Aug 31, 2012

Serenity Now. Maybe...

I just want you all to know that I don't blog nearly as often as I would like.  Part of me wants to apologize "HI! Sorry I haven't written in forever..." but I tend to get annoyed when folks do that.  People run blogs; blogs don't run people, so if they haven't written in forever what's it to everyone else (unless they get paid, in which case they need to get their butts to the computer and write, already)?? And beyond that, when reading other blogs I tend to skim past the apology anyway, cuz I want to get down to whatever the person is writing about.

So now that I've spent an entire paragraph not-apologizing, and also not writing about what I intended to say, I can get down to business and give an update on how moving to a new place blends in with one's neuroses.  And really it boils down to just a few things--

--Change is hard for me.  And I keep having to do it. I talk to people every so often who love (or think they would love) moving around every few years.  They love the adventure of new places and people.  They start to get restless after too long in one place.  And they certainly have a point.  I look back over 5 military moves and get all stuck in wonderment about how much I have enjoyed each of our places.  I am compiling a massive list of wonderful acquaintances, and my smaller list of deep, likely lifelong friends contains people from all corners.  Once I get settled it is a wonderful thing.  The settling is hard though.  I grieve the old and get impatient as I fret my way through the new, worrying that this or that may not materialize and I'll be stuck with a void in some significant (to me) area for this round of life.  I am getting better at not panicking, but I stubbornly (and rightfully, I believe) refuse to pretend that it isn't hard anymore.  For some folks it really isn't as difficult, and that's OK.  For me it is, and that's OK to admit.

--Control is a tricky thing.  I'm a big fan of the Serenity Prayer: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference..."  So much of growing in God's grace involves relinquishing control of things I've desperately tried to hold onto in this life.  I need and desire healthy relationships, but trying to get them through control is counterproductive.  So I have to let God and a trusted few teach me how to be a friend.  I need and desire my social structure and support system, but it keeps changing every few years, and to try to keep things exactly the same, when all other parts of my life are changing significantly, is futile.  So I have to trust that God cares deeply for me, and knows my particular, quirky needs, and will meet them every time.  Even if it looks different than before. But at the same time, there are steps I can take; freedoms God gives me to let my preference be known and to free my heart from random stupid things that weigh it down. 

Case in point: I have been growing more frustrated with my military medical experience in recent years.  At our first two duty stations I was fortunate--I felt comfortable with and trusted my doctors.  Since then, not so much.  It may have more to do with the system than with the doctors themselves.  Or it may be that there are more than a few less-than-desirable docs out there and I'd just been really lucky not to encounter them until my 30's.  Who knows. I'd been flirting with Tricare's Standard option, where you get to pick your doctors and don't have to mess with referrals.  They try to discourage you from doing the Standard option because you have to pay part of your costs out of pocket, and don't get priority at military treatment facilities, and then you're locked out of the "Prime" option for a year.  Which, considering my experiences in recent years, provide less & less incentive to stick with Prime. Well, to make a long story short, our circumstances here led me to petitioning for some exceptions to policy, and those petitions being denied (or "disapproved," as they so judgmentally put it), leaving me with the option to drive over 30 minutes every time I or the kiddos need to see a doctor, or to switch to Standard and having the freedom to choose our own docs closer to home.  So I chose the latter. I don't think Tricare really cares what I do as long as I pay my bills and stay within the regs--accept the things I cannot change--but to me it felt like a big victory, to take action on this issue that had actually been bugging me for some time.  To have the courage to change something I could. 

--I really do have a lot happening at once.  So I've been very deliberately remaining in the moment, concentrating on what I need to get thru that hour, or day, or week.  And slowly, I am checking things off my list.  I've been working on weeding through our stuff because it makes me crazy and I really do want to get rid of most of it.  Except I have a family who like to wear clothes, and sleep in beds, so there are negotiations to be had as to what stays and what goes.  And THEN in my mailbox yesterday, a flyer letting me know that so-and-so organization will be in my neighborhood in a week or so, and would I like to donate clothing and household items.  And a weight was lifted--there is a place for my stuff to go!  All I have to do is get it out to my curb on such-and-such date!

And just these little victories did so much for my morale.  Even though the Cat Daddy was out of town for a few days, and the Littler One spilled printer ink on the white-ish carpet, and I may not get to start P90X until my baby sleeps for longer spurts in the evenings.  Taking control where I could made it a little easier to endure the things I have little control over.  Not in a "Great, I'm fixed now!" way; more of an "OK, I can live with that. Bring on the carpet cleaner. Again." sort of deal. 

I found an index card where I had written two verses.  I don't know when, but it must have been ages ago, because they were written in fancy colored gel pen ink, so I'm thinking maybe 10 years ago or more because that's when I last had fancy colored gel pens (and a little notebook of black paper. Cuz I'm hip that way).  And I don't know why I wrote them, or what the objective was that day, but they are as true of me now as ever.  The first verse is from Psalms (I think); it says something like "Search me and know my anxious thoughts." And the second verse is from Job and talks about how no plans of God's can be thwarted.  So now that card is on my fridge. And between eating and cooking and cleaning and taking care of dogs (who are penned there until they stop peeing on the carpet!), I spend a lot of time in my kitchen, so I glance at that card a lot.  And then God gets several reminders per day that I'm a nervous type, and then I get several reminders per day that He remembers that, and even my nerves can't thwart Him 'cuz he is BIG.

All to say that things are moving along.  And I have many varied and brilliant posts in my head.  You could read them if you were psychic.  Too bad...