I Wasn't Prepared For This

I think I'm sick of hearing myself, or maybe even seeing myself complain in my head. I think there are levels of contentment. I've felt the keenest level before and little did I know that stepping off that platform would create a deep plunge into grief and ridiculousness. Now that those two things are here, I look at myself and think, "what now?!" 

Ever since July of 2010, I've been at this heightened level of feeling behind. And I mean behind in everything: housework, emotions, school stuff, events, dinner. I said to my pastor a couple of years ago that I felt like I was a Flinstone with someone else moving the rock car and my feet were just dragging along with it, bleeding and dirty. I lost my sister, then I lost my mother-in-law, and then I just went through this season of time speckled with joys, heights, and lows of grief. I don't even know if I feel "poor me" at all. I feel more like, "I am never prepared. Life keeps going and I can't get to the finish. Is there even a finish?" And I get it. Friends around me are suffering things that I can't even place myself in. Some of them are completely gone, like they are erased forever. Some are barely hanging on, and I mean barely. 

The main thing I want to do: hide. I don't know why. I'm not ashamed of anything, I just want to be alone for a bit. I'm antsy, bored. And it's stupid. 

The recent loss I've had is my last church. Political ridiculousness I would prefer not to get into, but it has been painful. I left a great position as a lead musician, and I had created in God's work, a very fine tuned machine. But things I could not control and a heavy conscience weighed on me in the end, and when my pastor ended up taking another job out of state (which was completely unrelated), it was like being abandoned. Because my pastor left, I knew I had to leave, because the political stuff getting ironed out was not going to happen because he was the only one willing to do something about it. So yes, I have felt and still feel anger towards him. I especially feel that when I feel the isolation so acutely on Facebook. Not just from him, but from nearly every person I'm "friends" with from my former church. When they used to "like" things and comment (which is just a stupid thing to ever obsess about), very few now do. The contrast is so staggering that I feel like I somehow must have gone to the darkside without knowing it. I went to a baby shower a few weekends ago for a friend from my former music team, and my 13 year old daughter went with me. She said before we walked in, "Are you at all going to feel awkward?" I looked at her surprised and said, "No. Why whould I?" She said, "Because you don't go to their church anymore." I said, "These are my friends. Why would they treat me any differently? They know why I left and it had nothing to do with them. I don't feel awkward at all." 

Boy was that naive. Not only did very few engage with me, it was so awkward and uncomfortable that I left early. My daughter was right. 

I'm sure my former church feels the loss of me. I don't delight in it. I know I did a lot for them and frankly, they did a lot for me. Musically, it was the best thing I have ever put my heart into. And I am sure they don't know how to act, or what's appropriate, for example. I left because no one else was outraged enough. Complacency is an enemy. And I get it. No one wants to think about things they can't really change. They just want to live their lives and do what they do. Except I perhaps made them feel bad for it because my leaving meant that they in their complacency were doing nothing. So I guess that is why they don't "like" my post about my son graduating high school, or the happy celebration of my wedding anniversary. It is no matter that I told everyone it was nothing against THEM. I'm sure it's the hollow after the leaving that makes it harder to accept. Or perhaps it is what my husband says, that when you go, no one misses you. Out of sight, out of mind. 

And...they had two major people in leadership leave within two weeks. When meeting my pastor, I told him, "I have to leave the next week...I can't...I can't possibly be there for longer." I cried. There was a looming EMPTY waiting on the other end of the several weeks I thought about staying. This decision had been abandoned and set aside for well over a year. But what was I to them, really? I formed a great team. I made the music happen. What they never had to think about they suddenly had to start thinking about. I guess it's like when you break your right hand, you notice how much you really use it and need it, so you are forced to use your left hand, which is a little weaker and not quite the same. I think that's all I really was to any of them. The right hand, or the right foot, whatever. My family was essentially ignored. Several people never knew what my kids' names were. And we weren't a large church. My husband was treated terribly in the end. Well, in the end, he left with the kids because it was uncomfortable. Imagine the stress of that on my family. Everyone, I guess, wanted to believe that we left because my kids did not have a youth group. That's a nice cover story, but it is not the truth. No youth group certainly helped. 

So I am floating around doing interim work, filling in musical gaps for churches that are exactly in the position I left my last church in. And I feel exactly like that: floating. I don't know if it is in a good sense, really. I've never done it before. I'm tasting the reality of what is modern church: at least ten years behind musically (or 20!) and singing songs that are on the top songs list on CCLI. In many ways more than one it has humbled me. For some reason congregations actually sing these songs. And they sing them loud! I've been on one side of the spectrum where we sing these top 40 songs and play them so well it will knock you out and no one sings, to only singing hymns and modern retuned ones and everyone sings, to this weird middle ground (I'm not saying it is necessarily good...I'm not sure) where people sing this mix and it is not as well done. 

Floating only for five months has left me wishing to land somewhere already, but then again, I don't know if I even have the strength to land just yet. Floating means that I can shy away from commitment and exist very hands-off. I can just ride along and no one expects that much of me. I can appear, sing somewhere, and before any one knows it, I can be gone and people would just think after a few weeks of my absence "I wonder where that girl went." I want to minister to people. And God has me floating and ministering in little chunks, and maybe that is ok. It would be nice to be in charge. When I do what God has gifted me to do in the leadership He created in me, it works out well. It sounds good. When I'm not in charge, it's easy, but it doesn't sound as good. Maybe that sounds narcissistic! Oh well. To be fair, I'm not at all a natural born leader, and had to learn that I am good at it through God's strength. This is just my experience. 

And today I'm bemoaning my lost "time off" and such. Summer is here and I should be drinking cocktails by the pool and reading all my favorite books. This is not the case. All of my teenagers have plans and things they do and I am, what it seems like to me in my sinfulness, the slave who does everyone's bidding. And my mind is full of fears about whether or not I have done well by my kids, or will do well. When I used to stay awake at night fretting about a kid couging, now I fret about whether or not they have done their homework or had enough driving hours for their license. After I get over one hurdle, there is always, and I mean always, another one. When I have two seconds to worry about the new wrinkle on my face, I have another two staring me down wanting my time. Which brings me back to feeling behind. I think I'm behind because I am not prepared. 



I've read some of the past posts on here amazed at the changes in my family life. The Oldest is no longer afraid of flying insects, Eraser Eater no longer eats erasers (but does eat napkins on occasion), and the Girl no longer finds things as well as she used to. Her room is the typical pre-teen tornado that all we girls had at her age.

I find that I have to wake up the two boys more than they have to wake me up anymore. Eraser Eater, who is now 13, sleeps far into the morning, often just before lunch on the weekends. The Oldest somehow wakes up when he smells breakfast in his dreams but blames it on the impending doom he feels on feeling he has slept the day away.

This transition is strange. Since I am on the young side for having kids my kids' age, I find that I am overlooked quite often by most. They forget that I have kids. Heck, they read so much I forget I have kids. I can take naps, I can make stuff, I can run to the store. I can even make the Oldest go to Costco with me and deal with all the heavy lifting. Mind, I still have to suffer through all the complaining. Well, it is funny, but if the young man has plenty of samples, he won't complain. So we do these things on Fridays. Fridays provide plenty of sampling.

But they argue. Arguing is the spice in my life. But not a good spice. More like chile powder dumped on my chocolate cake or chocolate frosting spread all over my roasted chicken. Duct tape only gets you so far. They rip it off and keep arguing. You can preach Jesus to them and put up posters about love, but they keep arguing. I ask the Oldest things like,
"Do you want people to like you?"

And he responds with, "I don't really think much about people."

And when they are almost sixteen you can do absolutely NOTHING that really hurts that much. Nothing. It's painful for a mom who seeks revenge. You know, when you are really frustrated in the moment and you want to get at them where it counts, where it hurts, so they learn their lesson and all you can come up with is: "That's it! Say goodbye to your gameboy!"

"It's a DS. But again, mom? Really? You took that away yesterday. You can't take it away again."

You see, when you have a handful of homeschooled, Christian nerds, there is not much to draw from in the discipline department. Since we barely watch TV, go outside, engage in social settings and we are entirely completely sheltered, what can I possibly take away? Now honey, hand me that robot you have been working on.

I have had to get creative. "You have that much energy to argue continually with your sister, you have that much energy to run on the treadmill for a few miles. Go get your shoes on and drink 32 ounces of water."

That's all I've got, people. And you know what the funny thing is? People ask, "Now does he do it?"

Yes, he does. Why? I don't know. The fear of the Lord? The fear of an extra writing assignment? Beats me.


Nothing of Substance

So I have nothing of any substance to say. It is funny how when you are happy you learn to be quiet. When misery strikes, you find you are making pains to find the humor in all the misfortune. Well, in anything, really. At least that's how I do things.

So happiness means I shut my mouth. And usually it means I stop writing. As I get older I find it harder to create complicated sentences. Well, it is hard to speak in English, actually. I can't keep my children's names straight, I can't tell them what cupboard the pasta can be found in. I can't think of the word 'cupboard.' It's very sad when you think about it. I usually just sort of point in the object-to-be found's general direction and moan some half word that I hope at least one of my kids understand. Usually the girl gets it OK. The boys are hopeless. It's actually very irritating. When I can't think of 'cupboard' and I am lingering on an unintelligible half-sentence by saying, "the..the...the...uh..uh.." they INSIST I remember what it is and tell them clearly. And there is a point when my own forgetfulness is so embarrassing that I decide in my mind that digging for the word 'cupboard' is quite useless, I'd like to stop now and so I tell the boys this. It is really of no use. What I end up having to do is what I wanted to avoid in the first place: get the stupid pasta out of the wooden rectangular hole in the wall where I keep food, myself.

So where have I been lately? I have been in various places actively trying to keep the mouth closed. I have a two-fold reason: I say stupid things and the stupid things I say don't come out intelligibly. But this way----THIS way, I can still say stupid things without opening my mouth once.


As One Wise Family Says, Temporary is the New Permanent

We are finally in the new place. There are boxes everywhere and most of it finished, just cabinets to fill and odds and ends to find a place for. It is so lovely here, I can not express it enough. The sad thing about it though is that we are without my sister in law and her family (whose house we are living in), and have to survive holidays for two years without them! There is this wonderful familiarity with the house like it is my second home, but there is also a lingering sadness that they are not here in the States. The Prof. is brimming over with glee at the ease of driving only ten minutes to work and working one day a week at home. The savings on gas alone is mind boggling.

When it rains, it pours, I tell you. Not only has my sister died in the last month, but I have moved, done little for my classes that I am teaching in now less than two weeks (scream), and our car is (again) the bane of our existence. A couple months ago we just dropped 1400 on it in some odd repair. Before that insurance covered the deer hitting it, and now we have more maintenance repairs, tires, and whatever giving us a grand total of, oh, I don't know, 1600 bucks. That is ADDED to the 1400, mind you. AND, if we don't get it repaired, it will not pass inspection next month. The joys of American living.

Did I mention that my kids are sick too? Yes, they have been using the nebulizer and going strong with a cough for well over a week now. While I was sitting among boxes setting up utilities, I was getting calls from the coroner and the apartment manager where my sister died, speckled with moans and coughs in the background reminding me to dispense medicine when I finished up.

As soon as August hits I start to hear all this back to school stuff, and I refuse this year to feel guilty that I don't start school up until the first week of September. In fact, I may not start until the third week. My kids are smart, read all the time, and we have had no summer. The excellent thing I really look forward to is that my sister in law is coming the first week for a handful of days, and we get to have them stay with us.

As we were driving yesterday to our permanently temporary new home, the Prof. said, "There are so many people in the world." I was just looking out the window at the sea of houses and thought the same thing. I said, "Hey, I was just thinking that." He grabbed my hand and squeezed it, smiling.

"Of course you both think the same things!" yelled Eraser-Eater, "the Bible says that you are one body!"



I am finding that summer is not what I imagined it would be. I planned to record a couple days a week and that is not getting done. I planned to read more and that is not getting done. What I am getting done is clearing the house up so we can sell it because we are moving about an hour north, closer to the Professor's work, which will be great. I am not complaining. It is just funny how things don't turn out to be what you thought they would. In a strange way, I sort of love that about life. You could have severely dull moments, but in reality it is never truly dull. I can see why contentment in all circumstances is essential to living the good life.

My sister-in-law has taken the kids for a couple of days (minus the Oldest). Boy is it strange. My Oldest is 14 and playing the part well. The Prof. and I waited and waited yesterday morning all morning to see if he would get up. We didn't talk about it at all, but just went about our morning packing and such, until 11:30 hit and I started to wonder: "Is he dead?" Being quite melancholy, my mind goes in those directions in a split second.

Eventually he got up at 1:00. I lost my mind temporarily and ironed for an hour because I had clothes I hadn't worn in a year because of my laziness.

Sorry for the boring post. It is almost nine and he is still going strong. I have to get me on the treadmill before I give up.


New Song

Those of you that have not heard this song already, tell me what it is about as a sort of game.

This kind of stuff is what has been sucking up my time and keeping me away from blogging and soap-making! Now, off to make soap!


At some point I will write something on here. Not that anyone is reading it! Ha ha.