September 8, 2016
Everything hit me at once. Everything. And September was a mysterious blur with me being rolled over and over again by one wave after another.
I love the waves. I’m a beach girl or at least, trying to be. I could watch them, play in them for hours. There’s nothing quite as fun for me as holding on to my boogie board while a wave drives me gently, but quickly to the shore. Whenever this happens, I giggle like a little girl, loving it. I love the waves.
But, these weren’t the waves that hit me in September (thought I did get to ride those, too).
I was pummeled by the rough, unforgiving, hard-hitting types - so strong and so heavy that I was held under. Drowning.
By the first week of September, the mysteries of the scary new schools were solved. Ethan and Abby were fine, mostly, and getting settled. Joe was doing great at work. All was well.
That left me. Me. By myself all day for the first time since… ever.
The first wave was disbelief - I still couldn’t believe what we’d done. What had we done? The long list of things we’d given up ran in loops in my head. And the idea of getting any of it back in this strange, new place just felt impossible.
The second wave was what was missing - What once filled my life was now gone. All at once. And it was difficult coming to terms with the fact that I wasn’t that person any longer. I wasn’t needed. I felt as useful as a garden weed, plucked and drying in the hot sun.
The third wave was loneliness. I couldn’t believe how lonely I was! Me - the introverted homebody! Me - the one who gets too uptight about being social to ever fully enjoy it. I missed Ethan - the strange new house felt even stranger and emptier without him. I missed my buds. I missed everyday contact with people. And even when Joe and Abby were home, I still felt lonely because I had nothing to tell them. No news. No funny preschooler stories. No nothing. And as for me and Joe, well, the continuous stress that kept us apart rather than bringing us together during the move had forced a wedge that hadn’t been fixed yet. We still weren’t us.
So, with these waves, I was caught in a spin cycle of tears and grumpiness. And it was a great mystery - how to get out.
A while back, I listened to an excellent podcast by Rob Bell Episode #18 It Comes In Waves. If you have 23 minutes and a lot going on, listen to it. In it, he talks about how life can get overwhelming and when that happens, he says to remember, “This is a wave. This wave is part of a set. Waves come. And then they go. This moment is not all moments.”
Every time I listen to this podcast (and I keep it cued), I get perspective - something that is elusive when plunged in the middle of rolling waves. Most of the time what keeps me under isn’t one wave, but a series. Things build up and pile on top of each other. When caught in something like this, it’s hard to see beyond it. Maybe the best thing (or only thing) to do is to remember that it won’t last.
My season of sadness and change is here now - how could it not be? - but won’t be forever.
“Waves roll in but cannot get through;
breakers crash but that’s the end of them.”
Jeremiah 5:22 The Message