Ukraine is suffering.
The streets are full of gangsters.
The house is dirty.
My little yard seems so small.
The people around me need help.
And I have nothing to offer.
All these things and thousands more loop through my mind on fast-forward - like an annoying pop-up ad and I can't seem to find the little x hidden in the corner to turn the crazy thing off.
It's been happening a lot lately, this mental chaos where my brain seems intent on replaying everything negative about my life - reliving days I wish I could forget, imagining and creating future days that could be even worse. Because yes, of course. Everything always gets worse. Never forget that everything is getting worse.
And I've been relying way too much on one little trick - numbing. Numbing with random audio books, podcasts, and scrolling Pinterest - anything to take away the silence of the house. I really think my husband is doing the same. Only he numbs by listening to the news and watching some French comedy channel on YouTube. I'm glad he usually does it with earbuds and that I can't understand French. Because I definitely cannot handle the news.
Many days we take long afternoon naps because he gets home from work no later than 1 P.M. I refuse to tell the internet what level I have achieved on Candy Crush because who would ever waste time on that. Hahaha. And I'm always glad to swallow that magic half of a blue Unisom pill at night because it helps with nausea - but also because I know that in 20 minutes I will slip into the deepest sleep you can imagine.
Probably no one in America can really relate to this. I actually haven't gone this long in quite a few years without a full-time job and a crammed social life. But it's the way this country is right now. Boredom is just part of staying safe. And so many times, I have chosen to just zone out.
But I want to live real.
As real as the very first evening raindrop splattering my forehead -
The tropical evening breeze blowing thru my hair
Hurrying inside before the downpour.
As real the smell of homemade soap from Lousiana -
The feel of the coffee grinds and suds against my skin.
As real as standing on a plastic lawn chair in the sun -
Picking a bowl of bright red cherries
And the taste of those cherries
Blended with mangoes and lots of ice
Slurped through a straw.
As real as the tiny baby in my belly
Projected on the screen
Waving a tiny hand at us
As real as my husband's fingers -
Perfectly intertwined with mine.
I'm a bit scared of living real.
Because when you live real,
You do have to feel things.
Sometimes you cry.
Sometimes you say honest things like, "I'm having a bad day. Please pray for me."
Sometimes you blurt out super intense thoughts that your husband cannot relate to.
Sometimes things get really messy.
And when you live real
Ukraine is still suffering.
The streets are still full of gangsters.
The house is dirty.
Your little yard seems so small.
The people around you still need help.
You still have nothing to offer.
That's why it's easier to live numb.
But living real is the only way you can feel joy. It's the only way you can give and receive love and connect with those around you.
Living real is the only way that the hand of God can reach through vast, empty, dark space... And hold you tight.
The numbing habit is hard to break. But it helps to go outside in the evening and shoot baskets - and really feel the basketball in your hand. Hear the slow hymns from the church across the street. Smile at your favorite person. And tell him how pretty the moon is tonight.
It helps to cook some kind of healthy food and put it on a pretty plate. To wash all the dirty dishes and then wash your sheets too. And make sure to hold them up to your face and smell all that freshness after they've dried in the sun.
Just find something little and real and ordinary. Then do it with all your attention and don't let your mind zone out or start any bad-news-pop-up-videos-of-past-and-future-tragic-events.
Maybe our worlds were meant to be a lot smaller than we make them. And maybe things aren't actually getting worse. You never know.
P.S. I'm sorry if you wanted to hear about the church conference at Hinche. That will come, I promise! I've been doing more sleeping than writing since we got home!