Leaning In

“Regardless of your personal situation, regardless of your heartaches and pains, remember that it can always be worse.

We are all blessed.  We just don’t always see it.  But, if you quiet yourself, if you look around you, if you listen to the whisperings of your heart, you’ll hear it.  You’ll hear the sounds of God working in your life.  You’ll see Him around you.  You’ll see your own blessings.”

Little did I know that these words–my words–would be a challenge once written.

As I clicked “publish” on the above post one week ago today, my phone rang. And within one minute, my world changed.  Yet again.

My dad was calling with bad news…my grandmother died very unexpectedly.

So, here’s a quick recap of 2013 so far:

I’m not one for superstitions, but I’m starting to think that there may be some truth to the number 13 being unlucky.  At this point, if I’m still standing in June, I think we’re doing good, don’t you?

I had just written about finding blessings in a world full of heartache and pain, and now I felt as if I was being challenged to follow my own advice.  I sat in silence for a moment, letting this loss sink in.  Memories and thoughts of my grandmother flooded my mind and heart, bringing an immense sadness.  I waited for anger.  There was none.  I waited for self-pity–after all, how could this happen to me?  I just finished IV treatments!  There was no self-pity.  I waited for cynicism.  There was none.  I waited for feelings of “that’s not fair!”  That never came either.

All that came was sorrow and loss.

My own feelings puzzled me.  It seemed like I should be angry.  Why won’t God just give me a break this year?!?  Why is it one thing after another?  Why can’t I just have one really good day?!?  I had just finished IV treatment a few hours earlier; I had just taken out the IV.  Why couldn’t I have just enjoyed being MS symptom free for a little while?  These are thoughts I would’ve normally had.  But instead, I had a calm about a very chaotic situation…and that confused me.  I struggled to find the source of the calm.  Good Lord, I’ve actually flipped my lid.  I’m calm because I’ve actually lost my mind. 

And then it hit me.  I wasn’t losing my mind.  In actuality, it was the exact opposite.  I had an unbelievable moment of clarity.  It didn’t matter why my grandmother was gone.  It didn’t matter that this year has been horrendous.  It was completely irrelevant.  The fact of the matter is that bad things happen every day.

Maybe I’ve matured.  Maybe I’ve hardened.  Maybe I’ve gained wisdom.  Maybe I’ve just gotten used to crappy things happening.

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s something more.  Continue reading

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Chaos, Cats, and Confusion…Oh My!

It was a rough night.  It was one of those “I can’t take it anymore” nights.  One of those “Jesus, help me” nights.  One of those exhausting, emotional,  overloading nights.  Like I said, it was rough.

The Older Boy has a tendency to obsess over things.  He’s always done this.  Whether it was an upcoming trip to Grandma’s or a new toy, he can’t focus on anything else if he’s excited about something.  It could drive anyone insane.  For example, if we’re going bowling on Saturday, and I tell John Edward about it on Thursday, he will ask repeatedly when we’re going.  He understands the days of the week, and I can even write it on a calendar as a visual for him, but it won’t matter.  “Mom, we go bowling?” will be his mantra until we are in the bowling alley parking lot.  It can wear on your patience, trust me.  We’ve learned over the years to not tell him if we’re doing something exciting until we are on our way there.

He also does this with new things.  The other day, he bought a new Wii game with his own money.  Before we even checked out, he was asking, “We go home now?  I play ‘da Wii?”  We heard this about 15 more times on the way home, which is only about 12 miles from the store.

So, I should have known better when we decided to get a new cat.

Actually, a new kitten.

Actually, 2 new kittens.

I’m an idiot.

Regardless, we now have 2 new family members in feline form.  Of course, The Older Boy is obsessed with them.  He is constantly wanting to hold them, play with them, follow them, take pictures of them, etc, etc.  Those poor cats have no privacy when John Edward’s home.  I understand that he’s excited about our new pets.  They are super cute.  They are hilarious.  They are warm and cuddly.  I get it.

But he goes too far.  They are all he thinks about.  It’s unhealthy.

I’m terrified he’ll end up like this: Continue reading