Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Empty and Full

Life these days is both empty and full and I am sitting uneasily in the paradox.

Full: work is busy and constant. I never feel caught up. There is always something more I could be doing. I'm just keeping up. There is planning for next year and evaluating each program and improving the website and working with board committees and reorganizing financial records and working on advertising and ... and ... it's like parish ministry without the fun stuff. No worship leadership, no pastoral counseling, no sacraments, no rituals for life transitions. I miss that stuff. That would go in the empty column.

Full: being a single mom. I'm the one responsible for making sure he's fed, bathed, rested, well-balanced, to school on time, to bed on time, all homework done. I have to make sure there are groceries in the fridge, clean underwear in the drawer and money in the bank to pay the mortgage and the health insurance and so on and so forth. Even though his dad has him a few nights each week, I am completely responsible when he's with me -- nobody to pass off any of the responsibilities. Also: full in the sense that this really is the best part of my life. He's my dear, even when he's infuriating. And honestly, he's a wonderful boy. Funny and helpful and smart and sweet.

Full: homeowner and pet owner. Again, it's just me and with these responsibilities I don't get any breaks any days of the week. Every day, I'm the one to walk the dog and vacuum up the dog hair and make sure the furnace works and the lawn is mowed and dishes are clean and the cat has flea medicine and they both are fed and watered and the toilet works and is clean. No landlord, no husband, just me.

Full: having my parents near-by. Full in the sense of wonderful to get to spend time with them each week and full in that I'm spending time with them each week. Watching Dad descend into the land of unknowing and unknowable is hard. Watching Mom care for him and lose her companion of 55 years is harder.

Empty: my sense of what God wants of me. My sense of call. What am I doing here besides taking up space? I know I am called to love those around me, to be in the moment. I wish that could be enough.

Empty: my social calendar. I have no social life. Really. None. I keep thinking I should make an effort in this department, but all those "full" notes above leave me little time, energy or money. I miss having friends, but finding the time to make new ones is tough. And I'll confess, I'm kind of picky about friends. When my time and energy is limited I want to spend it well. I don't suffer fools gladly.

Empty: my bed. Big ole fecking king size one, too. Enough said.

This sounds whinier than I intended. What I mean to say is that life is kind of mixed for me these days. This is a hard time, I won't deny. I long for clarity. I'm tempted to find a palm reader and get some fix on what the future holds. But here I am, in the present moment (wonderful moment, according to Thich Nhat Hahn, but as Jerry May once said, "Yeah, Thich says present moment, wonderful moment, but sometimes the present moment just sucks.").

Empty. And full.


Wormwood's Doxy said...


I hear you, honey. And I wish you were closer...

Jan said...

Gerald May's remark says it all! Good luck.

Diane said...

empty. yeah. I hear you.

pj said...

Oh my friend. As Woody Allen once said, "It is impossible to travel faster than the speed of light, and certainly not desirable, as one's hat keeps blowing off."

I got nuthin' but silliness. Hope that's okay.


lj said...

Silliness is always welcome on this blog!

Thanks all.

Magdalene6127 said...

You have captured the paradox of this single parenting gig so well, I really have nothing to add. Except, hugs (((lj))). And, a wish that we could be friends FTF.



lj said...

Thanks, Mags. Me too.