“I wish I knew how to struggle well. I know everyone struggles, but I think there is a better way” a friend said to me one day. I have thought so much about this and have often wondered why we assume others struggle better than we do.
Almost 4 weeks ago we moved out of our house that we sold and since then we have been staying with friends, while the shop we will be living in is finished (we will live in the shop while the next house is built). Some people think that what we are doing is crazy, if you are one of those people, you are right! For the last 3 weeks or so of this, we have been waiting on electricity- shop is ready, we just need electricity. The Electric company told us a timeline, we made our choices based on that timeline, but needless to say, the timeline was way off.
We have 7 people in our family so being displaced for several weeks is no small feat. I have several suitcases and bags packed with all the things we need regularly. We brought no toys or activities, just the necessities, and still our van is at max capacity. It takes us several trips to and from the car each time we go to a new spot. Normal people don’t have space for 7 extra people, but we have been blessed with friends who shift their families and make room for us. I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful we are for the friends who have welcomed us and treated us like family. Made us feel right at home and as if all the extra chaos was no big deal.
It has been tough. difficult. trying. exhausting. emotional.
We had a timeline. We were planning 7-10 days, but I had said 2 weeks to be safe.
I decided to write this today because we are still waiting. I am still in the struggle. I thought I would blog about our journey staying with friends once we were in the shop, but I decided I was going to write this in the struggle. You see, it is easy to assume people struggle well when we see them or hear about the struggle AFTER the struggle. How often do people invite us into the struggle while it is happening? I know for me, the number of times this has happened is very very few.
So here I am, 4 weeks later. After countless dates that the electric would be on, today we were given another one. I want to believe that we will have electricity Wednesday which is when they said they plan to be there now, but I know that it is out of my control and I just don’t know. Unglued, hot mess, not ok. This is me, tonight. I am exhausted from packing up our stuff loading the car, then doing it all again in a few days. I am frustrated that we are still displaced much longer than we anticipated. I have cried a lot. My kids have seen my mess. I wish my emotions were all sunshine and rainbows and full of joy and looking on the bright side- but they aren’t. Each time we are told a new date, further away, I become a mess.
Maybe to some, this seems completely irrational. Maybe you are really worrying about me. Or maybe you are like oh man, I know how it feels to be emotionally and physically drained and unable to handle or process one.more.thing.
I am writing this today, not for sympathy, but in hopes that I can be a little more real. That maybe me writing this during the struggle will help someone else. I (we) tend to fear that if people knew how ugly our struggle was, that we would be judged, talked about, or even that people might think we are crazy, but I think the reality is, we all have ugly struggles that most people don’t see. If we are brave enough to admit we are struggling, we will find that there is support, love, and people who are willing to love us through all the yucky feelings we have.
We live in a culture where it isn’t really acceptable to feel pain or to admit we struggle. We are suppose to mask it and cover it up and pretend its not there. But the reality is, we need to face the pain and the reason it is present. Allow ourselves to feel pain long enough to process it. Hiding it or pushing it away only causes deeper wounds.
Struggling stinks. Struggling alone is torture. So find someone who you trust enough to struggle with. Then remember, we have all been there, even if we haven’t been brave enough to share it.
Today I am here, in the struggle. Not on the other side. Not full of joy. Not trying to make the best of it. Right now, I am just here.
But, I won’t stay here. That is the key. Figuring out how to not stay stuck in the struggle. There are lots of ways I do this. Praying, journaling, seeing a counselor, seeking a trusted friend to help me process out loud. This season of life comes with struggles often, but I try to start each day fresh, with a good perspective. Sometimes I don’t though. Sometimes I just struggle. And guess what, thats ok.