One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.- Sigmund Freud
Looking in: things have been less than beautiful as of late.
Looking ahead: we will see it. Oh, we will.
Speaking to a friend the other day and she asked, sincerely, "How have you been?"
I told her, I'm okay. I'm better than I was the last time we spoke.
Her reply was sympathetic, "You've had a rough year so far."
Sister, you don't know the half of it. I haven't even shared some of the worst of it.
So many things are so hard. So painful.
So, so beautiful.
In the pain, I am clinging. Sometimes I feel like I'm just clinging to my sanity in general, but in reality I am clinging to my sweet husband and the beautiful, loving marriage and family we have built. I am clinging to my children, who I have grown even closer to it in the last few months. I have tremendous appreciation for my constant, most faithful companion, My Ginger, even as a I see her slide downward. The five of us are like a small gang, fiercely protecting one another from each and every storm.
I have grown closer to my sweet parents, who are always willing to share a meal and a conversation. It's such a blessing to be looked after, especially when you have to do so much looking after of others. It is so nice to have conversations that aren't laced with anger and/or pain.
I have the most amazing, precious group of female friends who know what I need even if I don't say a word. Who continually check in and look out. Who say, "I got you" when I don't even realize I need it. Who sustain me, who love me unconditionally, and who guide me with the most beautiful, blessed wisdom that only a group of women can provide.
They are beautiful and our friendship is beautiful. They know the raw, ugly parts and they love me even still.
There are blessings in the pain. In every hurt.
I have drawn ever closer to my Jesus. Every morning in my quiet reflection and prayer. He is my steering wheel, not just my spare tire. My gentle guidance, the hand on my shoulder. Twice in recent weeks I made decisions that I almost felt uneasy about. Like I was going to go somewhere and I felt so, so strongly that I shouldn't go. Hours later I realized that God was looking after me, keeping me safe. It was so scary and yet, it was so powerful.
I forget sometimes that I am so loved.
Even in the storms. I am so, so loved.
My whole life I wanted to be ordinary. I guess that sounds funny, right? My brain isn't ordinary though, and I always knew that. I always had something about me that made me weird. Then as an adult I was obese and my body was weird and people made fun of me (those people sucked). I had problems that I felt like made me really weird. I hadn't done everything I needed to do and that was all just weird and terrible and I was a freak.
I prayed for an ordinary life. A husband who loved me, children, a decent job, and pretty white house with black shutters and a red door. Well, actually, when the children were babies I prayed for a little two-bedroom row house on a tiny piece of land because I thought that was all I could ever hope for. I didn't know then, I didn't even dare to dream it.
I got the husband. Last night we were listening to comedy on the radio (because, apparently, we are one thousand years old) and the comedian was telling the typical marriage jokes. If you listen to comedians I guess you would think, "Why would anyone want to get married?". Jason said, "I laugh because it's funny, but I don't feel that way about you". I don't feel that way about him either. He became my husband and then he became my family. It didn't happen immediately, but when it did? It felt exactly like I always knew it was supposed to.
In addition to the husband I got the kids. One boy, one girl. The dog with one pointy ear and one floppy ear. When I bought the house it was white with black shutters and I replaced the black door with a red one. My job, while sometimes soul-sucking and challenging, pays the bills. More than that it has brought so many wonderful, kind, hard-working, sweet friends into my life. When you're all going through Hell, you keep going...together.
The Girl, my Megan, is graduating from community college in five days. My son, my Jon, has already graduated. She's been accepted at her next school, he's already there. Soon, too soon, they won't be in my life every single day. Soon, too soon, Ginger will no longer be snoring at my feet. This house with it's beautiful red door already seems big...Jason and I have been looking at mountain houses with big windows and hiking trails. A simpler life. A quieter place. Maybe a life a little less ordinary.
We will see.
Right now from the outside everything seems pretty chaotic. You get bitter or you get better and I'm choosing better.
Two weeks ago on Saturday, Jason made sure I went outside. I don't have to say I'm struggling for him to know I am and when I am he leads me. In the woods, where I'm happiest, where I feel closest to God. We came across a little bench that was clearly made for three.
"One day we'll have a bench like this in our yard," he told me. "We will have a little grandchild and the three of us will sit together and say crazy things and laugh."
One day, Jason and I will sit together in our little bench and smile at each other over our grandchild's head. One day we'll snuggle up in bed and say, "Do you remember back in 2018 and all that crazy stuff?" We'll wonder, then, how did we survive? We'll say, "Man, that was so hard."
We'll talk about all the moments, all the little glimmers of love and hope and joy, that kept us together. That remind us that the hard stuff is so tough, but so are we.
We'll be thankful, just so thankful it's an ordinary life.
Just an ordinary, beautiful, precious life.