Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I Would Still Be Me

Ah, sweet neglected blog. Two of my children have had birthdays (#5 is 5 and #3 is 10), we've celebrated the 4th of July, a trip to Palmyra, NY and Niagara Falls, NY, we have had many visitors and missionary experiences, we've been to the shore (New Jersey) twice, the humidity is becoming bearable, the fireflies have petered out, school clothes are being bought, Kindergarten registration has been fulfilled, school supply lists have been printed off, medications have been changed, and we have one more trip on the horizon before school starts (the BYU football game in Connecticut over Labor Day weekend).

And what am I doing, in the meantime, as I neglect to write down the adventures of our summer?

(Warning: I get a bit lyrical. Poetic. Lost in the prose of melodious demarcation...)

I spend a lot of my days attempting to accomplish the mundane and find joy in doing it. Each morning, I stare out of my bathroom window into our backyard and the field behind it, watching the morning mist dissipate in the rising sun and I wonder --how can I bottle up this peace and carry it with me throughout the day? When will I rise early enough to walk in it?

(Photo by #1)

I feed and wash my children, uninhibited by my glaring weakness for self-doubt as I lose my temper again (always again) in the face of disobedience, chaos, struggle, and fault. Constantly interrupted, my writing is limited to snippets on Facebook and attempts at clever comments. Writing an essay takes hours, sometimes days, and the dream of books continue to slip further and further from the sloping edges of silent dreams unrealized, unmade... unseen... Forgotten, perhaps, except in the moments between sleeping and waking, when dreams are remembered and tangible --even possible.

I find time many days to stretch my fingers upon the piano and sing beautiful lyrical pieces of long ago times, when music was my lifeblood and filled me with confidence and meaning, and I laugh inwardly at the irony of how rich my voice has turned, how quickly I would pass through long-ago auditions if only I had then what I do now... But the laughter is not bitter, nor is it real, considering my audience is a chaotic household of laughing and shouting and arguing and squealing children. What do they know of musical ability and lost chances and dreams-I-never-really-had? Regret in my music what-could-have-beens does not exist --it was replaced by contentment and gratitude for the ability to access the gift. It brings me joy daily. How can I begrudge what was never to be when I am filled with a bold knowledge of what is right now? Chopin does not judge me for missing this note, Brahms does not criticize the lack of control. They only feed me continuously with ethereal existence and remind me I am capable of being who I am, regardless of who I was or who I will be...

I shop with my children for food we afford, for food that will feed our masses and last longer than the day in which it is purchased. I plan for meals to last more than one feeding, and when I occasionally venture out into the realm of food-I-would-buy-if-only-it-was-prudent, I imagine a life with only two. How easy it could be! I see my husband, I see me, back at the table in the smallest apartment, cooking, over the tiniest of stoves, and praying over two plates, two cups, two forks, and dreaming of the time when I would have many plates, many cups, many forks. There will be nine plates by Spring. Is this not what I prayed for? Longed for? Exercised Hannah-like faith for? What is expensive organic food compared to the answers of prayers? "Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven" and who will atone for my ingratitude of food...?

Trapped in a mind warped by assumed expectations that do not exist and cowering from the pain of this disease, I imagine my life in novels and stories, laid out with words and ink and paper. I watch the scenes of far-off seclusion and places in which I long to live out my days. If I had been... If I was... If I did... If, if, if... If does not exist and the logical part is still just strong enough to reach in and tell me that if it had been, I would not have known. If I was or if I did, I would still be wondering "if"... I would still be me.

I smell the blond curls on my two year old son's head and ground myself in the purpose of my calling, knowing that continuing through these mundane, angry, frustrated, impatient, moments brings an undercurrent of pure peace. It pulsates next to the leaping moments of blissful joy and continues, steadily, through the wakes of pain. The laundry is never finished and put away, the floor is always needing cleaned. The grass is too long, the fingerprints on the windows remain. I judge and I am hurt, I ignore and I indulge. I am never enough and in those rare times when I am left to my thoughts, I succeed in hearing the whispers from whence I came: "You are doing wonderfully. Keep trying, keep going, keep working... You are loved. You are known. You are needed... Success has already come; there is more to follow..."



Beautiful and heartfelt, my friend. In fact, tears came as your words seeped into my heart and this line: "They only feed me continuously with ethereal existence and remind me I am capable of being who I am, regardless of who I was or who I will be..." Yes. yes. yes. Thank you for sharing.

Cheryl said...

Thank you for reading and commenting! And you are most welcome.

Linda Liebhardt said...

So very lyrical and poetic. And I share so many of the same thoughts. We DO keep trying, don't we?
A for effort all around.
By the way, I read that blog link on FB about being grateful for food, water and a fridge, etc. I loved it. My feelings exactly. I do revel in the simplest of things and am so GLAD and grateful to know that other people do, too. Thanks!! Oh, and you get "A's" for way more than just effort--talk about successes and accomplishments--yowza. You are over the top in my book, Cousin!!

Cheryl said...

Linda, you are the best! <3