The day before Thanksgiving, I really lost it. I had to leave the house. I had to get out. And I did it in a not so nice kind of way. I blew up about something but of course the blowing up part wasn't really about the something, it was about anything but the something and I just had to get away, from the house and the kids, and Martin. Grabbed the keys and ran out the door.
When you leave the house in a foreign country crying and you rarely drive yourself anywhere, and it's pitch black outside there really isn't much choice in where you can go safely. I'd say you probably shouldn't travel more than a few city blocks. An that's what I did, because the place I had to go, needed to get to, was, blessedly, only a few city blocks away.
I went to Church.
I sat , praying so hard, praying for... I don't know... forgiveness, peace, humility, patience, understanding...at one point I'm pretty sure I begged God to miraculously make it so that I could speak Polish, sillily thinking this would solve all my problems. Problems, problems. And all I could think about were the problems. Feeling trapped here in this country where everything is so different. Lonely, because no one around me was going through the same things I was. And just plain tired. Tired of never having a day for myself because there are no babysitters that can take 4 kids all at once. Tired of feeling like every single tiny little thing I want to do is one big struggle because none of it comes easy. Easy, like it used to be. Confident, Independent, and Energetic, like *I* used to be.
As I sat there more and more people began trickling in, as up to this point there had only been dim lights on and a few people sitting and kneeling quietly. Soon, about a fifth of the Church was full and the same nun as always went around lighting candles... A row of old women sat up to a microphone and began talking... and then I realized they were praying. They were starting the Rosary.
I know all the prayers of the Rosary in Polish, so I joined them.
And I came to that same realization that we all come to when we are honest with ourselves... I can't change anything or anyone else, including Poland, I can only change myself. I can't change the fact that I don't speak the language (at least not right away...there was no miracle in the Church that evening ;) ) or that they don't have all the ingredients I need for my favorite recipe, or the right office supply products for schooling. I can't change that I have to go to three different stores to finish a project and that I have to take at least one if not all four children with me to do it in my huge car that doesn't fit anywhere. I can't change any of that. I just can't! I can either rail against these "great injustice's" or I can accept them and find peace with them.
Finding peace with them! Oh, so hard!
I know of only two things that will make it easier, bearable, and hopefully, in the end, joyful...
Like grieving after a loss and finding a way to live in a world without someone or something that is gone, time is necessary. Not only to learn the new things I have to learn and connect with new people but to grieve the loss of things and people that I miss dearly.
And I have to learn to offer those incredibly difficult moments up as a sacrifice. And find joy in that. Perhaps the hardest part of all. But I don't think there is a single parent out there that hasn't found joy in some of the sacrifices they have had to make for their children, and so, hopefully, what little practice I have will serve me well.
That's my Advent plan. With some inspirational reading and a new group of wonderful women that I have joined I hope that I can truly use these next few weeks and the Spirit which they convey to wait patiently for what I need and offer up my frustrations for some good. And do so with JOY.
“May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.”
― Thérèse de Lisieux