Wednesday, November 30, 2011

To Live Again...After Living in Limbo (Pt. 1)

Poland 2009
I woke up one day and felt as if concrete was hardening around my legs. Every step seemed more laborious than the one before. I wondered how long I could keep walking. If I kept moving, perhaps I could stay ahead of the process. If I stopped, I was doomed. I don't think I'd make a pretty statue.

Of course, when you have little children with respiratory issues, there are days you don't consider slowing down. You ping-pong back and forth between who needs what med next and whether the nebulizer parts have been sanitized for the next breathing treatment. Combine that urgency with a sick husband who has even more breathing crises than the boys. You quickly become a whirling dervish.

Upon awakening one day, you find that you are alone and awash in a sea of autistic-ly enhanced testosterone. Only then do you begin to understand why your life has always been....not something with which your friends can identify. The chaos finally makes sense even if the realization doesn't nourish the loneliness creeping into your soul.

All Grown Up
Life keeps happening and before you know it, you are trying to create normalcy for children whose lives have been turned upside down in a borrowed/shared home that is anything but normal. Imagine those realities with all the myriad of others sandwiched in between. It would take your breath way if you had any left to steal.

I can take you to the spot on the road where I felt myself shut down and default to zombie mode. Was it already 18 months ago that we endured the mean season of death and dying? It is only now, all these months later, that I see clearly: my 1st step toward being a zombie was when I began to live in limbo.

Psychologists will tell you that people are divided between actors and reactors. I am sure my early life experience predisposed me to the latter category. I am also sure that I spent most of my early adult years trying to outrun that predisposition. Then life caught up with me.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I made the best laid plans over and over only to have someone waken with 106F temp at 4:30am. True story. Needless to say, after endless days of plan altering diversions, I stopped trying to plan ahead. I started reacting and taking each day as it came. I'm not sure that I could do anything differently if I had it to do all over again. I was less and less able live the role of an actor and lived more and more like a reactor.

I suppose you could think of homelessness as limbo. I certainly did a lot of waiting for that season to end. Yet, I was always moving forward because the boys and their schooling required that I do so. I guess I stayed busy hoping to forget where I was and why I was there. I stayed busy to make the time pass in hopes that the season would pass more quickly. When it was over, I was in limbo. I see that now.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
In my case, it turns out limbo was a state of mind not the absence of motion. Depression? Check yes. Anxious? Check yes. It was both situational and appropriate even on the days it was paralyzing. Homelessness does that too you. When life returned to the new normal and my situational moods lifted, something deep inside me remained in limbo. My soul? My hopes? My dreams? My motivation? I don't know. I'm percolating on that question. Maybe you will too?

Looking back, I do not know why these 2 things affected me. They were, however, a 1-2 punch. I think my stress bucket was full, and I had absorbed all that I could. I had always planned our curriculum 2 years in advance. Son #1 was entering 9th grade. His books were all stacked and ready. I realized the stack was a book short. No history.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I froze. I was 2 years late making the decision. I realized that those intervening 2 years had been swallowed up as our former life disappeared while my husband fought to live. It's a wonder I had made any plans and amazing that only one thing had fallen thru the cracks. Still, I froze. Oh, we found the curriculum. It was geography. It was OVERKILL. One of my biggest regrets of his 11.5 years of home-schooling. He slogged through it but got far more out of research he did on his own.

Within days of my realization and resulting, uncharacteristic indecision, I got some news that shattered me. Privately. Secretly. Indescribably. It shouldn't have. I suppose the news wielded such power because I could no longer absorb stress of any kind. If I heard it today, I'd raise an eyebrow and forget about it by bedtime.

Courtesy and in Loving Memory of Christina Jones Hooker
What about you fraidy cat? Ever wake up one day and feel as tho' you are living in limbo at the mercy of concrete hardening around your ankles? Ever wake up and realize you feel totally unprepared for what comes next? Did you ever get some news that impacted you in an irrational way that you cannot explain?

I see you. Nodding your heads yes. Hear that? It's me...sighing with relief. I'm not alone. Maybe then, you'll come back tomorrow and bring a friend? The cat's out of the bag, you know. This place in cyberspace is a safe place for fraidy cats to come in out of the cold.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Psalm 37:39 (American King James version)
But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

Nahum 1:7 (American King James version)
The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knows them that trust in him.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Deuteronomy 7:9 (American King James version)
Know therefore that the LORD your God, he is God, the faithful God, which keeps covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

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