A few years ago, I painted the ice box and upright deep freezer fronts with chalkboard paint. I had written some words and phrases on the ice box with chalk markers and later when I washed them off, they left traces of the lines. My older duchess was here recently and wanted to draw with the chalk. I gave her the little container of chalk and went on with the dish washing. I looked around a few minutes later and she had drawn a cloud and a rainbow. Then she had traced over the letters she could still see faintly showing. “Love with reckless abandon” and the heart outline I had washed off for them to be able to use it for their play had been retraced.
She wanted to know what it said. (She’s four.) I told her and then she wanted to know what it meant.
I tried to explain.
Later, I thought about loving with reckless abandon. To me, it is how it felt when I was her age and even until I was about ten. When I loved, it was without reservation. It was without condition or hesitation or fear of rejection or concern about reciprocation. Love just was and everyone felt it as intensely as I did. Or so I thought. I am speaking of more than romantic love. I am also speaking of love between two individuals as friends or family members. I was in my twenties before I truly realized that the experience of love I have is not universal. I was so terribly naïve. I thought love could work itself through anything. It cannot work one way, though.
As we age, cynicism tends to set in. Or simply protective layers develop without our realizing. Many people never learn how to love. Some only love themselves. Many people never feel the exuberance of real, deep, true love. As I age, I think “many” should probably read “most”. Perhaps early on they had it, but life was too painful to continue to try to sustain the seeking of reciprocation. The heart and mind push away the painful memory and they forget it exists.
Maybe that is why grandchildren are so important to our hearts. When we are young and our children are young, there is a feeling of safety with the love between us. The knowing that at the end of the day, the snuggles and hugs are without reservation. The love in our hearts has a reckless abandon that only confidence of unconditional reciprocation brings. That same feeling returned with the duchesses’ arrival into the world.
Love, passion, anger. Strong emotions we are taught to control and suppress. They are reckless. They are dangerous. They bring with them pain. Pain is proof of being alive. I continue to strive for the fullness of exuberance and love. May I have the courage to face the pain of it all and love with reckless abandon. As I age, I want the scales of protection to fall away. I want the tender places to be open again. With maturity, I hope to manage the pain with grace and mercy and not with closing off.
I want to love Him and him with reckless abandon and exuberance and passion. I want to grow into the person the Lord wants me to be. I want to grow into the woman my husband needs me to be. I want to grow into the mother and grandmother my children need as the years continue. We still have a lot of living to do and I want it to be as wonderful as the first 37 years. Even better. Happy Anniversary, Rock. I love you! Recklessly.
Here it is again. The dog days of summer. August has started out not so treacherous. Lower 90’s instead of near 100.
I so want to have enough energy to do more in the evenings after the 9-5. It just doesn’t happen. By the time I get to the house, I just want to sit and stare out the window or scroll through Instagram. I am scheduled to retire next summer. Everyone asks me what will I do with myself retired. I can’t seem to make them understand how important taking care of him and keeping house is to me.
I might write more. I might read more. I might be able to get my house the way I want it. I have some painting to do and some floors to recover and windows to redress. I might even be able to get every closet, pantry and drawer cleaned out and organized. I have some special projects still sitting in the wings. I also have a major ambition to pursue.
With my pain level like it is, the fatigue overtakes me and then I cycle into a downward spiral. My 9-5 job is very high stress and not rewarding emotionally or mentally. Just an endless round of reports and meaningless data collection for the politicians. It drains me. I hate feeling like this. The upside is that it leads to an early retirement and lifelong health insurance for both of us.
I want to be able to do things with him and for him to make his life better and happier. I try to research what to do, but then can’t focus long enough over the days to make the changes called for.
I am not alone in my frustrated state. Many of my friends have the same or similar issues. Not necessarily the pain, but the fatigue and the seeming inability to make things better despite having some vague ideas of what would help.
It is not that we have such desperately terrible lives. I count myself among the blessed in this world. I live in Texas. I have a solid house with hot and cold running water, two indoor toilets, a bathtub and shower. I have a well equipped kitchen and pantry and freezer full of food. I have central air that I can afford to run. I have good health in the sense that I don’t have to take any medications for anything right now. And insurance if I did. My vehicle is new and I always have gas money. My children are grown and independent and well. Both happily married and raising healthy children. I don’t have aging parents to take care of, though I wish I did. They have all been gone for many years.
I guess my point is that everything should be fine. But, somehow I have this nagging sense of unease. And the physical pain and fatigue that no doctor seems to be able to figure out what is caused by nor how to fix it. I have made yet another appointment with yet another doctor for later this month. He has a reputation for non-traditional evaluations and treatments. Maybe he won’t try to give me anti-depressants. I’m not depressed. I just don’t feel well enough long enough to get more than the minimal tasks completed. And that frustrates the daylights out of me.
Enough of this pity party. I am blessed. I love and am loved. I will do what I can and be glad for it as much as I can. I will try to forgive myself for all I can’t seem to get done and for the anxiety that builds up and causes me distress.
The cicadas just started buzzing close to this porch window. He will be home soon. The evening shadows will blend into dusk. The night will bring restless sleep, yet the coming dawn will break on a fresh, new day. Please, Lord, help me rejoice and be glad in it.