Looking at Open Doors

In the Fall, when things were bad, when Anna Cate was in the hospital and BJ couldn't return to work, and we were stressed out about the future, I thought I was doing quite well. After she got well, and BJ and I figured out our new routine, I focused on work.  I thought we were ok.

But it turns out, my dark days came much later.  In March usually a time when I focus on celebrations, I realized I had checked out and had nothing left. I tried to think about spring break, about Anna Cate's birthday, but all I had the energy to do was work, and work out. My mind hurt. I realized there isn't anyone to pick up my slack at work, and thank God BJ could be the parent I couldn't. Rather than plan a party for Anna Cate, BJ and she did everything themselves, from planning and decoration to menu planning. I did print a few invites. She had a nice birthday I think because we went to church so she got a lot of "Happy Birthdays" and we went out to sweet frogs afterwards with friends. 

I wanted to be in the mood for celebration, but I just struggled. I knew we were moving in the summer, I knew it was the right thing to do, but I just couldn't quit focusing on how sad and stressed I am. We bought a house, but I had not seen it; I did not have an official job even though I passed the English praxis test, adding to my chances of getting a job, even if I had to wait until the summer to know where.  For Spring break, we planned to go to Pennsylvania. . .I had a dream of knocking off some American History bucket list items for the girls -- Philadelphia and Gettysburg. But, the morning of Anna Cate's small  party, I got up at 5am to work out so I could enjoy an evening with the girls. But when I came home from the gym and couldn't quit crying, I had an aha moment -- I know myself: I make the best of things. I need to go home to get excited about the next step. That afternoon, after school, I called my Mom to share my  thoughts, and I cried more. So while Anna Cate's slumber party was starting, I'm sitting in my car crying.  Then, Norah brought Leana over and sat and cried with me. 

I share this to say what a low point this was, how we knew I wasn't myself. For over 10 ten years, while BJ worked 6 days a week, and I worked full time I still juggled it all. I throw this in here for my ego when others say, "how dare she just check out!" BJ and I were a team but I had two solid shifts and did Saturdays by myself, but I jut could not snap out of my funk. I looked up depression and I sort of fit the description. 

Some time during my crying-every-day phase, my dear friend Mary Helen reached out to me, and then I called her.  Among other sage words, she soothed me by saying, "I can't imagine all you've been through and you still are dealing with 13 year olds daily." Just hearing someone as strong as she is saying "it is hard" helped. I've realized if we would have experienced one of things we've had thrown at us (chronic illness diagnosis for BJ, change of financial situation, child being sick, moving, me finding a job), it would might be hard, but putting it all together just became so heavy. 

So I trudged through to Spring Break, helped organize an 8th grade field trip, presented to the School Board, created on an online portfolio and tried to get a job. BJ found a 7th grade Social Studies job I should apply for. I ran and did yoga, and we prepared to put our house on the market.

 I tried to forgive myself for being so empty -- I apologized and was honest with the girls. Anna Cate hurt her ankle and is still in a boot and was on crutches. This year has sucked the life out of me. Molly asked me if I was going to die since the life was out of me. She was kidding. Through tears, I told Anna Cate I hope she will remember the parties I did plan, and have faith I will get back to myself. 

We made it to Spring break. It started on Thursday. That weekend, I was greeted with this beautiful gift from my friend Melanie. The painting is gorgeous but it was her card that touched me, "Do not look back, you're not going that way. . .It is all good."  Friends who know and love me have gotten me through the dark days, and this was such a poignant reminder. This is I love. 

On Thursday night, we went out to dinner, and I came home to make hot tea and took my melatonin, almost ready for bed, but at 8:45 pm, my phone rang -- the area code indicated it was from the town where that 7th grade Social Studies job was, so I answered it. The principal of Dickson Middle School called me to chat and after about 5 minutes, he said, "well can I just interview you right now". . .and it was a great conversation as I was in my pajamas with my hot tea.

The next day our house went on the market and we went to DC -- our friend Cam got us tickets to see the White House (our only American History bucket list event that didn't get scratched).

And we had a lovely Easter.  I couldn't help but think about how this is our last Easter in our church, a place that Norah invited me to almost 15 years ago. 

And a gorgeous brunch at our friends' Dorinda & Geoff's. I hate that I don't have any pictures of brunch, but as we were leaving, I shared with my dear friend Dorinda, from Centerville, a little bit about my fears and going home hoping to secure a job. After she said, "what can I do to help you?" she grabbed my hand and said, "Look a rainbow." After we came home Molly and I enjoyed looking at that same rainbow. I look at this picture and notice the dead tree in the forefront with the rainbow in the background. A metaphor

 Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray. -Lord Byron

The next day we signed a contract on our house, BJ drove to Tennessee, I ran, and while I practiced yoga the girls visited with MumMum. Then, we enjoyed a lovely visit on her porch. She told me, again, she has always seen us moving to be near my parents.  On Tuesday, the girls and I flew to Nashville.  While in the airport, I got a call from another school for an interview. 

In short, I met with a few principals and received more than one offer, but when I went to Dickson and met with the team where there is a  7th grade Social Studies position, it just felt right.  I fell in love with the house -- a house my sister in law Becki found because she was delivering Girl Scout cookies!  It couldn't be more perfect for us --  small house, in town, close to family, across the street from the park and city pool, next to a barn with a  big back yard, big enough for BJ to have some goats and chickens. He keeps promising me that urban homesteading is a thing, and it is cool. This is the view from the park across the street.

This is the house and back yard.
And a view of the barn next door. 

We enjoyed time with family.
I took the kids to see their new schools, the elementary and middle school where I went. We got such a great feeling about these schools. I gained peace of mind. 

 The day before we left Centerville, my friend Courtney texted me this quote: “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”  I realized that is exactly what this Spring break did for me -- it allowed me to look at the door that is opening. For that, I'm grateful. I'm sure I'll continue to shed a lot of tears as I look at the doors we are closing, but I'm so thankful my mind is excited about the door that is opening -- a chance to raise my children and face this journey with BJ near our family in a wonderful small town with reminders of God's natural beauty to soothe our soul.

That beautiful handmade gift from my friend Melanie was in response to a "pay it forward" challenge. So if you are reading my blog, and want to play to receive a random happy gift from me before the end of 2017, be one of the first five to make a comment.

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it. 

-George A. Moore


Betty Jacobson said…
Sarah it will be so good to have you back in Centerville. I live in Dickson if you ever need any help. My granddaughter Madison will be in the 7th grade next year at Dickson Middle
Jodi said…
Sarah...this is beautiful! We are moving again too, Lexington Ky. I am looking for a teaching job and hope that the door will open! I am hopeful maybe I will get to see you sometime! Blessings!
Cheryl said…
Sarah...sharing your struggle really touched me. You had the prayers of so many(including me)when Anna Cate was sick--you needed prayers too! Being able to say "I'm not ok" is hard, but shows a lot of strength. You'd be surprised at how many of your friends walk in your shoes. We understand and support and admire you! Enjoy your new journey...Hugs! Cheryl Huntzinger
Emily Hunter said…
All I want to do is hug you right now! It's terrifying and emotionally draining to experience your loved ones being sick. People always say the hard part is over after a surgery or illness. ..I disagree! Yes the physical hardship is over, but the mental aftermath has just begun. When people are sick, you don't have time to think so much. You just know that things have to get done and you have to do
them. Afterward, you're left with all the emotional pieces to pick up and sometimes it's alot more draining than people think.
I will say this. ...if everything in our lives were great everyday, we wouldn't appreciate everything so much! When I was little I remember telling my mom "I wish it would snow everyday!" She replied, "if it snowed everyday, it wouldn't be so special". The older I get, the more I try to focus on little things like that. I'm so thankful for the rainbow after the rain!
We ALL break down. ...please don't ever feel alone! Call me anytime!
I love you and can't wait to see you!
Emily Hunter
C Kollar said…
This is a powerful article and I believe is an honest look at something many of us have gone through but have trouble talking about. Thank you for your openness and good luck with all your new adventures.
Kate said…
So glad to be number six. I don't want you to worry about a gift for me. You're a busy woman. As a military wife, and a military brat I moved a lot. My goodness the stress it can cause. I moved every 3 years on average. So we were definitely settled but not to the degree you are after 15 years. I can only imagine how stressful the unknown must be for you and on top of that, the stress and worry of your husband's health. There is absolutely no shame in feeling overwhelmed by it all!

I will be praying for you. May God give you peace.

Philipians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.