23. The Good, The Bad, The (very) Ugly, & the Redeemed

I had an entirely different post lined up for this week, but given the events of the last few days, I’ve decided to hold onto it and talk about this instead…

The Good

The highs and lows of the past few weeks have been so extreme that I never know how I’ll feel from one moment to the next. 

On the whole, I‘ve been sustained by a tangible sense of joy. These past three months home with my daughter and our pets have been so life-giving. I never thought I’d want to be a stay-at-home mom simply because I love working. But I see what a gift it is to be able to be so fully present in our children’s lives. Mostly, I’m grateful for the time and space to get myself grounded each day. It changes everything about the way I parent and the way I am able to shape my own internal growth. Sometimes, I walk around the apartment simply contemplating with joy at how much I love my daughter, what a remarkable young lady she’s turning into, how grateful I am that we have this time together. 

Our situation is couched in unknowns but it could be SO much worse. I know I’ve said this before, but there are more people than any of us realize living in cars and sleeping in shelters right now. I can’t even fathom those challenges and feel deeply grateful to be where we are. 

The Bad

The slightly bad… or at least the frustrating… is that school funding for my PhD program is simply nonexistent. I spent the last few weeks on the phone and exchanging emails with the various powers that be in an attempt to understand what is available. As it will be April before the school assigns the assistantship, I more or less put the option out of my head and decided instead to continue focusing on looking for work.  

The (very) Ugly… 

After 7 months of waiting for my unemployment case to be reviewed, I found out on Wednesday that it had been denied. A global pandemic wasn’t a consideration when the system was designed. 

It felt as though the last bit of air had been completely sucked out of the balloon keeping me afloat. It was the last shred of hope I was holding onto. We’d been living off credit cards with the anticipation of paying them off when the benefits arrived, and now, I simply didn’t see a what forward. I immediately appealed and then tried to put it out of my mind. Except it crept into my sleep, a static current of panic jolting me throughout the night. Within 48 hours, I was tanked. 

When I was 19 or so, a counselor told me to envision the worst case scenario, acknowledge the fear, and let go. But now, I couldn’t let it go. I could only envision it. Worst case… I end up in multiple minimum-wage jobs while still paying the loans on a Master’s degree and derailing any career trajectory I had. Worst case, we end up surfing guest bedrooms again, only this time, we’d probably actually have to get rid of the pets. Worst case, someone accuses me of not being a good mother, of not being able to provide for my daughter. Worst case, life continues to involve this much uncertainty, continues to foster this level of exhaustion. 

The Redeemed

Ok, so here’s where things get good. 

I posted a lament to social media yesterday morning, venting my dismayal that my unemployment had been denied. Almost immediately, words of encouragement came pouring in. I felt so buoyed by the support. Sometimes, it’s just good to know you aren’t alone inside a thing that feels really, really lonely. And, I received some awesome job-seeking advice.

At noon, I opened my bank account and saw that, miraculously, either my appeal had been accepted or some crazy glitch had taken place, and the funds had been delivered to my account. I hadn’t received any notification. It was just there. 

It was amazing. 

I can’t even articulate the feeling. In the span of two hours, I went from absolute and total despair to absurd levels of joy and elation. Guys… that’s the work. That’s you… hoping and believing with me. I wholly believe that was the result of collective prayer and hope. 

I don’t yet know what’s going to happen with school or employment. But I know that still, we are held. This time is precious and purposeful. It is a time of growth and healing. 

Thanks for being here today. There’s so much goodness coming our way, with spring and vaccinations and a slow crawl toward regaining some of the community we have missed this past year. I hope everyone gets a bit of sunshine this next week. I am grateful for your ongoing love and support!

One thought on “23. The Good, The Bad, The (very) Ugly, & the Redeemed

  1. Hi Dana. I am one with you in your trials – too weak to be of much help, but with you nevertheless. I was about half-way through your blog when the urge came over me to send the link to this post to an organization called Giving Pledge; a site where the world’s wealthiest give some away. People like MacKenzie Scott, who is a teacher herself, and thanks to Amazon’s huge profits, is giving away a billion per month recently. Hard to know if they’ll even read it, but the least I could do was to ask.

    It is a highly complex life we lead, with all its highs and lows. There are so many factors, both external and internal, that affect us. As children of an incredibly infinite and complex Elohim it shouldn’t be surprising. That you are able to understand this is evidence of your development – there are still many who refuse to accept such a truth, and fight for control all their lives, and yes, even wrestle with the angels, as Jacob did.

    The sleeping issue is completely understandable, considering all you’ve been through. It may help to do some research into what exactly occurs during sleep. When I was working, I slept soundly due to tiring myself out from the manual labor, but I was an “active” sleeper, so active that I used to get scolded by my ex-wife for kicking and generally being rough to sleep beside. I’ve always moved a lot in sleep, and I need to do my own research into why that is.

    I’ll leave off with this verse I came across from John Newton that’s been staring at me this week from my desk. It may not mean much to you now, but hang on to it – there’s much truth here:

    “These inward trials I [Elohim] employ,
    From pride and self to set thee free,
    And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
    That thou wouldst find thine all in Me.”

    With love, Maverick.

    Like

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