Good heavens, it has been such a week! Such a month! Such a year!
I'm tired these days, worn down by illness upon persistent illness. Nothing too serious, but just a repeating ache, sometimes a few layered upon one another. A migraine. A recurring infection that called for minor surgeries. A cold. A babe who won't sleep her normal hours.
I have a lot to be grateful for. I do have a lot of pain-free days. I have absolutely no regrets about the time I've spent caring for Lucy nor the time I've spent on making sure our family eats well amidst a long list of allergy restrictions. But at the end of those essentials, I don't have much energy left. I just never feel like I'm at my best these days. Which makes me sad, because I want to be at my best. I have lots of good work to do!
This past year, Clint's last year at Regent College, was an impossible year. He was working three jobs and taking a full course load. I cared for Lucy: soothing tears at night, washing innumerable tiny socks and dirty diapers, learning the changing routines of babyhood.
We were both working harder than we'd ever worked before in our lives. We were both exhausted. We got up in the mornings, went through the motions of the days, watched the clocks to see the hours tick by and fell gratefully into bed at night. There were many beautiful moments, fleeting glimpses of goodness that got us through. We took weekly Sabbaths to rest. But even so, there were no margins. No space to dream, to hope, to give abundantly. No extra to take a vacation from work for each other. Just one bone-weary day after another.
Early in the summer I sat in on a course at Regent where we spent a few days talking about The Pilgrim's Progress, the story of Christian's epic journey of salvation from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. At one point, early in his journey, he walks through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, a place filled with so much darkness that each time Christian lifted his foot to take a step, he couldn't see where he would set it down again. He knew that on one side of the narrow path there was a bog filled with quicksand and on the other a steep chasm, and the path itself was rough and uneven.
That's how the last year has felt for me--full of darkness and uncertainty. Each time I thought we were out of it, something big plunged us back into the dark of emergency mode.
In the past month or so, we've just begun to feel our heads really come above water, and our lungs are aching with all this new air. We have settled into a new apartment that is much, much better for our needs. I had the chance to preach a sermon at our church, and then to apply for and accept a job as an Assistant Youth Minister working alongside Clint. Both of these changes have lighted the path ahead. I'm finding more and more time to write and fresh new ideas about how to make my book better.
And to top it all off, this introverted mama got to take a retreat for one night on Bowen Island. Oh, it was bliss! For a little over 24 hours my only task was to rest and do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted to do. Yeah, it sounds wild until you've been mothering for 15 months. All I wanted to do was to take a nap with no one to tell me when to wake up, to eat when I was hungry, to shower on a whim, and to put my feet up in front of the fireplace and read a whole book in one sitting without interruption. My definition of the life of luxury has changed just a bit. Of course, Lucy didn't sleep most of the night after I got back, but still. I feel recharged now. I found my margin and I'm so grateful for it.
Goodbye, longest year, and good riddance!