Last week while standing in line at the Genius Bar at the Apple Store, I felt the beginnings of a panic attack. I had just come from my Bible study, a study that I’m reluctantly co-leading, so my Bible was in my purse. I was so afraid that I’d melt down right there in front of all these people holding their iPhones and iPads, in front of blue shirted, head set wearing Genius Bar employees, and in front of my daughter. As my chest tightened and I felt like screaming for everyone around me to just shut up for two seconds, I reached my hand inside my purse and placed my hand on my small silver Bible and I prayed for God to help me to get control of myself. I prayed the same prayer over and over, breathing deeply in and out until I felt like I could finally look around at the people around me without my face crumpling into an ugly cry.
My children’s behavior has been shockingly atrocious these past few weeks. I told a friend after a particularly grueling meltdown in the front of Steak and Shake that I think my daughter finally broke me. I continue to feed her daily and tell her that I love her and do all the things I’m supposed to do as her loving mother, but each kind thing I did for her it was with suspicious eyes, waiting for the next shoe to fall. Wary, weary, and desperately wanting a reprieve from their bad behavior, I’ve been running further and further distances just to be alone.
I’ve definitely taken on too many responsibilities at once, too many things that I don’t have to do, but I know that I need to do. Freelance writing jobs, Family Friendly Knoxville, volunteering, and Bible study. It’s funny, though, the Bible study I’m leading, the one that I’m reluctantly co-leading, is based on the book, “One Thousand Gifts,” by Ann Voskamp and it’s an entire book based on thanking God for every thing in our lives, a practice in seeing all the beauty that surrounds us.
In purposely practicing this gratitude, I think I’m beginning to heal from the wounds slashed into my soul these past two weeks. The self inflicted, the child inflicted, the husband inflicted wounds are each healing nicely as I focus more energy on the good instead of sinking further into the cesspool of muck that I’ve created in my own little world.
It feels good to breathe again.
(My friend Heather has started this free writing exercise and I decided to see what would happen if I just sat down and gave myself 15 minutes of uninterupted time to just write. This is what came out. Unedited, except for the red squiggly lined typos.)