Oysters

Frustrations are just part of my life these days, everyone has them. Mine are of the living at my in-laws way out in the suburbs without a car or fast internet and trying to find a house to buy and get things done and raise my children variety. When I say way out in the boonies I mean 20 minutes of freeway driving to get to the nearest grocery store. Oh wait, there is the apple market, which is only ten minutes away on a state road, unless you hit it at the wrong time of day and then it can take an hour crawling forward an inch a minute staring at the back bumper of the car in front of you. Not that it matters much, I don't have a car to drive, my husband takes ours to work. And I don't really have to buy groceries, someone else does that. I guess the primary frustration is the lack of routine, different food in the pantry, needing to ask someone else to get things for me and to do things I'd rather do myself, borrowing my husband's parents' car when I need to go out during the day. I prefer to be more independent. I usually am.

This of course isn't really all that terrible, and I love this family. I enjoy being here. My kids think they've died and gone to heaven, at least if heaven looks like 2 1/2 fenced acres with four dogs, chickens, swingsets, kittens, aunts and uncles to play with, and more fun than they can possibly have in just one day. They fall into bed every night happy and exhausted.

What bothers me the most I suppose is that when my husband and I have a day filled with minor irritations as most days here are, we end up distant from each other. I feel the distance anyway. He gets silent and withdrawn and then I think he's angry at me and then I get defensive for no reason and it goes around and around. We don't even have to talk to each other if we don't make a point of it. It's a large house and there are many people. Often by the time we're alone together we're both talked out. (He rarely is actually angry with me I usually imagine it, but when we're home we talk and I know I'm imagining things much sooner.) To quote Mr and Mrs Smith. "I feel like there is this big space between us and it keeps filling up with all of the things we're not saying to each other."

I've been learning for a long time now to live without reserve. It's not an easy lesson for me. I hold back in almost every area of my life. Let me give you an idea of what I mean.

I have on several occasions told my children they can't play with play dough because I don't want to deal with the mess. They also can't play with toys, make tents in the living room, run around outside, play in the dirt or do anything that a kid does when they're learning and exploring their world. I usually catch myself doing this and let them go back to being children but I have to go against my first impulse to do it.

I used to have hard time enjoying spontaneous sex because it either made me messy or I was already messy.

I don't just try to do anything, I have to learn how it works first and understand as much as I can about it before I'm brave enough to try it no matter what it is.

I used to avoid my life because of the energy it takes to live it.

And then I gave myself completely to this one man and these children, and it is the first thing I've really committed myself to wholeheartedly, no backing out. I've begun to really live, I choose life because of them.

About a year ago I was praying and quiet and I got help. In my minds eye I saw a picture of this giant glowing egg type thing with the top broken open. Inside it was full of smaller glowing eggs that looked like translucent pearls. Then next to me a man with a kind face that I trusted immediately took a handful of them and started playing with them throwing them up and catching them. Then he closed his hand around them and started pulling them out one at a time and they were all joined together into a necklace. He put it on me and just as I was thinking to myself this was far to nice a necklace to wear he said to me, "I want you to wear this everyday." Then it was over, but as I thought about it I realized that the pearls, the egg shape, the light was symbolizing life, and that he wanted me to truly live everyday and not just save it for special occasions.

That honestly takes more energy than I have it seems, but I'm trying. Which brings me to oysters. Pearls, as I'm sure everyone knows, come from irritants, if there were no sand or uncomfortable object in the oyster's life there would be no pearl. I just realized this two days ago. It is what I do with the irritants that determines whether or not I'll have another pearl to add to that string, or rather whether or not I have life. Every moment has the potential to become a raw sore or something vibrant and beautiful. I just have to choose to allow life in as it pushes against the edges of my tiny hiding place, life is always wresting it's existence from the death all around it. I just have to surrender.

So, when I felt stuck at home, I played with the Boy on the swings. I have a perfect memory of his blue eyes smiling at me, the same exact color as the sky behind him, as he sat on my lap and we enjoyed the late afternoon sunshine together. I hope someday I will enjoy all of the moments I am given as much as I did that one.

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