In The Gray

When I first started this blog, I resolved to keep it light, comedic, honest. I’ve gone a month now without writing, because I have been in a low place and felt it best to wait until I was on the upswing again. Several weeks have passed and I do not seem to be feeling any more positive, so I made the decision to tell the truth and post a piece anyway.

For over a month now, I have been swimming in darkness. I have not felt well physically—I battled pneumonia for 3 weeks and now have a sinus infection that is sucking the life out of me. Mentally, I feel defeated, purposeless, lost. I have been searching for meaningful part-time work, every day thinking up new places to send a resume, draft a cover letter. I have resorted to reaching out to local businesses with a personalized, typed letter, asking if they need help. There is little else in this modern world as depleting, as time-consuming as sending out applications, entering specific dates of past 5 jobs, bosses titles, emails and phone numbers, remembering elaborate job descriptions… It’s just about the most disheartening, torturous enterprise I can inflict on myself. If I take a few days off from it, I feel guilty, like I have not done enough. It torments by days, haunts my nights.

We have to work to live, or we die. In order to get work, we work and work and work…

Violet has gone off to Kindergarten, so for 29 hours a week, I am trying to engage in gainful employment, always rushing back to meet her bus at odd and varying times of the day. Any mother who has ever tried to find work between the hours of 9 and 2, or 9 and 12, surely can sympathize. Add to this the challenge of your child, on occasion, not feeling well, needing to stay home for a sick day, and you, consequently, needing to find a job that permits you to arrive late, call in absent, leave early… without penalty.

I have found little comfort during this darkness, little able to pull me out of the murk, with the exception of one book: Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer. Palmer describes the darkness I am feeling with such a clarity and such a hope, that I return to his words time and again. He has a chapter called “All The Way Down” where he describes a time in his life where he could not speak or respond to anyone, he had withdrawn into such a lowness.

Amidst the job hunting, various illnesses and blunt transition time, our family also lost a loved one last week; my youngest sister Silvia’s father-in-law, who was too young to go and left children far too young to lose their father. It brought me further down, to feel the sorrow of those near me, and to feel their pain as they suffered something they should not have suffered. So many seem to be hurting right now… yet another school shooting… it’s just too much.

The impending winter casts dark shadows over everything by shortened days, a biting coldness and a gray film over everything. It is a struggle to wake up and face the grayness. Life seems an endless assembly line of chores. Where do we feel light and airy? What is joy? Dying brown leaves only add to the internal decay and down, down they/we fall.

Little soil, and no sand,

Iris

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