I was recently made to feel bad about the fact that I don't work. The combination of being completely broke, hopelessly in debt, and not having any kids to take care of makes me feel like a useless lump of sludge that merely consumes and has no output. I considered going to CNA school again to help support the family while Chris is in nursing school. Just one little problem: Remember how I dropped out of art school? Yeah, I'm coming to terms with the fact that I had a panic attack. So now I'm a useless lump of sludge with no output that isn't right in the head. No wonder my self-esteem is in the toilet.
Today I dreamed that I went to visit my grandmother at her assisted living home. When I saw her, I cried--not because she has Alzheimer's but because I hadn't seen her in so long. I know she won't remember who I am when I finally do go, but that doesn't excuse me from going to see her.
Oh, and I should start exercising again. And I should do more to raise money for my NAMI Walk. And I should cook more. And I should clean. And I should pray more for my husband and my church. And I haven't made certain phone calls that I should. And I shouldn't begrudge having to take care of a friend who's disabled and mentally ill. And I should volunteer. And I haven't apologized to certain people for not fulfilling my obligations towards them. And I haven't gone to church in two months. And I spend more time with my family than I do with Chris's. And have I mentioned I'm a lousy wife? And I feel guilt when I don't want to adopt. And, and, and ...
Two Bible verses spring to mind:
And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
I had a friend leave the world and go become a nun at a nearby monastery. (Oh, and add not visiting monasteries as another thing to feel guilty about.) Her parents were not happy, but she had to go and see if this was the life for her. I wonder about her and about the saints throughout the ages who've left the world behind. I don't perceive what she's done to be selfishness (Chris always says that the prayers of monastics may be the only thing holding the world together), but when I think about such a life for myself I can't help but think that it would be perceived as the height of laziness: What, all you do is pray? What about the poor? Why can't you take care of them? What good does praying all day do? I feel pulled in a thousand different directions, yet but one thing is needful. I want to take care of the homeless, the poor, foster children, my family, my pets. I want to bury my dead. And when I fall short of my own ideals, I feel useless. Maybe I have the wrong ideals.
It occurs to me that I'm very concerned about public perception. Humility is a high ideal in the Orthodox Church--one only achieved by humiliation. So I should be grateful that my joblessness became an issue. If staying at home, knitting and praying, and not having panic attacks is what God has called me to do, then I shouldn't be ashamed. Do I dare quote St. Theophan again (you probably have that excerpt memorized by now)?
I'll go visit my grandmother, and if anyone wants to take me to the monastery in Kemp in July after I get back from my parents' then by all means toss me in the car and take me there.