Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sassyfats vs. the Existential Crisis

I've been in kind of a funk lately. Not a full-blown depression, thank God, but more of a slight off-kilterishness. You know that cart in the grocery store with the one wonky wheel? You can maneuver it through the store and get your shopping done, taking refuge in fleeting moments of joy as you notice that Oreos and dish soap are on sale. But it takes some extra effort to shove the cart down the aisles in a straight enough motion to keep the cart from crashing into fellow shoppers and displays of stacked soup cans. Well I've been shoving my wonky-wheeled self through the grocery store of life lately, making it through each day with a vague sense of exhausted frustration.

For the last several weeks, I've been blaming my life circumstances for my unhappiness. After all, if I'm unhappy at home, work, church, and the few other places I land during any given week, then obviously those places are the problem, right? I've been feeling like something has got to give, that I need to catch a break somewhere. So I've been waiting, and hoping, and praying that something external to me would change so that I could be propelled in the right direction and find that spark of joy again.

Last night, after a particularly frustrating day that not even the gym could mitigate, I prayed harder than usual for that change. Deacon Ed at my church says that when you're in a jam, call upon the Holy Spirit for quick resolution. For the first time since my conversion to Catholicism a little over a year ago, I finally prayed to the Holy Spirit without holding back. I couldn't even really articulate what I needed, I just asked Him to come and fix stuff as He saw fit.

Nothing brilliantly life altering happened while I slept. I didn't win the lottery (I never buy tickets), my children are no more compliant than they've ever been (I love them dearly), my husband is still well aware of my faults (I love him anyway), and I'm still a mid-level peon at a cube farm (and eternally grateful be employed, don't get me wrong). From the outside, everything looks the same. But from the inside, everything looks completely different.

I woke up this morning feeling with an unusual feeling: I was happy. And calm. And peaceful. For once my first thought of the day was not, "Crap. Morning already?" As the day wore on, that feeling of calm stayed with me, and was accompanied by another unusual feeling: I was confident. I found myself having more patience with my kids than usual (not that they didn't work hard at testing it, the little stinkers), more warmth toward my husband as we discussed boring household business, and more serenity about my grammar cop workload, which kept me crazy busy and cross-eyed all day long. I was calm and focused, not stressed out and scatterbrained. Instead of shoving my wonky-wheeled self through the day in gnashed-teeth survival mode, I found myself enjoying the challenges my day brought. I felt strong and capable instead of weak and broken. It is my heartfelt belief that today's outlook was a direct answer to last night's prayer.

Granted, today was only one day. It's a little early to declare that I will be all like "ohm" and "hakuna matata" every day for the rest of my life. I've owned this brain long enough that its chemistry is not always what you'd call balanced. But it's nice to know that a sense of well-being and a positive outlook on life are indeed within my grasp. Now that I've committed all this to writing and published it on the Internet, there's actually a chance I'll remember how I got here the next time I lose my way.

Fear not, dear reader. My sarcasm generator is not broken. I'll get back to the funny soon enough. For now, though, I'm just gonna enjoy this rare sense of serenity - and drag you into it with me.

Ohm & Stuff

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