Friday, June 12, 2009

In the Quiet Places

Someone asked me how I am today, and I said fine. I said it even with a smile, and stopped to chat a few minutes, ruminating over how fast the school year has gone and the amount of mud the kids got on them during the end of year picnic. Someone asked me how I am, and I said fine. But I am not.

I am in a haze. I am walking through a fog, near to tears. My heart actually hurts. Literally. There is a constant pain in my chest that sometimes is so staggering I can't breathe.

I go to school functions and cheer on the kids. I bake cookies to bring. I talk with them, sing with them, hold the limbo stick and cheer them on as they go lower. And this takes a monumental amount of effort. To pretend to be fine. It is overwhelmingly difficult. And I am exhausted.

I smiled at the check-out clerk and told her to have a great weekend. Another asked how I was, and I said "I'm great!" She answered back, "That's what I keep telling myself." And I smiled again and said, "If I say it enough, it will become so, right?" but I knew we both were lying. We smile even as we are dying a little inside.

And as I leave the store, tears are already washing off the smile.

It is nothing. And it is everything.

Life around me is no different than it was a week ago. My children are beautiful and brilliant. My husband is loving and amazing. I have a perfect life. I tell myself this and I know it's true. I have a perfect life.

And I am sad.

Inexplicably, overwhelmingly sad. Waves that I am drowning in.

It is not the rejection, although I think that must not have helped. It is so much bigger than that. And smaller, too. It is either small things I am making too big. Or big things I think should seem smaller. It is one or the other. Or it is both.

There was before New York and after New York.

I went with high hopes of an agent offer in the near future, and hopes of seeing an old and close friend. I came back with a rejection, and the realization that the goodbye to my friend might be a very long one.

There was a city full of possibilities and new places and shiny lights and gorgeous people going about their gorgeous lives; a foreign world. Home is suburban streets and too many stoplights and ugly strip malls; the all-too familiar.

The days back since New York have been so much more difficult than I could have guessed. I thought it would be a fun trip - a short jaunt - then back home. Life as usual. I did not expect the jarring in my heart. I feel I am suddenly missing something I cannot even define.

But I tell myself what I tell my kids when I tuck them in bed after a particularly hard day.

Tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow will be better.

If I want it badly enough to be so, it will be so. Because what else is there to do but move on?


  1. other than the recollections of your trip, I could have written this.

    (Except maybe not as bittersweetly beautiful.)

    It is the most bizarre ache. It's not just rejection; it's the questioning of this whole life path. For you, having been so close, so often, it's brutal. And puzzling.

    I've been doing this kind of questioning too, but thankfully I have my other world to be immersed in right now. The imaginary people keep talking in my head while I'm working with my horses, but right now I have to devote my time to horses and that keeps me busy. Soon I'll be dividing my brain between the two worlds again and I'm sure I'll be right back to the despair that I can't get Those In Charge to read any of my stuff.

    I just don't want you to quit though. As frustrating and crushing as it is, please don't quit. I'm not. I'll keep dragging my way through it. I'll drag you with me, ok?

  2. You made my heart hurt just reading this post! And though I'm not in your shoes, I can relate to the overwhelming sadness and pain that life can bring, often unexpectedly. We keep a brave face, telling ourselves that things will get better, will move forward, but sometimes that brave face slips and the hurt takes over.
    The only thing I've learned through such struggles is that no matter how impossible it seems at the time, this too will pass.

    You're in my prayers!

  3. Heidi - this is very honest. Thank you for sharing. I don't really have any advice. I often feel overwhelmed and I just plaster a smile on and keep going. Keep moving forward. We have bad spots in life. Unexpected things happen - and perhaps the trip to New York took you out of your usual routine just long enough for you to notice something isn't right or doesn't feel right.


  4. Im so sorry you are hurting and so sorry about where you are in your heart. I almost cried reading this b/c I felt I was reading about a time when I felt this way.

    Girl, trust that your heart knows what your path is and though it is not an easy one. better to be on a hard path of passion than an easy path of nothingness

    Hang in there :(

  5. This post really moved me. That shows you are a true writer- you can be brave enough to bare yourself with poignant words. Know that the rest of us out here share your frustration and your heavy heart. Don't stop, don't give up, but do it as a declaration of who you are and how you want to spend your time.

    That's the only way I've found to deal with the uncertainty. It's NOT giving up on the big dream, but it's a way of moving forward without regret.

  6. read this:

    may help?

  7. Others have said it so well - I won't even try. Lacking the talent of others, I don't want to write something that comes across as some sort of pat answer or advice out of a "Chicken Soup" book.

    Know that we are here for you, praying for you, lifting you up. Know that we support you and remain excited about your dream. Know, most of all, that even though it may not feel that way right now, God is holding your hand.

    I have found it wildly confusing and frustrating to try to predict where I think I am supposed to go and what is supposed to happen. Keep listening to the voice you hear calling you and don't let this cause you to lose any faith in that voice.

  8. I'd respond to all of you individually but that might take all day.

    Thank you.

    Your words - you just being here - make me feel less alone.

    I know I have to move on. Let life go on. Sometimes, though, I have to stop and let myself feel it. But not for too long. Life is too short for that.

    You all - each one of you - said exactly what I needed to hear. I love that you are all individuals and come to this with something different. I needed to hear it all. :)

    So thank you.

  9. Hang in there. I know there are times in life where things seem overwhelming. The other day my daughter started to cry and when I asked her what the matter was, she said "I don't know."

    I get that way as well. Sad, but I don't know why.

    Hang in there, my prayers are with you.

  10. Patti - I know how your daughter feels!!

    I am better today. Turns out, that part was true! Sometimes it's just a day by day...

  11. Hang in there, Heidi. I'm with the others. This is a lovely post.


  12. Oh Heidi, I've been there. Yes, I have. Nothing has changed but you are still viewing life through kind of a darker, more hopeless film. Kind of hazy, and you pray that it will go away and it doesn't. So you just have to have faith that God gives you trials to make you stronger. And when the sad feelings do go away, you see so clearly, not just life more clearly, but that hard time much more clearly, and you see how you are better and smarter and closer to God because of it. Then you can be grateful. I am glad that you are feeling better today.