I feel like Charlie Brown this week: “I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.”
Everything has kind of gone off the rails. It’s December and everything always goes off the rails in December. Our homeschooling rhythm—loose as it is—has pretty much fallen apart. My work time has been more than disrupted—bombed-out is a better word—utterly taken over by craft projects (which I do because I love to craft) and Holiday parties (which I like but mostly could do without as I am borderline anti-social) and gift buying and wrapping and card-ordering and envelopes that the freakin’ printer won’t address for like 30 torturous and confusing minutes until I make Steve figure it out. (Which he does in 30 quick seconds. Seriously. But can he embroider? No, he cannot.) I have plans for Christmas and Solstice activities to do with the kids and I can see them unraveling a bit and I know without question that I am going to have to pare it all back. I haven’t officially cleaned the house in 2 weeks, just done that panicky oh my sweet lord how long has it been since I ran some cleanser and a brush in there? kind of cleaning.
The other day my sister and I were texting. She asked how I was doing. I said:
"Kind of feeling hopeless-ish and sad and overwhelmed. I’ll be okay. Just down for some reason."
"That was my whole week last week. So I decided not only to exercise each day which helps me, but also to nurture myself more and I have done that this weekend and feel better. I have also worked on the record player in my head. I love you... You are wonderful!"
(This is why everyone needs a sister. Unless you have a kind of crappy one, in which case no one needs that.)
My sister had been freaking about about her unfinished chicken coop, worried that her girls would freeze or go and eat (more of) the neighbor’s vegetation. She didn’t know how to build a chicken coop, which was the main crux of the problem. This was also the crux of her bad week. And from there she slid into the pit.
The morning of my bad day I’d heard on the radio the Philippines Prime Minister speak in the wake of the devastating typhoon in his country. He tearfully implored world leaders to seriously address global warming, not in the name of political posturing but for the good of the 9 billion people for whose welfare they are responsible. I think that was the root of my hopelessness which just spiraled out as the day grew long. Then I started to think about all the places where I was not quite hitting the mark (in my humble opinion) and from there it was all downhill.
Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials. Lin Yutang
As with all months of the year, you do not get time back in December. You use it and it is gone. This is how stupid time works. There’s no way to get everything done, especially when you are special like me and get overly grand ideas about what MUST get accomplished. (That sounds familiar...)
But at the end of the day, I can remember to thoughtfully choose where to give my energy. I can gracefully recall the blessings in my life. So, while it is wise to mindfully leave some things undone, I think the bigger question might be why we slide back into those hopeless places. How to stop the slide?
Today my sister finished her chicken coop—she got it done. She had to wrestle with a great deal of unruly chicken wire and call on the help of a good friend who does know how to build a chicken coop. She sent me this pic this afternoon moments before she jumped in the car to pick her kids up from school.
So maybe we just keep trying and call on good friends and in the face of hopelessness gracefully recall the blessings. Maybe we wrestle with the unruly until we get it done, whatever that might be.