2014: In my glorious woodshed we still have no water. It was a wonderful surprise to find out we are down to one toilet. Then someone (about 4’3, blonde, 60 pounds…) had the brilliant idea to give the kitten a catnip-filled mouse. She freaked out, hopping like a lunatic and darting at breakneck speed from one end of the house to the other until it all caught up with her and she began wretching. Oh, but not in one place. Vomiting scared her, so she ran away from herself every time, resulting in trails of green bile the entire length of the carpeted hallway. Exhausted and overwhelmed, she slept it off in a shoebox. I’m pretty sure she had a hangover the next day.
Sometimes life gets overwhelming for me because I take on too much (like the kitten eating a week’s worth of catnip in a few minutes). Other times it’s because of circumstances outside my control (like being a kitten and trusting human children). This time it’s both. You would think that knowing I have a lot to do would spur me to action. You’d think I would be proactive; instead I am like a deer in headlights.
Case in point, my van named Betty White almost died on me last night. It was a close call that could have possibly been avoided with a simple trip to a mechanic. I left her idling while I talked to a friend and when I got back in she was dinging frantically, telling me she was overheating. I made it to a gas station and bought coolant, opened the hood and dumped it in. The magic serum worked and we evaded disaster. As a bonus, the heat began to work again. Who knew? Ayden, after taking this all in, said, “Mom, Antifreeze fixes everything. Maybe it could fix our cat problem.” That’s my boy. Here, kitty kitty…
Update: I didn’t feed the cat antifreeze that day. Living next to Route 9 fixed the cat problem, sadly. Now we have puppies who take it upon themselves to try and get run over by chasing cars, you know, just for kicks. My car is fully functional and so are my toilets. Life is much more comfortable in so many ways. It’s nice to look back and realize the work I’ve done has paid dividends.
“Make tomorrow better than today” was once a fortune in my cookie. It makes sense. We have to keep moving forward. This current state of affairs feels like trudging through knee-deep mud on some days. I have my eye on the prize, but I still occasionally get sidetracked. My shoe gets stuck in the muck and comes off, causing me to purposefully pause and get my act together before I take another step. And guess what? That’s ok. It’s ok to stumble as long as we recover and then keep moving forward. Unfortunately not everyone chooses to move forward. Some people make their life in the muck. To each his or her own, of course, but I can promise you that if you keep moving forward eventually the mud dries, becomes solid ground and then gets covered with gorgeous green grass.
I choose to keep walking forward, making every day better than the last. Hand in hand (because I don’t have to social distance in my illustrations), we walk through the yuck, holding one another up, until we reach firmer ground. It is my privilege and also my responsibility to use the God-given talents I have to encourage others. I encourage my children and those entrusted to my care to find their talents and use them for the betterment of others. It is in this selfless act that we find our true purpose. Loving and serving others creates for them and for us the solid ground we all desire even when the world is still messy. I want to be the reason someone keeps moving forward, and I am infinitely grateful for the people to call me out when I am anything other than excellent. Seek out those people who love you enough to tell you to knock it off, who hold out their hand to help you out of the hole, self-inflicted or otherwise. Be that person for others, and guide the children in your life to discover their gifts and passions. Feed the cycle of goodness, because it’s starving, and hang in there…better days are just around the corner.