My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Saturday, January 7, 2012

finding my way back

I feel like the past 24 hours has been transformational. I'm not sure that's a word because spell check highlights it. But that's what it's been.

I have struggled over the past week with feeling like such an absolute failure. I mean, yes, there have been moments where my usual stubborn personality peeks through and I snap out of it... but my life calls for me to be not just ten feet tall and bullet proof but LARGE and IN CHARGE. I can't depend on anyone else because there literally isn't anyone else to depend on. Truth be told, I married my second husband, a control freak, because I was so bone weary of having to take care of everything myself. Obviously that was the wrong direction to go in... from famine to feast, where I had zero control over anything in my life. But for me here in these past few weeks to be stuck where I feel helpless and unable to do the things I need to do... it's been tough. Especially when I got to the beginning of the New Year and realized how sick I still was when I had bet the entire hand on being ready to go back to work on the 3rd... it's been a tough week.

I mean, y'all know. I've written some pretty pathetic blog entries this week. I wouldn't show that dark side of the moon if I didn't know that my transparency in these situations helps you to see my source of strength when I find my way back to Him. And He was there... all along.

There may come a time in my life when I'm no longer able to take care of myself. I have been told that my back problems are progressive, that they will never reverse, there will be no "miraculous healing", there is no surgery to fix it, there is no drug to take away the pain that will still leave me able to function. But for now... I'm still a single mom with a child who is facing his (prayerfully) last semester of High School and I. have. to. be. strong. Once Austin is grown... and we're so close to that day... he can go off to sow his wild oats in the same way my other boys have... and I can be whatever I want or need to be. I can be the relative who takes the elderly relatives to the doctor. I can be a top-notch professional career woman. I can be something in between. I can come and go as the Lord sees fit. I just have to make it four and a half more months. And counting.

Not that I've got a boot on Austin's butt pushing him out the door. He doesn't drive yet. Soon. Not yet. He has never *really* had a job. He's done odd jobs here or there but he's not exactly the go-getter. If he could design or test video games... he'd be a winner, winner, chicken dinner. But when I suggest, like I did yesterday, that we should get him an application for the new Dairy Queen they're building in town, he had a thousand reasons why that wasn't a good idea. He will go into a vocational rehabilitation program right out of high school. This prepares him for the job search process and even enlists local businesses that hire people with special needs. He's so smart and so highly functional that plugging him into the right niche will be very profitable for some local business, I'm sure. Whatever he knows, he knows very well and knows from every angle and is doggedly determined to do correctly.

My point is that I see the empty nest ahead and I am welcoming it with open arms. It's been a long, very tough, at times overwhelming journey to raise three young men on my own with very little assistance from where it should have come but, by the Grace of God, an outpouring of assistance from various and assundry places where it didn't have to come but did.

And as I sat here this week laid in my bed all week wondering if I would ever again be able to sit, wondering if was going to run out of steam in this last mile of the marathon of child-rearing... there was a fear that gripped my heart in a way that only fiercely independent people understand. I have beat myself up so many ways... made the call of shame four times this week to my office, apologizing profusely that I am not who I need to be right now... trying to explain without grossing anyone out or sounding too pathetic... that I plain and simply cannot sit.

There's been more. I mean... I'm lightheaded, unable to eat, weak as a newborn colt, perpetually sick to my stomach, dizzy, exhausted. I dread the toilet like a torture device. I've been unable to focus on any of the things that I usually fill my mind with... unable to find joy in the things that normally bring me joy (food and hours of computer games) ... barely at all able to bring food into the house for my child. I swear, Austin has dropped ten pounds over this holiday break, bless his heart. Thank the good Lord that the child loves canned tuna, canned corned beef hash, tomato soup and cereal.

Yesterday I hit the proverbial brick wall. I had missed the entire first week of work for this new year. My house is a wreck. I was facing an hour and a half round trip to the surgeon's office and back and there was no one to take me, I was going to have to drive the whole way. I spent the morning with the tv turned off and my bible open and poured out my heart to the Lord. I confessed every sin I've committed in the past year and some I might not have really committed. I sat in the stillness of my nest and instead of thinking about anything but God, I thought of only God. I went back through a mental inventory of the past 26 years (almost) since my first child was conceived and how blessed I have been as a parent, as a single parent. I got back to the things that really matter and it turns out that the things that matter aren't things. I rested my head on the shoulder of my Heavenly Father and let Him console me and redirect me. And I thought, "If it took all of that for me to be here... I'm ok with that".

I wish I wasn't so stubborn and distracted that it takes a crisis to pull my attention back to where it should go. Yet, I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that this just part of the process as I go about perfecting the soul that will be with me for eternity. At any rate, after that time of rest in Him, I knew that I could face whatever I was to face in the coming months leading up to my next season in life.

I went to the doctor which I thought would be the focal part of my day and as it turns out, it's a minor part of the story. I found out that they did the maximum amount of repair that they can do in one surgery. There is a concern of scar tissue and making things worse if they take everything in one procedure. As with any of the other things that have caught up with me in my forties, this is a surgery I should have had years ago but couldn't because I didn't have time, money or insurance. The extent of the surgery pushes me to the far end of the recovery period and there was never a thought that I would have been able to return to work yet. They were surprised that I had even considered it. It's fine if I want to go back Monday but I'm by no means healed yet... healing... but not healed. It's also normal that my appetite hasn't returned or my strength. This was no minor procedure and I don't guess I've ever really had major surgery before so my expectations were out of line with reality.

The bottom line is that I'm normal. My recovery is normal. Feeling guilty about not being where I was not expected to be was a wasted emotion. Putting more stress on myself than was needed was not going to change my recovery time. Imagine that.

I made peace with God, peace with my recovery, peace with any repercussions from the recovery (such as having used a years worth of sick leave the first week of the year), peace with who I am and whose I am. I drove home... uncomfortable but not suffering by any means... and I finally, for the first time all week, I rested.

Oh, wait, there's more. I started doing budget math in my head and was a little frightened by the numbers I was coming up with. Then I realized I had not yet collected my paycheck from the last half of December (a short one but still)... I had not gotten child support from last week and I haven't yet submitted the hospital income claim for my surgery... in other words... there was about $700 that was supposed to be in my account that wasn't yet.

Now that I've spent the past hour telling you that... I'm going to turn the tv off again. Curl up with a Good Book - THE Good Book - and let this thousands year old manuscript give me a little direction for the future. Later - my Jamie-Gurl's birthday party. Love and hugs, y'all!


Lainey Laine said...

Awwww Heather, you have been through so much! You are so brave and well done for bringing your boys up as well as you have. My thoughts are with you. Lainey xxx