Monday, November 24, 2014

Counting Blessings

There is turmoil swirling all around me. It is difficult to feel peace amidst so many competing emotions. Just when I think I may have caught it by the coattails. . .

It's a difficult time for me. I know a lot is riding on my decisions.

Each of my children is struggling in a very personal way with their own issues and I cannot help them. I mean, I'm trying to. I'm praying so hard to know how, but agency is real. As a mother I can love tightly, and release faithfully. I'm am trying to perfect, "Let go, and let God."

My life is the long-term plan, for sure.

Today was especially trying. I'm holding back tears of worry and fear over one of my children in particular. I had the thought today as I drove to the grocery store, "I think I may be going crazy." And it wasn't even all that alarming. Crazy gives you permission to do a lot of things, you know. Crazy could be a load off.

But this week is Thanksgiving. There is no Complaintsgiving. Worriesgiving. Fearsgiving.

And so, after a simple dinner of comfort carbs (grilled cheese, tomato soup, chips and dips), I called the boys back to the table for an even simpler Family Home Evening (which most weeks I fail at lately, by the way.)

I happened to see this link today with free downloads of "Gratitude Pie Charts". Fourteen different little visuals to organize and count your blessings. I picked one and printed it off for us. It was amazing how easy the boxes were to fill up.

And as the boxes filled up, so did my hope, and my faith.

I told the boys tonight that no matter the trials we are experiencing, no matter how hard life seems to be, we always have more blessings and things to be grateful for. I guess I needed the reminder as well.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Breaking Point

Are there little signs in life?

A few weeks ago, I was down in the kitchen when I heard a tremendous crash. Conor was upstairs, and I thought maybe he'd fallen off of something, but I held my breath for a moment and never heard crying. Then he appeared in the kitchen and said, "What was that noise?" Oh. So, it wasn't Conor. He went in search of the probable calamity, and found it in my closet. He came down animated, arms and hands flying dramatically, his eyes wide and his voice streaming words a mile a minute, emphasizing the horribleness of the situation. "Okay," I said. I had piano lessons to teach. I couldn't even muster the desire to go see one more "situation".

Eventually, I went upstairs to face reality. When he said the shelf had fallen, I thought it was the other one, the small one that holds wrapping supplies, sewing supplies, and extra purses. That one has fallen before.  I did not expect it to be the one that held my entire rack of clothing and boxes of memorabilia. I was strangely unmoved. It felt so typical of my life right at that moment.

Everything had looked so tidy and organized. Slacks, blouses, cardigans, long-sleeved shirts, short-sleeved shirts, skirts, dresses hung in order. Jeans and pants folded on top next to sweaters and nursing scrubs. Then boxes of keepsakes, the kids' favorite childhood toys, memories of people and places of my past. All carefully placed and easily accessible, before the weight of it all bent the supports that held it up and sent it crashing to the floor in a heap. But it had looked fine and had been seemingly sturdy for over nine years. No sign of impending surrender.

I often look put together and organized too. Strong, even.

I had no energy to deal with this disaster. I didn't even know where to begin, truthfully. It seemed so daunting and I knew it would involve power tools at some point. Instead, I closed the door and chose to not freak out or panic. I didn't cry. I might have even laughed a bit at the irony. Fortunately, I had just done a load of laundry and hadn't put it away yet, so I just lived out of that hamper. It was fine.

Then, late one night, about a week later, when I was up anyway (thanks to my night shift sleep schedule), I thought maybe it was time for a purge. At the time, I didn't know how I would build a new closet, but I knew I could at least clean out and sort.

One by one, I took each item out. Amazing how much clothing I was holding on to for when I lose weight. Depressing! Skinny clothes that haven't fit in years! All they do is taunt me and make me feel horrible about myself. It was time for them to go. After all, when I lose weight, I should buy something new!

This is only the beginning of that purged pile. I ended up donating three trash bags full of perfectly good-for-someone-else clothing.

I folded the shirts and pants and sweaters and placed them in the closet unit that Adam hasn't taken yet. All of the dresses and skirts and shirts on hangers got draped over Lyndsay's bed for the time being.

This has kind of been a sign to me of the breaking point I'm at in my life. I've held on to things that just don't fit for way too long. I've carried the weight of the past unnecessarily. It's time to sort through mindfully and decide what should stay, and what is no longer beneficial to my mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Hoping and longing for what used to be, what I wish still was, is not propelling me forward; it's holding me back. And I don't have all the answers as to how to fix what is broken inside of me, but I can begin by taking inventory and making some hard decisions.

I don't have a functional closet yet. I've been taking from Lyndsay's bed, a laundry hamper, and the portable closet unit. It's fine for now. A friend came over and took measurements and is going to put up new rods and shelves.

The things that will hang there fit me now. And only the most important keepsakes get to stay.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Deep End

Here I go, jumping in.

I've decided to end my marriage.

That decision is in the very same instance both heavy and light.

Heavy, because who wants a divorce? Heck, who wants two of them under her belt? Heavy because of the failure, the broken hearts, the casualties that always befall the smallest, most innocent ones. Heavy because I've already been down this road and I'm familiar with the ruts. Heavy because I hate those ruts. Frankly, they suck.

Light, because the ruts in that road are more appealing than the ones in the road that continues on in the same direction. Light because I want to be out from under the dark secrets of this marriage. Light because there is peace at home again. Light because without all of the surviving, maybe I can work more on thriving. I know how deeply I believe in marriage, even though it's with kind of a shocking sadness that I realize I have no personal experience to justify that belief. I know how hard I will fight for a marriage and for a family. I know that I can forgive the unforgivable. I know that I will put my needs and feelings very, very last.

And I know I have.

When we separated almost two years ago, I didn't rush to the courthouse. I knew we needed a break and I really believed that break would be permanent, but I was open to every last chance. I was shocked when I felt we might explore our relationship again eight months later and even more shocked that it led to him moving back in this past May. But very soon it was apparent that as much as I love him (and I do!) and as much as I care for him, our marriage is destructive to not only the two of us, but to our children, and there just doesn't seem to be a point in putting off what has been the inevitable for any longer. After a very brief "honeymoon" period, all of the old patterns were firmly back in place. There's so much negative history that just keeps repeating itself, and it feels impossible that trust can ever be restored. The children are begging for relief and I was startled and ashamed at how my attempts to keep things together were breaking them.

Marriages are deeply personal. I don't want to betray the sacredness of our experience, even if it's ending. He is hurting and so am I. I don't need to reveal details of our downward spiral. It is enough to say that I feel like I tried my best. He probably did too.

I am choosing to not hate. I am angry sometimes, but I'm actively working on forgiveness and compassion. For him, for me. I am sick of ugly. I just don't want it in my life. I am craving peace, and am hopeful that this terrible, sad process will bring that to both of us.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Ready, Set, . . .

I've been thinking that I should start writing again.

I have all sorts of things bubbling over inside of my spirit and mind. Life is happening to me, with me, around me, inside of me, because of me, in spite of me.

I am having such exquisite, enlightening, painful, lonely, tumultuous, enlivening, joyful, dreadful experiences. The commodity I'm shortest on is time. Definitely time. But I feel this drive to carve some out, even the tiniest bit, to write.

For me, it's therapeutic, and who couldn't use some therapy, am I right?