It makes me laugh to go through the posts about my Lenten Adventure because I likened that experience to 40 days in the desert.
Whew! Let me wipe the tears from my eyes as I wonder at my naivete.
Folks. That was not the desert. That was camping near the edge of the desert in a trailer with a cook stove in a campground that had hot showers. Sure, you miss the comforts of home and maybe the mattress is a little lumpy and uncomfortable but it was NOT the desert.
These last few months have been the desert. As in, driven out to the middle of the desert, beaten up, thrown out of the car and rolling down a hill and landing on a cactus kind of desert. I still haven’t found my way out and there are plenty of days when I fear that I never will.
I am soooooooo tired of crying.
But God has put amazing, kind, caring, tough people all along the way to help lead me out. Which means that I haven’t a shred of pride left as I’ve had to ask for and receive help of all kinds at every turn.
Initially, as this situation was gearing up I reached out to my invisible friends. Those that I really only know through the internet because I was too embarrassed to talk to my friends here. This wasn’t supposed to happen in my house. We have been church leaders. We have mentored younger couples. We are the house that the kids’ friends come to when their own homes are out of kilter. I was utterly humiliated that my marriage was falling apart and desperately hoping that all would be put right before word got out. So my internet friends were a way of getting comfort and guidance without having to lay my life bare.
Missy Jill, Joyce, Heather, Taylor, Christina and many more prayed for me and offered a place to cry in safety. Thank you ladies.
When the ugliness got too big to hide though, people came out of the woodwork here to help. You just have no idea how truly good people are until you are in crisis.
Christine was, and is, my best unofficial therapist. She has also cleaned my toilets, taken care of my kids, dealt with my repair men, scraped me off of floors, pulled me out of bed, prayed with me and for me and just been my all around rock. When we were in each other’s weddings a week apart 21 years ago we never envisioned this but there hasn’t been a time in these last few months when I’ve needed her and she hasn’t risen to the occasion.
My neighbor and friend, Deb, has been a constant source of help and comfort. She kept my kids busy all summer, prayed with me through my breakdown moments, has given Faith rides and been there for me every single time I needed her. Her proximity means I always have a safe person nearby and I am utterly grateful that God put her in that house so many years ago.
Missy, Ciana, Janalynn and Donna brought meals for a week when I couldn’t eat, much less cook so my children would have a hot dinner. I have not had a meal brought to me since Hayden was born and had forgotten how cared for it makes one feel.
Carrie showed up at my house in that first week and sat on my couch and refused to leave until I agreed to go to the grocery store. We went through the whole store with her pulling my cart along behind her leading me up and down the aisles. “Do you need bread?” She would ask and I would just stare at her, not even knowing the answer, incapable of those small decisions. So she’d throw it in and we’d move on. When I started to cry passing the Diet Mountain Dew, she hustled me through the check out line and I made it home. With that first trip out of the way, I had the ability to go myself the next time.
Allison has been my voice of practical reason. She pushes me to move past my emotion and do what needs to be done and make hard decisions. Having her and Terri to work with is the perfect situation. If I’m at work and I look like I might be slipping, they both understand. But Allison is the one to say, “Nope. You can’t do that right now. We don’t have time for this. Get it together.” And I do, because she knows what’s she is talking about and her strength inspires me.
Val and Renee have given me much needed girls’ nights out when I couldnt’ stand to be in my house by myself and offered their love and prayers.
Tracey, Robrenna, Debbie, Erin and Leisa have come alongside me with prayer and emotional support. I know I can call any of them at any time and get calm words of wisdom and prayer. Robrenna and Tracey have joined me in a prayer group and it’s such a joy to be able to pray for them too and take my focus off of my own life.
Joyce is a kind and wise woman who has counseled me through some very dark moments. I hear her voice when I slip back into those places and it’s calm reassurance is a balm.
My friend Latrice who had three kids at home and another on the way called me every morning, first thing, for weeks to pray with me as I got out of bed. Starting the day that way got me helped me be calmed and focused and set out on the right foot.
Finally, my family. One day, I texted my sister and said, “All I really want in life right now is Garramone’s spaghetti and meatballs.” referring to comfort food from our favorite restaurant when we were growing up. A few days later, a box with a Styrofoam cooler filled with dry ice arrived at my door. Inside was a tub of spaghetti and meatballs courtesy of Nicki and my mom.
My parents and sister have never wavered in their non-judgemental support. Family matters. Aunts, uncles and cousins that I see only occasionally have called or written notes of love and support. It means the world to me.
The best part is that the vast majority of these people show love without taking sides. They want to be there to love and support me, not because I am right or wrong, but just because I need it. If my marriage were to be miraculously healed tomorrow they would cheer with me and for me and move forward without condemnation. And if it’s not ever healed … well they’ll still cheer me on and help me move forward.
That is the love of God, shown through the hands of people.