There is a pretty famous saying by Mother Teresa that is somewhat worth repeating today, “I know God wouldn’t give me anything I couldn’t handle, I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.” I often try to say that phrase in my head when the going is getting tough. I try to think about a little old woman who many believe is a Saint, saying that with a small smile and a wink. It doesn’t really help. When everything is that chaotic and uncontrollable mess that it seems to be lately, a little saying isn’t going to make much difference. Maybe because I am not Mother Teresa, but a somewhat crazy woman who depends on a few concrete truths to get me through the day.
Like most people when one thing goes wrong in my life, it often feels like a set of dominos falls right behind it. Little things that I would shrug off and deal with intelligently become this manifested cloud of dust that literally makes it impossible for me to do anything. I often picture that movie Twister, the one with Helen Hunt, and the scene where she is in the middle of a major tornado, and all around her life is twisting around. In the middle of the storm she isn’t in danger, the eye looks safe. It’s the whirling dervish of chaos surrounding her that she can’t cross, can’t walk away from, or even survive.
I am feeling like that one scene. I feel that there are pieces chaotically being thrown all around me, some that I need to catch, some that simply brushes my hair on the way, and some that are pushing me in thousands of directions. One domino falls, one storm ravages, and I simply want to put my head down and pretend.
At my age you realize quickly that life isn’t fair, nor is it often easy. There is always something wrong, some small thing that is taking your time and attention away from the things you need to concentrate on. That one thing that sticks out like a sore thumb, that doesn’t work with the rest of the problems, that doesn’t fit into a world of easy answers and waking nightmares. And then that one thing becomes two, and you find yourself with a belt around your waist, holding onto a drain pipe in a wooden shack.
I always wonder when I am going through times like this if it really only happens occasionally. Why can I normally, if not handle, at least deal with the thousand of things that happen in my life. I don’t necessarily handle them with any grace and I tend to allow the emotional upheaval to affect the physical upheaval. I tend to allow my disease to announce the madness, to find ways to react to the problem using the natural turmoil I suffer rather than get up and let it go. I acknowledge that. But when I am feeling like everything is being thrown at me, what is different?
Why is the chaos more acute? Is there really more, or am I simply over-tired? Is it like when my three-year old doesn’t get her nap, and a few hours later no matter what I bribe her with, nothing is going to make her happy? Did I miss a nap somewhere? Is it really more, or am I simply projecting that truth? Could I be simply focusing on all the things that are going wrong, even the ant hills not worthy of my attention, because I don’t want to admit that there are larger problems? Or maybe I am inventing all of this to get some sort of internal sympathy because the mess actually makes me feel better? Maybe this mental disease makes chaos seem normal, and therefore, its where I go when the chips are down.
I don’t know. I don’t know if my life is a chaotic mess right now, if God is giving me a test to see how much I can handle, or if I missed my nap.
Here is what I do know: my marriage is on the cusp of either perfection or disaster. My children’s lives will either be exactly what I can give them, or will forever be changed by me. My job will never really appreciate me, nor ever give me the satisfaction that I desperately wish to have. My debt will not be paid of any time soon. There is no way to catch the kids that broke in last night. And I can’t make anyone truly happy; they have to do that themselves. I will never write full time or have a spot that’s a sanctuary to me. I will never be anyone’s definition of perfect, nor will I ever believe in myself enough to competently handle the storm. Confusion, bedlam, anarchy, pandemonium, madness, turmoil…they are the natural state of my mind and my life.
Tomorrow may be better, but I can only know that if I pair it with the realization that the chaos will again reign. In the meantime, maybe I will simply fall asleep for a week and wait for the world to right itself; and the issues of today will once again reset themselves to the glitches they could be.