Five more minutes. I’ll be home in five minutes. I can make it. I can do this. Oh Lord, help me do this.
I’m not crazy. I cannot slip into crazy. But I’m close. So close. I’m a hair-width away from locking myself in a dark closet and refusing to come out until August 22.
If I didn’t have somebody else’s kids in the car with me, I could just pull over and get out. I could stop for some fresh air, a pause, a breath. I could collect myself. Because I’m ready to scream. And either screaming or pulling over would probably freak out these poor friends. My own boys can freak out all they want – at this point I simply don’t care – but I wouldn’t want to scare the neighbor’s kids. I’m kinda scaring myself, though. I wonder if I need medication?
I’m so done. I’m done with the whining and the arguing and the endless talking. Oh God, the talking. They don’t stop talking. They don’t stop asking questions – questions to which THEY ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER. They don’t stop saying my name.
I’m this close to crazy.
I did make it home without yelling and without pulling over to catch my breath. Barely. But I made a bee-line for my office, closed the door, and grabbed my secret stash of peanut M&Ms, knowing full well that I would feel nauseous in about 7.3 minutes, but momentarily, I felt better. Temporarily, I stepped away from crazy.
As if she knew, Gretchen called right before I jumped, clutching my last fistful of M&Ms. We’re going to concoct a business plan marketing shock collars for kids. Cute ones in camouflage and hot pink. Maybe for use around the ankles, so it’s not obvious. And the trigger button will be a blinged-out keychain bobble, also cute. I’m telling ya. We’ll make a fortune. Probably just enough for bail.
I stumbled upon an article in this morning’s paper on gardening – normally something I would skip over, since I was born with a brown thumb and I can kill mint (who kills mint? It’s a weed, for crying out loud). When I was a child, my parents sent me outside to pull weeds as punishment. Gardening I do not enjoy. I prefer playing inside.
But I stopped at this particular article because it discussed dying grass and trees in this hellacious weather we’re experiencing. Mr. Neil Sperry (apparently he’s an expert or something) said that Bermuda grass should bounce back, but if you have St. Augustine, you’re screwed.
He also noted the trees are prematurely dropping their leaves as a self-preservation technique. They don’t want to expend the energy on supplying nourishment to their leaves because they’re too busy just trying to stay alive.
As witnessed by our daily use of the pool net scooper thingy.
Water your shrubs with a hose, Mr. Sperry suggests, not just a sprinkler. “Water down,” which means get water to the roots. Check the grass for bugs. And don’t panic.
I need to water down. I need to feed my soul. I need nourishment so I don’t wither up and die. Also so I don’t kill my children. I need to drop my leaves. And I definitely need not to panic.
Music helps, as does reading. Last night I picked up my tattered copy of Ann Lamott’s Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith and opened it to a random chapter, and I watered down. Her words and observations remind me I’m not the only one who is losing my leaves. I’m not the only one who is fearful and frayed. That small acts bring great healing. That anger steals grace. That people are good and have intrinsic value, just because they are. That the earth renews itself and us. That God works and breathes through our moments of crazy and brings us to a place of restoration and wholeness.
Water brings redemption. Water, in the hands of the Master, brings extravagant healing. Remember the wedding at Cana? Remember how Jesus took something ordinary – and, in those days, quite infectious – and transformed it, redeemed it, recreated it into something beautiful? Something to be celebrated?
So it is now.
My life – my crazy, bacteria-laden, poisonous life – longs to be transformed. I yearn to be extravagant and useful. I desire to be rich with flavor and abundant in grace. Just like the most robust red wine, recreated from something ordinary and borderline dangerous.
So I take a deep breath. I count to ten. I hum. I let the goodness in me water down so that the poison and the crazy transforms into grace.
I walk away from the dark closet and step into light.