Wednesday, May 09, 2012
Best Chair Ever
I'm having a hard enough time emotionally dealing with it, it's not likely I'll ever discuss some of these challenges.
I'm in a situation now that once plunged me into a severe depression some 1,825 days ago, forever changing my ability to either trust or to begin forgiveness, a process I'm still learning, well the axis on which my weird Planet Mama revolves has shifted so dramatically and suddenly at times, the lurches sending me careening elsewhere, absolutely nothing to hold on to, loosing my footing, eventually landing in a thud somewhere I never wanted to be under any circumstances.
I've cried so hard sometimes that I've been afraid my eyeballs would explode, the swelling not going down for days. Back then my own pastor was contacting Sarah and Yolie, broaching them about approaching me regarding what was going on, offering therapy for me..which I was already participating in, Thank God.
Me yelling my indignation at the sky above after I've splattered impressively, a thousand pieces of who I used to be scattered on the ground. Ouch. Crying outside on the porch so my kids wouldn't see and be even more fretful.
Fortunately, 30 years ago this August, during the last week of the month, when I hardly had even a quarter to my name, I fortuitously spent the last one on a newspaper which contained an ad for an event that forever changed my life for the better.
I was sitting in that wicker barrel chair, pictured here, when I read it and made a decision I'm forever grateful for, as I happily headed off to a gospel rock concert in a Butler Building turned church that changed my life. Flat out strengthened me in ways that still blow me away. I also then had no clue how much inner strength I was fixing to need.
I was a seriously goofy, grinning, naive bookworm fool.
Thirty years after I decided on personal salvation, I still treasure that dadgum chair, but the other point is that I just don't go out and buy new stuff. It's still a perfectly good chair.
And that same then giddy heart I gave over that night? Honey, it's since been splattered to a pulp, beaten and battered, bruised and shattered. I exaggerate not.
Life isn't about getting what I want, I'd wager it's more about becoming what God wanted me to be, less self-obsessed, more about a process of forever learning the hard way, but somehow then being able to guide some 39 others. Someone this hard-headed needed all those challenges.
What do I want? Nothing, but peace and a normal life.
I once had a dream about 39 college graduates, then I could write a book like the dad of Tiger Woods had done, about building champions, but, hey, we all know how that turned out, both for TW and for myself.
What really happened is I became more relate-able, more compassionate and forgiving, a very changed human being after enduring so much.
I lowered my expectations a great deal, I learned about trauma, heck I experienced severe first-hand trauma and secondary trauma, I didn't drown, although I certainly wallowed in it, I cried and carried on, I failed, I stumbled, I made mistakes, succeeded too at times, redefined success, and I kept trying to pick up the pieces and go on.
I still have a long, long way to go, but with the majority of my children grown, I'm staggered at the amount of work still to be done, how much time and attention is still needed by them, how I'm pulling back to allow them to grow and not be nagged by me, yet trying to find that area in which I'm neither a nag nor an enabler, just an emotional source of support.
I didn't expect that they'd all need so much financial help, and I'm careful about that, helping only when I know it won't go to drugs, drinking, or bad choices, but even helping them out with groceries can be a strain on someone already feeding a ton of folks each day. I'm doing what I can.
That several kids are in facilities right now doesn't make me feel as if I've given up. I know they desperately need to be there. I'm not capable of healing, or barely even managing severe mental health diagnoses, and I must keep the other children safe. That one is now not committing crimes is good enough for me, that the other is still raging, demonstrating her need for heavy duty external controls, well thank you Lord for opening those doors.
Yet lately I've been spending time with an older one who spent five years in various facilities, who butted her head up against the law, who railed at life, yet has impressed me mightily over the last several years with her abilities to navigate the system as she strives forward, still needing and seeking help.
I'd messaged her photo to Yolie who'd responded, "She sure looks happy," and she does. Her life's always gonna be difficult, yet she's OK, and what more could we ask?
I have several who've grieved me deeply, but are now finally taking pretty decent steps forward. I'm right easy to impress. "Make me proud," I've told all 39 for years and years, and my level of proud can be achieved easily. Heck, I'm proud if a couple of 'em just stay outta jail. I express my pride, watch them go two steps in the right direction, then self medicate, and spiral three steps back, pick themselves up and keep on trying like the Bozo doll they've seen me be for so long, knocked down and out, but dragging myself back up.
I gotta keep my eyes forward, hoping and hopeful, grateful for the little things like our darling school bus driver returning to the school from the bus barn after getting a call that Scotty'd left his cleats on the bus. Honey, you can't buy support like that.