I didn’t sign up for this.
I see it written all over his face as I walk through the door. I know that look because at that moment my brain is fighting the same thought. I had just brought a sobbing child to school — one who complained of stomach ache, headache, anything to not have to walk through those school doors. I know he needed to walk through those doors. So, we sat on the black-top turned hopscotch board and I waited for the storm to subside. Meanwhile, my husband battled an impressively strong-willed 4-year-old who has gotten into a nasty habit of name-calling, spitting and back-talk that can bring the most patient adult to their knees. It has certainly brought us there (and to the bourbon – let’s be honest here). We keep trying to get a handle on it. It feels as though we are losing ground.
Our eyes meet after our perspective battles. I tell him of mine. He tells me of his. What had we gotten ourselves into?
From the way I hold myself up on the counter top, he knows I don’t feel well. Again. He sighs.
We didn’t sign up for that either. Chronic illness. Our life dictated by an illness we can not name, predict nor control. When we said “I do” neither of us imagined how much more “in sickness” we’d have than “in health.” It’s hard not to let resentment grow in such fertile soil as this. We try to have those tough conversations to clear the air of such feelings. But, honestly? Sometimes we are just too damn tired.
Jobs that didn’t quite turn out the way we thought they would. Family relationships that are strained and complex. Out of control finances. Friendships that have faded away. Grey hair at 30. So much that is not as it is supposed to be… so much of this world that seems it is not as it is supposed to be…
I’m a dreamer. I’ve dreamed of what this phase of my life was supposed to look like. It didn’t include any of this. It’s tempting to grumble.
But, it’s also a waste of precious time and energy that, frankly, I don’t have to spare.
I’m learning it’s okay to grieve, get mad, and throw a fit now and then. We must. If we don’t – we are big fat liars. But getting stuck there is a detour that sucks the life right out of me. It’s where I’ve been the past couple months. Stuck in this detour of focusing on how things are not. I’m drowning in it.
This is another reason I write. I’m trying to write my way out of this. Write my way back to purpose and gratitude. Hoping maybe I can carry my family with me.
Despite these internal tantrums, I never expected life to be easy. I never thought God owed it to me to give me smooth seas. The Christian message resonated with me so long ago (and still does today) because it explained the disconnect I saw. The way our souls long life to be — and the way it really is. We were designed for perfection. We live as fallen. We were designed for interconnectedness and love. We live amongst broken relationships and broken people. Sometimes, I get stuck in the brokenness of it all. And, in it, start to get all indignant and shake my fist at the now and the messy and the disappointments.
I don’t have any eloquent answers to offer myself or anyone else. I wish I did. I know hope is buried in there somewhere. If it weren’t I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed today. I still laughed today. I got hugs and kisses from sweet and sassy boys. I had a doughnut date with my son. I rubbed my husbands feet. A friend pulled me up when I started sinking. I cried. I prayed. I had a latte. And now I write.
I will push publish and go to bed and do it again tomorrow. It doesn’t matter what I did or didn’t “sign up for” – this is what is. The blessings and the bruises. Somewhere in the middle of it all is a story to tell. Meaning to be had. Who knows what that will be.
I am the writer but I am not the Author.
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