There is a funny thing that happens to me when I am writing a post. I've said before that this forum is my "free therapy" and I think a lot of bloggers who write about their own lives would agree. When I am piecing together a story for you, I am actually processing life in my mind; working out the kinks. It's a little magical, really, because the way I feel when I sit down to type is transformed by the end of the post. Writing to you is my way of wading through the muck. At the end of the story, I always find my silver lining. So thank you for that, friends.
This week, I've been feeling pretty overwhelmed and kicked around. But, I wanted to make you laugh. When you consider the alternative, laughing is almost always the best option. Too bad, every now and then, it's just not possible, is it? The journey is just too difficult and the only choice available is to just sit quietly and experience the discomfort of feeling something unpleasant. That's where I'm at today. It occurred to me this morning just how strange it is that life goes on as usual when we are in the midst of something that tests our faith and our ability to cope. The alarm clock still goes off at 6:30. School and work still happen. The kids still need to be tucked in tight and have their books read at night. Bills need to be paid. Little hands still need to be washed and little teeth need to be brushed. Doesn't it seem like life should just stop and let us catch our breath for a minute? I want to yell, "You expect me to do what?!"
There has been a common theme in my writing: distractions...the little, earthly pleasures that are a quick, temporary fix to life's troubles. Every fiber of my being calls out to these delicious diversions, covets them. The food, the T.V., the social media, the books, the entertainment...they tap into a part of my brain that is looking for comfort. There is nothing wrong with a little comfort...it may be one of the best parts about being human. But, these little pleasures never really address the underlying painful feelings, do they? It's like putting a band aid on a bullet wound...not very effective at solving the problem, just covers it up a bit.
When I turned thirty, my mom gave me a very special gift. She allowed me to read the journals she kept when she was thirty and had young children. It was an eye opening experience to pour over the blemishes and insecurities she struggled with at that age and incredible to see how she has evolved into the empowered woman she is today. Immediately, I was struck by the impulse to give my children the same gift. At that time, I thought it might look like me keeping a diary...never did I imagine it would be a big, fat, diary that would be accessible to the world!
My point is, I am sharing my struggles with you now, so that one day my girls, who may be mothers and wives themselves, can look at my life and see an honest portrayal of who I am, right now, insecurities and all. It's my wish that they will be surprised at how difficult things were for Mom and Dad sometimes because they only remember love and laughter. Is that unrealistic? Maybe, but it's a good dream to shoot for. My hope is that they will be the kind of women who can easily laugh at themselves, and are comfortable enough in their own skin to stand firm in their convictions when the world kicks them around. My mother has always been humble enough to laugh at herself, and she passed that gift on to me. The tricky part is learning to be quiet and sit with unpleasant feelings. That's usually my cue to lace up my proverbial running shoes and head for the door. But, I'd like to make things different this time around. That doesn't mean I'm going to pull the covers over my head and marinate in self pity. I'd like to take a breath and allow myself to feel...knowing all the while, it can't last forever.
A good friend gave me some food for thought this week. She remembers being miserable in med school, working through the night, and missing her small children desperately. She asked a fellow med student why he never complained about their crappy schedule and he said, "Whatever else they do to us, whatever they take away...they can't stop time. Eventually this will all be over." His words stuck with her through trying times.
This too shall pass.
God, grant me the grace to do what so many generations of women have done before me in times of trouble. Help me to put away childish desires and surrender those troubles that weigh heavily on my heart to you. Strip away the superficial things and leave me with the desire to get to know you better. Teach me to trust in the plans you have made for my family, when all rational thinking points to an unhappy ending. Because I know you better than that, God. You have only the best of intentions for me and the ones that I love.