So started my Facebook status yesterday, posted from a doctor’s office.
|Portulaca (moss rose)|
My morning? I wake up coughing and tired. I stumble over to the computer and deal with a handful of stressful e-mails. I ponder the weightier issues floating around my edge of the blogosphere. After driving my middle school daughter to the bus stop, I notice the begonias and portulaca I bought a few days ago still need planting. I resort to using a kitchen knife to dig the holes because I can’t find my trowel. Fresh air, dirt under my nails, lovely flowers in pinks and oranges. But the house needs cleaning, and lots of grading and lesson planning to do on my day off. So many existential crises to solve, even a few right-here-right-now crises. I am feeling rather inadequate. Who do I think I am anyway?
Two elementary age kids are home sick, one quite cranky about it. Teacher calls to say my daughter cannot return to school on Monday without a doctor’s note verifying she was sick, due to her excessive absences this year. School policy and all, I understand. Good thing my kids have medical insurance, eh? Otherwise, this could get expensive.
Off to the doctor we go, morning interrupted. As I drive, I am so stressed with the thoughts swirling in my head. I growl unpleasantries, translated more politely: Life’s too hard. Life’s too hard. Then I hear the sheriff car’s warning chirp, see the flashing blue, pull over. Apparently in my distraction, I didn’t stop long enough at the stop sign? He is very professional, this officer, as he hands me a ticket for $166. In tears, I thank him for keeping our community safe, but yes, this doctor visit is getting expensive after all, even before we get there… On the bright side, we stop at a yard sale on the way home, and the man could see I was having a tough day, so he gives my cute little daughter a lime green desk chair and a Club Penguin book for free “with the purchase of the $1 purple desk lamp your mom is buying.” Home again, I manage to clean house a bit with my youngest son (home sick, but still happy to help), and then take a long nap.
|Necktie lessons from Dad|
My oldest son had asked me to drive him 30 minutes across town in the evening to see a play produced by our old home school group. It’s a fancy affair, and he needs to dress up a bit, so we’re off to Goodwill at last minute for a suit jacket (my husband’s great idea). I think about going in to see the play with my son, but have zero emotional energy to be with people, even old friends. Nor do I want to dress up just now. Jeans and T-shirt for me, thankyouverymuch. I drop him off, grab some dinner at 7-Eleven, come back and sit in my van in the church parking lot for over two hours.
Waste of time? No, blessed time. Blessed time for me. Open the van windows and hear the crickets chirp. Gaze at the sunset, then get out and take pictures with my iPod. Read a book on my iPod Kindle app, highlighting words of hope like crazy. Pop into the iPod Ordinary Days app to catch up on my daily journaling. (Do you get the idea I love my iPod?)
Listen to Fernando Ortega music (on my iPod, of course): “I dream of the golden melting sunlight / The blue and silver moon / Sweet Grace, sweet Grace / I thought I heard your voice last night / Call your children home / Sweet Grace.”
And I think, this, this, is my backspace today. Pull back into a space of solitude and soul refreshment. I can’t undo what happened earlier, but I can retreat, renew, and go forward into the rest of the story. I’ve done it before: pick up the pieces and move on. Rejoin the community even. After that recharge, I have the energy for ice cream and quiet conversation at a friend’s house with my son.
Backspace. Sweet grace. Solitude. Time to quiet down and clear the head, fill the heart. We all need it sometimes.
Where is your backspace?