So the past few weeks have been difficult. Maybe not any more difficult than usual, but I've definitely noticed that I'm not coping as well. Work, family, personal, health- all of iy has seemed more daunting. All the good coping mechanisms I learned in grad school and counseling have eluded me. Instead of dealing with things, I've let them sit, fester, and have been just fine with feeling down and out. Yeah- that's a great way to live.
And yesterday was the worst, but thankfully was the beginning of the end of my self-imposed misery. We got word that Patrick will be deployed much sooner than had thought, in just a few weeks. I'm sure there will be posts ad nauseum once he leaves but suffice it to say, my heart broke into pieces. Lest anyone get desensitized to what deployments mean after 7 years of this war, let me assure you that it is brutal. It painful and scary and frustrating and sad and lonely. And that is just the serviceman/woman. For families, it is much the same, added with it the agony of waiting and praying. Patrick is the middle child. He sits in the middle of our family. He is flanked by 2 crazy parents on one side, two crazy sisters on the other side. NOTHING works without him. Everything is OFF when he's not here. He is the one who in 20 years, God willing, will be getting the family together. He is the one always initiating hanging out in Atlanta. He is the one who beat the heck out of me as a kid oopss...scratch that. To sound very cheesy, he is glue for us. And that being taken away for 10 months is heinous. And it makes me cranky and mean. I HATE THIS I HATE THIS I HATE THIS.
Okay- you didn't read wrong. That news yesterday oddly sparked some relief from my neurotic self. As I was walking into Barnes and Noble for some retail therapy, I felt my anxiety over Patrick ease. I felt my burn-out from this hospital lift a little. I felt the knot in my stomach loosen. And it was because God was throwing me bones. (He probably has been for some time but I have not exactly been listening to Him). The ladies at the gift wrap counter at B&N were from a domestic violence project at Grady. They were sweet, young gals who were happy to commiserate about our jobs. They knew how I felt. And that was so nice.
And then I called Ross, fully expecting him to avoid me like the plague. Three words. BLESS. HIS. HEART. I have been a hot mess of emotion, anxiety, tears lately. And what did the boy say to me, as I'm sure he's putting his running shoes on to bolt away. He says, "I miss you." He says, "I miss you.". I mean, maybe he's on drugs, wouldn't blame him. But I have sobbed to that boy 3x/week for a month. And after hearing about Patrick, he got another big dose. But God shows his faithfulness through Ross. He, like Ross, is not scared away by 'bad Keri'.
Ten minutes later I was pulling into the grocery store and one of my very good friends, Caroline, pulled in next to me. This girl is a pure ray of sunshine. It could have been anyone pulling next to my badly parked car, but it was one that is constantly laughing and smiling, and makes me laugh and smile in return. At this point I just laughed at God. 'I hear you, Lord. I know you're trying to lighten my heart.' And it was working.
I finished the evening at JustFaith talking about racism and poverty and while these sound like morose topics, they are not. Because the 8 people in that room are some of the most kind, conscientious, aware and good people I know. Not all can be bad when I spend Tuesday nights learning more about myself and the world with people who will pray with me and for me. God spoke through every one of them last night and for once in at least a few weeks, I listened.
And this morning on my way home from a great workout with Elizabeth, all I could think of was the song, Great is Thy Faithfulness. When I wouldn't see God's faithfulness by faith and by trust, He loved me enough to give me ways that I couldn't mistake it. Through some girls that love/grieve the Grady patients like I do, through my boyfriend that keeps on giving, through a friend who spreads joy just with her smile, through some people at Church who so want a better world, through my partner at the gym, he showed me that he's right here. During Patrick's deployment and my patient's deaths and my growing with Ross, he is RIGHT HERE. Not going anywhere. And while I did apologize to ole Jesus for not just trusting that, I am so blessed that He knows me. He knows how bleepin' hard my head is, and He showed me.
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!