The boys are outside and Winnie just started crying in her room. I’m neglecting the chores, deciding instead that I will embrace this quiet moment to write. Naturally, my quiet moment has now been interrupted by the aforementioned crying baby and the middle boy coming in yelling at the top of his lungs for me. The door has again been left open, leaving our kitchen a safe haven for the flies.
A drink of milk and 10 minutes of rocking later, I sit here again in the quiet. The air conditioner is running, but it smells like a dead mouse is trapped somewhere in the duct. A reminder that our house is old, smelly and falling apart. Not that I need that reminder, I think about it every day. In fact, it is such a concern for me that it causes me great anxiety, especially in the warm months when everything grows out of control, smells are more pronounced and boys are dirtier.
I remind myself what a gift this house is. The summer we first moved here, aside from difficulties that come from being in a new place, it felt magical. Everything was beautiful and this house even in its “as is” state was much nicer than our previous one. Many evenings I ran outside at the sight of a golden sunset, marveling at the beauty and our fortune to call this home.
What has happened to me over the past two years? When was the last time I dropped the dishes and ran out to a sunset, or walked down over my precious hill to spend quiet time with God?
Why did I allow life to suck me dry of all courage to live a joyful life?
I feel it seeping back into my bones. I feel like I can take back my life, that I can submit myself again to God’s will and to stop giving the devil his foothold.
I just turned around, it looks like the rain is about to start. Our basement is a moldy, musty mess, and the last thing we need is any more water in it. We threw out bags of stuff this past week, not important things (of course, there aren’t a lot of things we deem important enough to get upset over), but things nonetheless, ruined by the deluge of water that ran into our basement. Our house smells musty, and my constant headache and allergy symptoms lead me to believe it is indeed making me sick. My anxiety is having a real field day with this house right now.
Earlier this week we ran away and spent the night with my in-laws. It was a good respite for the boys and I while Brad spent the day in meetings. I came home less tired than I had left, which is pretty good for a night in a strange bed.
As soon as I got home, though, I felt even more anxious and worried about the state of our house than before I had left. My in-laws have this beautiful house, and my mother in law is great at cleaning and keeping tidy. Her house is lovely, her gardens are lovely and it is a peaceful place to be.
The contrast to our house which is full of chaos, noise, dirt, building materials, and weedy gardens just about put me over the edge. Will I ever be adult enough to keep our place under control?
My writing is different today and words are flowing freer than they have for quite a while. I’m reading the “The Crosswicks Journals” by Madeleine L’Engel, and her beautiful words has inspired me to just write. Usually, I think of a topic that has been on my mind and try to fit a succinct blog post around it. My stash of half written documents tells me that method is complete crap. Today I prayed that the Spirit would lead me to write something because I was feeling so joyful from L’Engel’s book. I do feel like He came through and is here with me.
I had to go close the kitchen door again (hello flies!), and caught sight of all three boys playing intently in the garage. Theo is building something out of a giant box, Ira is watching, and Sol is riding his trike. I think they are the most wonderful children even though they can seem like such monsters at times. Their frustrations and anger make me so much more aware of my own anger and how I frequently act as ridiculous and irrational as my two year old. I never expected children to make me confront my own humanity, my own being, and my own emotions in a way that would force me to better myself. I certainly don’t want to teach them more bad habits than I already have even though I know I will. I am flawed and human, but I always strive to apologize after an outburst and explain to them that I was not acting my best. I hope that they have a better understanding of their emotional selves as they grow than I did.
It feels like we have had so much change this past year that I’ll burst if anything else changes. Except that I’m longing for change because what we are doing now is so exhausting it’s not sustainable. We are to the point where I think we are going to work ourselves, especially Brad, to sickness. We sat in our new addition last night, supposedly my grandma’s room if she ever decides to move in, and talked about our options, about our future and what might lie ahead for us. It felt lovely.
This is a lovely day. A lovely, ordinary day. Thunderstorms are darkening the skies and for the first time in a week we don’t have to leave the house. I’ll never understand why there are “days in which the whole world seems like a rose garden and days in which our hearts seem tied to a millstone” as Henri Nouwen wrote, but I know God is with me in both.