I think, for me anyway, when things go wrong in my life, I always think about returning to ground zero (not the one in NYC, but the my ground zero.) It's sort of like going back to the last place I knew everything was right. If life goes haywire for me, in my mind, the last time I KNEW what I wanted and where I was going was when I was home. Of course, when I was there, the place I knew I was going was "anywhere but here." But still, there's this nostalgia about home, my hometown, and the life there that isn't realistic, I'm sure, but that in my mind, is safety. In my mind, I know that if everything goes wrong in the world, if I lose the roof over my head and the food on my table, there's a safe place to land. And that's home.
In the end, I could say that my parents are a roaring success. If, at the mid-point in their lives, my kids could say that home is their safe place to land, that they know when ALL else fails them, no matter who's right or who's wrong, no matter their part in the mistakes or whether or not the whole mess is their fault, they know that they have a safe landing near me, then I'll be pleased with the job I've done as a mom. That's all I really want for my kids, in the end, if they take nothing else. And I hope that they take 1,000,000 other things too. I hope I prepare them for ANY path they choose in life, whether it be ditch digger or brain surgeon, I hope I give them confidence and humility both enough to embrace their lives and know that they are accepted, any way they are. That's what my parents gave me, above all else. I know that no matter what, I can go home. I could always go home. I would always have a roof over my head. I would always "figure it out" and "make it work" if I had to. And that is something I do not take for granted. I don't think everyone could say that in this world. I don't think everyone has that kind of safety net.
Believe me, I'm not saying that is anywhere close to optimal. My kids need to be raised here, or close to here, where they have their own support network. There are psychiatrists and experts to help Liam. There are "city" activities that interest Jack. There are all sorts of enrichment opportunities for the kids that aren't offered in my hometown. I would never uproot them again unless I had no choice at all. But in the end, when I find it hard to breathe because I am unsure about the future, I know the option is there and if nothing else, I'll have food and shelter and people who will welcome me.
Today as I was praying, I just felt a renewed sense of strength come over me. I have felt that everyone thought I was this strong person, but that in reality, I was so weak and I was broken and I really didn't know what in the world I was going to do to survive. I didn't see any happiness in my future. I didn't see anything around me that looked like the life I wanted. I didn't have any dreams or any hopes other than survival and my kids being okay. I know it seems ridiculous to think that my life is over at 42 and that my only hope was that I didn't screw my kids up too badly, but that's where I was (and am dangerously teetering on that edge throughout the day at times.) But just for today, I heard God say, "I've got this. I've got you! I'm big enough to take all this, child. Give Me your sorrow. Give Me your fear. Give Me your children. I've got this!" And I literally envisioned Him reaching His hands out and taking my worries and my fears from me. It was such an amazing feeling. Just to let it go. Just to open my hands and just offer it up and just for today, I haven't really worried at all. The fears and thoughts have not been overwhelming. The doubt has not shaded everything else. I have felt strong. I haven't had the catastrophic thinking that this was it, no one would ever love me again, I would never feel secure or known, that I would be lonely forever. P-lease! I'm so morose sometimes! I know that God knows every single thought, every desire, every yearning, every fear, and I know that He wants what's best for me. He has something for us to do, somewhere for us to go, and we can't get there with me holding on to these things that are not of Him. I found a quote on Pinterest that I think is so appropriate and I hope I can remember it moving forward:
So, I don't know if what I've been through really qualifies as a chapter. I think it's more like, you can't watch the sequel if you keep re-running the original. It's more like an installment of a saga than a chapter, but I digress. You get the point.
"I loved you at your darkest."