I have a feeling of deep sadness today.
I’ve been sitting in my garret office, with the sunshine coming in the window. Last week I had a group in for a meeting and really spruced up the place, which was looking pretty pitiful and dusty. Molly chewed some sticks in here before Christmas, and I hadn’t bothered to vacuum the “crumbs.” My recycle bin was overflowing and my trash can needed emptying. It felt good to do those things.
The atmosphere has been greatly improved by the addition of colorful fabrics on two surfaces that were previously bare. I brought in a couple of extra chairs from elsewhere in the building, and they stayed. I scavenged a basket for my desk, for the pile of brochures and catalogs I meant to get around to perusing someday.
I also went through all the piles and recycled accordingly.
I began thinking about the texts for this week, went back and looked at my sermon from three years ago, took a peek at Fred Craddock’s thoughts on the matter and the support material from Seasons of the Spirit.
In the midst of this I heard from #1 Son via IM. He has parts in two plays this semester and is excited about both of them.
Yesterday was wonderful. Our service was deep and spirited. I finally noticed that our pledges for Missions more than doubled from last year’s amount. In the afternoon I gave the talk at the service of the new church meeting in our sanctuary, complete with Power Point. In between and after I did four loads of laundry and actually put almost all of it away (save the load in the dryer over night).
Why am I sitting here feeling so sad?
It’s partly because Pure Luck is going away. He leaves Saturday and will be gone for about two months. It’s the reality of his line of work. When he’s home, he’s really home and not working. When he is working, he is gone. What’s different this time is that he will be away both farther and longer than he has since we have known each other.
At this moment we don’t know where he will be staying, whether his cell phone will work, whether he’ll find a place with Internet—everything is unsettled, as it always is at this point in the process.
Yesterday during church, when we were offering our silent prayers, I prayed for help not to be a baby about his departure and his absence.
Yet here I am moping in my office.
I’m also feeling deeply sad about a friendship gone awry through the choices of the other person.
And I have taken on a wider church commitment that is weighty, to put it mildly.
I remind myself that one of the things that helped last time Pure Luck was away was the time I spent with the dogs. They spend most of their time with him when he is at home; in his absence they will come with me to the office more often, or ride around with me when I have appointments. Having to get outside and breathe fresh air while walking them had a positive impact on me, although it made my schedule tighter than ever.
Do I feel this way every time, so sad I don’t know what to do with myself?
When #2 Son was little, I used to swap childcare with a friend. Her daughter had serious separation anxiety. My friend would sing a little song: “My mommy comes back, she always come back, she always comes back to get me. My mommy comes back, she always comes back, she never would forget me!”
I’m like that little friend. It’s not just the physical leave-taking that hurts. I hurt for the loss of a friend. And although it is not about abandonment, exactly, I ache as I realize that the nature of some responsibilities leaves me isolated.
I’m feeling all these things as I ponder in my garret office on a Monday afternoon. Tomorrow I’ll have a day full of appointments and my thinking and feeling will be happening in the car, to the sound of NPR and Air America in the background. I’ll be on the cell checking in with one person and another. I’ll be listening and responding to others. But for today I’m sitting with the deep feelings.
What does it mean to not “be a baby” about these things that genuinely trouble me? I guess it means to acknowledge that they are difficult or disillusioning or disappointing, but also to cope with the circumstances in a way that is faithful to my marriage, my self and my God. Even in the sadness, I am thankful for the husband I will miss; perhaps loving someone who has to go away but always comes back is a gift. I am thankful that there are other women in my life who are real friends; perhaps the loss of this friendship will help me to know the difference better next time. And I am thankful for the difficult new work I am doing; it came as an answer to prayer and is helping me understand better how rightly arduous it can be to do God’s work.
I think I’ll go out and get a cup of coffee now.