My sweet husband crawled into bed last night and drew close to cuddle. Unbeknownst to him, the poor man had snuggled close to a grizzly bear. He was met with a harshness from his wife who normally loves to end her day with a cuddle. He quickly retreated in confusion and hurt, as shame overwhelmed her fearful and frayed heart.
Maybe this scenario is completely foreign to you and your marriage. Maybe you always end the day spooning, never snap at your husband, and he never accidently punches the pillow out from your head when he slides into bed. If that is the case (and I say this with all sincerity) congratulations you two! If not, well, you are in good company.
The truth of the matter is, my nerves are worn and my body feels wasted. I am exhausted. Even though now I should be lying down to rest while my little one is asleep, I find my mind alive with thoughts I cannot shut down. I tried to explain this to Ray yesterday but felt entirely inept at communicating. In many ways, I feel I have lost myself temporarily, as though at any minute I am going to hear over the loudspeaker of my life, “Attention! There is a missing woman last seen in the produce aisle. Please return her to customer service.”
I suppose this is what happens when you wrap your worth up in the many different roles, functions and environments that compose the context of your life. When all that was settled in your life becomes displaced and you find yourself a vagabond; quite literally packing up and traveling each day to different locations as a gypsy. Like an uprooted tree struggling to meet the nutritional demands of its fruit, I find myself dry and desperate for a place in which to plant; to drive my roots down in the cool, damp darkness of the earth and drink deeply. From that place of desperation, I feel myself drifting; uncertain, foundationless and fearful.
So I have spent an obscene amount of money on food, as though chocolate coconut almonds, Southern Butter Pecan gelato, and salty tortilla chips can replenish and restore what is really starving. I have searched for different ways to advance my professional career (only I am not sure I want to advance my professional career) as though expending more energy will somehow help me feel less exhausted (even though looking through graduate catalogs fuels feelings of panic). I continue to push the gas pedal, spinning my wheels deeper into the mud in the hopes that I will soon escape the pit of feeling stuck, all the while slinging mud on those I love the most.
What am I doing? Why am I doing it? Where will this lead me? Where do I want to be? Let’s rewind from that place and readjust the trajectory of our thoughts and actions. Let’s find that woman, that woman pre-motherhood, and let’s love on her for a little bit. Let’s shave those legs, do some yoga, peel your eyes away from that parenting article on Huffington Post and let’s take some deep breaths. Let’s practice some of that self-care that is so much easier to preach to others than implement and let’s actually be honest about our preferences for dinner or date night or what we want to watch on TV this evening. Let’s just press pause for a second.
Because the truth is that I love my life. I love my husband. I love my son. I love my sweet old pup. The truth is that I handle change about as well as a cat handles being dunked under water. The truth is that however difficult this season has been; it has been equally beautiful. When I neglect to pause, to relocate that woman lost somewhere in the produce aisle picking out near perfect vegetables, I lose sight of the grace, the generosity, and the sweet intimacy that grows in the chaos of transition. I lose sight of the seed being planted in fertile ground and focus only on the tilled soil and fresh horse manure that surrounds me. Let’s be real, focusing on manure gets us nowhere fast and happy, but it’s essential to the plentiful harvest we would all like to reap.
Maybe I’m alone in this, but I have a love/hate relationship with the “Preparing the Soil” season of life. “Do not come near me with that tiller, Jesus! I finally got myself settled and comfortable and pretty-looking!” my heart wants to exclaim. But if I want a fresh breeze of oxygen, if I want the seed to find a soft and rich place to land, if I want to nourish what is entrusted to me, I have to allow the Gardener to do His work in His wisdom. I have to embrace my humanity, acknowledge that ugly sin nature that must be uprooted, and admit my need for someone to tend my very soul. I have to stop spinning my wheels, apologize for slinging mud, take a solid time out to find myself and reencounter the reality of the Gospel…and maybe I take that time out in a nice, warm bubble bath.
May our frayed hearts and worn nerves be restored in the peace of Christ, today.