I have not felt like writing in a while. Correction: I have not felt like writing anything KIND in a while. I have wanted to write many things directed at ignorant people, selfish people, mean people, or lazy people, but as soon as I start to type my thoughts, I realize that I am always one step away from being the person about whom I am complaining. So I check myself before I wreck myself, and move forward with a new perspective.
Now I am just tired. Last week was a big ugly roller coaster, and not the fun kind. On Monday, I went to the doctor to be poked and prodded to find the cause of some rather frightening symptoms I have been experiencing. On Tuesday I was sore and completely overwhelmed with work. On Wednesday I had to face a woman in jail and tell her that, in spite of herculean efforts on the part of our church’s community engagement team, I had no where for her to go after her early release. She was devastated and angry, as was I. She was released from jail at 9:00pm with nothing but the clothes she was arrested in – no money, no phone, no driver’s license. Nothing. I found her walking down 33rd Street near I4 when I was leaving the jail, so I asked her to get in the car. We grabbed some food for her, and proceeded to drive to every homeless shelter in the downtown-ish area. They were all full. I called every shelter I could find online. Nothing. After taking her to a relatively safe place to sleep for the night, I got home around midnight, exhausted and completely discouraged. On Thursday I found out that my blood work and tests had come back “normal”, which is great, but yielded no answers to what was going on in my body. We also received the bill for the blood work. Yikes. By Friday the A/C in my car broke and I was a zombie, and I proceeded to sleep for 14 hours after a total meltdown that may or may not have involved some passive aggression towards my husband. Saturday, Tim and I watched “The Shack” and I snot-cried for hours. Sunday I had two very difficult conversations in jail with women whose futures are very uncertain, and I was stuck in traffic behind what appeared to be a very large police stand off between two perpetrators and about a dozen officers, including bullet shields and rifles.
So here I am today. Tired, discouraged, bloated (because I decided to take my anger towards the world out on myself by eating whatever I wanted to eat last night) and fed up. My food-drug tasted so good for about four bites, and then it just became another addictive outlet to numb all of the feels I was feeling. I don’t really like people today. I want to join our little Himalayan cat and crawl into a box and say “Forget it”, except I wouldn’t use the word ‘forget’. I want to wallow in my self pity and failure and shame and anger and intolerance and just tell everyone to buzz off (except I wouldn’t use the word ‘buzz’).
But then I see stories of people who are struggling with FAR greater tragedies and with FAR more grace and patience than I – a friend who is receiving her millionth treatment for inflammatory breast cancer but still exudes joy. My mom who just lost a dear friend to cancer but chooses to celebrate life. Families in Houston who have lost everything but continue to help others. Inmates who are facing decades in prison but still want to pray for other people’s needs. Every time I feel tempted to drown in my own cynicism, I am reminded that good people exist and that hope never completely dies.
I am far to prone to wanting to give up. I get weary and discouraged and afraid, and I will confess that I am really, really impatient with most people and circumstances. Yet, even in the midst of my ugliest pity parties, I am always reminded that it isn’t about me. My story is important, but it is just one part of a much larger story that is being written through all of us. And if I can see past myself, even for just a moment, I am usually surprised by all of the goodness that is around me.