The schools were closed today in our town and surrounding areas because of the bitter cold. All in all, the winter weather has gotten me pretty dispirited on top of everything else. Not even my knitting is helping lift the doldrums. I braved the cold tonight and attended a sporting event that was not canceled. It has always been very hard for to sit in the bleachers on my own surrounded by other intact families. Lately, it has become worse because of the stress I am facing (financial hardship, possible foreclosure, looking for employment). Tonight as I saw women sitting beside their husbands, I kept thinking of how much easier it is to face problems when someone is going through it with you. I must handle all of this on my own (huge issues when you think about them - with one of many being the loss of my home and having to find another place to live for goodness sake!). Not living with another adult limits the opportunities I have to discuss my problems adding to the stress and strain.
Which leads to another observation - people really don't want to hear about the problems of others anyway and when you are honest and admit what is going on, you run the risk of being considered negative. How in the world can a woman with as much on her plate as is currently on mine not be at times despondent and negative? And angry I might add. People always rush in to offer words of Christian compassion but I'm not sure they are that helpful. Probably more helpful for the people saying them because they first of all don't know what to say and once they've been said, hopefully the topic can be changed to one less depressing. People also are just so uncomfortable with talking about hardship and grief. And don't you just love the attitude of "snapping out" of your bad mood? As if that can be accomplished so readily.
Here's the real scoop though - sometimes to be negative and despondent and despairing is the only way to be. Words of hope and encouragement are meaningless when someone is at such a low place. What would be more helpful is to have someone just listen and affirm the hardship. Doing so doesn't make things worse or more negative. It is acknowledging what is and the truth of the situation. Telling me that I'm negative is insulting to me and my reality. Likewise telling me to be more positive does nothing to change or improve the situation. What I need is someone to walk with me into the dark and to hold my hand until I can see some glimmer of light. That means not turning away when I want to talk about my troubles but to simply listen. And then to hear someone say it is o.k. to be scared and sad right now.
Today I am having a hard time being thankful but I said I would list at least three things a day so will do so now.
Today I am thankful:
1. That the boys and I are healthy.
2. That the house is warm.
3. That I have enough knowledge and understanding to know that the best thing for me right now is to feel my pain and not try to avoid or numb it. That walking with and through the pain is what will eventually get me to the other side where there is hope.