’s name…
as the nation’s obsession is not my own)

The news camera panned the bar—jam packed full with folks,
some who admittedly were ditching work, happily imbibing…
For others, who knows why hanging out watching television in a bar on a Thursday morning
seems productive…yet perhaps I should not be surprised to see so many youthful ones
who obviously have no where to be at 9:30 on a Thursday morning in the Nation’s capital
but I suppose I digress.

Then my second thought was to offer an observation also from yesterday.
The UK had a big election yesterday…an election for a possible new PM and new government.
I think that sort of thing ranks up there with our own election as these first cousin nations
are that important to one another…
However, when I went to read the BBC on-line the most front and center news story was not the
UK’s own election but what was happening in the US with the hearing.

I first clicked on the world news…the US shenanigans was the lead story
I then clicked on European news, again, the UK election was not the lead story
I next clicked on UK news…the lead story was not so much election outcome as it was
other matters which danced around what was to be the outcome….

How can the BBC put off their own election…
the story of a leading global power’s election while
opting to focus on the American hysteria?

Thirdly I thought I’d write about the story of the small Missouri town that has had a
60 foot cross donning the center of their town square since the 1930’s.
For the past 87 years this small Missouri town has held every Easter sunrise service
at the base of this cross, in this city’s central park, since
the time the cross was first erected.

The mayor recently received a letter from an out of town atheist and freethinking
organization that has threatened the town with legal action if the cross
is not removed.
Up until the arrival of this letter, the town has never had a single complaint
regarding the cross.

The group who sent the letter claim that this cross is in
direct violation with a separation of church and state and will sue the town
if it is not removed.

The mayor and city council has responded…the cross will stay.

So whereas I had a good bit I wanted to chat about and share…
there was another story that seemed to trump (there’s that word again)
all other stories as it is a story that should give every last one of us pause before
we continue with the important things that we seem to think are so utterly important….

Things such as watching hearings, standing in long lines in order to drink and indulge
while ditching work in order to sit and watch said hearing…
a hearing that was really much to do about nothing,
while others write threatening letters, while even others of us concern ourselves with
matters that truly pale in comparison to the bigger issues of life, living and dying.

Two day’s ago, a church bus was enroute from Huntsville, Alabama to Atlanta’s airport.
The bus was full of young people, high schoolers and their leaders, who were preparing
to fly out to Botswana in order to spend time working with children there in Africa.
A little more noble effort then hanging out drinking and watching TV…but who
am I to say…

It was mid day and the sun was shining…a low humidity Chamber of Commerce kind of
Georgia day.
The church bus was less then five miles from the airport when tragedy stuck.
There was a lane change with the bus having to overcorrect after striking a car in the
adjacent lane.
The overcorrection forced the bus into the medium, flipping it upside down while it
then fell in the path of the opposite lane’s traffic, where it was hit again.

Both directions of Camp Creek Parkway, the road leading directly into the airport,
were closed as a 17 year old young girl was killed and 21 other were injured,
some seriously.

“Life changes so rapidly on us, you know?
One moment, things are fine.
The next moment you’re dealing with things like this.
It’s just tough,” Fulton County Fire Chief Larry Few said.

The young girl’s family shared her picture with Atlanta’s Channel 2 news and offered a
few words about their daughter.

And she loved the Lord with a love that was tangible,” Harmening’s mother said.
“It’s what she lived and breathed for.”

Sarah’s mother read her last journal entry on the bus and said it gives her comfort.

“That God has called me here and he has done this for a reason,
so I know he’s going to do incredible things,” her mother read.

A friend shared some of the final words Harmening….

“This is such a great reminder; we are like a wisp of smoke.
We are only here for a moment and it’s not about us, life is not about us,
it’s about God,” said Harmening’s friend Claire.

So whereas I thought I had some things I wanted to share or discuss or focus on—
It seems as if they weren’t nearly as important as I had thought….

Because there is much wisdom found in the words of one’s friend who reflects on the
loss of a young life….

For none of this thing we call life is really about us now is it…..

Jesus said to her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.
Do you believe this?”

John 11:25-26

This time I don’t think chocolate will make it better…..

DSCN1255

“Happy Father’s day! It’s not much…”

“OOOO Chocolate!!” (coming from a beaming face of an 85 year old)

“OH my Lord, Dale you can’t eat that, remember what the doctor said…”

“Dad why aren’t you taking your medicine?”

“Can I have the chocolate now?”

“Dale, my gosh…no you can’t have the chocolate…remember what the doctor said??!!”

“I thought he said that if I started feeling better in a couple of days I could go back to eating what I want.”

“Dad you have to go to the gastroenterologist on Tuesday.”

“No, he said if I felt better, I could………”

“My lord Dale! NO! Right here in front of Julie, I’m telling you……”

And so went the last visit to Dad’s.

“Can’t you tell he’s lost weight?!”

“Yes.”

Dad, how much weight have you lost?”

“I think about 10 lbs.”

Hummm…

“None of his clothes fit. I need to take him to get all new pants”

“Well had I known he needed pants, I’d have gotten him pants instead of the movies and chocolate….”

“He won’t take his medicine, he’s not helping himself”

“Dad, why aren’t you taking your pills like you suppose to?”

Blank stare

“Dad do you want to go to a home?”

“Julie must be a fly on the wall here Dale—she’s simply repeating what I told you this morning…”

And he finally turns and looks at me….

“I won’t leave this house but in a box”

“Well Dad, you’re working your way to that box very quickly”

Jump forward to yesterday.

The phone rings

“Happy New Years!”

“Happy New Years to you too Dad, but I think it’s the 4th of July”

“Oh yeah, 4th of July”

“I wish I could have spoken with you yesterday but seems our phone wasn’t working”
(note, I call often only to get no answer…if he’s eating, wobbling to the bathroom, out to a movie, or watching the latest breaking all day news coverage, he won’t answer)

“Why wasn’t your phone working?”

“Seems someone forgot to pay the bill”

“DAD—AGAIN?!”

“Don’t fuss at me, it’s all taken care of…”

“Dad, how did this happen again?”

Don’t fuss at me, Gloria’s son and daughter-n-law came over yesterday and fixed it.”

“What do you mean they fixed it?”

“She helped me set it all up where it just gets pulled out automatically”

“Dad, I thought that’s what you were already doing. Dad it’s not their place to help you do that–its mine—Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Please don’t fuss at me…”

“Dad I’m not fussing—put Gloria on the phone”

“No, both of you will fuss at me”

“Dad, nobody is fussing, I just want to talk with Gloria”

“hello, what? I’ve been sick”

“….they just showed up, when they couldn’t get us on the phone or my, what do you call it?… cell phone. And it’s a good thing; they got the phone mess straightened out. It just had me all upset again and plus I’m sick. I told them you’ve been to sort his files and they’re in a mess again. I told them about you going to the bank and we thought things would get better…”

Much more conversation— “…Gloria, what about maybe assisted living?”

“Yes, I think that would be good– but I don’t like the one’s with elevators, those big high-rises. Something cute, like a little bungalow. I don’t want to live in the middle of Buckhead or Sandy Springs.”

“But that’s where ya’ll are now…”

“Well, I don’t know…”

I’ll drive up on Tuesday, is that okay”

“Oh yes Tuesday will be fine”

“I’ll work on his files and the papers—plus maybe we need to really talk about getting help—the house, the yard, it’s too much….”

“Yes, that will be wonderful”

And so began and continued the latest conversation.

He’s getting worse–more so mentally, not so much physically—but for this latest and should have been avoided bout of colitis…. The Alzheimer’s? Is that it? He just wants to be like a little kid—being catered to constantly. Never leaving the house or even getting up out of his chair. He’s now even shaving in his chair. Ugh….

“Hi Dad, what are you doing?”

“Oooo, I’m watching Flash Gordon!”

“The 1930’s flash Gordon Dad?”

“Oooo yes!” Complete with grin…
And he refuses to discuss moving, my taking over finances, or anything that is along the lines of grown-up responsibilities…telling my cousin the financial manager…”I don’t want Julie involved”

Why is that? Is it because he doesn’t trust me? Doesn’t want his “little girl” doing such? I don’t know. I’m almost 54, I think I’m grown up enough to help.

“Dad, have you spoken with your accountant yet?”

“No, but I’m working on it”

“Dad, you’ve been working on it”

“Don’t fuss at me”

And so it goes….I’ve tried stepping back—swooping in to tidy up and fix the disasters, little by little—getting things to a point of rolling along again, then BAM, he’s back in another pickle… the latest in an on-going litany of perdiciments. Bemoaning that everyone is fussing at him and to just leave him alone.
It is time to do and say the things he doesn’t want me to say and do…he refuses to leave the house. The house is too much. Even if there was a “sitter” who came in daily or even was there 24/7—there is still the maintenance of the 60 year old house, the leaks, the termites, the basement, the attic, the yard, the encroaching and changing growth of the city…. I don’t live there so I can’t just pop over everyday to check on them. If something happened, it’d take over an hour, with good traffic on the interstates, for me to get to them.

We need to sell the house and they need to move to a small assisted living community.
Or so I think that is the best idea. The most cost effective— or is it? What do I know?

There are no brothers or sisters to help in any of this—just me…and I don’t really know what I’m doing. They have been living very independent lives. My mom died almost 30 years ago and he and Gloria have been married almost 20 years…. it’s just that he’s stopped being a grown man—preferring to not be dad or pops…but a little boy who just wants life to be light, happy and continuously carefree. Which would be fine if he was willing to turn loose of all responsibilities concerning finances, allowing me to help—help paying the bills, etc.…

He’s my dad and I’ve never told him how things were going to be. Oh I’ve suggested strongly but not the “put the foot down you’re going to do as I say or else” kind of telling him what do to –because—he is my dad—you know, the dad who is the one who calls the shots, not the daughter…

I know he doesn’t want to leave the house. He’s lived in it since 1960. Gloria was good to come into a house that had the ghost of another woman. She’s made some changes but it’s still not the kind of house she ever wanted…but she knew he wouldn’t leave.

However now, I think there’s no choice.

I’ll go Tuesday and we’ll see.

I suddenly have a headache. This entire week of rain and gray gloomy skies has not helped how I’m now feeling today about all of this……the sun would at least help me feel a little hopeful.