I only thought 2020 was a dumpster fire.
Let me introduce you to it's evil cousin: 2022.
I remember thinking that 2022 was going to be THE BEST YEAR EVER! Don't we always do that to ourselves? We get this idea in our heads that something is going to be "the best ever" only for the let down of reality to hit us harder than Rapunzel hit Flynn Rider with that frying pan. It's safe to say that while 2022 was not the best year ever (really not even the okay-est year ever), it was transformational. I'm getting a little ahead of myself though. Let's start from the beginning shall we?
We were going to Disney World!!! J.R. and I had never been as kids and we'd tried and failed to make this trip work once before. I've not shared that with many people. December 2019 was the plan. I had the entire trip paid for, rooms booked, all the things purchased. Then I lost my job. As a teacher it's mind blowing to say "I lost my job" considering the shortages, but here we were. I was determined to still go....I NEEDED this. We didn't though and I was devastated. I know that's trivial, but again with the "getting something in your head only for it to fail thing". In January 2022, it was HAPPENING! Literally up until the minute we checked into the resort hotel, I waited for the ball to drop. Something would keep this from happening, but it didn't! We were finally there to give ourselves and our children something I'd longed my life to experience.
It did not disappoint. I was surprised how quickly I turned into a "Disney adult." Getting lost in it all was way easier and exciting than I could have possibly ever imagined. I remember watching the fireworks at the castle one night crying my eyes out thinking, "This is the best way to start the year....we may not be able to top this, but we must have great things coming! We've got to!"
There were signs (aren't there always) that would not be the case, but I ignored them thinking they were just the things of life. One in particular was that J.R. had to work a night we were in Disney. This wouldn't have been a big deal (and honestly wasn't when we were there), but it should have been. This was the only week of vacation he ever took while employed with the organization for four years. Again, we ignored it and moved on. As we got home, he began sharing his responsibilities were going to change at work. He would go from having to work 60 plus hour weeks to hopefully more of a consistent 40. In that, he ideally would be home more. This was a welcome reprieve for him and he was excited to get back to working in the areas he went to school to do. When the time came for him to hand over all of his responsibilities, his standard of expectations were minimized. Additionally, his hours did not change much. He knew it was time for a change. It was scary and while he was ready, he wasn't for the life changes that eventually came with it.
The job search was short lived for J.R. finding the perfect one as only God can provide. He knew it was the right fit from the moment he walked in the door. The onboarding process was difficult. As an employee, he had been taught to take direction and now he needed to be the one creating direction. He was lost and didn't know how to ask for help. Due to my own circumstances, I didn't know how to help. It's his story to tell so I won't, but I knew we were in trouble when during a performance of Dear Evan Hansen he was almost in the floor sobbing over the song "You Will Be Found." It's a tear jerker for anyone for sure, but this was next level. I begged him to seek help outside of himself and he did. He did most of the work on his own so I did not "save him", but I'm grateful he understood that he needed more. We are all better for it.
My own life was a little up in the air too. Family circumstances outside of my control had us all anxiety ridden and stressed. My personal workplace was overwhelming and stressful. I recall a day where I was staring at my computer screen and then I couldn't see anything. An appointment and some migraine meds later, I was still miserable, but it was bearable. There seemed to be a bright light being cast as the lead in a community theater production. I'd never had that opportunity before and I got to do the show with some of my favorite people and J.R! Maybe one day I'll go into the details of all of that. It's safe to say that while I loved getting to play the lead and be with my friends, my soul learned a lot of things I didn't think I'd ever have to learn. I'm still sorting through some of those. There's a thing they say in the theater world: "You'll learn something every show." Usually this means the show will "teach" you something about yourself. Things I've learned from shows include: stamina, resilience, redemption, and the list goes on. This particular show taught me what a true friend looks like and that love is an action verb.
Throw in both of our grandmothers dying this year (mine being a topic for an entirely new blog post. Trauma. Trauma. Trauma.) by the end of 2022, we were beaten up and spit out. We actually said "enough." We said, "I'm sorry, but I can't continue this commitment" and "no we cannot do that one more thing."
We eliminated everything extra for a season. I love to be busy, to have a purpose, to have a goal. I'll be honest and tell you the last month or so has been sweet. It's been restorative and it's been a chance to breath when I didn't know I'd been holding my breath. Exhaling into "being still" has been life changing. It's creating needed routines for myself and my family. I'm reading my Bible diligently for the first time in my life. I'm discovering I have time for my dreams and the time to sort out how to make them happen. We don't get still long enough to know that he is God. It's more than just sitting in the silence waiting to hear from him, though it's certainly that was well, it's also taking time away from everything to hear what he has for you. I know I would have missed this if we'd kept running like we were. We all do that. We think we are doing what's best for our kids, for our families, and we're making connections. It's good. It's needed. Just don't neglect the season of stillness. I'm currently basking in it as long as I possibly can. I already hear the call of the "busy" and for now I'm hitting mute.