My heart aches with familiarity, for the things that once were. My heart mourns the possibilities of the things that will never be.
As a people we underestimate the vastness of change, even when we see it coming. I made the decision to move home. I knew that change was coming. I tried to prepare the best I could to come into a community that was once my home but feels like a foreign land. A land which I am traversing with a new perspective. Cameron continues to have trouble with change in routine or unmet expectations. We are constantly working on it but some days I want to just join him. Tell him he’s right. That the world is shit sometimes. Shit shit shit. And then lie on the floor for however long it takes us to get back to giggling. But because I don’t want him going to Kindergarten and saying “this is shit. Shit shit shit”, I hold my composure together. Listen to the everyday moments and interactions that fracture his little heart, swallow my pride as he points the finger of his disappointments towards me and then lie on the floor for however long it takes us to get back to giggling.
Change is constant, consistent. Change is consistent. That statement is an absolute paradox. If something is consistent then how can it change? Change occurs with consistency. The last three years of my life have been marked by this consistency of change. Many of these changes have involved involved loss. Sometimes I picture my life in my head like a stock market exchange. All these counters and tickers always changing with far too many inverted red triangles next to certain parts of my life.
Coming home is a change which has comfort, yet somewhere along the way I allowed myself to believe it was defeat. I can’t do it in Georgia. What is wrong with me? I don’t work. All I have to do is take care of my kids. And I can’t do it. How am I worn out by this? Defeat planted it’s seedlings of failure in my brain and anything planted under perfect conditions will grow. Moving home provided the perfect conditions for defeat to take root.
Being asked what brought me back
Being asked if a job brought me back home (thinking in my head, “why yes, the job of surviving every day”)
Being asked what I do and telling people I stay home because I am disabled with a traumatic brain injury
Watching people try to process how and why I am unable to work or qualify for disability
Having to disclose that I was also widowed three years ago in the accident that caused my brain injury
Watching the shock and sadness register on others faces
Trying to explain all of this in three sentences or less
Beginning to ask myself why I can’t work
Why I can’t live a life without an addendum or footnotes
Why I can’t just live a normal life
Those conversations and the vastness of unpacking are all the water, soil and sunlight that the seedlings of defeat needed. Defeat is all encompassing and once you start to let it in, it takes the very life out of you. All of those tasks that were already difficult become nearly impossible. Getting your children up again, having to be a morning cheerleader again, feeding your children again, packing lunches again, picking your kids up from school again, unpacking lunches again, playing, feeding them again, entertaining them again, breaking up a fight again, feeding them again, (I mean seriously, I have to feed them again?) Parcheesi before bedtime again, reading that Geronimo or Harold book again, singing those same songs again, falling into bed defeated. Again. Sleeping. Starting the day all over. Again.
A couple of weekends ago, my perspective was transformed. Defeat was overthrown and I realized that moving home was an act of faithfulness. An act of believing in the more that God has for myself and the kids. An act of faithfulness in giving my children the best support that I can, giving myself the best support. Returning home was an act of acceptance that I can’t do it by myself and that’s okay. It has to be okay.
At the church I was visiting, Pastor Manion was talking about the faithfulness of Samuel. Excuse my basic summary but Samuel was appointed a prophet by God and was a judge in Israel. His faithfulness was showed many times as he ruled the land fairly, calling Israel to repentance and eventually appointing the first two kings of Israel. His life was marked by sameness, by routine. – 1 Samual 7 ” 15Samuel continued as Israel’s leader all the days of his life. 16 From year to year he went on a circuit from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah, judging Israel in all those places.” He would always go home to Ramah and then he would do the circuit again, Bethel, Gilgal, Mizpah, Ramah. Again. Bethel, Gilgal, Mizpah, Ramah. Year after year. Devoted, faithful to the circuit in his life.
Samuel was a man. But as Pastor Manion was reflecting he kept saying, “there is a faithfulness that says, ‘and then she got up and did it again’ ”. He would preach some more, then say, “and then she got up and did it again”. This wording struck me. Samuel was a man, but in the repetition of his example the use of “she” spoke right into my heart. God was calling. “Do you hear me, Sandra? That’s you, Sandra.” Life is challenging and a bit ubiquitous, but He is reminding you to get up every morning and do it again. Faith in action is being my best self even when I want to quit, being at peace with the sameness of each day, knowing that true living, true beauty comes amidst the regular. And if I forget to live in the every day, beauty will pass me by.
So over the last few weeks, I have marveled in the sameness of each day, of each moment in my days. Under the weight of change, I slowed to be present in the sameness and true beauty has been taking form. My heart has found its home. My heart beats in the steady rhythm of a peaceful life. Beats with love and laughter. Pain and victory. Understanding and acceptance.
My heart beats with familiarity, for the things that are.