Give Happy

Today I read the final chapter of the book of Colossians and I’m moved by what Paul wrote.

Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Colossians 4:18 ESV

I suppose he wanted all who had been with him as he preached from place to place.

To remember,

My life has not always been this way. There was a lot of horror in my before.

I’m almost done with “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman

I crawl into bed, thinking I’ll finish and slumber steals my attention. I decide I want to be fully awake when I read the happy ending!

Maybe I’ll finish today before the holiday dinner, I’ll sit lit by sunshine and I’ll finish the good book.

Yesterday, I returned to a familiar place. I stepped towards the counter for customer service and I struggled through my transaction.

I turned from the counter and saw an acquaintance at the end of the closing time line.

My eyes met her smile and I rolled my eyes, nodded and mouthed “grouchy!”.

The customer service lady with such a beautiful and unusual name never smiles at me.

She looks at me as if I’m inconvenient. She hurries me, demands my answers to the every customer questions.

Her appearance never changes, faded blue uniform shirt, thick old glasses and her hair in a topknot that never does its job.

Her mottled soft grey hair has fallen out of place, the topknot doesn’t hold it all together.

I decide I’d like to see her smile and then I imagine this is Eleanor, her looks are what Eleanor’s would be I allow myself to believe.

I long to see her smile even though she kind of scares me.

Her mood is so palpable, I wonder is it contagious?

Maybe.

I don’t know.

Do I come back with more packages?

Do I stop sending my art?

Is this what the customer service lady is saying, am I not an artist?

Such is the scare of trauma. The most ridiculous interactions are triggers, are mood and mind changers.

So, I mouth “grouchy” to my friend’s daughter as a warning.

Be prepared. Hold on to your happy.

I sit in the parking lot and I wonder what would happen if I asked,

Why are you so unhappy?

Today, Thanksgiving morning, I sit in silence and leave the lamp off. I gaze towards the dining room/kitchen, to the wall that’s a busy collection.

Feathers, photos and notes.

Old pictures of smiling children, still here mamas, daddies and grandparents. Times of celebration seem so close they may as well be today.

That’s how the view makes me feel.

Happy.

I think again about the topknot lady. I wonder how she’d take it if the next time I’m next in line, I asked her,

What makes you so happy?

And then look her in the eye and be strong in my grace, my love and my mercy.

And say Thanks and walk away, leaving her at least with that thought.

What makes me so happy?

Give happy.

Give thanks for it.

Later I’ll finish the Eleanor story, the one that I’m almost at the end, keep flipping to the chapter “Better Days”.

The story of giving love to someone complicated and unlovable, closed off and shelled up because of unspeakable trauma, chains.

The story of one accepting the warmth of another’s long suffering hand.

See, I love the story of Eleanor Oliphant; but, it’s Raymond in the book who makes me happy.

Remember what kept you in chains today and then remember the hands that set you free.

Believe.

Continue and believe.

Give happy today.

On Sunday

The clock ticks dull and rhythmic and the heat pump is straining, causing echoes down the hall.

It is dark and I’m wrapped and anchored, a layer of blanket held down by the big puppy.

I’m remembering the fall asleep reading of last night.

A book that intrigued, “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” is honest, irreverent at times, but made me want to know more, made me long to understand the mystery of her trauma.

Thinking it was years of working with abused children that called towards the book and then learning it was more, it was Eleanor’s story.

And mine.

“My life, I realized had gone wrong. Very, very wrong. I wasn’t supposed to live like this. No one was supposed to live like this. The problem was I simply didn’t know how to make it right. Mummy was wrong, I knew that. But no one had ever shown me the right way to live a life, and although I’d tried my best over the years, I simply didn’t know how to make things better. I could not solve the puzzle of me.” Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

To see her heroic, an overcomer redeemed from the hard years.

I got to the meat of it finally. The hard truth, the flailing soul at her lowest low, Eleanor Oliphant deciding not to go on.

Graphic were the paragraphs describing her vodka induced departure from living.

I thought of times I prefer not to think of, of circumstances that will stay just memories, won’t become written for sharing.

But, the honesty on last night’s pages, it was fulfilling to read them. They were relatable.

The main character at her lowest low, at her most honest.

A friend complimented me yesterday, he watches my life through my writing.

I go honest and he says keep going.

I feel I’m failing and he says no you’re just getting started.

You are so “locked-on” to where you want to be that you often don’t realize you are living that journey. As I peel back my layers, I keep finding all the junk, bugs and detours.Some day, when I grow up, I want to be like you. Ray V.

I’ve yet to reply to Ray’s comment sufficiently, to say thank you for seeing me, seeing the undercurrent of struggle that quickens my stride.

That if I’m not careful “trips me up”.

The fictional character, Eleanor Oliphant is an atheist and yet she’s convinced her life can be better, she just needs to make it true.

It’s futile, this force towards stories we aim to rewrite or to decide its up to us to change the ending.

Oswald Chambers met me with truth this morning:

“When I stop telling God what I want, He can freely work His will in me without any hindrance.

Utmost for His Highest daily devotional

Maybe another way to say this is just stop forcing what you believe is yours to capture.

Stop measuring your value based on what you think you did without.

Be where you are now, reconciled that this is so very much enough.

Know you’re not finished, there’s so much more knowing to be known.

Eleanor, the one falling apart in a self-induced stupor is greeted by a friend when she is roused to open the door.

A friend, concerned and asking to be let in. He hadn’t left her thus far.

I’ll finish the book today, reminded by a friend David Kanigan that Sunday is meant for rest.

David Kanigan

I’ll be hoping Eleanor rested finally, put to rest her traumatic before and settled her soul in the goodness of her now.

Hoping for the ending of the story to be better than fine, to be redemption.

I know it’s fiction and Eleanor has decided God is not real, is not her friend.

Still, I can hope.

And I can believe.

Continue and believe.

You weren’t equipped back then, Lisa. DR, another wise friend

Thankful for a Sunday, for friends and for God.

I do believe in the three and they believe in me.