Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Flat on My Back


I escape to the front porch hoping for a moment of silence and attempt to make an important phone call. The phone call I had asked him to make.

I was hiding from the noise. The noise of 4 kids. Dishes. A budget to be made and the spoiled dinner sitting on the dirty stove. A creative attempt gone to waste.

As I waited for someone to answer from the other end, I find myself pulling away from the phone now blaring orchestra music in my ear.

I'm on hold. Again.

More noise. More waiting. A day of waiting. A life of waiting. A life of noise. My chest feels a little heavier.

It was then that I spot the bug. On the rail in front of me he lays flat on his back, legs squirming and struggling. Struggling to stand.

That's how I feel, Lord. Flat on my back, legs flailing. Struggling. Today was a bad day to try not to stress eat.

I sense someone behind me. Turning, I find Hot Hubby standing there watching me through the window. Sympathy in his eyes.

I quickly turn back afraid he'll see what's truly in my mind. In my heart.

Finishing the phone call, I enter the house and he's still standing there tenderly rocking the babe so fresh from my womb.

"You'd die without me you know!" I snap as I walk past him.

"I know! I tell you that all the time." He laughs. "That's why you can never die! You are amazing!"

There it is. That word. Amazing. That word and I have a love/hate relationship. Love, because that's what I strive to be. Hate, because it's what I never feel. And he uses it so much when describing me.

"He needs a new adjective," I grumble inwardly.

He whose river runs deep. He who uses words only when he needs to.

It's not him. It's me. The one who uses words and then has to find a way to take them back. Like trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

He looks at me with compassionate eyes. As tenderly as he is lulling the baby to sleep, he begins massaging my heart. Drawing me out.

I am making dinner for the second time in one night. Every few minutes I come back into the living room to look into his eyes, that place a solace all my own. I have words that need to come out. I focus on chewing them carefully so they are easy to digest.

"I just...I feel..."

He waits.

"Today wasn't a good day to try not to stress eat."

Confession over... but there is more to be said. I go tend and come back again.

"I would like for it to be an easy fix. I wish it was as easy as giving a few things up and then everything would be fixed..."

The conversation pauses to acknowledge the Lego creation of the children coming to share. I see their sweet faces and my heart breaks a little more. And my mind is flooded with one more thought that brings guilt and pressure.

"I am coming to realize how I find my identity in what I feed you guys. When I make meals packed with veggies and healthy ingredients I feel a sense of accomplishment. Of doing it right. And yet all I want to do right now is grab some cash and go to the market for some crap food. And what kind of example am I being to our kids?!"

I leave to stop the bickering children and fail to find the words I'm so desperate for. I want them to understand the real issue. The real issue is the heart. It's not the fighting. It's the selfish heart that causes the fighting.

I return.

"How can I help them understand it's their hearts that need to change if I don't even know how to change my own? It's my heart... I know it is... I am like any other addict."

And it's true. When my heart is hurting, depressed, stressed my 'fix' comes in a circular form with the raised letters O-R-E-O across the front. Or sometimes in the form of a potato deeply fried. Or anything else that I feel will satisfy that deep place inside.

He nods his head letting me know he hears and offers another tender look. I feel my shoulders begin to relax as the communion between us acts as a healing salve to my wounds.

There is a freedom here. A freedom to be imperfect. A freedom to be human. There is an understanding. And there is love.

Like a cheap paper towel attempting to sop up spilled milk, my heart begins to understand his definition of amazing. He knows my weaknesses. He knows my failures. He sees when the laundry doesn't get done and the dishes are left crusty on the counter. He sees the days gone by without showers and the children who have need of more training.

But he also sees my heart. My attempts to keep up with the laundry and dishes. My desire to be healthy for and with my family. My days filled with children and school and a nursing baby. And he still thinks I'm amazing.

The conversation, though never completely over, finds a resting point and the night goes on. My heart, though not completely peaceful, has found some relief. My mind, as if tormented by a thousand grains of rice all eager to be sorted and handled one by one, takes one more step towards the freedom it so desperately desires.

And that word is still floating in and out of the waves of thought. Amazing.

Amazing. Amazing what? Amazing wife? Amazing mom? Amazing cook? Amazing me?

As I wash the day's grime from my face, I catch my reflection in the mirror and my heart whispers, "Lord, I need your grace...Your AMAZING grace!"

And I picture myself, flat on my back, resting in his amazing grace. And the day's grime rinses away from my heart.

To be continued...


Marie C. said...

Thank you for your lovely, honest story. I think that we all have days like that and you manage to describe them lyrically, beautifully. You, my dear, are inspirational. has some good definitions of amazing, but I like to look at the thesaurus to find similar words, and that's when I found these: awesome, fascinating, incredible, marvelous, prodigious, shocking, stunning, surprising, unbelievable, wonderful. I think that you can be one -- or all -- of these things at any given time and the word amazing encapsulates that nicely. You know what other word is similar to amazing? Awful. It can mean horrible, but it can also mean "inspires fear" (a good thing for a parent to have if "fear" is interpreted as "to have healthy respect for" such as the phrase "fear God"). And "awful" can mean "inspiring awe," as in "that is awesomely impressive." And so maybe these words that seem to have negative connotations -- amazing, awful -- are words that we should embrace to describe ourselves because they have such rich depth of meaning.

You can, of course, choose whatever word you want. Regardless, I think you're pretty special -- even on the days when you feel like an upside-down bug. :-)

mercymaid said...

Thank you Shiree, I love your heart.