I got off work early after working 500 years of overtime last week and when I stepped outside found that it was a beautiful day. One of those that mocks your bad mood or your real pain or the real pain that’s given you a bad mood. The only thing to do is to roll the windows down and feel the wind on your overwrought head.
We’re moving our stuff out of our weird little apartment into three places, holding places until further notice, while working, working on the house, and generally working on surviving.
Periodically I find that the humbled, open-hearted gratitude I felt when I couldn’t do anything for myself yesterday has morphed overnight into despair that I can’t do anything for myself, that I still can’t, that I won’t ever.
I drove home in somebody else’s car, ate somebody else’s food, fell asleep on somebody else’s couch with somebody else’s hot steaming coffee cup in my [very own] hand. My husband wiggled the cup out of my hand and whispered something romantic like “Don’t burn your face off.”
Some days, I’d like to accidentally drop the budget in the toilet and flush it eight times. Say, to heck with it. Let’s get milkshakes. But sooner or later your conscience or your husband pulls you off to the side and says, “Dude. We have no money.”
“No” doesn’t actually mean no, but it’s close enough to no to rule out milkshakes, road trips, gifts, beef, and relaxing.
So we budget and pray and work and drug the tension out of our shoulders. If I had had a blog last year, you would not have read it.
That I’m saying anything at all is probably an improvement, although I’m sorry I’ve darkened your life by telling you. People like to say that the best things in life are free. It’s true. I have a rich life. I’ll get to that, but this is hard, and some days I feel the need to say so. It’s better than curling up in your weird little apartment in hysterics with Ramen on the stove too ashamed to say you have a need. Based on a true story.
What pushed me over the edge, out of introspection into the blinding light of blogging, wasn’t the house or wanting to practice my writing on you or discovering that my workplace had wireless internet. It was being soul-tired of perusing blogs dedicated to pursuing the good things in life, and hoping to find some inspiration for treasuring life no matter what, and finding that the good things cost more than I make in two months. Enrich your marriage by visiting African orphanages, by spending two weeks in the Caribbean, by skiing, by hang gliding, by eating milkshakes. I know we’re all the same with all the same soul problems, but I tired of life- and marital advice that assumed that you could pay your bills.
Things are getting better. Yesterday I had a vanilla latte and spent my lunch break reading C.S. Lewis with the sun on my face. Yesterday my husband rubbed the knots out of my shoulders so I could sleep. Yesterday a little girl climbed onto my knee and stared me in the eye with a sneaky grin on her lips, put her little hands on my face and kissed me on the nose.
I hope you wake up again to real, free, honest-to-goodness, good things today. Mostly I hope you get kissed on the nose.