Saturday, May 14, 2011

Thank God for Entropy

   If, as they say, "in a tiger's house there are no puppy dog's", then, in a survivor's house, there are no victims. For me, being invincible has all kinds of unintended consequences. I am on a quest to work out the kinks. I compare life to the Appalachian Trail. All of us are hiking the trail and we all began down south in the spring of our lives. At this point, we are all traveling different parts of the trail and we are in all kinds of conditions spiritually. These conditions manifest themselves physically in chronic illness and emotional problems and this never ending feeling of separation that leaves us feeling a giant disconnect from everyone around us. Even tho all of us are connected at the most base of all levels, most of us have forgotten and live lives of lonely and ignorant desperation.
   I find that every time I summit and feel the jubilation of some kind of staggering insight, I soon crash and realize I have so much more to learn and so much room to grow. My spiritual trip is like a drug. It's almost bi-polar. I deliberately walk through hell and love every minute of it because stepping outside my comfort zone is the only sure way to achieve growth. I can't imagine living through my daily life without any sense that there was a higher meaning to all of it.
   This is the "good" in what could otherwise be too much for me to handle. It is the upbeat in an a-minor Wagner piece. It is a purpose and I cannot exist without a purpose. I like to know what to expect. This is not always good, this need to predict the next moment, this craving I have for security. With five children, I have no way to assume what will happen next. I can only assume one thing for sure: chaos. Holy Hell. Bedlam. I can try to manage it and I do a damn good job.But, for sure there is only one thing that I can safely assume that at some point, all hell WILL break out. At which point in time, it is my job to keep my cool and be expected to know what to do at all times. Other mothers know that this is not possible. Not only will I not know what to do at any given moment and just have to shoot from the hip, but I just can't keep my cool all the time. I keep my cool sometimes when the average human being would be losing his shit all over the place. It's true. There was one winter when I did not see another adult for three months. My water pipes froze for four days and I had to melt snow on my wood stove to wash. But I was a walking model of serenity after that three months. And I managed. It should have been something out of The Shining but I always seem to find that strength within myself when it has to be there.
   I know there are others on the trail who can't do this. And I know that my children have not mastered even the simplest of tasks, apparently even "be kind to your neighbor" is too much for them. I will start to have hope for them when they achieve "love your brother" but until then it is my job to constantly reinforce my values. And try to be an example to them and whomever else I might cross paths with. Sometimes it is do as I say not as I do, (no point denying it, my children would denounce my publicly if I tried to lie),but I try to at least teach them consistently. I am trying to help them see that they are on the trail. But that their brothers and sisters are on the trail somewhere too. If you saw someone hiking the Appalachian Trail and they were bleeding, limping, and had no pack, would anyone not willing help them? So it is on our spiritual path. It is not up to us to judge the state of an-others journey but to assist where we are able and when we cannot help to try if we can to not make things worse.
   I am learning to fight for my dignity...but to take criticism gently without feeling the need to defend myself. Once upon a time, I had to learn to defend myself and I had to find my own worth. But there is a time for fighting and a time for letting go. There is a time to love yourself enough and a time to learn how to love others. It is important to trust...but to know when to say no. It is a mistake to not trust at all.
   When you have teenagers living with kindergarteners, it is inevitable that one day your six year old will perform a dance move or sing a lyric that you wish she had never heard. You cringe that your teenager even knows those words. And it is the same with parents and their children. I am learning such important life lessons. The insights I learn every day now sometimes startle me into changes that can't help but affect my family. The poor things, they have to keep up with this and I am not blind to this. Just because I want to bake our bread and watch documentaries every day, does not mean I can expect six other people to suddenly follow me like a bunch of mindless zombies. After all, I raised them to question everything. I am the one who taught them to think for themselves. And Laura is always, obviously, free to tell me to shove it. She, at least, sees the benefit in the choices I am making. If I choose to not argue and am less defensive 90% of the time, her quality of life grows exponentially. But my fourteen year will say things like, " I don't think you should be baking our bread. Store bought bread is healthier because it was genetically engineered in a lab to BE healthy." Thinking for himself, like I taught him. And being taken in by corporate America, just like his Daddy.
   So in the end, I may be winning this Iron Man Marathon but I know better than to celebrate before I cross the finish line. My advice will always be "pace yourself", watch your back, and help the guy on the side of the road. And above all, never quit the race.


  1. This was an excellent read as I sit here with my coffee pondering over your words. You certainly have a way of putting them together that makes me want to keep reading more. I could certainly connect to what you were saying even though I am no longer rasing kids and my situation was not so demanding as your's. But I do identify with the race as you describe it. You keep up this writing as there must be a publisher in your future waiting to meet you.

  2. That is so sweet of you and if there is a publisher waiting to meet me, I will brew tea!