Monday, December 8
One week since the start of December. One week since we've been back from our whirlwind trip to Washington D.C. Multiple weeks since our household has been well. Sickness upon sickness, mostly of the garden-variety where it's not dire or emergent, but definitely disruptive to the daily routine. Weeks of to-dos piling up-- from work, from holidays, from celebrations, from everyday expectations. Piling up, but growing too fast for this sick girl to chip away at the pile with any kind of result. It's draining. It's discouraging. I'm tired. I'm so off-center it's not even funny. I want to cry. doesn't help that I had an extra-long bout of PMS this time. Just the Daylight Savings shift and then the harried, hustled, mad mad mad pace of November-into-December and the gloomy, early dark, and the too-much-to-do, never-enough-money, never-enough-time....
It's been a rough start to December, to say the least. With all that other stuff starting it off, it has just been COMPOUNDED by this relentless lack of health in the house. It's hard to feel jolly when someone is coughing and someone else is crying and everyone's nerves are fraying.
It's classic burnout, folks, and everyone in this house is feeling some form of it-- even the littlest guy, who is fussier than usual... probably from his too-frequent wakings from coughs, and his constantly running nose and light feverishness.
We need a break, ya'll.
I need SOMETHING.
I've been sleeping in the guest room. This is a novelty. I am doing it to distance myself from Joe's snarfly snuffling. I am doing it to protect him from my back-sleep snoring and my tossing. I am doing it to be close to the kids as they wake, multiple times a night, since my couch-back-sleeping kept me too far to help them and help Joe.
And since starting to sleep there, there's been this really interesting shift in myself. See, last year, my Christmas gift from Joe was 24 hours in a nice hotel here in town, all alone. Just me. My only Christmas wish. It was HEAVEN. I napped. I watched HGTV. I napped again. I grabbed some greasy food and brought it back to eat in bed. I went to bed when I was sleepy and woke when I was refreshed. I dashed out to catch a movie. I felt..... PEACE.
And this would be my only Christmas wish this year, too-- a reprise--- except I just don't think we can spare the money. It's pretty silly, when you think of it, to spend $100+ on a bed in the same town as your regular bed... just to be alone. So maybe next year. Maybe I'll save up, and ask Joe to take a day off for me again.
But meanwhile, there's this guest room that has been in our house the whole time. When I was setting it up, my ultimate goal was to create a peaceful space. I went with all white bedding. Kept the all-white walls. Kept the tchotchkes to a minimum. Made it feel clean and serene. And not ONCE did I think about sleeping myself in that room. But here we are, just this past week. And I am finding that when I retire to that room, for a nap while the kids nap, or at night when the whole house is asleep, I can pretend it's a hotel room. White, fresh bedding. Extra pillows. Unfamiliar (for the most part) room. Quiet. Different. Peaceful. And I love it.
I mean, I'm not going to sleep there forever. I miss Joe. And someday soon, fingers crossed, he won't be a snuffly sleeper, and I won't need to be on my back (my neck flared up again, and back sleeping is the only thing that helps it immediately). And we can be cozy in our own bed together again.
But for now, I'm finding an unexpected solace in my "hotel room" in my own house, and I'm slowly coming out of the malaise and ennui of the last few weeks. Managing small moves towards the December I planned on having. I feel, for the first time in days, optimistic about these coming weeks. It helps that I finally took myself (and Lucy) to the doctor and got some validation and medication. That feels hopeful, too.
So. In light of this small bit of peace I'm clutching onto, I took a minute to read some of my favorite inspirational essays, from Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, because I remembered she writes about being under the weather, and about burnout... And I read those ones, too, but this one, copied below, was the one I needed today, to round out my corner-turning.
I hope if any of you are feeling any kind of despondence, hopelessness, unsettlement, worry, or just discomfort, that these words can help you a little like they do for me. If nothing else, to remind you you're not alone. And all shall be well. It WILL.
"Rx For Harried Hearts and Frazzled Minds"
by Sarah Ban Breathnach,. Simple Abundance, November 26
"Some nights waves of weariness beat against out brains, crash against our hearts, wash over our bodies, threatening to erode our best defenses like sand dunes upon the shore. The water is cold, dark, and deep....Nothing seems to hold back the tide. We need someone to throw us a line, to rescue us from drowning in disappointment.
When these nights come and I find I'm stranded alone on the beach of faltering belief, I have found refuge in a very centering and comforting prayer by Dame Julian of Norwich, a thirteenth-century English mystic:
All shall be well,
And all shall be well,
And all manner of things shall be well.
This simple affirmation of faith is especially comforting because it seems to console the dark submerged sadnesses of the inexplicable, the unexpressed, the unresolved, the unfair and the undeniable that stalk my soul after I close my eyes. I'll say the prayer over and over again softly, under my breath like a mantra, not trying to understand the meaning of the words because I can't. Some mysteries are beyond our comprehension. Some mysteries we will never solve. Never know.
So instead of trying to make sense of it all, I'll simply let the Spirit of the words soothe my frazzled mind and harried heart until sleep comes. Sometimes we can't make sense of it. Sometimes none of it makes sense. Sometimes it just is. But if we can hold on long enough for this night to give way to another day, all shall be well, even if it's different from what we had expected. Even if it's different from what we had hoped for and believed with all out hearts would happen.
All shall be well,
And all shall be well,
And all manner of things shall be well."
(Photo of our tree from last night. Somehow, even in the middle of a hard hard week, we managed this. And I am very proud of that fact. The tree is another reason for my newfound hope.)
Posted by Emily S. at 12:12 AM