I visited with one of my neighbors the other day. I hadn’t seen much of her for quite a while. We’d never had what you would call a relationship like going to coffee or spending time together while our kids played. We’ve chatted with each other, standing on the street curb on a warm summers day or visited during our neighborhood’s annual garage sale. She has a husband and one child. Her boy is a few years older than Joshua. I knew she worked full time and that she came from a large family… nine children, I think. I remember how she showed up at our front door a day after our house burned on November 17th, 2000 with a basket full of cookies and some muffins. She was uncomfortable with our “tragedy” and mumbled how she wished she had more to offer us. I could see her compassion.
The house fire was scary, but I got all the children out and we were physically safe. We rebuilt and added on; I even got a whole new kitchen out of the deal! It took eight months. Joshua was six months old at the time. Somehow the girls continued on with their homeschooling and took care of him, while I ran back and forth from the rental house to our burned house dealing with contractors and trying to make a million different decisions. My husband was overseas for an entire month during the rebuilding. It was emotional and frustrating, especially when dealing with the insurance company, but we got through.
Then real tragedy struck when Joshua was diagnosed with cancer on October 21st, 2004. My neighbor stopped by with food again and a card this time. I don’t remember what she said or what she wrote in the card. I don’t remember what the food was, but I do remember the look in her eyes, pure fear and sorrow. I’m sure she was thinking about her own little guy. I did tell her about the web site, actually I told everyone about the web site, so I didn’t have to keep repeating the current status on Joshua during the year(s) of crisis. I was lost, but so thankful for that website.
So…I ran into her again a couple of weeks ago. It was a Sunday morning, a day I usually don’t go jogging, but I had time before church and I just needed to get out. I love the fresh, cold air on my face. I don’t mind the rain, which is a good thing, because we certainly have a lot of rain here during the winter months. Recently, I’ve been waking up with nightmares full of terror. They’re usually short dreams, always different, but they are so intense I startle awake with heart pounding and adrenaline coursing through my veins. When this happens, if it’s not in the middle of the night, I get up and release the tension with a jog/walk.
That morning, as I came around the corner after having powered up a huge hill, I saw my neighbor on the other side of the street with her small, long haired dog. I called out her name. She stopped and hugged me. We talked for a full fifteen minutes catching up on each other’s lives. But, I discovered, she was already knowledgeable about my family, because she still read Josh’s web site. She asked me a few questions about Josh, and then I wanted to change the subject, so I began to ask her about her life. Her son is in the fifth grade now, she told me. The U-haul I’d seen in front of her house the other day was her niece moving out. She and her husband had let the niece live there for a few months. She talked about the challenges of opening ones home to a young relative. We laughed.
Then she said, “My life is boring, actually. It’s just plain boring and I like that.” I countered with, “Boring is good.” And we parted.
I’ve pondered on those words for a while now. “My life is boring.” Maybe I spend too much time thinking, but that’s my nature. I’ve realized I want my life to be boring too. I don’t want to live a life filled with crisis after crisis. Is that what’s it’s been?...A rocky beginning to our marriage, a very premature first born child, a major job change when my husband turned forty, a house fire and childhood cancer? God has brought us through all of these tough times. But what about boring?
I’ve never liked that word, boring. I don't allow my children to use that word or any derivation of it. I’ve always told them if they say they are bored, that meant they were a boring person. I’ve reminded them how I can always find something for them to do if they tell me they are bored! And suddenly I realize…I’m bored! There has been no crisis for a year now. I know others in crisis, but not my family. I do not have to go to school with Josh this year. His teachers and the staff know how to care for him. The tyranny of the urgency of treatment and side effects are over or seem “normal” now. Two of my children are living away on college campuses and are thriving. I’m not working out side of the home. And I have margin in my life. The coveted margin…a time for healing, of which I wrote about in one of my earlier blogs. Now I find myself a little bored...with time on my hands.
I jog and climb the hills in my neighborhood. I grocery shop and fix dinner. I pick up the kids from school and drive them to their activities. I reserve Wednesdays for my hiking group. I read books, write and meet with girlfriends.
My life is so boring; I’ve gotten involved in a small Bible study again with women who are helping me heal and grow in my faith. My life is so boring; I plan to start serving lunches for families whose children have cancer and are being treated at the hospital where Joshua was treated. My life is so boring; I hope to help NW Sarcoma Foundation raise money for sarcoma research. My life is so boring, I may...where ever God leads me.
My life is boring…
Who knew boring would be so good.