Wow, I was just moved to respond to a fellow blogger's post. It was heavy and weary, but there is much light all around. When we feel in a dark place, let us remember to always turn and face the light.
Hello there. How are you all enjoying a great weekend so far?
I got the day off, which was splendid, but the morning didn't seem to turn out so fun. It has been a great year for me, and I am determined to keep it that way. Thus, a few bad days or one lousy morning shan't ruin my 2010.
On Wednesday night I was in bed by 20.00h; yes, 8 o'clock pm. I slept for almost ten hours and woke up refreshed and glad to be alive. The next night, last night, I lay down around 11pm and woke up later than usual, but this time I felt sluggish... physically and my mood was the same. I was picky at breakfast and had a few slices of freshly cut cucumber, carrots, pineapples and some chocolate (yep, quite a combination there). This was topped off with potent local West African herbs which I drank in the form of tea. Then I lazed around, getting work done online while half-heartedly watching American movies in French - The Postman with Kevin Costner and one with Jenny Lopez and then The Perfect Stranger.
I was lonely. I am lonely. There are some things that I never realized in life before. Like, how you could love someone and yet leave them... thinking of divorce specifically. How you could be amongst so many and still feel lonely - in my case, right here and right now I am both alone in the apartment and lonely. Like having so many dreams as a child and growing up not accomplishing them. Like having a great family but life not turning out so well. Or others from far less ideal homes succeeding at every turn. Like someone trying to quit smoking but just can't. Like working so hard for something which comes too easily to most people while remaining elusive to you. There's a lot I never realized or understood, and still can't figure out for the life of me. Like why God created hormones.
I had a hormone attack this morning. Yes, that time of the month in the female cycle. I know it doesn't bother many women, but it gets me from time to time. The irritability, volatile mood swings, sadness, wistfulness, aloofness... sometimes I wish there were pills to make it go away. For some women it gets milder after they have children, I think. Oh, I don't know. I later had some wine. It tasted good. It might not be the best or the fanciest as far as wines go, but it felt good going down. I decided to run a bath. To do so had been on my mind for the past couple of days.
I have a lovely bathroom and will be changing apartments next month (sigh). I used to wonder what the big deal was in taking a bath. People talked about it like it was a big deal. I have not taken a bath in years, probably not since high school. At that particular boarding school, we had a bath schedule. Pupils were to wash everyday and have a bath every 2 days. I don't think we had showers there (hence the strip-down washes). I've usually lived in houses with bathtubs but guess I just never took a bath. Anyway, an hour or so ago I ran a hot bath. Then I set up my laptop music collection - 1980s U.K. Those were my hey days... I have fond memories of that era. I covered my face in an all-natural avocado mask (I mashed the avocados myself and keep it refrigerated). Then I had a couple of cold tea bags for my eyes. All was ready and I climbed in.
Wow. I felt aglow. The warm water caressed me, body, mind, soul & spirit. Soothing. The warm undulating water worked its magic. The only thing missing were my scented candles back home in the States. My darling husband had bought me a nice pomegranate one. The music took me to another place and time. I was floating and lightweight. Nevertheless, after a short time I was ready to climb out. So typically me, I could not even stay in for 20 minutes. In my defense, I can say that after years of 10-minute showers, it will take practice to learn the art of relaxation and enjoying a good 20-minute soak. Perhaps the shower defines me more than I had realized: a get up and go sort of person; brusque in a way; never stopping to enjoy the moment.
Thank God for 2010 which is changing me. Now I can stop and smell flowers/roses (see my earlier post); watch birds; swing on a swing; and now I can also take the time to enjoy a bath. When ever did I turn into that hurried up-tight little woman that I became? Gosh. I promise myself today that life can only get better. It took a phone call from my husband to make me realize that I was as tight as a steel rod (ugh) and ready to snap. I hate to admit that I did snap ... at him. This was an emergency - I had to de-stress. That's when the bath happened. Now I feel less taut and strung out. The hormones might take several days to settle but I feel soft and pampered (chuckle). God is good. Life is good. And my husband is a good man.
Sometimes it hurts so bad and no one seems to care. It is not their fault and I don't blame them either. Friends and family... they've all got their own problems and can't always cry with you. Many-a-time they don't even hear you. Perhaps they find you complaining too much. On my part, I've always seen myself as quite sensitive to the pain of others. I might not know what to say to them and consequently I say nothing often, but deep inside I feel for them and I feel their pain.
One of our dogs ran away. Sailor. My husband told me the news only a couple of hours before I got on a plane to head home. I lost it emotionally and I bawled and cried for ages, crumpled on my bathroom floor until I had no tears left. My flatmate came in and tried to console me. I heard her words of compassion and wisdom and appreciated her godly counsel. She is like a younger sister to me, and very kind. Then I began shutting down. I got, showered, dressed and left for the airport.
Many hours, planes, airports, continents and time zones later... I landed at Jacksonville International airport and waited for my husband to pick me up. He was late. My emotions were stifled. I prayed for God to bring Sailor home. Then more bad news. I spent the first 3 days of my vacation in a hotel because our home had plumbing problems (which never got fixed until I left). When I was finally allowed to go home, I found some more tears and wept. The house was a mess... like a whirlwind had visited. Whenever I was alone I sobbed, day and night. I took long walks along paths that I had taken when I took Sailor and his sister, Sasha, on walks last year. I sighted him once; jumped out the car and tried to run across the neighbour's yard to catch him but he was gone. I screamed his name in anguish, jumped back into the car and my friend drove around to where he had been. No sign of him. Not a trace. Some days later she saw him on the road to her children's school. I will always wonder why he ran away. Maybe if I had been home, he'd still be there. Maybe I should have listened to my heart and paid someone to watch him and love him and feed him while I was gone. I thought to call the police, animal shelter, put up posters of 'lost dog - please call this number if you find him'... but I was numb. Truly, my emotions were paralyzed and I could do nothing. I found myself disconnecting from my life.
Sasha hadn't run away. I had begged my husband to have her spayed (as advised by a vet) and even sent a cheque to cover the bill. My husband didn't do it. I arrived to see Sasha, barely a year old, pregnant. On Easter morning, I believe, she gave birth to 5 pups. I was amazed at the great sadness that overcame me. Only a year old, and now a mother. I said I'd take photographs of her babies but I never did. The numbness grew deeper and I could barely get myself to take out her food and water. I was intrigued that she remembered me after my 6-month absence and she longed for my time. She would roll over for a stomach rub in her familiar manner and I missed her even though she was right there. I suppose I missed her because I would leave again soon and there was nothing I could do for her. I had already been told that she would be given away and I had nothing to say. After all, I had never wanted dogs and when they were forced upon me, I loved and cared for them as best as I could under the prevailing circumstances at the time. I grew attached to them. Then I left them to work overseas. And now... on my way to the airport to catch my flights back to DRC, I made a final quietly desperate plea. I asked my husband to please leave Sasha with my neighbour and friend after he gave the puppies away. She was still a puppy herself. The reply to my request was a distracted half-hearted 'okay' while concentrating on the cell phone held up to his left ear. I surrendered to God... Sasha, her pups, Sailor (wherever he was), my life, my love, my future and my husband.
It was a lot for me to handle. It was a difficult vacation. I hurt so bad but no one even noticed. No one even cared. My sister felt my pain over Sailor and I was grateful. A good friend felt my pain over the house and I was grateful. My mom felt my pain... she always does and somehow always knows even when I don't tell her what is going on. I can't cry anymore. I've actually been hurting for years. I've cried since 2005 over one thing or another... crises, tragedies, disasters, burdens and weights all going on in my 'little' life. How much more can I take? I feel like someone who has been underwater for a very long time and just managed to get to the surface.
Gulp. Gasp. Breathing hard and heavy. A hand pulls me out of the water gently and carries me ashore. I am laid on the sand and my head placed in someone's lap as he strokes my hair, my head and temples. Soothing. Peaceful. Hopeful. Alas, I remember the kind words a friend shared with me... God's sweet peace is my weapon. Amen. Yes it is and I boldly declare today that, in spite of that 3 week vacation home, I have not lost my sweet godly peace. I am happy and so I have been every day this year. 2010 is an awesome year for all of us. Believe it and get to living.