When life is too much
I find it abundantly ironic that in the ‘draft’ folder for my blog, from about one month ago, there is a blog titled:
Road signs of ‘too much’
It is blank.
Not a single word written about the given topic. Obviously there was a bit of “too much” even then or I wouldn’t have felt apt to write about it. And obviously the too much was too, too much because I didn’t write about it. Or anything else for um, how long since my last post?
Perhaps you thought this was an “on purpose blog break”. Well, no. I would like to say there was great intentionality in my not writing. But it’s so much less lovely than that. It was more like a barreling freight train of one thing after another.
It was too many early (and I mean early!) morning wake ups with Finn thinking that the rooster’s crow was actually meant to beckon him out of bed.
It was drives to co-op/church/grocery/, teaching classes, keeping on top of kid schoolwork, chores and projects and all end of year things.
It was my sister in the hospital for a 5 days and the wanting answers to hard questions and not being able to understand why.
It was the list of the little things that only grows and never diminishes and stares me in the face every single morning like a bad report card.
It was losing any reasonable sense of rhythm or routine and being too many steps behind before my feet even hit the floor every day.
It was the ever present fact that seven people here need to eat every day, many times, and they need appropriate clothing to wear and the young ones were created with daily need to be nurtured, cared for and loved.
It was the giving without end and not stopping to see the writing on the wall.
So it truly is no wonder that once the kids caught a cold virus and I succumbed as well, my body would give me up. It’s as if it said, “we can only handle one of you, so we choose baby and you’ll have to fend for yourself”.
It started out innocently enough, a fever, cough, sinus congestion. I took all the herbal goodies I give the kids and expected a full recovery the next morning. When our pastor announced I was home sick from church and would anyone like to help with meals I thought that was WAY overboard. If I’d been there in person I’m sure I’d have mustered the gusto to say “oh no, we’re good, we’ll be fine, someone else must need it more!”.
Humble pie my friends, a giant serving. Monday rolled in and I could not see past the pressure in my head and the pain in my ears and the burning in my throat. The fact that kids weren’t well either made survival more doable. Lots of couch time and resting and I tried driving to do something I deemed “imperative” but prayed all the way home my failing body would get us all home in one piece. It would be almost a week before I felt well enough to even drive again.
Kids began to mend and I sat on the couch unable to even lift my head for more than five minutes. Eyes half glued shut from symptoms of complete immune failure. Unceasing pain from my eyelids to my toes, which until now I never knew could ache. A fever that wouldn’t break for six days. Broken blood vessels in my cheeks, nose, inside my ears and an eye half bloody from all the trauma. I have never been so sick I could not think or read or properly respond to people. I could not think myself well or will myself strong enough to heal. Everything felt like it just quit. And entirely without my permission.
The fact I would asked my mother to drive all the way out to our house, drive me and my five children to a doctor almost an hour away from here speaks to my diminished state. I sat sobbing in a doctor’s office, whom I’d never seen before, trying to explain to him my stamina and strength so he would understand how completely incapacitated I was. He gave me something but it wasn’t strong and said no to my
begging requests for more intervention, he was confident it was viral and my body would eventually “turn back on” and conquer it.
8 days was the sum total, in bed or on the couch directing life and children and living helpless, dependent on the kindness and care of all sorts of people. And when I felt the fog begin to lift and I could sit upright and think with actual words, my mind trailed back. To weeks and weeks of no margin, of no rest.
I sat outside once I was well enough, in the hammock (that never gets used, because there’s never time to lazy away in a hammock…) holding a book about rest. My mind said I should be reading it but the rest of me still refused. All it could do was note the dozens of shades of green in the trees in our yard. Listen to the birds all fluttering in their spring time flurry. Watch the kids play in the sprinkler. Be thankful my eyes could open without pain and see all the loveliness. Say yes to popsicles and yes to most things because saying no was too much still. And they’d been such troopers.
Just when I thought they weren’t onto quite how ill I was, Kyler blurted out at dinner one night “Mama, I sure hope the baby in your belly doesn’t die because you’re so, so sick.” I explained the incredible design and how the body can take good care of baby even when mama isn’t well. He was mostly relieved, but still skeptical. We all breathed easier last night when we got to see little 14 ounce baby sweetness on the ultrasound monitor. Most darling tiny hands and feet and nose and everything.
I’m still waking up, but doing it as slowly as I can. Fairly certain that this was not without purpose and I’ve some things yet to learn about how to be me, how to live this life of mine in a way that can keep going, keep growing. I don’t want to miss any of it. Being a spectator to my own life for over a week was so much less than wonderful. But the observations and takeaways can change me, they need to change me.