Friday, April 03, 2009

Shiny Objects

Okay, so I left my cell phone at work tonight. I know, horrible, isn't it? You start finding out how darned much you live for that thing when you don't have it. I mean, I know I can drive down there tomorrow and pick it up. Not a huge biggie. But the ten minute drive home was really, really quiet. I didn't feel like listening to any music. Didn't want the noise, actually. So that just left me and my brain and the road. Way too quiet.

It got me thinking about something Lisa said to me during one of our first meetings. She said she thinks one of the reasons I have such a chaotic life is to keep me distracted. Interesting thought. I mean, how is she defining chaotic? Just because I have four small children at home (well, Klaryssia's seventeen, but really she's like six), three big kids in college, two part time jobs, a small, yappy, annoying dog, a house I can't keep clean or maintained, laundry that's never done, a car that's never washed, bills that barely get paid, a really messy kitchen, phones that never stop ringing, and the TV almost always on in the background, she calls it chaotic? What's up with that?

She says that one way we deal with uncomfortable or scary situations is by distraction. Evidently I take a lot of distraction.

And if that isn't enough background noise, there's always political issues I CARE about, the book I'm NOT writing, the pictures I WANT to take, the parenting I COULD be doing better, the floors I NEED to clean, the kid's fights I BETTER stop, the upcoming wedding of my son I SHOULD be helping plan...

I'm sure there are more things I have crammed on my plate.

Oh yeah, the relationship with my Heavenly Father I'm NEGLECTING, the parents I IGNORE, the friendships I'm NOT working at, the Bible I OUGHT to read...

You see a pattern here? My brain can't handle it. All the undone things, necessary and unnecessary, all the things I want to do and things I need to do, all the things I allow into my life swirl around in my head like water in a toilet that won't flush and are constantly overflowing.

This is what my therapist calls "distraction". She says I do it to make my brain stay so busy and overwhelmed that I can't possibly have time or energy to deal with what's actually bothering me. I shift my attention to the noisy present and have real reasons to justify my inability to take care of life (or myself) perfectly. Strike that, at all.

In short, I have created my own Chaos. My own little hell on earth.


This observation sneaked in through one of the little cracks in the wall around my heart while my phone was sitting alone at work and my car radio was off. The thing is, I found myself afraid of the quiet and afraid of my thoughts. Wow. Afraid to think? Afraid to allow my mind to wander without purpose, without a problem to be solving? Dang, how did that happen??

I think the wall is finally cracking is because my heart's had a few major setbacks this year. My son is marrying and getting his life apart from mom underway; my older daughter safely sent off to an awesome college...and I'm home with the little kids alone.

I am proud, sad, and a little jealous all at once. Proud, of course, because they are making way better choices than I ever did or could have at their age. Sad, because they are seriously fun and interesting people who love me and listen to me and make me laugh. I am missing their company big time. And jealous, because I sincerely wish I'd had the chance to live my young adulthood the way they are now.

Sucks frankly. And the temptation to hustle up more distractions away from these and other truths is huge. I want to have a glass or four of wine; watch a really empty TV show, try to read a novel, take a three hour bath, play Mafia Wars on Facebook...

But, maybe God wants me to try to accept some of this stuff and work through it with His and Lisa's help so I can actually live this life instead of trying to hide from it within the cocoon of chaos and guilt I normally weave around me. Maybe it's time to try to be a beautiful, healthy butterfly instead of a rotting caterpillar trapped inside my aging home.

Then again, it's pretty cozy in here...

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