"So Mama," Max asked today, "when you and Daddy die, who is going to take care of us? I mean, like who is going to fix me breakfast?"
This morning I invited Dawson and Max to join me for my workout. It was Kenpo day on the P90X plan and it involves a lot of punching and kicking which I thought they'd enjoy.
Their eyes lit up when I asked and they quickly lined up in front of the TV. This day's routine starts out with some serious stretching which made them quickly doubt their choice.
That is until they heard the following instruction, "Try to keep both butt cheeks on the floor."
You can imagine the giggling that ensued. "I though you said there was no such thing as butt cheeks," laughed Max, who had been reprimanded for saying that on more than one occasion.
"When you're exercising it's only okay if the instructor says it," I tried desperately to reason.
At that very moment, the instructor said the dreaded words again. Cue more laughing and giggles.
"Okay guys be quiet so we can hear what he's saying," I pleaded trying to get back into the routine. Unfortunately, they stopped laughing long enough to hear butt cheeks one last time.
By this time we were all laughing and nobody's butt cheeks were touching the floor. Our abs however, we're getting a really good work out.
Lately the posting has been spotty. Every time I hit the publish button I feel a sense of relief. It feels good to be back. I should visit my old friend more often. Writing is so very cathartic for me.
I'm weird like that.
However, life moves at a pace that makes sitting down to write feel like a luxury (kind of like sitting down to lunch which I do on the rare occasions I go out) rather than a necessity. It gets put at the end of the long "to do" lists and by the time I make it to the end, there's no more doing left in me.
Something occurred to me tonight though that made me make the sacrifice of losing sleep in order to write. We watched The Passion of the Christ. Since the movie came out, we've made viewing it part of our Lenten tradition. If you live under a rock and haven't seen it, do. That being said, I totally get why some people can't. It is the hardest movie I've ever loved to watch (does that make sense?).
Over time, we have "prettied up" the Passion a bit. We've made it less gory, less gruesome, less hard to swallow by tying it up in a neat little package of the images of the Stations of the Cross and the Crucifixes that hang in Catholic churches. Some churches don't even use the Crucifix because it is so very horrid. I get that too.
This movie doesn't pretty up one single moment. It is appalling and disgusting and terrible in its portrayal of Jesus' suffering and death. It is, I think, the closest thing out there to the real deal. It's gut wrenching just like it should be. It gives Good Friday and whole new meaning.
For all of those reasons, it is also a beautiful film. It moves me...every time.
Tonight though, there was one line that echoed in my mind long after the credits rolled.
I had planned on doing a big catch up here today. I have yet to write about Max's 5th birthday, Aiden's play, the new pope and a plethora of other events.
In fact, I had just settled into my writing position when Dawson came running in with panicked look on his face, "Mama! You need to come quick! Aiden hit his head with a brick and it's bleeding!"
In the milliseconds that followed that announcement I found myself wondering why on earth my son thought it would be a good idea to hit himself in the head with a brick. These kinds of "emergencies" happen around here all the time and nine times out of ten they turn out to be absolutely nothing. Boys are tough but they need people to know how tough they are so they send a messenger to make sure you know what they've been through.
And yet, as these thoughts were bouncing around in my head, I found that I had involuntarily gotten up to follow Dawson. There was something about his wide-eyed look that made me think there may indeed be something to his shouting. About the time I got near the front door, a neighbor kid came running through my back door to tell me Aiden was crying. Neighbor kid number two was waiting on my front porch as Dawson sped past him. "Aiden is bleeding everywhere and won't stop crying," he alerted.
I was on the driveway by the time his statement registered. I knew something was really wrong. I was scanning the yard for him when I saw him hobbling towards me covered in blood from head to toe. "It's bleeding!" he wailed. There was so much blood I had no idea where it was coming from.
"I know you're hurt bud, but you have to tell me what happened so I can help you."
He no sooner got out the part about hitting his head when I noticed that the blood that covered his face, shirt, arms, shorts, legs and shoes was indeed pouring out of his head. It looked as if he had a bubbling fountain oozing out of a large area near his forehead.
Having grown up with an ER nurse as a mother, I knew that stopping the bleeding was more important that checking out the injury so I removed his already blood soaked shirt and pressed it hard against his head.
Once the shirt was in place, I quickly gave him a once over to see if blood was coming from anywhere else. "Does it hurt anywhere besides your head?" I asked as I noticed the chip on his permanent front tooth.
I've been writing since elementary school. It's how I process. Before the
world of blogs, I wrote in nice journals made out of real paper. No one ever
read them but me. I still have them. I hope one day, when I'm long gone, my
kids will read them and get a clearer vision of who I really am.
Now that I'm journaling online, I sometimes hesitate to show my true colors. When there's an audience, things change.
Sometimes though, I feel like keeping it real might help you to know you're not alone in your struggles. When I learn from my mistakes, I want to tell you so you don't make them in the first place.
What I wrote on Monday was very real and raw. I had to get it out and this was the best place for that. I got it out, felt better, and went on with my life. Only, I got busy and wrote nothing else, which may have left you wondering.
None of this occurred to me until my mom called today to see if she could stop by. My mom lives about a mile from my house and she's in and out of it a lot. I can't remember many, if any, times she called and asked if she could just stop by for no reason. I hung up the phone and wondered what terrible or wonderful news she must need to tell me in person.
When she came in and we sat down, she merely looked at me with eyes that only a mother can have and simply asked, "What's going on?"
In those three words I knew exactly what had happened. She had read my blog, worried about me and came to see if I was ok. Isn't that amazing?! In case you don't know her, my mom is a saint.
Truly that's all it took. Her actions and those three words and I burst into tears and really let it all out. She sat with me and listened to me. She gave me wisdom and prayed for me. She made me feel loved and cared for and ever so grateful that she's my mom.
I told her I was okay. Of course, doing that while crying is hardly convincing but my mom knows me and understands that tears are just a part of the healing, hurting, celebrating, mourning and almost every other emotional process for me.
What can I say? I cry.
But I want you to believe that I am okay. I believe everything I wrote. I'm okay because I have faith that God has a plan.
I haven't yet decided how to write about what I'm struggling through and because it involves someone else, I'm not sure I will. But what I want you to walk away with is that my life is not perfect.
Whew. It feels good to get that off my chest...as if you didn't know.
Life's not perfect for anyone, but I firmly believe it's how you choose to deal with its imperfections that makes us who we are. This is not the first struggle I've been through and it won't be the last.
I will live through this for as long as is needed. God will give me grace to deal with it when I need it. I will do this with joy because God is allowing me to grow.
So we’re good now right?
I’m okay. I am better than okay. I’m grateful, blessed and looking towards the future.
Today was a pretty good day. I finished six loads of laundry, started a new exercise program, had lunch with a friend I am trying to get back to the Catholic Church and found out one of our Glory Run sponsors is going to double his sponsorship this year. Wow!
And then there was a span of two hours that were pure torture.
I have been struggling with something for a long time. It's been so long I can't put a finger on when it began. It is not an occasional hard thing. No, this one is actual suffering...of the long-term variety.
I have been able to deal with it up to this point because I have talked myself into thinking, "This too shall pass," except it hasn't. It is not a weekly suffering or even daily hardship. It is an almost every moment of every single day have to deal with it kind of thing. It is not passing. It is sticking and becoming stickier all the time.
Today something happened which slapped me in the face with the fact that this suffering may not pass. This one, well, it might be here for the long haul. I guess it was more than a slap in the face.
It was a punch in the gut and it took - my - breath - away.
There was a moment at the end of those two hours when I lost all the hope I had been clinging to. The light at the end of the tunnel went out and darkness surrounded me.
Apparently, I do not suffer well.
When the light went out, the doubt crept in. How can I live like this? Is this what my life is going to look like from now on? Will this never change? What am I going to do? How can I ever fix this?
Then, right before the tears came, I fell to my knees and prayed. It was short. I was in a room by myself. I don't know if I even prayed words. All I did was get before God.
Here's a funny thing to say - sometimes I wish my faith were a little weaker.
Goodness knows I don't mean that at all, but sometimes...I feel that. If that were the case, if my faith were smaller, I could get mad at God. I could wallow in my fear and doubt and hopelessness. Somehow, I think that would make me feel better.
But that's not the case for me. In fact, I told my friend that at lunch today. "I have no excuse not to love my faith. I have no reason to doubt. I've been given way too many gifts for that," were the words that came out in my invitation for this person to come back to the faith.
Except they were much more than words. They are my heart and soul.
And so, before I could wallow in my woe is me way, I almost involuntarily fell to my knees instead. You know what happened? That feeling left me...immediately.
"Why?" you might ask. Nothing about my situation changed. The suffering had not been removed. There was no lightning or burning bush or words written on the wall (although, Lord, I've kind of been waiting my whole life for the writing on the wall thing, so if You see fit to do that in this situation, I would be very, VERY grateful). Instead there was peace.
Peace because I know God loves me. I know He won't ever give me more than I can handle. I know He has a reason for everything. I know that at the very moment He wishes to, He can change all of this and take this suffering away.
That, ladies and gentlemen is why He is God and I am not. If I were God, I would give myself a very easy life and end up and very wimpy believer. Wouldn't you do the same? Seriously, I'd like to see a show of hands for every one who wishes suffering upon themselves.
Cue crickets chirping.
I'd like to think I'd be willing to die for my faith but if given the option, I'll choose dying peacefully in my sleep right after going to confession, mass and saying the Rosary thank you very much.
Suffering is not fun. I'm guessing dying on the Cross wasn't either, but look what that did. I am a big believer in redemptive suffering. I believe there is a purpose for suffering and if handled in the right way, it can do so much more for so many.
It is, after all, the season of Lent...and Lent, well, that's about suffering and sacrifice.
But you know what follows Lent?