I want to share the following poem with you today for my own inspiration as much as anyone else’s. It’s called “Don’t Quit” and I have been familiar with it for a number of years. My Mum gave me a little card with it on when I was going through a particularly bad patch about 16 years ago and every now and again I revisit it to remind myself that, just as I came through that spell, so too will I come through this one.
As life has progressed and as I have got older, the nature and the depth of the “bad spells” have varied. First it was relationship things, you know the type, the “who am I in this partnership?” crises we experience when we are in the “bedding in” stage of a relationship. Then came “I haven’t got the energy to keep up with a toddler” type of bad spell. Where things seem so out of your control and your comfort zone you decide that you are simply the worst parent in the world and your child/children would be better off anywhere else rather than with you. There may be the other type of relationship crises – the “I hate you and what you have made me become” stage. Then comes the financial crises, the employment crises, and now at this stage of life, the bereavement crises and the beginnings of health crises.
I am not alone, I can’t be. I’m sure there are many many people who will identify with one or more of these staging posts in life and we know, don’t we, that we will get through them one by one if we simply tell ourselves “don’t quit”. I have a deep Christian faith and I consider myself to be a spiritual person, and my belief is that one day, when human life is over, there is something better for us. A fairer and infinitely more loving, beautiful something. But until then, how do we cope? Well the first way is to be a bit more forgiving – of myself as well as others. By letting up on myself I am giving myself space to breathe and to regroup. Just as the poem below says, having a rest from the struggle is not the same thing as giving up.
I do feel weary at the minute. Not just in body, but in spirit and mind too. There has been a lot to cope with recently and there is still a lot going on that can’t be ignored. Some of you will know about the situation with my parents in law, and you may know about my ongoing health problem too. Along with those things I am finding it difficult just now because my two modules with the OU are coming to an end and I have major deadlines to hit next week. They are both creative modules, and it isn’t easy being wonderfully joyously creative when my emotions are strung out and my body is creaking. Composing a song, writing a complete publication-ready short story and reflective commentary, and writing a music analysis essay are all there on my “to do” list along with my other responsibilities this week such as exam invigilation at the school.
We have had a financial set back too. We already have an IVA in place, which means that we have no access to credit for the next 5 years and with the one wage coming in things are tight. Kevin’s April salary was the first one of his new wage in which he took a pay cut, but knowing that it was coming, we have been saving up for a “rainy day”. Or a different car (which is now so unreliable I won’t drive it on a motorway).
The rainy day came this weekend when after nearly 12 months of painful sleep we decided we had enough cash saved up to buy a new bed. So we tested out the ones in the shop to see how firm we needed the mattress to be and came home to find one online cheaper. Well you would wouldn’t you? After nearly two hours of hunting and comparing on various sites we ordered one and paid for it. I went downstairs to make a brew to recover from the ordeal, to find that the fridge freezer had broken. Nothing in the fridge was cold to the touch and the freezer was all slushy. The temperature gauges both said that they were working but clearly, they weren’t as our food was starting to go off. The little bit of money we had left over from saving on the mattress has now gone on a new fridge. It would have been nice to have it for something good like a holiday (or a car) but needs must I suppose.
Whilst on the one hand I’m so grateful that we had the money there to pay for the unexpected emergency, on the other it just makes life feel like it’s a grind. Surviving for so long on just enough to get by takes its toll on morale and spirits are most definitely flagging at the minute.
I’m tired, so very tired, but this poem has helped me see that it is all worth it and to just keep going. Tomorrow. After a rest.