I’ve been feeling like a borderline train wreck.
It seems the universe, in its ways of placing things before me, continues to teach me about pain and small disasters and patience.
If I can be honest for a minute, let me explore this.
A few days ago, I had written another piece for this “end of the year” thing. It was about the things I usually ramble on about. Food things. Love. Forward motion. Pimento cheese and sweet tea. It was about cooking, to be honest. Being off my feet and out of the kitchen for a whole week made me crave even more to be back in a kitchen cooking real food. I felt rested and inspired.
Then, I came home at midnight to find that the tenant above my apartment had a busted hot water heater that flooded his apartment for two days. Only, his apartment made it through just fine, where I did not fare as well.
I came home to the smell of mildew and was confused. My landlords did not get my memo that I had a new phone number and couldn’t get in touch with me. So, as I stumble in dead tired and smelling of campfire smoke, excited to take a shower — the roof and walls of my bathroom had collapsed. My kitchen walls were warped and the photographs on my refrigerator were curled and faded.
I took a few deep breaths and decided that this could wait until morning. I brushed my teeth in my kitchen sink, turned on my gas heater and fell asleep with the smell of fire still fresh on my body.
The next day at work we had record sales for our lunch rush.
I was losing ground, quickly, with about a billion things on my mind. Do I need to move again? Can I afford this transition? Where? Where? WHERE?
Can the universe give me a second to settle down? My foot, still a bit stingy at times from my fracture in November. Then a busy Christmas catering season, a stomach flu and trying to pay my bills on time.
On top of all of this, I reflect on my year,
Of traveling back to Mississippi from the Pacific Northwest, and fitting back into a life and a community I had been away from for so long.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my marriage, and how much I have missed that comfort of being in love and cooking dinner and having a best friend I could talk to every day, and fall asleep with at night.
Divorce is devastating. And people move through it at different speeds.
Today though, this is where my heart rests.
This stuff takes courage. It takes all of your heart to move and to keep moving. No one can prepare you enough for the weight this world can place on your shoulders.
I found myself, as I do from time to time, saying, “Dude, you’re doing so well! Look at you go!”
And the pendulum swings back where I want to sit at the end of my bed and spend the day exploring the things I have failed at and eating an entire box of Little Debbie Christmas tree cakes. I reach down and feel the pain in my legs and the ache in my back. Patting my holiday belly, hoping to get my stuff together enough to eat like a normal human being again.
It is easy to let yourself live in doubt and fear. Lord knows this year hasn’t been easy for me. It hasn’t been easy for a lot of people.
A poem I love says to not move the way fear makes you move.
And I listen to that voice.
Because what I feel today, is strength. I feel my legs getting stronger.
Every day fills with a new hope for those small victories.
Life is all about small celebrations. Overcoming a season of pain with an abundance of joy. My heart is so full of both and I am stronger because of it.
My hope for you, as you have perhaps read this in its entirety, is to keep moving this next year.
Keep trudging through the muck and know that sadness and pain are not your last feelings. They will move along just as you do, and you will feel the warm on your face again.
Because as it goes,
the sun rises.
You will meet it with your feet firmly on the ground,
and you will breathe in deep, its light and grace.