It isn’t always noon when I get dressed, but today it is. When I’m on top of my game, I’m dressed before I make breakfast, or even better, before I leave our room. But today any clothes I might wear are buried beneath twelve loads of washed and unwashed laundry, on the other side and up the stairs of this mockingly messy house.
My husband is gone again. I might just keep saying that for awhile, getting used to it. Rolling it around on my tongue loosens it from roiling in my belly.
Other military wives wave jaded hands and laugh little smiles, and say oh, you harden up. You get used to it. You just do it. You get it done.
I told that to someone myself not too many days ago. “How do you get used to moving all the time,” she had asked, shell-shocked, new military wife eyes wide. “You’ve lived in five states in two years, set up actual house in three homes, how do you, you know, handle it okay?”
“Oh,” I laughed lamely. “I don’t know. You just do it. You get used to it. You get it done. You do it because you have to, I suppose.”
“Yes, well,” she snapped, “that’s what everyone says, ‘you just do it’ and ‘you get used to it’ and ‘you do it because you have to,’ and I want to know if there’s something wrong with me, because I can’t just seem to buckle down and cheerfully get everything done.”
Yeah, I’d thought. Yeah, me neither. I’m not sure why I shrugged off the heart of your question. Because really? I feel like I’m drowning half the time. I have taken nine months to hang pictures on the wall, I teach school in my pajamas, I fall asleep in my clothes, I trip over laundry, I cry over grocery shopping, and I feel borderline sick every morning of my life. We’re in a challenging season, and some days I glow from dawn to dusk, but those other days? Those other days I barely hang on.
Sometimes I am stupefied at how hard life can be, and how much work it takes. I expect sun-soaked naps on a beach, delicious meals served by another’s hands, clothes to stay clean, floors to tidy themselves, and music to sing in the background. That so much of life is caught up in the tiny things, and maybe our approach to these tiny things is the sum of things, and it’s in these tiny things, these sum of things, that I am to rejoice… this is a hard teaching, yo.
On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
Aware that his disciples were grumbling this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life, the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him.)
He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave me too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
And Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Yeah. I’m right there with you, dude. It is a hard teaching. But where else would we go?