Monday, June 9, 2014

Simple Woman's Daybook 6/9


Outside my window...

We've had a rainy couple of days. Yesterday I worked the church nursery, during which it rained and thundered so hard they had to send a very frighened Mary to me. I was too busy to do much for her, except to put her in a rocking chair and give her a few hugs and kisses. If you have children who suffer from anxiety, you know there is little you can do for them, other than pray and hold them. They can't be reasoned with or talked out of it; the anxiety comes from a brain glitch.

After twenty minutes, she threw up. Yes, indeedy. She's done that before from the stress of a thunderstorm. As soon as she said her stomach hurt, I knew to have a bucket close by her. Our church meets in an elementary school and she managed to get nothing on her clothes or on any school property--not even the carpet. That's not to say I wasn't pretty busy wiping it out of the recycling container and sink with disinfectant wipes. Luckily we had only one baby, and four toddlers who were on the other side of the room.

I fear one of my nursery partners, who knows me less than some others, wondered if I'd brought my sick daughter to church. Mary keeps her fingers in her ears the whole time she's worried about thunderstorms. If that's not a hint of fear, I don't know what is.

Severe thunderstorms are forecast in the next couple of days. Not fun.

I am thinking...

I am thinking about L.M. Montgomery, who wrote the Anne of Green Gables series, which is quite an extensive series. I finished another one of the novels last night--Rainbow Valley. There are two remaining in the series. A few weeks ago I read Montgomery's biography, and since then I can't help feeling a little melancholy about the books. It's as though Lucy Maud Montgomery writes the story she wishes had been her own.

As I wrote before, she didn't marry for love so much as because in her time it was almost an obligation to marry. She was in her mid-thirties when she married her husband, a minister. He was mentally ill and she spent many years caring for him. I don't know if she knew about his mental stability when she married him, but probably not. His condition probably worsened as he grew older. They had two sons; a third son died in infancy.

It is very hard to watch the giddy happiness of those around you, when you have an excruciatingly hard life yourself. In one of the Anne books there's a young women who must care for a mentally-ill husband while living next door to Anne, who is newly, and very happily married to Gilbert Blithe. The neighbor is a beautiful but bitter woman who feels that life is like a prison sentence. In this storybook case, there's a miraculous twist and the woman is released from her fate, but such was not the case in Lucy Montgomery's real life.

The books are wonderful, high-quality literature, full of wit, wisdom, and realism. I love them, and the heart of the woman who wrote them. But I can't read them without grieving for Lucy. I am grateful that she seemed to love the true, grace-ful God and saw fit to write books that were not about bitterness, but about love and courage and wit. Being a minister's wife, she was able to expose a lot of religious hypocrisy and subtly preach grace through her stories. Grace in human relations is a major theme throughout the series--with Anne being the main instrument of grace.

Not only was Lucy's husband a burden to her throughout their 31-year marriage, but her older son was a profound disappointment as well, impregnating and then marrying a women he later left, and then later getting fired from a law firm and ending up living in his parent's basement. He possibly inherited some mental instability, and Lucy either inherited some depression, or the sadness of her circumstances caused her to develop profound depression. Her family thinks she took her own life at age 67 via a drug overdose in 1942. A so-called suicide note was left at her bedside, but an extensive biography written by Dr. Mary Rubio of Lucy's life suggests a different interpretation--that the note was yet another scribble on a piece of paper that would later become a part of Lucy's personal journal.

Lucy Montgomery's doctor, Richard Lane, wrote in the death certificate: “coronary thrombosis” as a result of “arteriosclerosis and a very high degree of neurasthenia” (the last is a general, quasi-psychoanalytic term to describe a neurotic disorder characterized by chronic weakness and fatigue).

Lucy was addicted to prescription medications, but it isn't known if she was aware of this herself, or if she just took what her doctored ordered for depression.

I was making Beth's bed this morning and thinking of the long years we've used the same bed pillows. How sad that only a small amount of money separates us from new bed pillows, which an allergy family really needs! So many people spend far more than that on a restaurant meal regularly, and then there's us, wondering when we can get bed pillows.

As soon as my brain thought this, it went to Lucy Maud Montgomery's life and her depression. If she thought of all the people in her husband's church whose children turned out better than hers, or all the husbands who were better off mentally than hers was, she probably did drive herself into a depression. If she thought of all the women who had happier lives than hers, she probably drove herself crazy--drove herself to prescription medicines.

Whatever our circumstances, the worst poison is to play the comparison game. It causes us to lose our perspective, our gratitude, our love and goodwill toward others. It causes us to lose our awe over our salvation and God's faithfulness.

Lucy had no support system. No mother of her own she could remember. No father who invested in her life. She was largely on her own, and she needed the grace and love of fellow Christians to be her family. Instead, as a minister's wife, she was most likely held to an impossibly high standard that she could never live up to--and one her husband and two children could never live up to.

Her writing was her only solace, her one joy, outside of any relationship she may have had with God. I don't know yet of that God relationship, as I can't find any information of that vein. But her writing screams of the need for grace in human relations, so I want to think that she understood something about the grace of God.

Writing is often my saving grace here at home, so I feel a kinship with this woman, but I don't subscribe to self-pity. Self-pity is the beginning of the end, in my opinion. We mustn't go there, and when we feel ourselves edging towards it, like with the pillows this morning, we must turn 180 degrees and walk the other way, counting our blessings with each step. There can be no mistake about it--self-pity is sin.

I am thankful...

~ for new mercies each morning.
~ for the power of prayer and confession.
~ for sweet faces to kiss each morning, noon, and night.
~ for a good story as food for the soul.
~ for sound lessons in 1 Corinthians.
~ that God takes our imperfect efforts and blesses them.
~ that showers bring bright flowers.
~ for the blessing that is motherhood.
~ that the easy way is never the most beautiful way.

I am wearing...

long jean skirt, fushia fitted cotton tee, healed clogs

I am reading...

after a couple night's good sleep, I will start the next of the Anne series, Rilla of Ingleside, in which Anne's youngest child (she has 6) starts out as a 15 year old. The children and I continue in 1 Corinthians in the mornings, and I am reading Colossians.

I am hoping...

and praying that my children will be close friends always. They need each other.

Around the house...

The children did some decluttering, and I did some too, but there's more to pick up after the weekend, and then on to dusting and vacuuming and folding laundry. Good Monday to you all. May God bless you and keep you.

Scripture to share...

Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.   

2 comments:

Tesha Papik said...

Hi my friend I have been catching up on all your post...as always they are filled with wisdom! This is just a few tidbits that stood out to me:)

I'm sorry to hear about Rudy, I read that he went back but I must of missed what happened?.I hope the kids are taking it well.

I was interested in the OCD post. It is so sad to see our children struggle with anything! I became obsessed with locking doors after a traumatic childhood experience. I still recheck every night but will only allow myself to do it once.

I also am really thankful we homeschool! I am shocked when I am around other kids my kids age...My kids do not know half the worldly stuff they do, yet they are so much more mature. Electronics most certainly ruin creativity!

I love what you said about self pity, what God spoke to me most on my fast was "I am enough" I have enough" Jesus is enough" that is such a peaceful way to live!

Praying Mary fairs well these next days with thunderstorms in your forecast:)

Missed you while I was on my fast!

Christine said...

Good to hear you gleaned so much from your fast, Tesha. I read your excellent post. Thank you for stopping by here. Rudy had been snapping at the kids (not biting) and it made us nervous. We don't have the resources to hire a trainer to train aggression of any kind out of him. I do miss him. Bless you, friend!