Oh goodness, everyone. It's been awhile, huh? The sad thing is I don't have a good excuse for not writing. Well, this post kind of discusses my "excuses" but, in short, I'm just thankful Marissa trusts that I will eventually post another blog at some point. :-D
You know the phrase, "Waiting for the other shoe to drop"?? Have you ever found yourself at that point? If you haven't, I'm not going to lie, I'm kind of jealous of you.... :-) April and May fell into that "waiting for the next bad thing to happen" category. Honestly, the issues that we dealt with are not that huge in the grand scheme of life and they are problems that many would rather put up with than their current situation. I completely acknowledge that and sometimes that fact makes it challenging for me to share struggles with others. I don't want to be a complainer. I don't want to make a big deal out of a situation that will rectify itself in a relatively short amount of time. But, at the same time, I'm trying harder to be more open with others during my stressful times in life. How does one find that balance? How do we seek out support during the stressful times while also not coming across as complaining about something that could be significantly worse? I think that when you're a parent dealing with stressful situations, it's that much more important to figure out how to handle it appropriately. WOW. That can be so hard, can't it? For me, when I'm dealing with stress, do you know what my body wants to do? My body would LOVE to just sit on the couch all day, watch some highly dramatic tv show (probably The OC or some reality TV show), and eat junk food. Do I feel like being joyful and patient? Not really.
So how I am supposed to push beyond the stress, beyond the "what now", beyond the "this sucks"? I don't do a very good job of that sometimes. Children certainly do offer a distraction and heighten my awareness of my responses to things but it can be easy to allow ourselves to wallow. It can be easy to think, "This horrible thing is never going away and this is just what life is going to look like forever"---believe me, I have thought those thoughts. I have been there. But I'm trying to pursue gratitude and finding that balance between sharing the messes of life and yet not letting the messes of life weigh me down. I remember reaching towards that same goal when I was coming out of the dark fog I found myself in after the births of my boys, especially my firstborn. Each day I was able to hang on to more moments of hope than the day before. Maybe that sounds like a strange thing to say--"moments of hope"--but I think if you've been there, you know exactly what I mean. I have memories of sitting in bed, telling my husband, "Today was another hard day but there were a few more times where I felt like life is getting happier again." So, let me pause just to say that, Mama, if you find yourself in that spot today, that spot of feeling of hopeless and sad and not quite sure how to pull yourself up: You are enough. There is nothing wrong with you. What you're going through is HARD. It's so very hard. Know that this group, FIT4MOM Grand Rapids, is here to support, encourage, and care for you.
Back to my thoughts of pursuing gratitude during the hard stuff. I'm not saying we should be praising the actual hard situation--for example, you will never find me saying that I'm grateful that my dad was diagnosed with an incurable cancer nine years ago. You WILL find me saying that I'm grateful for God's guidance and love. I'm grateful for doctors and modern medicine. I'm grateful for my dad's strength through this long journey.
In the midst of the stressful months that my husband and I are just emerging from, we found ourselves at a particularly low point one evening. The next day, I felt like if I didn't focus on something positive, the whole thing was going to just envelop me. What good things could I find? I found thankfulness for a fast-acting company that happened to be open on the weekends when no one else was and fit us into their schedule. I found thankfulness for my boys who offered me so much grace and patience and love when I wasn't feeling like I was doing a great job caring for them. I found thankfulness for a friend who unexpectedly stopped by after the boys were in bed to give us an encouraging gift. (Of course, I cried. Do you even have to ask?) I found some good in the bad. It really was there, and some of it I didn't even have to look hard to find.
As for that other shoe that's up there somewhere, waiting to surprise us again? There's always going to be something waiting to happen, I'm really not trying to be a killjoy, I promise. I believe that it's the reality of life. We aren't immortal. We aren't unbreakable. But we can be filled with hope. We can be pursuing thankfulness. We can appreciate the lives we have been given, even when there are bumps (or mountains) in the road. We can surround ourselves with people who do the same. Because there's something else I learned--life, the good & the bad, is so much better when we aren't living it alone.