Sunday, September 21, 2008

Playing Hurt

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, and I mentioned that I've been intentionally keeping my blog topics pretty fluffy lately. Talking about the weather, DVRs, and the Disney Channel is all pretty safe public forum fodder. You can talk about that stuff and stay pretty guarded. I also mentioned that if I got any deeper or more vulnerable than that, that I'd probably end up scaring or ticking off one or two of the 5 readers that actually frequent the Waiting Room. Truth is, folks, I'm not sure I can keep it up. Allow me some room to vent a little. Warning: Not for the squeamish or easily offended.

To be quite frank, life just sucks right now. There. I said it. You want to know what life with 4 small children ages 5 and under is like? You want to know what it's like with suffocating debt? You want to know what it's like living 30-45 minutes from everything, including the church that you love and helped build and would love to be more involved but simply can't imagine any way to make that happen? It sucks. All of it. Plain and simple. Think: HELL. Now, there are moments of sweetness and cuteness thrown into the mix for grins and giggles, but for the most part it's just plain hard. It's like being in Baby Boot Camp 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no break for lunch. There is no time off. There is no vacation. There is no pay. There is no peace and quiet. Ever. There's never enough sleep. There's never enough time to do...anything. Everything that you've assumed were basic human rights simply...aren't...anymore. I can't eat fast enough. I can't breath fast enough before someone else is needing something from me. Everything I clean needs cleaning 20 minutes later. I cook food for tiny little dictators who hate WHATEVER I put in front of them. I think it's safe to say that the majority of my days are largely joy-less. Good times.

It's Sunday and I'm playing hurt. I have to just keep rolling with the punches. I have to just keep moving. Sundays used to be my favorite day of the week. I loved going to church and serving and feeling like I was a part of something big. Having a purpose. Having a vision. Now, it's just flat-out painful. Painful because we live so far away AND our children are so young...and so's just incredibly difficult to be involved in any capacity, which is our heart. Today, we had to listen to Oliver, who is in the throes of TERRIBLE TWO TEMPER TANTRUM TODDLER-DOM, scream at the top of his lungs for 45 minutes all the way home, even after daddy pulled the vehicle over and gave him an "attitude adjustment." That's a PC way of saying "spanking" for the layperson, by the way.

Nothing is easy right now. Nothing. I feel like I'm in a pressure cooker. Having 4 kids is tough enough as it is. I feel like one of the stressors we are dealing with would be enough to drive anyone insane. But our plates are loaded, and I've never felt so isolated or disconnected in my life. We still have two empty houses in Athens that need to sell. So that's, count 'em, THREE mortgages that we are servicing. With the housing market the way that it is, I realize that it's simply by the grace of God that we haven't foreclosed on any of them yet.

But am I really supposed to be smiling and singing "Hallelujah!" through all of this? I try counting my blessings...daily. We're all healthy. We have food. Clothing. And a roof over our heads. I get it. I try to focus on the things I can be thankful for. I try to see the silver lining--daily. And I am sure that in 5 or 10 years or so, I will be able to look back on this time and see what God is doing. But. Dang. Right now, I just don't. I'm sorry, but I want more. Like maybe...Oh, I don't know...some ENJOYMENT!!!!! I so relate to the Israelites in the wilderness. If I had to eat manna and quail for 40 years, I think I'd be pretty sour, too. They had just seen God miraculously deliver them from the hands of Pharaoh through a series of incredible events, culminating in the parting of the Red Sea. They saw what God could do. They'd seen His power firsthand. What I want to know is, at what point do my complaints start to be valid? How much pain does a person have to be in before it becomes legitimate enough to complain about? At what point does my hurt become real enough to acknowledge? At what point do I have the right to say, "Huh. This kind of sucks." And it actually count?

I literally feel stranded on the side of the road with everyone passing by at a 100 MPH. And here's the thing, I certainly don't expect a bail-out. I'm not looking for solutions. I'm not looking for someone to wave a magic wand over my problems and make them all go away. We are in this situation, and we've got to just power through it. I just need some room to vent. I need some room to say, "EVERYTHING'S NOT OKAY!!!!!!" And for that to be okay.

And you know what? I know that we will be okay. I know that God will pull us through this. Somehow. Being around pain makes uncomfortable. And when someone's hurting, we just want them to stop it. It's a reminder that everything is not right with the world. But what I am learning through all this, is that when someone's hurting, they're not looking for you to say anything or do anything profound. They...I...Anyone who's hurting...All we really want is to know we're not alone. That someone gives a damn. That it's okay to vent a little bit. That is okay to be a frickin' human being. And that someone's listening.

They say pain makes you stronger. Bill Cosby says, "You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive it." So, when all is said and done, and we make it through these less than pleasant circumstances, I am expecting to be the strongest and funniest woman alive!

Although, as I write this, Ren is watching a show about living life as conjoined twins, making all of my problems seem all of a sudden so...trivial. Of course!!!