I’m going to write again. It’s been exactly 5 months. I have the jitters. How do you write after so long and what do you say? Even more, what do you NOT say? After such time has passed, doesn’t this next post, the “therefore,” need to stand out? Be compelling? Sound intelligent to some degree?
Well I just did it. And it was none of those things. So there was my simple test, just to get my fingers dancing across the keyboard long enough to feel tiny butterflies floating around my body with an awkward half-smile plastered on my face because it’s true – a passion for writing doesn’t go away. It’s like riding a bike. And if you finally get the courage to hop on again, you’ll remember how to ride.
See you soon.
Thanks Captain America, for a little superhero power. We can only shield ourselves from so much in this crazy life, and sometimes, we just need to share.
To the high school student in the pharmacy drive through, dropping off various scripts with your friends, crying over how you’ll explain why you’ve missed school for the last few weeks due to a mental hospitalization…
You’re not alone. It’s no one’s business even though people talk. People will think what they want to think. You could’ve traveled to Mexico, and without a tan, rumors would still fly. When I left work for almost a month, the rumor mill rolled. Most people assumed I had a miscarriage. I didn’t agree, but I didn’t correct. Better that than the looney bin, right?! ………….. Too soon? Sorry.
Taking the time for YOU and gaining the tools and coping skills necessary to live your best life is priceless. One day you’ll look back and realize it was one of the tipping points, one of those valley experiences that got you back up the mountain again.
So tell them what you want. Someone has cancer. Someone died. You went on a mission trip. Didn’t you know I sing/act/perform in a traveling circus on the side? You were personally selected for a medical trial because of your special genes and it’s very hush-hush. People believe the craziest shiitake, really.
Or, tell the TRUTH. Say you needed some time to yourself to figure things out. (You can go with the traveling circus line; I didn’t tell the truth, either, at least not until the blog came out).
Although I’m almost double your age, when people hear of my experience, it’s not weird, or pity-filled, and there’s usually no elephant crowding some tension-filled room. Sure, sometimes it’s awkward, but do you want to know a secret?
I think a lot of people are actually envious. The concept of exiting your current life and responsibilities to “figure you out” is very hard to imagine, but something I know more people wish they could do. It seems impossible. Unimaginable.
Heck, when I was told the hospital had been called for my “exit from society” and “entrance into the unknown,” I calmly explained (it was a true “calm before the storm”) my 7th graders had research papers due and I was in charge of the current food drive at school. “Let’s just push it back a month,” I said, plain as day. “Surely there is a better time for this.”
But there is no better time.
(There were lots of ugly tears and angry words before I ever believed that statement, so it’s okay if it takes awhile).
Now, if y’all really know me, you know I couldn’t listen to this desperate teen’s brokenness and drive away while I’m in the lane next to her waiting my turn. So truth is, I did talk to her. Right there. It was quick, and I wish I could’ve listened more, but I told her what I thought.
I’m proud of you. I’m so proud of you for taking the time to work it out. There’s the scared ones, the ones in denial, the cynics, and many more. But you, my dear friend – you are one of the BRAVE ones. It’s takes courage to look deep inside yourself, strength to get help. Screw the gossip and the people who will use your absence to become the latest story. Keep your head up high and your smile wide. You go girl.
And when I drove away, I cried, grateful for that opportunity, and hopeful for that girl. And I knew in my heart – that was no coincidence right there.
Almighty God, even in the drive-thru, Your presence is so alive.
Disclaimer: I’m not a history buff. I don’t teach Social Studies. My first year of teaching I embarrassingly confused World War I and the Revolutionary War. True story. During research papers I also called Chris in the middle of class to ask who won the Vietnam War in an attempt to help a student write his paper. He conveniently switched topics after it was clear I still couldn’t help him. Bless those first year guinea pigs. Bless them.
Anyway, what I want to say has nothing to do with Columbus Day, really. I mean absolutely nothing. But, in my crazy-randomness of thinking, I made a far-fetched connection and decided to tie-in this day that teachers and students love (Yesss to long weekends! Sorry to working parents!)
Here it goes. Christopher Columbus/discovering America/interaction with the Natives – it’s controversial, I’m aware. We’re taught to celebrate this man and the day he sailed the blue in 1492. You know the story; a story, like all stories, that has more than one side.
Good educators teach both sides to the story, that although we are thrilled as Americans to have a United States of America, this exploration led to the destruction of American Indians who were happily settled in this territory before Columbus and whoever else took over. Again, not a history buff.
Whether we should thank Columbus for his ambush and celebrate the day, or boycott the National holiday altogether, I have zero opinion. In fact, a small, arrogant part of me thinks that people who have huge problems with this issue should get some new problems, because please people, there’s worse things. Syria? Human trafficking? Unclean water for the majority of people on this planet?
Today I write you to say I am very thankful for a takeover. No one sailed their ship to my house, obviously. And, it’s not really a takeover when you ask for it…which, by the way, is a blog all on its own. When you need help, YOU have to do something about it. Don’t WAIT for someone to figure it out. Don’t ASSUME someone will notice. ASK.
So…yesterday. Chris had a school commitment (district golf outing – difficult work, I’m sure) and although the kids are teething and not sleeping as well, I was determined as ever to get to church on my own with both of them.
No one could have guessed our morning was chaotic based on our matching outfits and big smiles entering the building. Granted, 2 against 1 is never easy, so some people may have assumed it wasn’t easy getting out the door.
Who am I kidding? We bring the circus everywhere we go.
Anyway, I managed to get myself ready and the kids ready and got to church on time. I did text someone in advance to see if there would be an extra hand or two if need be.
Well, it was need be. No, the kids weren’t awful. Yes, we ended up in the cry room. But it was me – call it my exhaustion, slight mental instability, whatever. As my church friend/childcare helper/earthly savior of the day helped me put the crying kids in their car seats, the rest of the day seemed daunting and impossible. And it was only 10:30 in the morning.
“Do yall have lunch plans?” I asked.
When they didn’t, I took a deep breath as the tears welled up and went for it. “Can you come by and help me get the kids out of the car and give me a chance to get their lunch ready?”
Now, I do this most days on my own. Getting them in and out of the car, preparing lunch, putting them down for nap – this is second nature. I know how to do this on my own, and so does Chris. I don’t actually need someone to help me do this, but yesterday, I did. I needed someone to takeover.
I knew my limits. I knew I felt off. So I set my guilt and shame to the side for a hot minute and simply asked.
Next thing I know, we’re in my bedroom talking/processing/deep breathing while her 8 or 9? and 13-year old sons are feeding Miles and Norah lunch. Bless them. Bless her. Thank you Lord for community. They left and I never even fed them. I mean, whoa. Are these not the kind of people we all desperately need in our lives???
This ambush to my normal routine wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t willing to be vulnerable. People, we were made for one another! Love God, Love People. If we can get this right, all the other stuff can go to the wayside (I’ll add “for the most part” because I’m not looking to start theological discussions).
Yesterday I was shown immense grace and love. I was embarrassed at first, but later empowered by my willingness to be vulnerable. It’s in our brokenness that God can truly work in us. Only then can we experience his full power and healing.
It didn’t matter if the kids and I “looked” the part at church. Gotta love cheesy moms who do the matching outfits and don’t even attempt to deny it was completely intentional.
On the inside, I was hurting. I needed an ambush of love. And I got it.
What does this have to do with Columbus? Pretty much nothing. I said it was far-fetched. Nonetheless, enjoy the holiday if you’re off. Yay for my hubby being home!