Friday, July 11, 2014
Despite my mother's efforts to convince me that "all things in moderation" is a suitable life motto, I'm extreme. I've been known to go whole decades without eating carbohydrates. I abstain or drink a whole bottle of wine. I sit on my ass or work out for nine hours a week. I gave birth to SEVEN children. It's who I am.
I used to post daily updates on Facebook. I tried to stick with uplifting quotes, my own or culled from the internet, that would inspire others to live their best life now and all that jazz. Mostly I was trying to keep myself steady, to prevent the inevitable drifting to darkness common to girls like me (i.e. extreme writers who drink, eat and starve too much.) Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Apparently, based on feedback I've received while waiting in line in the grocery store, others out there find me inspiring. "I love your posts! Your family is so great!" Yay! I suppose that's something.
Meanwhile I'm left here to be extreme all by myself. When I don't feel up to writing something that would look great on a cat poster (nod to The Lego Movie here) I say nothing. But today I'm feeling edgy and I'm just going to spill it. Doesn't life just suck sometimes? I mean, really, really suck?
I am absolutely fully aware that I am blessed, people. I have a great husband and unbelievably amazing children and grandchildren. I have a cute little dog and an orange cat. I have a job that sounds really good on paper, and several friends who would pretty much do anything for me. But life is still so hard sometimes, and God is silent.
I wonder if God is like me: extreme. Is He an "all or nothing" Guy? Does he show up with plagues and floods and resurrections, but stay quiet on any given Tuesday, when we're wondering how the hell we will make it to the next payday with a quarter tank of gas and a negative bank account balance?
Seriously, God. I mean, I know you love me, and I am really grateful for the gifts you've given me. But if you want these kids to go to Catholic school, and eat every single day, I need cash. I need my husband to sell some freaking windows. I need a break, for crying out loud.
Sometimes my older kids talk about "when we were rich," which Aaron and I laugh about and refer to as "when we had lots of credit." It's true that to them, we seemed rich. We went out to dinner and took a couple vacations. We paid for (portions of) three weddings. We had nice cars and they never knew about what it all cost. Then the job losses came, then the under-employment, the car repos, the bankruptcy, the mom working and starting a business and saying EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALL RIGHT. I'm saying it over and over now, like a mantra, EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALL RIGHT and it is and it isn't. We have enough to eat and a roof over our heads and the children are healthy. EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALL RIGHT.
Then I sit down and do something extreme, and write a crazy blog post like this one that I just might share on the internet, and I feel ridiculous. It is difficult to be extreme, even though it is genuine and what I arrive at naturally. It is hard to be very quiet and very loud; to be oh so positive or so painfully negative. I do wish I could find that moderation that some embrace.
Meanwhile back in crazy Cathyland, I'm extremely hopeful, desperate, grateful and needy. As a person of faith I know that my feelings are not where it's at. I can feel scared and alone and more than a bit concerned about lots of things, and that doesn't mean I give up. It means, once again, that I drag myself up from this dark place and look directly into the sun. It means that I go outside and clean the garage, and do a load of laundry, and enjoy this beautiful day, thankful that I am on vacation this week from a job that gives me a paid vacation. It means I stop wondering how it's all going to turn out, and just breathe.
Yesterday I went to the zoo. We went to the butterfly house, and of course I thought of Celeste right away. Gigi and I were looking up at all the butterflies, and she put out her chubby little finger and said "here, butterfly!" A small group gathered around us, excitedly pointing out that one was on my shoulder. It looked ordinary on the outside - brown, camouflaged with spots that looked like eyes. The exterior was dull, but then it opened its wings. The interior was extreme: a glorious celestial blue.
I don't know why that seems important, but it is. EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALL RIGHT.