I am surrounded by chaos. My world spinning so fast that I can hardly breathe, let alone keep my balance. Constant distractions, interruptions. Crisis…. Yet, I am calm.
I lay in the middle of a battlefield. Explosions echo around me. Yet… there I remain, stretched out on my plaid blanket in the middle of the field, my feet kicked up, reading a book. Completely at peace.
My emotions conflict with my circumstances.
Our world is crashing in around us. Our home unjustly being taken away. Our utilities being threatened into extinction. Our fury, because we had planned ahead. We had done the right thing. Still, we were suffering the same punishment, as though we had done nothing to prevent it.
This is our world. My family’s world. My world. Yet, I do not fret.
I sit here planning my children’s birthday party. A small, but equally wonderful, celebration. I plan a theme. We discuss the fun things we can do and have. The food. The decorations. The games. I don’t even know where we will be in two weeks. But, I do not fret…. I feel peace. I feel excitement. I know that no matter where we are, there will still be two of my children that will have a birthday to celebrate.
I lay in bed in the evening. I stare up at the beautifully stained wooden ceiling of our bedroom. I know that any day our mail will bring the unjust court ordered eviction. But, I do not fear. I do not stress. I do not worry. I feel at peace. I feel thankful. I feel lucky. I feel blessed…. I feel confused.
I am the stress-or. My husband, the laid back one. Naturally, during troublesome times, these attributes we both carry sharply contrast with each other. We fight. We scream. We feel alone. We often, at times like this, seriously think about walking away.
We had a moment about three weeks ago. A moment that typically would have turned into the spectacle that I described above. I felt stressed. I felt the crunch of doom hovering above us. But, uncharacteristically, I wasn’t panicked… yet. I simply asked my husband, “what are we going to do?” His response was simple, “you stress too much.”
Maybe because I wasn’t stressed enough. Maybe because we still had time. Maybe because I was so deeply needing a game plan. Rather than become defensive. Rather than to become angry and spiteful and mean. I simply dropped my head, defeated, and calmly said, “Sometimes, you don’t stress enough.” And… he walked away… for the moment. Which is exactly what I needed.
I sat in our room that day. I sat and I thought to myself. I wondered, realistically, if I did simply stress too much. If I didn’t stress, who would? Doesn’t my husband understand the implications that losing our home truly means. Why wouldn’t I be stressed? Doesn’t my husband realize that if worst comes to worst, if push comes to shove, if my kids well being is on the line, that I have somewhere to go? That if it meant keeping a roof over their head, that I would leave him. Doesn’t he know that?!
My stress. My fear. My constant pressure to figure things out. Doesn’t he understand that it is only because keeping us together is that important to me? Only because if we don’t figure things out there is only one alternative for me to take?
And then it hit me. I don’t fear losing our home. I fear losing him.
I have built a safety net around my marriage… yet I fear actually having to jump into it. How selfish of me. Here I sit, for years, knowing that one serious fuck up and I’m gone. One chance where he didn’t take care of things the way I thought they should be taken care of and, I’m gone. What an awful disposition for a wife to have.
When times get rough. When push comes to shove. I expect my husband to fail. I expect to have to use my safety net. I expect to have to move my son two hours away from his school. I expect to have to get back on my feet in a town that I love, but prefer not to plant my roots in. I stress, in fear of him making me have to do what I don’t want to.
I imagine you are shaking your head by now. So, if I don’t want to do it, then don’t. Yup, same conclusion I came to. And frankly, I’m a grown woman…
What am I doing to solve our current dilemma? Absolutely squat. That doesn’t seem quite fair, now does it. So, I changed things up a bit. I did something weird. Something out of the ordinary. Something so unusual, so bizarre, so uncanny, that it shocked even me.
I supported my husband.
I stopped blaming him. I started thinking of solutions and sharing them. Ironically enough, my husband would ask the same doubt filled questions that used to roll off of my tongue.
We ended up coming up with a game plan rather quickly.
When that plan failed, I turned to my husband and asked, “What are we going to do?” He began to answer, “Well, I think we’re going to…” then he slowly drifted off. Sitting there in silence for a good five minutes. His eyes glazing over as he went off in his own little world. I laughed. I looked at him and just ear to ear grinned. I knew he had no idea. But, that was okay. I had no idea either. I knew we’d figure something out, together. And we have. We have a new game plan in place. We’ll be okay.
It’s just a house. The roof leaks. It’s too small. We had planned on moving in a few months anyway, when we had saved the extra money to. They can even do it unfairly. Unjustly. Deceivingly. It doesn’t even matter any more.
I lay in bed in the evening staring up at the beautifully stained wooden ceiling of the bedroom. I know that any day our mail will bring the unjust court ordered eviction. But, I do not fear. I smile as I hear my children playing in the other room. Their laughter ringing through the house. I wrap my arms around my husband as we talk about what we’ll do and how we’ll do it, sharing the best of both of our attributes.
I drift off to sleep, thanking God for the amazing things I have. My kids, who are such good kids. And I don’t say this out of favor, they really are naturally well behaved children. My husband, who is unbelievably human too and has fears and worries and doubts and who doesn’t stress as much as me, because he knows in the long haul that we’re in it together. My sister who helps me keep my house clean on days that I’m so overwhelmed that I can’t get past my own mind. My older kids that are going through the same struggles that are sometimes so fresh in my memory, yet at the same time, a million years ago.
I know that this chaos around me will result in a new adventure yet unseen. That as unjust as it is, that it will lead us to better places. I know that it’s going to be okay.
I do not stress. I do not worry. I feel at peace. I feel thankful. I feel lucky. I feel blessed.
They can take away the house… We have so much more than that.