Thursday, May 9, 2013

it's not always a pretty picture


I'm out of the fog.  The dreary slump I was in.  It's presence has lifted and floated away on the cool spring breeze.  Or maybe not.  Perhaps it brushed onto the sleeve of a passerby in the hall of this old farmhouse.  It seems there are others that're restless now.

Just last night, my poor little man had baseball practice and he's not having much fun this year.  There're 20 kids on his little team and he's just not enjoying it so much.  The coaches are so serious and there are 5 or more of them keeping patrol on the youngsters.  Answer me this, why not split it up into two teams?  This isn't the little league world series, can we just have fun while learning the basics?  I told him we'd finish out this week and see how it goes.  If he doesn't like it, well by golly, we'll quit.  I'm not a quitter, never have been, but the older I get, the more I say, Is it really worth it?  The strife, the torture?  We're talkin' a six year old playing baseball.  He loved tee ball, played 2 seasons.  And he loved soccer.  He even loves baseball in the yard.  Whiffle ball with friends.  It's not going to ruin his college application:  2013 - quit the little league team at age 6...I'm sorry son, you're not accepted.  Whatever.

A meltdown slipped its way into our evening.  I'll be honest, school's almost over.  And every year, I become more and more lax with bedtime during the last month.  Lately it's been 9 o'clock before he's settled in.  I think it's taken it's toll on the poor guy. 

After practice, he ran over to join some friends on the swings.  I let him play for a brief minute or two while I packed my chair and book in the car.  By that time, he'd made his way over to the tennis courts.  I told him it was time to go and he stormed past me with eyes like daggers.  He grabbed his bat bag and asked if I had his bat.  Nope, I surely did not.  His coach had it, returned it to him and we were off to the car.  He was hoppin' mad and I explained that we had to get him in the tub and if he was hungry, he could have something to eat but, we didn't have time to stay at the park tonight.

By that time, he was in total meltdown mode.  He was fumin'.  It all ended poorly with 2 smacks of the butt.  I washed him as he cried through the whole bath and while brushing his teeth.  I could tell it was the meltdown cry.  He told me he didn't like me and I was mean to him and I tried kindly explaining that we didn't have time to play but, we could go back another day.  I explained how the Bible says you should treat others the way you would like to be treated.  He wasn't too kind and neither was I.  So, I apologized but, I refuse to put up with nasty attitudes, we don't put up with that from his sister and we surely won't with him either.  We can't always have what we want.  He calmed down, I prayed with him and told him how much I loved him no matter how many times he tells me he doesn't like me.  He settled in and I went outside.  Handsome Husband was due to arrive any minute and I wanted him to be aware of the situation and that I'd taken care of it.  There was no need to revisit the issue.  I don't know that the poor little guy had been defused but, it sure seemed that way.  He was in bed and exhausted. 

I walked out to the garage where I grabbed a few things that needed to come in and Miss K comes out announcing the man was crying loudly in his bed.  I asked her to check on him and I would be in in a minute.  Handsome Husband arrived home and we surveyed the garden, giving Miss K a few minutes to work her kind, sisterly magic.  Handsome Husband entered the man's room and questioned What was the matter?  There was lots of sobbing and our poor man blurted out, "I just wanna go home to Virginia."

With those long sobs and that sad plea, my heart dropped and my mind wandered.  Lord, what is your plan for us?  The coffee shop/bakery is still under construction and 6 months behind its original opening date.  I got word that due to the cost of restaurant-grade appliances, it would be a while before the kitchen was open for business.  I thought that was my calling?  I'm not a public speaker, I'm not a leader, I don't like being in the forefront.  Give me costumes, set design, some behind the scenes part and I'm happier than a pig in mud.  Cooking, baking, it's where I belong.  It's my gift.  I thought we were called here for multiple reasons, that being mine.

We've all struggled to be here.  The kids have struggled with school.  It's slower and behind the level in which they left.  One of the teachers has been a complete disaster.  She's young.  A first or second year teacher and her way of handling the children is, well, I'm just gonna say it, it's awful and immature and, and...AWFUL!

We all miss our friends, our family, our animals.  Yes, things change.  Home as we know it has changed but, there's no place like home.  We've been looking at options of leaving.  Going back to the east coast.  Or farther west.  Either way, we don't feel like this is the place for us.  We don't fit in here.  We struggle to hold our tongues and battle the forces that wage against us because we're new and we don't want to stir the pot.  At the same time, are we doing ourselves or better yet, our children, a disservice for zipping our lips?  Can you compare one town to another when they're on totally different levels?  We're made fun of for the way we talk, the things we say, the food we cook.  Everywhere we go, there're eyes.  They follow us.  They wonder why we lock our doors (if your stuff was stolen, you'd lock your doors too.)

Thelma and I were talking this week and I mentioned this to her.  What was our purpose in coming here?  And so, like Thelma always does, she put things in perspective...I'm sure you've learned things while you've been out there.  And she reassures me that while pain lingers in the cracks and crevices of my heart, there's always something gained.  And so I thought about it.  Long. and. hard. 
 
She was right, I'd learned many things.  God had used us in many ways.  He's stretched us...taking us far from the place we call home and learning to make it without our family.  Learning to trust others so quickly and rely on God has been a large part of my time here but, also gaining a new found love and appreciation for those we now call friends and family.  He's sustained us.  He sent us to stay with incredible people for I know not how we will ever repay them, for our money is far from what they need.  To this day, I still feel indebted to them and I wonder, will that feeling ever go away?  It is a constant reminder of the love you can so generously give to others.  I've prayed for ways to repay them but, God has humbled me in a sense that maybe it's not something but in a gesture of passing on the kindness that they've shown us to someone who passes through our life.  I guess only time will tell. 

Then, we happened upon this rental house with its large kitchen, just perfect for feeding a slew of kids.  It's housed laughter and bonding for which I am grateful.

There are small things too.  Our patience and love for each other has grown.  Handsome Husband and I have been on more dates here than we have in ages.  It's the only thing that keeps me half sane.  Our kids are more tolerable of each other.  Fourteen hour drives' and moving to the middle of Nowheresville will do that to ya.  They've made plenty of friends but, in the meantime, they play basketball together and venture out to the pines and build forts, play in the barns.  Not to say that arguments don't ensue regularly.

Yes, there is so, so much we have learned, are learning.  More than I can type.  And still, so many unanswered questions lie in wait. 

But isn't life like that?  You just never know what's around the next corner; good, bad or indifferent.

I feel weak airing out my feelings here like dirty laundry.  Typing each painful letter onto the screen but, I've been reading this and so, I came across something I had to share...

~Jan Karon on Ruth Graham's poetry:  "This woman has had the courage to lay herself bare on the page...is unafraid to let you know that she has suffered.  She's unafraid to let you know she feels depression and pain and anguish.  I love that in her.  I love her complete openness, her lack of any timidity about showing you who she is.  And it's not always a pretty picture."

Maybe I should think of it that way.