lola guerrero

50-something empty-nest-search-for-God-and-happiness with more than a dash of humor


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Golden Truths

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For the last seven months
showing up every Wednesday
for Bible class has helped me a lot.

The class has provided structure in my weekly schedule.
I have a place to go. I wake up, shower and dress up, and show up at a church.
There, I join a group of women who talk about the Bible.

Discussing God and our Savior Jesus Christ is what my whole
body and soul needs during the time of transition in our family.

The women in my group are going
through empty nest syndrome, knee replacement,
cancer,  being newly widowed, and difficult or messy life mishaps with their grown children.

Of course, what happens in BSC (bible study class)  stays in BSC.

However, I can share some
golden truths about God and
how I have applied his truths
in my life based on listening and participating in BSC.

Here are a few golden truths on how God
has helped me live during this transitional season in my life.

1. He has taught me that every morning I need to decide on whether to live in fear or in faith.

I have a basket full of fears. Many of my fears are about my adult children living on opposite sides of the globe. My fears are endless. I worry who their friends are—are they drug
dealers? I wonder can they support themselves with the jobs they have?
I worry about the  kinds of ladies are they dating.

If I didn’t have God in my life and faith in Him. I would be a complete basket case. Everyday I take whatever fearful thought I have about my boys and give it to God.
I have faith that he is the only one who knows their every move.
He can guide, protect, and watch over my two sons.

2. He has shown me (often through my husband!) that my words and actions reveal what is in my heart.

Sometimes what is in my heart is crud. This trips me up every time. I constantly have to keep my behavior in-check especially in front of Ole Wise One.

Just last week I was  busy doing the dishes and running my mouth at the same time. I was judging  a dead uncle (my whole family never liked him) and going down the list about how he took up nothing but space in my aunt’s home.  To this day, I still can’t let it go.Then, I got on my aunt’s case how she never left his  lazy a–.

“And you attend Bible study, right?” Ole Wise One chimed in as he peeled an orange.

“Yes, once a week. I know. I shouldn’t be talking about my dear aunt like that.” I tell him. I continued, “I wonder if my uncle was just really good in bed? He was bright with his remote control and knew all the  NBA  players and never left his chair during March Madness . . . ,” turning to my husband, I add, “You  are a better person than me, for sure.”

“That’s right, hon. You need to let it go. The man is dead for crying out loud.”

See that, he is so right on and he puts me in my place.

3. God encourages me to do everything without complaining or grumbling.

When we complain we focus on what we don’t have.
We are ungrateful.

I used to complain many times during the day— but now, not so much.

My husband and I are blessed. We have food in our frig. We have our limps, but we can still paddleboard or  run a 5K. We have shiny cars that run smooth.
We  have jobs that pay for trips to Maui or Manhattan.
We have all our digital toys—iPads, iPhones, laptops–attached to us or around us all day long.

When we complain we are saying to God, “Is this the best you can do? Is this it?”

When I question God if this is his best, I’m being downer, soul-sucking, spoiled person.
I don’t want to be that person. It’s contagious.
When I catch myself trying on a pair of shorts and notice lots of varicose veins. I stop, turn my thinking around, look down at my legs, and say, “Thank you God.”

“I have my legs that can bend and take on a 10-mile hike.  I don’t need a knee replacement
and varicose veins are not cancer.”

4. With God, I know that when I’m confused about something or feel that something is beyond my control, I can turn to Him. I can pray about it.

God is the God of peace, not confusion.

Let’s pray.

Dear God,
Attending Bible class once a week has been good for me and it came at
such a perfect time in my life.

Thank you for blessing our group with talented leaders. Thank you for groups  such as this because they provide a way to get to know you, learn what you are all about, seek your guidance, receive your forgiveness, and appreciate your wisdom. Bible study classes provide a way to know that you love us and that we are always within your reach.

Amen, Lola

 

 


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Dreadlocks

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What is this man doing? Well, I have news for him.
I am talking to myself again.

Let me back up.
We went to a jazz concert last week.
Ol’ Wise One bought two tickets for a Friday night date.

I didn’t feel like going. It was dark
and rainy; hail came pouring down earlier in the day.
My idea of a date is rent a movie and sit next to each other on the couch.
With two bowls of popcorn between us.
Why two bowls?
I eat popcorn with no butter and no salt, and
he has his with lots of butter and tons of salt.

We had about 30 minutes until showtime,
and, of course, what do you know, there is a Starbucks
in the building right next to where we have to enter for the concert.

We get our bodies in line just like everyone else.
Then, this man in a wheelchair with Bob Marley dreadlocks
and his wife with the same hairstyle and pushing his chair begin to inch
in front of us. Really?

Oh wow, the voice in my head—the one that is always talking—got louder and louder.
Do they not see there is a line?
Just because you are in a chair, Bob Marley, does not mean you can
cut in line! I know you can’t walk, but I”m sure you have eyes.

The inner chatter went on and on.

I pretended that I didn’t see them.
Instead, my whole focus was on the butter croissants
all lined up perfectly straight in a row inside the display case at Starbucks.
I was wondering if my husband noticed that I was not budging an inch
for this man and his wife with the Bob Marley dreads.

Then, I felt my husband’s hand on my elbow
pulling me back.

“Let them go first,” he whispered in my ear.

I turned to my husband. “Why is it
that you don’t go to church unless someone
dies and you don’t attend bible class, but yet
you are such a gracious being? I’m the one
who goes to bible class and pray each day
and I have a “No, don’t think you are cutting in front of me just because you are
in a wheelchair” attitude?

“I don’t need to go to class to
show kindness to a man in a wheelchair.
He is in a wheelchair. We’re not. Our boys and grandson
can walk and run. He can’t.”
Ahh . . . I see your point.

I have come to realize
in the most unlikely moments, God is
always giving me  the chance to
put in action what I’m learning in bible class.

Dear God,
It would be unfortunate for me to be unable to walk or run.
I am grateful to you that I have my health and mobility.

Help me to be  patient with and always gracious to
others who have  physical limitations.

Amen,

Lola


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Pork Rinds

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How was everyone’s Happy  Easter?
Were you all Happy?

It took awhile for my Happy to kick in.

“We go to  Lucy and Miranda’s home. And then rehab,”
My mother  announces this as she climbs into
the front seat of my car with bags of food.

“What? Huh . . . ? I don’t want to be late for the barbecue.
Why didn’t you call and tell me all this?
Wine starts  at five.”
I can’t believe my life at times. Today, I’m a delivery person.

“You have wine later. We go give food to your aunts. I make noodles
and beans with porkrines.”
She is so proud of herself.
“They can’t chew pork rinds. Their dentures can’t handle
hard foods . . . have you lost your mind?”

“NO worry. I take hammer and hit pork many times.
I put on top of beans. It’s good, you taste.
I give you bowl later.”

“No, thank you.
Why are you kind  to others who are not really nice to you?
And you  barely have cash to buy pork rinds.” 

“Well, eben though,” she puts two palms up in the air.
“It’s  Happy Easter . . . they are too old to cook foods.
Jesus said better to give than receive.
Why you get mad? It’s happy time.”

“I get tired of you being nice to others who
don’t really care about you. I don’t know if you have noticed,
but they can be rude.”

“Never mind . . . you drive, we give noodles,  and porkrines.”

She points to the freeway.

We ring the doorbell bell at Aunt Lucy’s home.
No one answers.
“Maybe they’re dead.”
My mother GLARES at me.
The door finally opens. My Aunt Lucy is wearing a sweater she knitted 50 years ago.
Bending my knees to reach her (she is even shorter than I am), I give her a hug and kiss.
Coming out of the kitchen is Aunt Miranda.
She comes to hug me. My two aunts live
together. Aunt Miranda doesn’t like to
live alone.

“Here is the address to the rehab center, just in case you get lost,” Lucy says. “I hope you
have time . . . its on your way to the barbecue.”
“Why yes, I made time for all this,” I answer, keeping my sarcasm in check as much as I can.
God, help me with these women!!
We make it to Aunt Beth’s rehab center. But, the main entrance is locked.
Oh, this is awesome! We don’t have to go in.

But, Mom spots someone at the other end of the building on the phone
calling for someone to open the side doors.
I can’t believe this is my Happy Easter.  I am supposed to be
happy, forgiving, compassionate, giving of my
time: these are all the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

We go in and find Aunt Beth.
She is eating a hamburger with onion rings.
Have Mercy!!! This is  her standard American diet?
No wonder she looks nine-months pregnant. And my mother
is contributing to her over spreading thighs with pork rinds.

Finally, we make it to the barbecue.
My sister-in-law hands me a full glass of my favorite white wine.
I take a gulp.
Now, I’m Happy. I can breathe.

All last week, I asked God to place angels all around me.
An angel to tell me that he found the right house for us.
An angel to tell my how creative and inspirational I am.
An angel to tell me a joke so I can laugh my pants off.
but NO, He places in front of me   widows and spinsters.

I have come to the conclusion that
God likes to PICK ON ME. And the reason is for
me to be an image of Him.
To have a big heart ,  to have empathy,
to give more , to be more forgiving as I deliver food to the
old people in my life.

Dear God,
Continue to teach me to be the kind of person
you created me to be. Help me not look the
other way when my elders need help.
Amen.
Lola


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Got Guilt

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Ever feel guilty about something?
And the only way to relieve the feeling is to do what you feel guilty about not doing.
But, it feels like a trap.

You don’t even want to do it because you are only doing it because of guilt.
You know your actions are coming from an unhealthy
place in your mind and heart.

My guilt for the last year or so is related to not visiting my mother enough.
She lives only five minutes away. I make time for her once a week on Wednesdays.
However, my mind goes around in circles while I think about seeing her more often.
My guilt tells me that I should visit her more. Like at least two more times each week.

“Where is this guilt coming from?” I ask the interior walls of my car.
“I’m not the only child. She has four more kids.
What triggers this monster in me? Perhaps
living so close is not a brilliant idea.
I can actually throw a rock at her
apartment door to see if she is still alive. That’s
how close I am. Such madness.”

Oh help me, Jesus, I am talking to an empty passenger seat
of my car!

What gets to me is now that I’m over 50, I see my future when I
visit my mom. Yikes! One day I will turn 74.
How will I be? Will my children come around?
I’d be thrilled if I saw them come around once a week to take me out
to dinner.
That would complete my world. I would die a happy death.
I would hate it if my boys visited me just to relieve the
guilt in their consciences. That’s awful. I would know that their actions are not coming from a space of compassion, love, and warmth.
I never want to force anyone to come see me.

And my mom never forces the issue. She never says:
“O . . . you visit me Wednesday, only? No good.
And you . . . no call? Why? I die next year, maybe.”
(FYI, she is not dying anytime soon.)

Is guilt our own crazy-making head trip that we put on
ourselves? I think so.

What I do know is I don’t feed my guilt.
I don’t listen to it and go to my mom’s on weekends to watch
her favorite Filipino TV patrol channel with her for five hours.

I know what will happen if I do that.
My heart, mind, and body would enter its freaka-zoid mode!
Then, I would get this mad desire
to attack a huge bag of sour cream Lays potato chips.

Let’s pray.

Dear God,
Bind the guilt we carry around. It doesn’t
do us any good. It only interferes with
being present and grateful for all the blessings
you have given us.
Help us believe that
what we do for others is enough.

Amen.

Lola