July 7, 2016

hot mess

For being a Christian, I sure do lie a lot.

The first thing people generally ask me when they see me is, “How are you doing?”

“I’m doing alright, I guess.”


For the first time, yesterday I decided to try the truth.

I don’t know what made me say it, but when our supper arrived (our community has a meal train going for our family and is bringing us suppers several times a week), the pastor’s wife asked me the question.

“So, how are you really doing?”

I hesitated for a moment. What would people say if I told the truth?

“Well.” I paused. “I’m a hot mess.”

That’s really the only answer I had. And it was the only truth.

I AM a hot mess.

She followed me into the kitchen and shifted the mess around on the table to set the meal down. I shifted mess around on the counter to set something else down.

The kids came in. I told them to wash their hands and set the table. There were only 2 clean plates left. All others were stacked disorderly in the sink and surrounding vicinity. “Uh, just get a paper plate out for me.”

A few moments later the report came back that the paper plates were too far buried under the mess on the counter for the 5-year old to find.

I looked at Heidi in exhausted confirmation. Yep, hot mess.

I don’t want to be a hot mess, but I do want to be real. I don’t want to say I’m OK when I’m clearly not. Why do we do that? Why is it so hard to say that we really aren’t OK?

This year has been the worst year of my life. My children have learned far to early how unfair life really is. That bad things happen to good people. That sometimes it looks like darkness wins.

But darkness doesn’t win.

And yeah, I’m keeping it real over here with all my belongings in boxes lining the hall wall because I don’t want to unpack. I keep forgetting to put things back in the fridge and having to throw them out. Not because I’m ungrateful or trying to be wasteful, it’s just part of the coping. The honest truth is, I’m in survival mode.

This morning Millie walked into the front room and gently asked me, “Mama, what are you looking at?” She looked at the blank wall and saw nothing. I tore my gaze away from months ago back to the present and smiled at her. “Nothing.”

I don’t know if she understands or thinks I’m crazy, but probably once a day there is a small hand on my shoulder with a gentle, “Mama, what are you looking at?”

I’m looking at Papa, I think to myself. I’m watching him sleep in the hospital bed. I’m laying next to him. I’m watching him slip away.

I know that someday the time will come to move on. I weep at the thought. But I know that someday, I really will be OK. It won’t be a lie anymore. I know that I’ll be able to be present with my kids without them having to remind me to. I’ll be able to stay on top of dishes and laundry. Ok, maybe not laundry because, life, but the dishes I can handle.


So there is the truth, friends.

I’m not OK. But I will be.

Until that day comes, I’m so grateful for the community we have here and the support for our family. I’m so grateful for every prayer offered on our behalf. I’m so grateful for the generosity that has been poured out often times from strangers. I haven’t forgot your kindness. I’m grateful that God is holding onto me when I struggle to hold onto Him. 


TN Quiltbug said...

Thank you for being honest, and for sharing your journey with all of us. It helps us to pray better for you and your children. I have wondered--why is it that we feel the need to ask that question "How are you?" I think we as humans just don't know what else to say. I think we already know the answer to that question, but somehow we are desperately hoping that things really WILL be o.k. for the person we care about. Hoping that a miracle will have occurred and that the one we care about really WILL be alright. . .

lovingtheweather said...

Thinking of you today. Thank you for these beautifully painful and authentic words. All the love in the universe.

N. Harebottle III said...

We should be more authentic more of the time. We would see more empathy and real concern if we choose honesty. Being honest with yourself is a great start. I too will wonder for a long time why.

Daph said...

Cas, I don't know you, but a lot of my friends do. I'm not going through what you're going through, and I can't begin to understand. But I am going through something very dark myself. And I can understand not wanting to be a hot mess, and tired of lying to people saying you are ok when you ARE NOT. That, that I can understand with my whole heart. I know there are a lot of people out there praying for you, caring for you. I don't know how to help. I don't even know what I need, I have people ask all the time, ask for help, we're here. But honestly, in this hot mess, you don't even know what you need. I wish I could come over and wash dishes for you, or do laundry, or anything to help. Because I know you wouldn't ask. I wouldn't. My heart breaks for you. I'm praying for you, even though I don't know you. I do believe that someday you will be ok and won't have to lie. But in the mean time, don't feel like you HAVE to lie and pretend you're ok. It's perfectly OK to not be OK! Please hear my heart. Much love, and hugs if I could.- Daphne

Stephanie said...

Although I can not even fathom what you are going through, you know the "hot mess" I was just a few years ago! And this blog rings all too true. We tend to just say "I'm fine" when we're truly a hot mess! Why do we do this? Like others have said, I wish more than anything I could come help you right now, take some of those burdens off your shoulder, but I'm so very thankful that you at least have people bringing you meals and that a lot of people are praying for you. And yes, eventually with time, you will not feel like a "hot mess" anymore, and like you truly are "okay". Please know that I think of, and pray for you and your family daily.

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