Wednesday, March 12, 2008

An unplanned sabbatical

It has been a long, long time, my virtual friends. My apologies for being absent so long.

Two things I have been learning these days are (1) how undisciplined I can be and (2) how good I still am at living completely out-of-balance. As friends of mine in recovery often say, "I recognize 'balance' in my life - usually as I'm swinging past it from one extreme to the other..."

But for now, let's focus on the good stuff:

Chris, the very special man in my life, has only been getting, well, more special. To be honest, I cannot imagine how I lived without him in my life before September 30th. And I have been asking myself how I managed to survive as many years as I did without someone like him in my life. The answers, as usual, have been interesting...

One is, I have had a number of deep and wonderful friendships in my life - closer-than-friend, closer to soul-sister or brother-of-the-heart than anything else. Whether on the next block or across the country, they have at least partly filled the gap where a "significant other" would have been - for companionship, social connections, and deep rumination on all manner of topics. They have, in many ways, prepared me for this time.

And the other thing - perhaps not as significant, but certainly a measurable force - is that I never completely let go of the hope that there might be a someone with whom I might find that soul-mate bond I'd been searching for all these years. I despaired of that hope, time and time again - but a tiny ember of that flame kept on through it all, evidently. Enough of an ember, anyway, that when the right person came along, he clicked like a key in a lock.

And we are good for each other. He has me up and exercising at least 1/2 hour a day 3-4 days a week, and eating better when we are together (for the most part, that is). Chris' job has him on a 3-11 shift, which means later-than-usual nights for me, and it's been very tough to get up and get enthused about work after those late nights (hence the discipline failure, repeatedly). But even our schedule has forced us to be flexible and tolerant of each other's needs. For a while, he had Sundays and Thursdays off - and I was off to Van Wert for DeMolay stuff on Thursday nights, so that felt kind of like a cheat (since the 2-hour-each-way drive made sure I didn't get home until after 11:30 most weeks). But we've managed to work around our schedules, and it's been good.

Work has been somewhat calmer - although the wreckage of the last 4 months is somewhat coming home to roost, and this next weekend and week should be, well, pretty insane trying to catch up. I still have several big hurdles yet to come, and the ever-present threat of down-sizing (especially in THIS sucky economy) continues to add to the stress-levels. But so far, at least, the day-to-day screamining-meemies level of craziness seems to have come down considerably. "We ain't where we wanna be, but thank you Jesus, we ain't where we used to be..."

It has been more challenging to try to schedule housework and laundry and recovery meetings and DeMolay and anything else (including blogging) into the few short hours between when I get off work and when Chris comes home. So some of those tasks (especially housework and blogging) have gotten embarrassingly out-of-hand. I keep trying to get caught up on some things, and then others tend to push their ways into the schedule instead. There are days when I would like to have a work-free, solo day to get caught up on all this stuff of earth, as Rich Mullins would call it, but I keep reminding myself that I had 12 years to get caught up as a solo man, and that never happened, so why I think I'm going to find more time to do it now that I'm in a relationship is a mystery...

It's hard to remember that it's not been quite six months since I met Chris; not quite 3 months since he landed in Ohio. Lots of changes continue - but for the most part, they seem to be good ones. He can't wait for a reasonably warm, calm day to share with me the first flights of his new RC airplane; I continue to share with him the wealth of storytelling tapes and CDs I've collected over the years, including a rare recording of the 1988 Minnesota Public Radio program Good Evening (hosted by Noah Adams) broadcast from the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN. We have laughed over the likes of Gamble Rogers, Don Davis' classic telling of "The Southern Bells," and Bill Harley's classic "How Coyote Put the Stars in the Sky."

In short, it is good in a deep way that I never would have imagined possible a year ago.

My sister continues to struggle with her health, and her job; my brother-in-law remains unemployed. Both struggle daily with the motivation to keep on keepin' on, and I understand that completely - believe me. We still have way too much month left at the end of our money, and I have more and more questions about whether we will be able to stay in this condo by summer's end. But for today, we are here, we are fed and warm, and we are (as my old friend Bob L. would say) sunny-side-up, suckin' air and sober.

New love has a way of focusing me on my gifts, rather than what I lack. So today, I celebrate.

8 comments:

Ed said...

Great to hear that things are looking up in the overall chaos of life, wandering, stress meter. That made my evening.

Ed said...

Not to mention the good relationship news... :)

Poor Mad Peter said...

We can forget, who have been so blessed, just how truly, wonderfully disruptive a new, deep relationship can be. I remember bumping into walls...

Heidi Renee said...

thanks for the update! this online world is weird when we don't hear from each other over time. it could mean wonderful things and it could mean horrible things - so glad it's wonderful! (except the finances and work stuff).

walking that beam in all areas of my life and not stuck in the extremes is the hardest thing i've found. why do we addicts have to be so damn all or nothing? :)

Michael said...

We've been wondering ... So thanks for the update.

I assume the RC airplane is radio-controlled and not Roman Catholic.

A word of wisdom from a straight woman friend who heads the family programs office for a large east coast archdiocese -- She claims that the idea of a soul-mate has done great damage to marriage and family in America, because it tends to make us expect total harmony and so on with our partner. So don't let the bumps along the way make you forget all the good stuff -- and sometimes, bumpy rides can be fun in their own way. Roller coasters are scarier than merry-go-rounds, but the ride is much more interesting.

wilsonian said...

Thank you for letting us share:)
Peace to you, as ever...

Mark said...

Yippe!

:)

hennhouse said...

So glad you posted, and that you're happy--even with bumps in the road.