For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Rollercoaster from Hell

That is what I feel like I'm on.

Most days are fine. Then I get hit with a week like last week, and I cry almost everyday. Next comes a day like yesterday when I finally decide it is pointless to even get out of bed. So I lie in bed and pick a fight with a friend, close down my Facebook account again, and decide it's stupid to try to be a writer at all because...really? What of any value do I have to say anyway?

This morning I wake up before 6:00 am...and smile. My head is clear. Priorities are obvious. Goals and strategies are simple. I have my prayer time, read my Bible, and am sure I hear God speak. The day is going to be wonderful. I know it.

When I get time, I call my friend to apologize and request a truce. We are fine.

I head out into the day to enjoy hanging with my children.

I love contentment, peace, and being settled.

And then there was the post yesterday...

I cringe. 

Maybe I should just erase it. Pretend it never happened. Ugh. There are comments about it in my email box. Great. How do I explain the horrible darkness of yesterday and the peace of today?

Simple. I'm on the rollercoaster from hell.

This afternoon I saw the chocolate mint chips that Amelia dropped by when she brought me cookies a month ago, and I smiled because she remembered they are my favorite.

Debra texted that she thought of me when she read Psalm 30, and I sighed out, "Thank you, God, that she prays for us."

Lisa responded to a text and asked me how I am, and I could feel her hugs. They felt wonderful.

Rae called, and I enjoyed chatting with her instead of dreading picking up the phone.

That was today. Did I mention it was wonderful?

Who knows about tomorrow?

I don't know how many people have called, emailed, or texted that they are here for me if I want to talk, but really, I don't know what to say because whatever we talk about is their reality for where I am and where my family or marriage is.

If I'm in a good mood, Rob and I are talking nicely, and the kids are having a great day, they assume life is great and there could be a good possibility of reconciliation. One person asked simply, "Well, if you can talk nicely, then why hasn't he moved home?" If only it were so simple.

On the other hand, if Rob has gotten on my nerves and I say something negative or the kids are struggling that day or I'm just in tears, that is the reality that person has. It looks like we are coming apart at the seams, and that is the reality they take with them when we get off the phone. While an hour later, all may be fine and settled here, for that person, the chaos is still there, or vice versa.

And while I am trying to wade through rejection aftermath, I can be having a fine morning, someone I admire or care for can say something I perceive as critical, and I'm in tears. One day I was in the store doing some shopping, bebopping along, great day, and then I smelled it. Mom's perfume. Suddenly, I couldn't breathe. I thought I was just going to hit my knees right there. Sometimes I can be having a great day, but the kids have a rough day, and by the time I go to bed, I feel defeated, sad, and angry.

It also works the other way. One day Anna and I were both sad and boohoo-y, and we were talking about Mom, and she just said, "So do you think we'll miss all four pies she always brought for Thanksgiving or just the slice we ate from each one." I burst out laughing. We laughed hard for the next half hour or more. When we were done, we were fine. I've been furious at something Rob has done, found something that brought back a good memory, and shaazam!, all is fine again. Or sometimes, I've been struggling to remain settled or constant, and one of the children will bring a book, cuddle up on the big bed, and ask me to read. We read until we are okay, and we really are okay.

One of the reasons I deactivated my Facebook accounts is because I hate the rollercoaster, and I know it spills into public arenas of my life. Sometimes I can't help that. Last night I went to my CERT graduation, and instead of chatting with everyone, I kept to my children and brother. It wasn't like me, and today I received an email asking about it. What was I supposed to say? "Uh, yeah, yesterday stunk. Basically, my mental and emotionally world caved in around me, and I cried all day. No worries." I hate being seen like that. I simply replied, "Hard day yesterday. No, I wasn't my usual self, but I'm better today. Thank you for asking."

When I sent it, I sort of cringed because I expected the usual reponse asking if there is anything the person can do. If so, I don't know what it is. Just accept yesterday as a blip on the radar, and let's move on.

And really, I think that is what I would ask for most. I would ask people to listen quietly during the hard days, don't ask me how you can help, and for goodness sake!, don't try to fix it or make me better. I'll get there, just have faith in me long enough to give me a chance to get my feet back under me. Realize that, yes, I have hard days, sometimes a hard week, but overall, it's a blip on the radar, and I may have hit a low spot, but the rollercoaster is still in motion, and who knows where I will be tomorrow? Or even in a few hours.

Or if you talk to me and we are laughing and all is fine, don't be shocked or ask, "What happened?" if I call you later that day in sobbing tears, overwhelmed, and feeling like I'm drowning. As for the "What happened?", life.

It's not what happened in the last few hours or minutes. It's what has happened in the last six months that simply got touched in a painful way, and I may not want to explain it because, honestly, it may sound dumb in contrast to the emotional impact, and really, I don't want to feel dumb or feel I need to explain why I put on the family ring Dad gave Mom as a "going away" gift, wore it most of the day with no problem, then looked down at it, and suddenly began to sob. Really? You're going to understand that? Or can you simply understand that I miss my parents? I figure you can understand the latter better, so that is what I'm going to tell you...while I hold that ring, think of my dad, mom, and messed up marriage, and cry.

The fact is if I am crying that hard or feel that sad, I know you expect it to be from something of equal traumatic definition...and it is. It's just that the trauma didn't happen today. It's just that something happened today that punched a hole through to the pain, and it came screaming out. And usually that something isn't very big, and when I hear the silence on the other end of the phone or hear the, "And?", I know you don't see it as big enough to warrant this kind of reaction.

I understand that. I have been where you are. I still am. Sometimes those "you aren't serious" type things set the children off, and I have to remind myself that this is not about my interpretation of the event or the trigger. It's theirs. I may not care about a particular bead, but if that is the one that Anna made Grandma's necklace out of last Christmas, it's a huge deal because Anna doesn't need to make anything this year, and in the midst of that loss, a bead becomes an emotional sink hole.

And the rollercoaster takes a downturn.

Aren't you glad you aren't on it? Thought you might be. Don't feel bad. I wish we weren't on it either, but we are. Someday, when it all settled down, maybe I'll tell you about, but then, maybe I won't...unless of course, you find yourself here. And if you do, feel free to call. I won't lie. I don't know or understand what it is like for you, but I give you my word, I'll do my best to wave at you and scream a word of encouragement as you go by because I know that's all anyone can do--and it's really what you need most--when you are on the rollercoaster from hell.

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