Where have I been, you ask? Maybe you have not asked, but I sure have. I am right here, waving at all of you! This has been the month where it has seemed as though nothing has gone right, and I am still recovering. Actually, it began before Christmas, but who is counting, anyway? I haven’t written in many weeks and yes, as much as I have been dying to do so, it feels as if there is just so much emotion that has been trapped inside of me I am afraid I just might blow to bits, or cry. It will likely be the latter, so you can all relax now a bit. I still have not entirely pinpointed what caused this disturbance in its entirety, but that is probably because it was just a myriad of “one thing after another.”
Prior to, and during the Christmas holidays, every plan that took me weeks to construct seemed to fall apart within a minute’s time, and need to be reconstructed in even less time. Visitation schedules were confused. When you are working to two former spouses, and seven kids, it is hard to begin with to get everyone in one place at one time. Things just kept changing and changing and changing, and while I am so much better now at rolling with the punches than I used to be, I felt as if I were rolling, and ducking, and jumping, and side stepping, and having to give up a lot in the process.
Many things simply did not happen, or if they did happen, I had to let a lot go just to get it done. As much as I loved having all of my kids home, and as much as many, many good things did happen, like my younger daughter getting engaged on Christmas Day, and wedding dress shopping with my two girls the day after, I was dizzy from all of the rolling and I felt that everything was helter skelter. I felt that I had lost control…the control that I wanted, anyway. I could not find my joy. Looking back, I think that I had lost it somewhere even prior to all of the going with the flow. I still feel sad looking back, as if I missed an event that I had attended.
After New Year’s, my little man returned to school for a couple of days and I looked forward to life returning to normal, whatever that is around here. The following Monday, he came home with a bad sore throat and by Thursday night, I had fallen ill. This was no ordinary cold. Nope, this was an honest to goodness siege of influenza that had befallen us, causing him to miss more than a week of school, and causing me to miss more that a week of work. No work, no money. No money, no way to pay the rent or bills. We had suddenly become like lepers trapped in our own little germ filled colony. No one wanted to be anywhere near us, and I do not blame them. I didn’t really want to be anywhere near us, either. I totally lost whatever good humor I had and I was a less than delightful person to be around. As is so often the case, the little man was starting to feel better just when I was at my worst. Visitations with his Dad were cancelled, ah, but we finally made it back to school and work, only to have me relapse with a bronchitis/asthma thing.
Add to all of this snow, and bitter cold, and school holiday, and teacher work days, and a car misbehaving, gastroenteritis this past weekend, and more missed visitation, my computer broken down for over a week, and finally on Monday, my car broke down. That is what it has been like day after day and it has been hard and draining and then some. Every day, I would pray, and every day I would try to find my gratitude–to count my blessings, but my blessings felt limp in my hands. I knew that I had so much to be grateful for, but trying to hold onto the gratitude was like trying to get a tight grip on a handful of Jello. I felt awful for not feeling grateful. I felt lonely, too, as well as sleepy, dopey, and grumpy.
Today, I am not working because my road is an ice slick. I will work tomorrow and I dearly needed this day to find perspective. At no point during any of this was I ever truly alone. I have God, my family, and my wonderful friends. My rent did not magically pay itself. My rent got paid because of many kind, wonderful, and generous friends around the world. I have never met most of them in person. One of my son’s took care of my electric bill. My first ex-husband got us an Omaha steak gift pack at Christmas that gave us a lovely New Years dinner and many breaks from pasta. My beloved probation officer and friend has put me in touch with a woman who runs a counseling service and she is pursuing me for a job as a case worker, working with people with substance abuse issues, and coming out of incarceration situations. It is a dream job if it works out, and as my P.O. said, “You know, I don’t just do this kind of thing for just anyone.” Oh, yes, I DO know that!
When my car broke down on Monday, a friend was a phone call away and there to pick me up in 10 minutes. I had AAA within the hour, and my car was towed home within two. A friend is coming over to fix it this weekend, and my son fixed my computer. I am loved. I am so well-loved that it is crazy and now tears of joy and gratitude are rolling down my face. I do not know why I could not see this, or feel it sooner, but I think it has a lot to do with not being able to write.
I get my footing back when I write. I find my hidden emotions and bring them out into the light when I write. Something overtakes me, and the blur of life totally disappears and it is just me and God when I write, and when I write, even if my hands may tremble, and my eyes may cloud over with tears, obscuring my earthy vision, I see much better when I write. I may have to stop at times to let out a long-held sob, pain mixed with joy and hope, but I find release when I write. I find hope, and joy, and gratitude when I write.
I need always to write.