Monday, February 08, 2010

I've been quiet here for a long time. I used to live my life and see opportunities for blog posts every day. I guess with the development of facebook, I now think more in terms of short updates. Plus, while I probably have just as much "material" in my life, I guess I feel like there is less I feel the desire to share. Since my grandmother died in July I think I have been more sad and blue and tired than usual, and there just isn't a whole lot about my outlook on life that seems like I need to tell it.

Much of how I feel these days is caught between what I want to be/think I should be as opposed to apparent reality. I do not know how to reconcile the two. I do not know if this is just a season that I should embrace and rest, in hopes that I'll later be better able to do more. I think I may have lost my ability to know how much is too much, how much is enough, what level of ease or turning away from additional things is necessary or ok.

The Haiti earthquake had me in tears and dilemma for weeks. I know there are orphans all over the place that need a family. I know that God wants orphans in families. (longtime readers will remember that this is something I've been thinking about a lot) My personality is such that the first question I ask is, "Why not me?" But as I live out my days, teetering somewhere between overwhelm and feeling like we're just getting to a stage that I've looked forward to for so long, I often say to myself that there is just No Way Possible that I could take on another child at this time. But of course, those are the bad days. I have good days too. Aren't I entitled to good days? As a Christian, as a concerned human, as a woman with a heart bigger than reality, am I entitled to peaceful days and a life that feels like it is moving in the right direction? Do I have to live on the ragged edge of high adventure, turmoil, challenges, saying yes, and MORE on my plate?

I often come back around to the thought that if everybody who could possibly do a little bit more to alleviate the suffering in this world would do it, that would be a whole lot of good stuff. And I do a lot of those good things now. At what point can I decide I'm at maximum capacity? If never, how do I balance that with my responsibility to my current family, or the absolute need to take care of myself? When I have weeks when I find it too difficult to reach out to ONE PERSON in my community that I had decided in my own mind to actively help on a weekly basis, I question my ability to do more. If the simpler things cannot happen, how could I do a much, much bigger thing on a forever basis?

I don't have any answers. (or, maybe I have several conflicting answers)

The thinking and guilty feelings and despair over not feeling like I can help the people I have the heart to help threaten to overwhelm me at times. I had to stop reading any stories about Haiti or looking at the pictures, because I just don't know how to live well in the midst of my weakness and deep concern.


A gal from my church works at an orphanage in Haiti and we had already scheduled a big baby shower for the orphanage, months before the earthquake hit. Buying onesies and little ruffled pants and socks and baby food and little spoons made me cry in walmart. There is always a little voice in the back of my head asking me if I can do more. It's a good voice, except when it's not.


It's not just orphans that get in my head. I have Shoulds all around me. Whether it be undone chores, curriculum items that I still haven't taken time to read, understand, and implement, half-started systems that I can barely remember why I thought I wanted to do them in the first place, piles of books on the shelf that someone, somewhere along the way told me I should read, but I don't have time or interest in.

Well, I decided to boot out as many Shoulds as possible. I purged the book pile of anything that did not jump out at me as something I wanted to read anytime soon, and listed all of it on paperback swap. Have been mailing them out daily ever since. Good riddance! I hope your new owner enjoys you. I will enjoy not feeling a little tiny bit of bad for not spending my time with you.

I parted with curriculum that had been waiting for my attention for a year and a half. Looks great, but obviously I am not going to get around to it anytime soon.

I delegated a bunch of school duties to my husband, who now has more time to partner up with me on the responsibilities of the homeschooling. Along with the delegation went the guilt that I was feeling for not being able to do everything. Buh-bye!

I am seriously considering dismantling my latest and greatest organization plan. Not that it wasn't a good idea. It was. I've just had trouble making the switch over to it, and what I was doing before was working just fine, really and truly. (one of those "If it ain't broke" lessons) Seems like retreating to the last known workable plan would make sense and alleviate my negative feelings every time I observe the mess that is my not-yet-fully-implemented-system.


In happier news, we do have good things happening. I don't know if I've mentioned it here before, but back in August I took on a part time job working with an adult gal that is developmentally handicapped. I had two motivations for doing it, both of which were pure in heart despite the fact that I was unsure if I could handle adding it into my life and really didn't want to take it on for several reasons. As it turned out, it has been a blessing in so many ways that I had not anticipated. Relationships have benefited, I'm enjoying using my skills to help others, and financially it has helped a lot. We are now able to do things as a family that we always wanted to do but could not afford. Last week we were able to take our kids to Indiana for a really fun day of snow tubing. In a few weeks we're going to an indoor water park resort for two days. It's delightful to finally be able to say yes to so many things, especially since our oldest son is still home with us and still likes to hang out with us. We discussed the possibility of doing a fairly expensive vacation, but ended up choosing to spend the money on a series of "staycations" where we'll do lots of cool mini-vacations and outings near home. It's a big, big list. I hope we have time for it all. :)


Alana said...

Sounds like the symptoms of grief to me. Be kind to yourself. I've always admired your energy and your heart. It's OK to say "enough". And your prayers matter more than we weill ever know this side of eternity. (I'm not saying this from the persepectie of getting us "off the hook" with actual hands-on help, but rather from the perspective of another way-maxed-out mom.

SiouxsieQ said...

(((hugs))) I affirm your generous, loving heart.

Amie said...

Well, having more than two biological children makes you ineligible for most foreign adoptions.

Dollymama said...

Thanks ladies.

Amie, I know that's true for some countries, but I know of many families with more kids than we have that adopt both internationally and domestically. So, I guess that doesn't make me feel like it's outside the realm of possibility.

B said...

Oh DollyMama, if only we lived closer..... I think the way that your feelings must be the way that people feel--but we just all hide it inwardly.... I have stopped blogging so often the deep, deep stuff because I just didn't know if my "readers" (like 4 people...) could handle me being ME.

I am so GLAD that you posted this. I enjoy reading the "real" stuff on people's blogs, and not just the "I feel great!" blogs.

The truth is, we do NOT always feel great, and a lot of the time (in certain seasons of our lives) we feel really, really down.

{{HUG}} a great big cyber hug for you my friend. Let's the feelings roll! :)