Friday, February 24, 2012

Half-time & Humidity, Heaven & Hell

Half-time.

Not the show between football's 2nd & 3rd quarter where Madonna, Nicki Minaj and Cee Lo break it down. But,
that age bracket between being younger and older.
Mid-life, middle age, hot flashes. When the latter exists with the dense humidity of Florida weather it is

Not a good combination.

It's this panicky sense of suffocating when brick-oven heat of the body, waves of warmth emanating from flushed skin, is met with the torrid dampness of breathless air. You are trapped! Confined to a locked sauna, simmering in a lidded pan of steamed tomatoes, capped tightly in a bottle of hot sauce.

Hot flashes + humidity = personal hell.

Funny that the Bermuda triangle isn't far from this southernmost part of the continent, the purported portal into the devious place. We live in precarious proximity to Hades.The conjectured doorway of that burning abode is way too close for comfort. It's so hot here, I wouldn't be surprised if some canal connected us to it, some underground steamy river lead to its hungry gate.

Florida was not made for women in mid-life.

Not sure if it was made for any human form. Maybe for armadillos, anhingas and alligators. But not for Homo Sapiens.

The masses only migrated when the miracle of air conditioners became widespread in the 60's. Northerners came to escape their eternal winters. Only then did the climate become tolerable except for during the short winter months.

God knows how the native Americans and the early twentieth century settlers survived it!! Perhaps because they stayed coastal. But even an Atlantic beach residence is belying. No climate relief there. Just more sultry air with a generous pinch of salt. Not like the California coast where the Arctic current tempers the arid land, and turns desert days into refreshing evenings.

The A/C runs 24/7 except for the sweet month of February when the hot wet air leaves for a few weeks. One can open their windows , enjoy gardening and outdoor activities without becoming a ball of sweat or having to resist the indecent urge to lift your blouse to air your belly or the temptation to toss the top off entirely.

So 10 months out of the year the ceiling fan saves my sleep and the thermostat on 75 saves my days. I will survive the hormonal havoc somehow. My Massachusetts/California bred mother
said that living in FL was like living in a warm, wet sponge. She could only stand it for two years, then fled back to San Diego.

Maybe someday I'll hop a plane home to California. You'll find me in Balboa, Laguna or Huntington. Just try to pry me off the beach. I'll stroll the shore and when the internal heat wave assaults, I'll be cool and comfortable thanks to that heavenly Pacific breeze.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Self-Medicator's 23rd Psalm

Were we not saddened to tears at the report? Dumbfounded in disbelief? At the loss of our sweet Whitney and her powerful "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" voice?

My mind refuses to picture the sight of her sad end. How did she come to this? How do we get to that?

Years ago, after my breast surgery when my 5 children spanned age 2 - 14, I was prescribed Tylenol with Codeine for pain.

Man, that little pill not only relieved my soreness, it totally took the edge off of mothering!!! I could handle the kids' constant noise and needs. It smoothed out the irritations and stress of the day. I could see how someone could get used to that, get addicted to those things. How easy to become the subject in Mick Jagger's old song:

"She goes runnin' to the shelter of her mother's little helper
And it helps her on her way
Gets her through her busy day"

Even my daughter in L.A said most her friends take something to help them tolerate their toddlers.

There go we all, but by the grace of God!

No judgement to Whitney or anyone else for self-medicating to level their physical imbalances. But we who are a part of this Prozac-Nation, would be fools to observe this tragedy and not to search ourselves. Not ask a few questions.

Why do we all feel so bad that we crave a moment's feel-good no matter the cost? Are prescription drugs really less harmful than illegal substances? How did our mothers and grandmothers cope? And for those like Whitney who were brought up to know Jesus,
is He really enough?
Is Jesus really enough?
Those of us reared in similar Baptist churches and who probably memorized the 23rd Psalm might ask ourselves,

Is He really the Shepherd who gives us relief and rest and peace?

The Self-Medicator's 23rd Psalm

The Lord is my Xanax.
I shall not panic.

He makes me lie down in green pastures
He restores my soul

He leads me to do the right thing
Walk the right road
Say the right things
For His name's sake

Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of depression
I will take no Prozac,
For Thou art with me
Your rod and Your staff
Your boundaries and disciplines
They comfort me
Secure and ground me
Keep me safe

I will not seek any other place of comfort or relief
Run to any other Shelter
Drink from any other cauldron of deceit
Salacious substitutes of the true Comforter
Dubious shadows of the genuine Helper
Shackling, chaining, sometimes to untimely ends

Thou preparest a banquet before me
In the presence of those who'd do me harm
When danger is all around, I feast on Your utter goodness

You anoint my head with oil,
I can't contain my happiness
Percolating joy
True fountains of gladness
From deep well springs
I'm alive with joy!

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me
All the days of my life
And I will really live
Dwell, thrive in His heaven on earth and Beyond
in the House of the Lord
His Presence with me
Forever, Celexa-free!!!

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