Tonight, I lie awake. The moon, this late in August is almost full, the second full moon we will have this month; a blue moon, they say. The light floods the deck outside my bedroom, illuminating everything in a beautiful blue glow that can only be seen and appreciated in the wee hours, on nights like these, but only if you are one of the fortunate ones who cannot sleep. I have my own beautiful, exquisite dreamland right outside the slider leading to my deck. As the moonlight streams down onto my personal paradise, as I gaze from my bed out onto the deck, I think, “If I felt better, I would go out there and enjoy that beauty.” Instead, I remain in bed and I wince with each movement. Tonight, my back is killing me. I can’t get comfortable. I’m in pain.
If there isn’t emotional pain going on, then someone, somewhere is hurting physically. It is the way of this life. While it is true that we learn and grow and deepen during our times of suffering (if we are paying attention), I’m not sure that I like this particular aspect of suffering that I am enduring. When I was younger, I could do anything or nearly anything with no consequences. I mean, really, almost anything. Today, I attempted the “almost anything.” I moved a tree from the tree store into the back of my vehicle. I then moved the tree from the back of my vehicle to the driveway of my place. I then attempted to move this tree, with only a little help from one of my children, from the driveway clear around the house to the back deck. The tree? A Japanese Maple, as tall as I am and a little bit wider. This did a number on my back. Years ago, I could have done all this activity with no consequences, but these days, I pay for every bit of effort I expend. My currency is pain and sleeplessness.
This year has been filled with pain for me. Six days into it, I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. I have four children, three of them at home, the oldest is not yet fully launched. What horrible timing. Pain. I have had more financial struggles this year than I’ve had in a good, long while. Another car blew an engine. That’s a deductible I couldn’t afford to spend the family grocery money on. And in the professional work realm, I encountered a year that I would put up there with my top three worst years in the world of work ever. Add to this, uncovered medical expenses which I am still paying off, and a boyfriend who suddenly decides to take off without giving me notice. I mean, I thought we were working on forever, and it turns out that he was only working on him and his kids and I was the stepping stone. Pain. Pain. Pain.
And with it, regret.
But tonight…I’m in a different kind of pain and it isn’t emotional.
Physically, my body is killing me. It is punishing me for the work I expended today to create some additional beauty in my world. Beauty that was worth the pain I am experiencing now, because if I’d known I was going to feel this way afterward, I would have still moved that tree single-handedly onto my back deck. It is so worth it to me. And, as I lie here in physical pain, pain that Vicodin was created for, I think this: My body hurts, but my psyche does not. While my body screams in agony and I cannot get comfortable, if I am honest I have to say, that, in spite of my recent experience of being abandoned faster than most people cash in on a lottery winning, I am doing okay.
And okay is okay.
I’m not happy about the fact that my love life is nonexistent, and likely to be so for a very long time. (Actually, if I can’t have the Gone Boyfriend, I’m okay with this. I just don’t want to go to the effort.) I’m not happy about the fact that I’m likely to attend all of my children’s monumental events in life…alone…while their other parents attend these very same events happily married with a second or third spouse. Yeah, what kind of loser must I be? Pain.
In spite of all of this, here is what I know: I am okay with me. I haven’t settled. I haven’t compromised. I am the one I have to wake up to each morning, and, for the most part, I am content with who I am and what choices I’ve made. Sure, I’d love to rewind life several decades and make some different choices, but those different choices would eliminate certain people from my life that I simply find I cannot do without. So, I’m okay with the choices that I would re-do, under other conditions. I’m okay with where I am right now. I don’t like a lot of my current reality, but I’m okay with most of it.
I’m good with the the fact that I’m able to provide for my children, that we are surviving and thriving in an economy where many are struggling.
I’m so grateful for all the people in my life who’ve given me hugs, emotionally and otherwise in my most painful moments and who, in spite of my drama, still care to call themselves my friend.
I’m grateful for a career, that while stressful and imperfect, enables me to provide for my family without having to depend on someone else…and to do so…reasonably well…and which allows me to make a difference in the lives of very important people who will someday make decisions that affect us all.
I’m grateful for a Japanese Maple…or two…on my back deck that will provide me with some beauty and a peaceful respite for some years to come. If I can just enjoy the beauty of a tree and a moonlit night, I think I just might always be content.
I’m in pain, but I’m content with my lot. I’m good with this.
Home should be a refuge from the pain. I, thankfully, have this refuge in my life.
I can’t complain…but…you know I will…just because….it makes a great story!