Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Storm: Dandelions vs. Roses


“I have learned now that while those who speak about one's miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.” ~C.S. Lewis
"Dearest, I feel certain that I am going mad again.  I feel we can't go through another of those terrible times.  And I shan't recover this time.  I begin to hear voices, and I can't concentrate.  So I am doing what seems the best thing to do." ~Virginia Woolf


“Gentle reader, may you never feel what I then felt! May your eyes never shed such stormy, scalding, heart-wrung tears as poured from mine. May you never appeal to Heaven in prayers so hopeless and so agonised as in that hour left my lips.” ~Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” ~Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Every once in awhile, a storm sweeps over me.  You'd think, by now, I would be able to read the signs but each time it happens I feel shocked and overwhelmed.  In my defense, whatever triggers that special brand of meltdown is unpredictable.  Oh, there are normally a few contributing factors, like today's version: Crippling Insecurity.  In hopes of warding off the demons, this afternoon, I settled into cleaning my apartment.   Reordering my belongings in an effort to reorder my mind.  But tonight, the plan backfired.  After I spent hours hauling books out of my study, filling my new shelves, and rearranging my old ones, I sat down to admire my handiwork.  My personal favorite is my Science Fiction/Graphic Novel Bookshelf, that Sports all my Board Games neatly stacked on top.  Its delightful.  But as I stared at the shelf, I began think about the things I hope for, the whispering in my heart, and then, of course, my own inadequacies.  The longer I sat there, the more my fears mounted.  Suddenly, it was clear that nothing I want will happen because it can't.  "Miracles don't happen in my neighborhood."  As I shifted from Satisfaction at a Job Well Done to Self Loathing for Personal Shortcomings, Despair took hold.  Life seemed so long.  There are Years, Weeks, Days, and Minutes that I have to Live and I kept thinking: "Its just so long".  Then I broke down.

The Storm, as always, was horrible, but, at least, the crashing was short lived.  A measure of Calm is settling in now.  Oh, yes, I'm still Frightened and Self Loathing Jennifer tonight but not lost in the way I was earlier.  And, I think, rather than slipping back into despair, I'll listen to my brother who preaches patience to me on a daily basis.  He assures me everything takes time.  That I must pray, stay calm, and carry on. He's right.  If I'm honest, my leap toward despair hinges upon my assumption that whatever my heart wants most will come up Weeds instead of Roses.  But come to think of it, I don't care for Pampered Roses.  Weeds are more my style.  Take Dandelions, for instance: They are hardy enough to push through concrete sidewalks.  Weeds endure, my Darlings, where Roses cannot.  Better, yet, in my opinion, us Weeds recognize each other.  And if You're anything like me, I could only love another hardy Weed.  I simply couldn't relate to or admire a Prissy Little Rose.  For tonight, I think I'll pray and remember to be patient.  Because that's the thing about Weeds.  Over time, we're forced to adopt innovative strategies to survive.  In my opinion, those strategies (some might call them scars) are what makes them so beautiful.  But those same innovations take time and love to understand.  Or in other words, Being and Loving a Weed, requires both giving and receiving a lot of patience and a little grace.  Maybe miracles happen in my neighborhood, too.  We'll see.

Wilco's "Patient With Me" is one of my favorites: "I should warn you, when my tongue turns to dust, like we discussed.  Oh, but blessings get so blurred at the sound of your words.  You're gonna need to be patient with me."

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