Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Taking a moment. . .

There are boxes, piles and children everywhere, conditions that usually make sitting down to write somewhat problematic for me, but as I pack and organize with 9,000 different things running through my brain, I had to sit down and take a moment to absorb just how grateful I am for this wonderful little life of ours.

You see, last weekend, though anxiety and irritation kept trying to sneak up on me, I was able to mostly hold them at bay with the mantra "Something will turn up."  The kids and I went to Anaconda to try to find somewhere to live, since my months of online hunting had been entirely unfruitful.  We thought being in the area might bring more luck.  By the time I loaded up the kids to head home, we had found three possibilities:  a very, very large, very nice home that would cost $1200/month before any utility payments were considered; a ghetto house-turned-commercial-building-turned-house that consequently didn't work well as either, with owners/managers that had a weird vibe; and a 2 bedroom, 700 sqft house with a small kitchen, small bathroom, two small bedroom and no common space.  None of this would've been too discouraging, except we were about 2 1/2 weeks out from the kids starting school, and we hadn't even found anything, much less started moving in.  The more logical part of me wanted to panic, or resign myself to spending another semester living here (which would be quite nice except for the whole Doug being gone all week thing).  But I knew how often things didn't look like they were going to work out or be OK, how many times the last few years I saw no solution when one suddenly made itself apparent, so I never really got too anxious.  And, after we left, a coworker of Doug's got us a contact that led to a decent, comfortably-sized home to rent at a price that will allow us to spend this year paying off last year's unemployment, as well as possibly save up for a house of our own.

The Lord (and the people he has put in our life) have provided for us every step of the way.  Its not that life hasn't been challenging, hasn't been without its stresses.  Just a quick highlight reel of our life since getting married: we had Keilana 10 months after we got married, then five months later my grandma died and four months after that my grandpa died;  almost exactly a year later, we had Dylan, finished grad school, moved to Tulare and then moved to Lindsay, all in a six-week time frame; four months after that, my father lost his sister under horrible circumstances, and that same week we were both called to serve in the youth presidencies in our ward, which continued for nearly three years (looking back, it still amazes me how time and energy-consuming those callings were); six months later, Dylan spent nearly a week in the hospital in southern California, which stretched our already squeaky-tight budget to the breaking point, creating a financial hole that took nearly four years to climb out of (just about when Doug lost his job. . .), the same week that Doug's cousin and her kids moved in with us for the rest of the school year; 4 months later, Conner died and Doug got promoted to a Director, with all the requisite time and stress burdens; a few months after that, I went back to work to try to help alleviate some of the financial stress, which meant pretty much whenever Doug was home I was gone.  When that got to be too much, I finally quit a little less than two months before Kylie was born.  We welcomed her, and had actually something of lull for a while, which is probably because we were considering moving to Montana due to the way things were playing out at work--it seemed like maybe it would be a good time to move on, but we got a "no".  In the mean time, Doug was working full time, had several consulting jobs on the side, and was taking a night class at COS.  Just as that madness started to slow down, a bogus, ridiculous police report was filed against a member of our family by someone we had trusted.  Spent a couple months sorting that out, before we became embroiled in trying to help extract an ill family member from an unhealthy and abusive situation, and just after that I had an early miscarriage.  A few months later, I was pregnant with Keira, and things were getting really bizarre and uncomfortable at work.  We were starting to suspect that Doug would be out of a job, by his own choice or the vicissitudes beyond our control, before our baby was born. By early fall, my step-grandpa passed away, and my grandma was in the hospital with a broken hip.  By October (when I was about four months pregnant), what had been a quiet festering in town became open contention, with many of our closest friends (and, unfortunately, their children) bearing the brunt of it.  By the next month, Doug's boss had resigned and the City, both from a financial and a morale stand point, was in shambles, and the new boss was, well, lets just say he wasn't real fond of Doug or most of the people that Doug and I most respected, who now worked for him.  We tried to make it work, but it didn't last long, and by January, Doug was out of a job, and in the coming months, most of our friends would be much the same. Just before Easter, Doug's grandma passed away.  We tried to live responsibly on our savings while Doug finished his Master's final project and job hunted.  As our savings dwindled and we found virtually no jobs, we moved up here.

And hid.  You see, most of the time all these various things were going on, we were also very enmeshed with a lot of the people in our lives--they were our friends, the people we served with at church, and the people we both saw and interacted with when we were at work.  McDermott was across the street.  There was simply no escape from the stresses of what we were trying to accomplish.  The physical, emotional and spiritual demands were significant.  We were also trying to wade through some very complicated family relationships that were not always going well, to say the least.  I spent a great deal of time and energy serving as a primary emotional support for a dear loved one as she struggled through a troubled marriage and tragic loss (which I don't regret for a second or resent in the least--I adore her and am happy that, in whatever way, I was able to help, but it was incredibly emotionally demanding/draining), and dealing with all those other every day difficulties and stresses of life:  trying to make ends meet (trying hard not to resent massive student loans and frustrating medical bills), cooking, cleaning and nurturing a growing family, normal work stresses, weddings and funerals and trying reestablished long-estranged relationships, etc, etc.  The circumstances under which Doug left his job left the extra emotional baggage of feeling let down or even betrayed by people we had trusted and loved, and the disappointment of finding out that, in some ways, our worst guesses were in fact right.

So when we got here, we retreated.  Neither of us made much effort to socialize beyond our immediate family.  We let people "take care" of us much more than either of us is usually inclined to.  Both of us introverted to varying degrees, we had been "on" almost constantly for five and a half years and though we both knew we were tired, I don't think we realized just how terribly worn out we were until we had a minute to pause and rest.  I was so very, very sad to leave my friends and family in California (and still miss them more than I can say), but I am so grateful that the Lord allowed us to hang out there jobless long enough that coming here became our best option--we may never have considered it otherwise, and it has been exactly what we needed.

He has provided for us all along this somewhat bumpy way.  If we had had to spend that much time wrapped up in life with any other group of people, we probably would've strangled someone, but as it was, the people around us made us better.  We were able to be so enmeshed for those years because they are all individuals of the highest caliber and I am honored that they consider us friends.  They are some of the most kind, generous, patient, forgiving--in short, some of the most charitable (in the truest, Christlike sense) people I have ever known.  Though there have been many other blessings, I am more deeply grateful for the privilege of having such friends than I am for nearly any other blessing in my life.  And, through all of that, I was periodically reminded, by an email from Sam, or a group email from the Sam/Laura/Hayley/Callie cadre, that I had even more wonderful friends in my life who cared about me than just those immediately around me.

We are also loved by large, warm, generous families.  We have four very healthy, happy, bright children.  We have never lived anywhere fancy or huge, but we have always been able to find somewhere comfortable and affordable to raise our family.  We have been blessed with excellent health (no small thing at all).  Even in our most tense, frustrated, frightened moments, we have never doubted that we have the very best of friends in one another, and I am beyond grateful to have a husband with whom I can communicate freely and easily, who loves me and loves our children and almost always puts our needs before his own.  For that love and generosity, I am happy to forgive most all other faults, as he is with me.

When I look back over the last nine years, it isn't all those challenges that stick out to me usually.  More often, I remember hundreds of little kindnesses, and thousands of little moments of a joy, as well as a few big moments of Divine goodness.  My life is so filled with the tender mercies of the Lord that I could never record all of them here, but I want to resolve going forward to make a better effort at doing just that:  recording tender mercies, little moments, cherished blessings, so that perhaps others might be able to better see, through my charmed life, the goodness and kindness of a loving Father.  Sometimes reading/seeing the blessings of others helps us to be more aware of our own.  Perhaps in this small way I can repay a small portion of the debt of gratitude I owe to a loving and attentive Father.

1 comment:

Sam and Kurtis said...

Love you guys. Hope to move goes well or went well i'm not sure when you were leaving. anyway here's to new beginnings. It all just means you guys are strong enough to have the challenges others can't. I'm still convinced that some time in our lives we will be next door neighbors or at least live in the same town again. and i can't wait for that day.