Sunday, April 25, 2010
So it turns out, I don't handle persecution well. I know, right? Who knew? And by the way, I'm with y'all: enough with the negative posts, already. I promise, cross my heart: this is it. No more will I regale you with stories of uncertainty, heartbreak, or plagues; from now on it's nothing but cotton candy, blonde-haired babies, and rainbow-wielding unicorns!
But first-just this one more thing.
Some stuff has been going down, and I thought I was cool, that I could carry it all with some sort of scrappy grace-and for the most part, in daylight, I can. There's enough to distract in the everyday: cursory things like dinner and dishes and bathing; paying bills, deciding if I can wear the same pants one more time. There's a forbearance, I've found, in dealing with the immediate, in the act of looking around instead of ahead. So I fill my day with these small things, and they provide a framework of discipline and order, that, quite honestly, keeps me from losing my mind altogether. Without these daytime duties I'd have way too much time to fritter away on issues of injustice, on matters as yet unsolved. But for now, though, my nine-to-five routine is working.
It's a different story in the dark. Once the lights go out, and the citizens inhabiting our household are asleep, I lay there with my anxiety, and I fester. At the first sign of it coming on, I'll usually try to employ one relaxation technique or another, my favorite being where you first tense, then release, every muscle in your body, starting with your toes. It's a great way to truly relax-and in fact, it works so well that I'm often really tired when I'm done. Too tired to fight off my anxiety.
Sometimes, while I'm laying there, feeling really relaxed, but with no daily grind to occupy my thoughts, I can't help but go into mental overdrive with the rehashing. Really-there are things to be said. Defenses to raise, truths to shout from rooftops. I could justify a small-scale press-conference. But who would hear me at one in the morning? When you're in a situation like the one we're in, the grown-up thing to do, the loving thing to do, is: wait. I have a hard time with that. I am not a very patient person when it comes to nonsense. I once chased down a stranger in a Walmart parking lot for publicly berating the handicapped clerk he thought was "too slow". It was Christmas Eve, and cold, and as I shivered before this giant, over-grown bully, I was emboldened by one thought: You are lucky, I said sternly, that Jesus loves you.
I guess the same could be said of me. Sigh.
I am trying to ride this out. If I, if we--the four of us, are laboring for a cause-if there is something to be birthed at the end of this season of upheaval and change, I am willing to weather this. But I need a focal point-a mental picture, to get me through. The other night, I woke up Joshua to share this thought with him. I don't know what to think of, I said. When I think of the past, I feel regretful. If I think about what's going on now, I feel heartbroken. When I think about the future, it's like a big, pulsating question mark-- with fangs! I added that last part so he'd know I was serious.
He told me that maybe I should try not to think at all. Typical.
The next morning, I took this picture-the one at the top of this post. I've been watching this arbor ever since we moved in, admiring the way the branches twisted over the frame, wondering how long it took to train the tree to grow like this. We have a boatload of established shrubs in our landscape-azaleas, hydrangeas, roses--along with garden structures and paved pathways galore. One of my favorite things to do is walk around and admire it all, like Scarlett O'Hara. This spot, though, has significance that extends beyond my fantasies of picnicking with the Tarleton Twins, fiddle-dee-dee--because on the other side of this is something you'd miss if you didn't walk through. It seems simple enough, but just the other day, I had to convince a friend of mine to keep going. I didn't even know this was here, she said. An explosion of pink and light, a destination on another side. An after.
This is my focal point. A door. A way. A passage. Where we are now is twisted, and woody, and rough-but blooming in crazy ways, too. Beautiful. And on the other side is more. I just know it.