In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Double Life

I totally feel like Hannah Montana.  Not in a sort of youthful, rock star sort of way, but in a double life sort of way.  Just so you know, I know she is somewhat a decade ago, but she's just who popped into my mind when I thought about the phrase, "Double Life."  She was an average teen who went to school by day, but was a pop star by night.  Only her closest friends and family knew Hannah Montana's real identity.  My double life-ness isn't quite so glittery and exciting.

By day I feel like a fairly capable (I say capable lightly, as I still have people bringing meals, cleaning my house, and doing my laundry) and relatively fun mom of three kids. By night I feel like a broken, sad, grieving widow with three grieving kids.  They are in stark contrast with each other.  How can I be fun and normal AND be deeply sad and broken, AND feel OK about being both, all in the same 24 hours.  One isn't a cover for the other.  I'm not pretending to have fun while I play with my kids at the park.  I'm not forcing myself to feel joy when Maci explains in her unique vocabulary, "This dessert is impressive."  I'm not fabricating parental pride when Spencer exercises his new skill of reading the English language.  And I'm certainly not feigning laughter, when one of my more tailored friends (and you know who you are) starkly announced yesterday, "I just want to scratch my balls!" When she actually meant to say, in reaction to her allergies, "I just want to scratch my eyeballs."  

I'm also not stifling my tears all day.  I not hiding my hurt.  At least I don't think I am?  Maybe the jury is still out on this one.  I know I don't want to be sloppy crying over everyone, all the time and making everything about me.  That is for sure! I don't ever want to outdo anyone else's problems or concerns that they have in their life.  That would leave me with friends that don't want to share the good, the bad, the hard, and the real.  I would be left with exchanging the insignificant with my friends.  Gross. I want to spit that thought right out of my mouth.  However, I wonder just a little if I am so worried about that happening, that I don't disclose the frequency or the intensity of my tears.  Or maybe it is just healthy and healing enough to fall apart when I am alone in my car or after hours at the Aldridge household.  I am like a negative twenty on the internal processing scale, so I probably just feel like my session of mourning isn't complete unless I have processed it with somebody.  However, that would be a little weird to pick up the phone late at night and say, "Hello.  I just cried real hard." And here is the other thing.  I crave the normal.  I don't really want to use my precious time with friends to boo hoo the whole time.  I think I would much rather laugh, kick back, and live out a little normal when I get the chance.

I have always read Solomon's words in Ecclesiates to mean that there is a season for everything. 

  a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

In my life, the seasons change by the minute. At 3:15 it is a time to dance in the kitchen with the girls.  At 3:20,  I see a CiCi's Pizza commercial, and it reminds me of Dave and our classy dinners there, thus making it a time to weep.  One minute I am keeping with stability and the next I am ready to look for something new.  

I imagine this part is just going to be hard for a while.  Until the two begin to blend a little, maybe I just need you to know a few things.  I am doing quite well.  I still genuinely enjoy so much in life.  I still love to laugh. I love Jesus with my whole heart.  I am proud that our family is still carrying on.  I am not OK.  I am sadder than I have ever been in my entire life.  I am questioning the power of Jesus on earth.  My heart is continually wrung out for my kids.  I cry a whole lot.

All these statements are true.  My double life is in full swing along with Hannah Montana's reruns.    Unfortunately, my double life isn't exactly the material that sitcoms are made of.  


Carla Lister said...

I am here for you. I know that you don't know me at all. But Dave, and his friendship ment the world to me. If you need someone's shoulder to cry on, I am truly here for you.

Jennifer said...

my counselor told me that grief is like a railroad track.....your ability to grieve and also find joy run side by side at the same time. It doesn't make sense how it's possible.....unless of course you are experiencing it. Even today, I still feel this is true for me.

I also grieve mostly alone. I try to protect those around me. I put on a happy face but am constantly crushed inside. I think this is long as you DO allow yourself to grieve. I am fortunate that my kids are in school so I'm able to get a lot of the crying out and then put the happy face on when everyone gets home. It's weird. It's hard. It sucks. Plain and simple.

Praying for you today.

Angi said...

I had a dream about you last night. We were laughing and having fun as we did in the OBU days. I look forward to seeing you again and sharing fun times as well as real times! Love you friend!

kuliejellogg said...

Have I commented before? I can't remember and I'm too lazy to look. I'm Elizabeth's friend, and I've been following along since she clued me in.

I was really struck by your post a while back about God's power on Earth. It resonated deeply with me because I've rarely lived a day that I actually needed to know His power is real. That is really startling to "say" that. But true.

Anyway, when I read your post, I immediately tried to think of all the ways I've seen God's power at work on Earth. I was racking my brain for miracle-type power b/c I wanted to reassure that His power remains. My memory was useless.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that at this point in my life - and certainly yours to a much greater extent - God's power is very real. Every day. Just this week God's power was made evident in my life when I taught my daughter to ski. Hang with me...

When I taught her to ride a bike, it was a truly horrible experience - for her, for me, for everyone around us. Horrible.

But then my family went skiing for Spring Break. Due to several circumstances, it fell to me to teach her to ski (after a failed day in ski school). I was so worried. So desperate. I cried out to God. I knew that only by His power would we make it through the day. I didn't even care if she could ski at the end of the day, I just didn't want to add any more memories of impatient, irrational screaming mother to her childhood.

And with all glory to God, His power was made great in my weakness. Not only did we have a good time, she actually learned to ski. I sort of felt like it was a Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego moment... as in, Even if He didn't deliver me (a good skier), He is still good and powerful. His power was made real in my tiny, sinful heart. I cannot think of a place that needs His power more.

I pray that He demonstrates His power to you in the mundane and the great. He is sovereign over both. His love for you is real and tangible, and He has made His very power available to you.

Ephesians 1
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms