Found Guilty

Does anyone else have a really difficult time getting back into the groove of “normal” life after tragedies happen? Tragedies, even those that don’t even have anything to do with me, make me buckle at the knees. I feel tremendous guilt over being happy, and the things I love doing and playing with (skin care, jewelry, artwork, etc.) seem so stupid and petty. How do I talk about coffee scented soap and dangly earrings when there is so much suffering going on?!? And we’ve had so many terrible tragedies in the world, and in our nation, one after the next after the next.

It’s unreal how much pain one person can inflict, and upon so many. And how awful people can be to each other. I’m as guilty of looking down on my neighbor as anyone I’d criticize. I don’t leave the house, for fear of running into people I know. I just don’t have the energy, even on a good day. Granted, I have some mental health challenges, but still… Should it be SO hard to go to the grocery store?

I just wish I knew the answer. How to fix things, how to make everything better. For me and for everyone. I can’t get through an evening without getting irritated at the people I love. So how can I hope for the world to be kinder?

What I do know, amidst a sea of things I don’t understand, is that I have to seek solace. I desperately need comfort. I am weak. Strong in some things, yes, but not in all. What comforts me may not comfort others. That is ok. Different things work for different people, and different things work better at some times than during others.

I need my soaps, my books, my church magazines and talks. I need to send out pretty earrings to people I know will treasure them. I need to lie on the couch while my husband paints my toenails. I need to watch silly Chihuahua videos with my daughter.

I need to figure out how to ‘live happy’, without always feeling like my joy, rare though it be, must be justified. I still haven’t figured out the trick yet, though. But there’s got to be a book for that, right??

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Until We Are Fine

Last week, I was taking too many pills. Not purposefully, but also not by accident.
This week, I’m more solid, starting somewhat anew. Still tired and afraid, but possessing a bit of momentum. Not quite hope, but an expectancy.

I’m trying to move ahead, and have several supportive friends and family members who have helped me unburden. There are moments I feel adrift, propelled by the winds of pointlessness. Then I remember others, and decide to finish buttering the bread, get the dish from the sink to the dishwasher. I decide to answer a ringing telephone. Pretend. 

It will get better, at some point. It already has. But I’m still tired and can’t sleep, still sweaty but freezing. This isn’t going where I meant it to go. 

We have to ask for help. If we don’t ask, no one knows. They just think we’re mean or shy or FINE. But we are not fine, are we?

We are not fine. 

But…

Eat the bread. Drink the tea. Hug the child. Pet the dog. Write the poem. 

Until we are fine, or a facet thereof.

I Am Mother

What was your mother like? she asked, with pad and expensive pen in hand.

Like any mother, maybe. Locked in the bathroom, in the tub crying. Taking litte blue pills when she thought I wasn’t looking.

Dad would come home and always pick the bathroom lock. Try to soothe her in his rough around the edges ways, sit on the floor at the edge of the tub until he could get her to crawl out, off balance and dripping wet and cold from the hours-old water.

Mostly what he did helped, but her cry eyes would swell for days, and she always tried to line them with wax pencil, thinking it hid her secrets behind what she called a smoky eye. She seemed to think a melancholy look was beautiful.

I thought sometimes she faked the crying in the bathroom thing for attention. But Dad said no, that if she didn’t hide in the bath, she’d have walked out into our Wyoming desert with the coyotes, lain down in the sagebrush, and we’d have never found her again.

I wondered why she didn’t just leave us if she was so unhappy. Go to California or something, someplace with sun and not so much snow and coal. But I knew in my heart she was too faithful and loving and afraid to know what real leaving was.

Dying, she could do, if she’d have loved us just a little less. But she loved us more than the sun, more than the God she wrestled with, more than the stones and bones and Bibles she kept in her special drawer, and mostly she loved us more than herself.

And that was maybe what saved us all.