Why do I ever ask that question? I should know better. As soon as one asks if things could possibly get any worse, things get worse. It is God playing a little game with you. And you lose.
For months now, I’ve felt sorry for myself. Months! Since January of last year, I think. So maybe that’s not just months. That’s a year, isn’t it? Boy, I am pathetic.
Let me back up a little. Last year at this time, my husband had just closed his business, I was not happy in my job and I was getting sick every few weeks. Woe was me! I was so unhappy.
Summer came and things got better as far as my unhappy job situation. Because I left. Yay! But my husband still was unemployed! Boo! And the bills were still coming in– even though we didn’t have any income! Boo!
Woe was me still.
But then fall rolled in and John received a job offer. It was very exciting. I cried tears of joy when he called to tell me (I was visiting my brother and his family in Chicago that day). I felt like the Lord had answered my prayers. I had been trying so hard to trust that God would take care of us, but as the months passed by, it was getting harder and harder to believe. When I told my dad the good news, he expressed exactly what I felt: “I will be saying an extra prayer to the Lord tonight, thanking Him for this new job.”
So, for awhile, we were floating along on clouds. So thrilled that John would be working and we would again have an income. But then that week finally arrived– the week when he moved to St. Louis– for that is where the job is. Boo.
That first week wasn’t too bad. It reminded me of the years when John worked for another asset management firm in town and had to travel to Boston or New York for a week now and then. No big deal.
But then one week turned into two weeks and two weeks turned into three… Boo. And I started to miss him and miss him and miss him. After all, he’s been my best friend since we met when I was 20 years old. I’m 46 now and have never really been away from him for any extended period of time. I just miss him.
I now stays up too late. For some reason, I just don’t want to go to bed. I’m tired, but I don’t want to go to my bed. Some nights, I consider sleeping on the couch with the dog (who is NOT allowed on the couch but we find her there every morning), but then decide that I should be in my bed if one of the kids wakes up in the middle of the night and needs me. So I climb the stairs, brush my teeth, change my clothes and crawl into the bed with the dog (who is NOT allowed in my bed, but, hey, I’m lonely).
So woe is me.
And then my car started having trouble. Dumb car. I never wanted you anyway. It’s just that, well, what else can you drive when you have four kids from the age of 9 years down to a newborn? So we got you, a minivan. But I just want you to know that we have never had a good relationship. That’s why I banged your mirrors into the side of my garage so many times, scrapped your doors along the stone wall leading down my driveway, drove you over a smaller stone wall at the park, left your trunk door open in the garage more times than I care to mention while also opening the garage door (judging by the noise you make when I do that, you do not care for it at all!), and dropped my full coffee cup through your open sunroof (again, more times than I care to admit).
And now this year, you decided to pay me back. Well, let me just say, your timing is terrible. This is really the last thing I need right now. But I really don’t think you care. You are an ungrateful little thing, aren’t you? That’s why I will be getting rid of you when I can. But let’s pretend you didn’t hear that last statement because I really need your dependability right now. Can’t have you breaking down every time I drive to St. Louis .
Woe is me.
As the weeks passed, I thought for certain that my children would become adjusted to their dad living in another city. But they haven’t. I thought that John’s absence would be hardest on Adam. But it isn’t. Ryan and Elizabeth, my 7 and now 9 year olds, talk about their dad every day. Not a day goes by that I don’t hear, “I miss Daddy. Why can’t he live here?”
Woe is me.
My mom has been sick for months now. First she learned she has an ulcer, now, well, maybe a stomach virus. But it has been plaguing her for months. She can’t eat, her back and leg hurt; she’s just miserable. We haven’t been able to spend the time with her and my dad that I had hoped we would spend because she just feels bad all the time.
Woe is me.
And then I said those words. “Could things get any worse?”
What was I thinking?
Last week, Lauren, my 12 year old daughter, and I bagged up toys and clothes for Goodwill. She then dragged the bags down to the kitchen and left them by the garage door. White garbage bags with pink ties. Bags from a box of bags that I had bought the last time I had visited John in St. Louis. I had left him a few to put in his kitchen garbage can and brought the rest home to Louisville. This seems like very trivial information, but you will soon see the value of it.
So Lauren left those bags right by the garage door. That way, the next time I was running somewhere, I could grab them, throw them in the back of my minivan and run them over to Goodwill. The day that we placed the bags by the garage door, John came home from St. Louis. It was very late when he finally arrived home– around 11– and he dropped all his luggage, duffle bags, work bags, etc. by the garage door. He had brought home everything that he had originally taken to St. Louis because he had moved out of a corporate apartment that afternoon and would be moving into a condo when he returned. So he brought EVERYTHING home. Needless to say he had more stuff than he had bags, so he resorted to stuffing some of his things in garbage bags– the same garbage bags that I had purchased in St. Louis and was now using in Louisville.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
You are all so smart, aren’t you? Far smarter than me, apparently.
Yes, I did decide to take my garbage bags full of items to be donated to Goodwill the next day. And, yes, I did pick up his garbage bag full of every sweater that he owns (hey, it’s January– what does he need with sweaters?) and almost every pair of underwear and throw that in my trunk along with the other bags. Please remember that the bags were identical, so why wouldn’t I just grab them all?
And away I went. Puttering along happily in my beat up minivan to do some goodwill, completely unaware of what was about to transpire.
I discovered what I had done the next morning when John was preparing to shower and couldn’t find any underwear or a single sweater to wear.
Well, that was a fun morning.
So, yes, I get it. Things can always get worse.
And this was worse. For sure. Now I was going back to Goodwill to beg for my stuff back (which, by the way, they never gave back to me although they promised they would. Instead, they put his sweaters out on the racks and sold them) and shopping for new underwear and clothes for him.
But, at the same time that it was worse, it was also pretty darn funny. I mean, if you think about it. Especially the underwear part.
Maybe it’s just me.
But the woe is now gone. I guess I realized that, yes, things can always get worse. But this worse wasn’t really so bad. It was sorta funny.
And it reminded me that, although I and my kids all miss John terribly, we still have him, albeit 300 miles away. But we still have him. And my mom, although she has had a really difficult autumn and winter thus far, we still have her. And she seems to be getting better. And we still have her. And my Aunt Sue who had a terrible auto accident in which she broke almost every bone in her body, we still have her. She is still recovering, but we still have her. And my car, although I still don’t really like it at all, runs and, yes, I still have it.
Life is hard sometimes, really hard. But it’s the hard times that show me how absolutely beautiful the good times are.
No more woes ( I hope), or, at the very least, no more woes are me (woes is me? woe is mes?) Whatever. You get what I mean, right?