Stormy Skies

For most of my life I’ve been an expert worrier – if there wasn’t a good reason to worry, I could make one up.  And there have been several periods in my life when stressful situations were outside the norm – the year my parents split up, the year my grandmother died and my husband lost his job (all in the same week), the year my son moved away from home.  During those times, I found it difficult to eat or sleep, found myself obsessing over the situation to the extent that I was unable to concentrate on anything else, found myself lying around staring mindlessly at the television for hours on end.

It’s been a long while since I’ve had a really substantial worry, and I guess I’ve grown a little complacent.  I believed I had learned how to handle life’s smaller vicissitudes with a bit more aplomb, and that’s probably true.  But I have several very substantial worries right now. 

Just last week I was musing about my son, comparing his life to a multi-colored kite soaring in the breeze.  That kite has encountered some stormy weather, and is being tossed about quite roughly, so we’re all feeling the effects here on the ground.  For not only have he and his wife run into some significant roadblocks in their quest to start a family, my daughter in law is suddenly facing unexpected surgery this week. 

It never ceases to amaze me how life can turn itself on a dime, how things can be going just swimmingly, and suddenly you’re caught in a riptide being sucked under before you have a moment to catch your bearings.  I find myself slipping into that familiar mode of obsession/distraction, riffling the problems over and over in my mind like strings of worry beads between my fingertips (maybe I should get some of those).  I had saltines for dinner,  spent two hours last night watching the Entertainment channel (ick), and fell asleep in the chair.  I wander around the house, picking up clutter and setting it down somewhere else, desultorily play a song or two on the piano, just pounding the notes mechanically beneath my fingers. I feel as if I haven’t learned a thing about how to handle stress, for I’ve simply reverted to patterns established years ago.

Most of my difficulty arises from the loss of control that is inherent in any situation like this -from not being able to fix things, from not knowing what will happen next.  I feel completely incapable of handling life, so I wander, dither, worry.  As the saying goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair – it gives you something to do, but gets you nowhere.”

There is much written these days about the power of positive thinking, of envisioning the future you want to have.   I would like to buy into that philosophy, but maybe I’m just too old.  I keep slipping back into my familiar mentality – bad things will happen, and there’s nothing you can do to change them.  Because lately I haven’t seen too much evidence of good things happening to anybody, positive attitude or not.  Amidst the continuing stories of economic and social doom and disaster clouding even the bluest sky, there hasn’t been much evidence that anyone’s vision for a brighter tomorrow are coming true.

But right now, the concerns of the wider world are of little consequence to me.  It’s just my small corner of the world I’m worried about – my family, it’s present and it’s future. 

And the skies are a bit too blustery for my liking.


8 thoughts on “Stormy Skies

  1. Writing these words probably helped; it always helps me (even if it’s just a little) to talk or write it out when I’m very stressed or worried…and then I wander about from place to place, eat anything (not just saltines), and watch pretty much anything on TV just like you have been.

    Hang in there and know that there are those of us who care and will be keeping positive thoughts for you while you can’t muster them yourself.

  2. Hey Becca. I’m thinking of you..and my thoughts and prayers are going out to your daughter in law and son as she prepares for her surgery.
    Sending you big virtual hugs. xo

  3. We gain or lose weight throughout our lives but our body always tend to find its natural state. I think the same is true for handling stress. We can learn how best to deal with it, but we naturally go to old familiar patterns. Thoughts and prayers to you and yours…

  4. I’m sorry to hear there’s so much worry in your life right now. I’m not sure we ever really learn to let go of worry, not when it concerns people we love. Isn’t it interesting though, to see ourselves fall into old patterns and behaviours around worry? There’s something strangely comforting about worry-quirks. I’ll be thinking of you when I light a candle today.

  5. I love how you unlock your heart, Becca. This blog gives us more than a glimpse into your very soul, your feelings. Great as that is for us readers, it’s sad too. By seeing into your heart, we also feel your pain. I do anyway. Sounds like the above commenters do as well.

    Yes, there is a lot of tragedy in the world. It seems that it becomes greater with each passing day. But there’s a new day–a day filled with fresh opportunities.

    Your son and his wife are in my heart and prayers. You are too. You have such beauty to give and share, Becca. I don’t think you realize your talent with words. I’m mesmerized by your writing and simply cannot believe your name isn’t on a best selling book somewhere. Keep writing, keep sharing, keep shining. Stay beautiful. Although storms come, a rainbow follows. Hold on to that promise….


  6. Becca, I’m sorry your family is in such turmoil. I want you to know I will be thinking of you and your family. I hope writing your worries here will help because we are listening and sending love. xxoo

  7. Pingback: Writer’s Island-The Return « Becca’s Byline

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