Sunday, March 29, 2015

Catching the Small Joys--a weekly round up

Even the worst days have moments of joy.  They do. I promise you they do.  Here are some of the joys that blessed my socks off this week:

  • Watching my stepfather and NotAunt Donna dancing together at my mama's annual March Madness Birthday Extravaganza. Really.
  • Being invited to the March Madness Birthday Extravaganza. (I'm so totally at the Adult Table now!)

  • Sitting in on a music clinic with the Evil Genius and his 8th grade peers after they put forth a terrific performance. Bonus joy for catching the shout out the New England Conservatory professor made to the tubas. 
photo courtesy of Christine Bolduc

  • Spending an uninterrupted hour at the library.
  • Spending an uninterrupted afternoon READING books I brought home from the library.
photo courtesy of Johnson-Roberts Architects

  • Taking the dogs for the first long walk they've been on since January. There is joy in both the fact that enough snow has melted off to make the walk possible, and the unbridled glee the dogs displayed at heading out of the neighborhood. The cocker spaniel running a serpentine to sniff all the good smells everywhere, ears flapping and nub of a tail wagging, the chocolate lab barking his regards to every dog in the town... fantastic stuff.

  • Visits with three different women I love and never seem to get to see enough of them.
  • Warm Clean Sheet Night.  (The only thing better is Clothesline Clean Sheet Night.)
  • Writing an essay with My Personal Chef in the hopes of winning ourselves an inn in Maine. It was worth the entry fee just to spend the time together making castle-in-the-cloud plans together.
photo courtesy of Center Lovell Inn

What filled your heart this week?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

How Are You? Me? I'm Good Enough.

It's coming on seven months since I've published a blog post.  I've drafted dozens of posts, but just could not finish them. The autumn and winter were very rough for me this year.  I felt like a shrub being hard pruned and left dormant for the cold season. I'm looking forward to the new growth of spring.

See, this fall I got sick.  For years I have lived with fibromyalgia.  It has been managed extremely well--I know I am among the lucky ones. At the end of the summer, though, the symptoms began to reappear and by the start of school I was laid out.  Exhausted, in pain, and worst of all, to me, completely fogged in--I had no recall ability, I couldn't connect thoughts.  It was dreadful. I spent four months going from the bed to the couch to the doctors'.  Finally, in January, I was cleared by my team of specialists to return to "normal activity." I'm still not back to where I was before this flare-up, though, and it troubles me that this may be as good as it gets.

In the middle of this, I lost my job. I saw it coming, but nothing prepared me for how devastating it was going to be. The shame, the humiliation, the bitterness has shaken me to my core. I'd like to say that I have gotten over it, but I haven't. I just haven't.

Because I've been in a wretched place, I lashed out at the people I love most. I damaged some of my relationships. I'm deeply remorseful.  I believe I'm forgiven. It still hurts, and all I can do it wait for the healing to work in its own time.

     Through it all, there have been some authentically wonderful moments in this dark season. 

 I learned to accept, really accept, the gifts of true friendship. Those closest to me got to see me at my absolute worst and the world didn't come to an end. That may sound ridiculous, but I have spent my entire life keeping up appearances, refusing offers of help, and otherwise hiding myself in fear fear of...what exactly I don't entirely know. I've lived in fear of being too weak, of being not good enough, of being found out--all those things and more. I've been a fool. I know.

 I learned to appreciate a slower pace.  Nothing like being forced into a complete stop to realize that full speed ahead is no way to travel through life. There is a place and time for going full tilt, but it has been truly delightful to have time for a leisurely cup of coffee--or even an entire breakfast--with a girlfriend, and to be home after school with my youngest who is going to be off on his own in the blink of an eye. I discovered that I actually love cooking.  For years, getting dinner on the table was just a stressful, nonnegotiable item on my daily To Do list. It's amazing what having a bit of time can do.  Planning and executing a meal has once again become an enjoyable creative endeavor.

I still couldn't bring myself to write.

No question that a lot of that stems from my insistence on keeping up appearances. I'm a hot mess and just don't want to be seen like this.  There's also the nagging feeling that I'm just not good enough. What can I possibly have to say that would be worth reading?  Certainly none of the drafts in my documents folder measure up. 

Then I got in a fight with the Almighty. Again.

     I have been wrestling with God for as long as I can remember. This time it was serious, though. I put into question pretty much everything I have known about everything.  Turns out, I don't know much. Sigh. I have been alternately hurt and furious that the God of grace and mercy and everlasting love, blah, blah, blah, would  let me suffer so much. In response, I've been flattened by the realization that most of my wounds are self-inflicted. The rest of them are just "common to man."  Aging and illness and living with the consequences of one's actions are just a part of this life business. Instead of railing against God, perhaps I should lean against him, so that my limping along goes a bit easier?  I'm a slow learner. God is a patient teacher. So I have that going for me.

This past weekend, a chance comment from a total stranger from somewhere in eastern Europe (isn't the internet a marvelous thing?) made me decide that it is really time that I should just get over myself. It seems that part of my charm is that I don't actually have it all together.(Who knew?)  It still has taken me the better part of a week to write anything. The impulse to hide my broken bits of a life is overwhelming. I still question whether my story of  floundering to recover  has any merit. It feels self-indulgent to share it. I'm outgoing, but I am not a fan of the spotlight. At all.

Still, something has always compelled me to write. If I was made in the Creator's image, then I guess I am meant to create, yes? So today I will write, and I will try not to obsess over the reader--what she thinks, or if she even exists at all. And I'll go ahead and believe for today that I am good enough.  Spring is coming, after all.

photo courtesy of