A couple of weeks ago I was on point. I was totally put together and had every aspect of my life together. Right now, I’m typing on a keyboard I don’t know which creates a ton of mistakes, making even writing about my life spiraling out of control difficult.
The desk is littered with crumbs, dirt, glitter, eraser shreds, sticky… stuff, while on the floor next to me rests and empty computer bag. It’s the bag I used for my personal laptop. The computer here at the desk is the family computer, mainly used by the children for school, games, and internet perusing. I avoid this computer because it is almost covered in their papers and books, trash and crumbs, however, that personal computer of mine, the one that belongs to that empty bag sitting next to me on the floor, was stolen last week. The only computer I have now is this one at the desk.
So while I sit here writing with my wrists resting in all the children’s mess, I realize, I really have spiraled.
Two weeks ago I had a schedule. I had energy. I had a clean house. I had lesson plans. Two weeks ago I had time for a consistent Bible study with the children every morning. Two weeks ago, I felt amazing, better than I’ve felt in years. Two weeks ago I was working on my writing more and more. Two weeks ago my marriage was better than ever. Two weeks ago I had my life together.
It’s been almost two weeks ago since we were thrust into a mild crisis when our vehicle was stolen. Jay and I had traveled to a nearby city, 4 hours away to pick up a parishioner from the hospital and bring her home. I went along with him to do some Christmas shopping while we visited the big city. That night, some thieves followed us from Walmart and drove off with our vehicle. We weren’t in a crisis mode at that point, it was more like a stubbed toe. It stung, it confused and upset our mission and our day, but the pain subsided quickly and turned to laughter.
I won’t go into how God cared for us in that situation, in this article, but I will say He provided a vehicle and a way home easily and without effort on our part.
We made it home and the realization of all that we had lost settled in. My computer was my biggest loss. The computer itself was a cheap $300 notebook, but the files on it were priceless. I had everything from homeschool templates and worksheets I had created and downloaded, as well as my son’s high school transcript, to two books and one Bible study I had written. That intellectual property could not be replaced.
Any artist will tell you, having your hours and hours of work taken suddenly is a lot like having the air knocked out of you. Losing it on the computer to technical malfunction or maybe to a natural disaster, or even to just lose the device in carelessness feels like the day I was swinging on the monkey bars on the playground in the third grade, flipping a little too far and flying off the bar to land with my stomach flat on a railroad tie. I couldn’t breath. I winced in pain but the lack of oxygen in my lungs kept tears from forming in my eyes. All I could do was lay there and wait, hoping air would return to my lungs.
However, this was not like that. This was more like the bully on the playground walking up to me after I gave a friend a turn on the monkey bars and punching me square in the stomach just because it looked fun. The pain is different because it involves so much more than just the physical pain in the gut and lungs. The pain felt goes deep into the heart as well. Someone else hurt me. A group of people intentionally caused pain with no regard or remorse and now some of my most precious thoughts were gone.
For the first few days I felt little sorrow, holding out hope that our vehicle and my computer would be returned.
Officer Miller called us about 11:30 pm three days later. “You had a vehicle stolen?”
“Well, we’ve found it.”
“Is there a computer inside?”
“I don’t see one. It looks like just trash.”
My heart sunk. My hope ended. I felt defeated.
Since that day, I’ve flailed to regain control over my home, school, and work. The Christmas season has come roaring onto the calendar, claiming every day and evening for two weeks. In the meantime, my house is a wreck, my cleaning schedule for the kids is gone, and even my words are meaningless to them. I can hand out commands, but I’ve lost control.
I told my husband last night, I feel as though I’ve lost control of everything in my life. I’ve lost control of my home and the order I like to maintain. I’ve lost control of my children and their daily tasks. I’ve lost control spiritually. I tried to do my Bible study and realized I didn’t have my Bible, I didn’t know where my Bible resided, and I wasn’t even sure where to look. I couldn’t even decide which Bible to use. My heart and mind felt so disconnected to God’s Word.
I had lost control physically. Not only have my joints been acting up causing me pain, but I feel as though I have done nothing physical in months.
I have lost control emotionally. My emotions seem to be exaggerated except for joy. Joy is there, but it is overshadowed by anger, sadness, laziness, and fatigue.
I’ve lost control intellectually. In the places where I had control over my children’s schooling and their lessons, I’ve lost track of where we are and where I am taking them.
I find it interesting that one little machine can throw off my whole entire life in such a dramatic way. I can write my stories again. However, I feel lost. Where do I write them?
As we wait for the insurance company to do their part now, we both feel as though we hang in limbo, unable to really go back to life as it was, but forced to move forward without all the tools we once possessed.
So, I decided to take control of something. I took a nap today. My mind and body need rest. I decided that letting go of the cleanliness and order of my home will give me freedom from the bondage of my emotions. It’s a busy time and we have experienced extenuating circumstances on top of one of the busiest seasons. My house can be a little messy for a while if it means that my mental and emotional state are not so stressed.
I have sat down at the dreaded messy desk, to use the family computer to write and regain some of my thoughts and feelings on the matter. I may be clumsy on the keyboard and my back may hurt from the height of the desk and chair, but at least I have done what I love again. At least the air is returning to my lungs. At least I can see beyond the darkness this dark cloud cast over our lives for a few days.
Isn’t that how storms go? They cast a little darkness into our lives for a period of time, but the clouds part and the sun shines again. That’s when God steps in and cleans up the mess. We know when Jesus has walked through our storm righting was wronged and bringing forth flowers from the rain, because He is the fragrance after the rain.