School started, and life has hope and meaning again. I think the two are related.
Since Eloise was born, Chris has been deployed/about to deploy, or we’ve been moving. No wonder I was losing my mind a little. I kept feeling like the clock was ticking and time was running out. For what? I don’t know, but I have felt like I’m on a tightrope with no safety net for as long as I can remember.
I’m not sure if we should have done something differently, but moving as much as we did the past year? It’s been isolating and lonely. I read about families who “world school” or whatever, and move more often than we do without even the military support system. I…just…NOPE.
Anyway, it dawned on me one day, driving in the car with my mom, that there’s an extremely common name for this: ANXIETY. Chris will be gone a lot of the next year and it was getting to me, that feeling of, “I can’t screw this up, because there is no one coming to help.” At its worst, deployment feels like this abyss of worst case scenarios waiting to crush the life and hope out of everything. All of a sudden I feel like I can see it for what it is: simple anxiety. But for months and months (and months?), all I’ve felt was dread, like I was dragging a burden that was too heavy for me.
Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Tears streamed down my cheeks and my chest tightened I read that verse on my phone in the darkened hotel room on the edge of the bed the kids were sharing since Eloise outgrew her pack-n-play. HOW? How can anyone find rest with four people in a hotel room, with Chris sometimes flying late into the night, and kids crying out in the stuffy room, and dogs barking next door, and TVs blaring at 4am?
Moving into our house helped A LOT. And my parents visiting helped, and school starting helped. Finally, I can think a thought without getting unexpectedly elbowed in the face, and my kids can be around friends (I will never ever ever again underestimate how crucial group playtime is for my kids!), and I can get some exercise or work done or whatever.
OR HIKE. I love hiking. My mom was worried about me hiking alone, but apparently you’re never really alone on the Lanikai Pillbox Hike (Kaiwa Ridge Trail). The whole time I thought, “Wow! I’m so glad I didn’t try to do this holding a two year old while corralling a five year old!” It’s steep and crumbly, with occasional steep precipices dropping off into expensive real estate.
Heat radiated off the sun-baked earth and rocks, the sea breeze pushed strong from the ocean, the Mokes rested peacefully offshore, and the Ko’olau Mountains curved around the back. From Chinaman’s Hat north of Kaneohe Bay to the Macapu’u lighthouse to the south, the ocean glittered blue and bluer while cars and tiny people moved slowly through the waterways, streets and greenery. Often the only sound was the wind. Or other hikers playing music. Or someone launching a drone. Or another tourist asking someone to take their picture. It was truly breathtaking.
Supposedly laughter is the best medicine, but today, I’ll take the pillbox hike instead!