Things Fall Apart

I don’t remember the trip home.

My first late night at the office this semester proved nearly disastrous. When my senses entered shutdown mode, I faced two choices: drive home sleepy or pass out beneath my desk.

But, in the middle of deep contemplation (i.e. the edge of hallucination), I heard an echo of laughter…and perhaps reason. It was a woman’s voice.

Immediately, I found myself overwhelmed with sadness. It was 11:45 p.m. and a lady – just outside my door – would soon retrieve my trash. What a life.

My very presence soon startled her. But, with one hand on her chest, her earnest eyes challenged my entire existence.

What are you doing here?

I have been pulled over two times in my life – both due to undeniable drowsiness. First, I didn’t pause long enough at a stop sign. Next, I made an illegal U-turn.

This time I escaped with only the conviction of a stranger.

Why do I keep doing this to myself? It’s a question that arises in my mind frequently these days. Life felt more manageable (i.e. possible) when I juggled one career and one child.

But I have dreams, and those dreams complicate my days. I’m not content to simply teach writing, and I want to share my world with two kids.

[Enter conflict, think internal]

Recently, sickness, childcare challenges, and the demands of professional development have stolen my peace. The life I have been choosing is not sustainable.

Which brings me to my office late on a Monday night. My lips offered an apology: “I’m so sorry! I have two small kids. This is the only time I have to focus.”

In my fog, I cannot recall her words. Her non-verbal response, however, was quite simple: I feel sorry for you.

In that moment, I felt cracks for the first time beneath my hoodie.

Something has to give.

But problems aren’t easily made…or fixed. For now, the external commitments must cease. For now, I must persevere with the readiness to respond when change is within reach.

And the laughter of children – my own garden of serenity – is never too far. Sometimes I forget to look around. Sometimes I sabotage freedom out of fear.

What I know is this: Joy isn’t seeking us, and every identity we assume will come apart.

But love, if we let it, will hold us together.

One Year Ago: The Wait of 30

6 thoughts on “Things Fall Apart

  1. We are simpatico in this way. I also believe in “gutting it out” and have also done drowsy driving, asking myself “why do I put my life and other lives in danger?” I was sick the whole month of August, gutting it out, trying to layer in 30 hours of work starting up my blog to my already busy days at work, being a husband, 3 kids, 1 start up church, 1 bible study, and serving on 2 boards.

    I’m tired. I’m going to sleep now. I hope you get some rest as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your thoughts here. How beautiful to know we are not alone in our struggles. Things sound very busy for you as well. Tonight is another late night, but, alas, I see hope for change on the horizon. The lessons are hard but good. May we all be wiser in our tomorrow.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I myself have a six year old and two year old twins. Life is such a balance. I try to have every Tuesday off with the twins but its so tough making up the time at work. I worried and got very stressed. My boss could see it and asked me if I was ok. I told him that I loved having the time off but struggled with making the time up. His response really shocked me, he said, “don’t worry, take it from a dad who’s kids are all grown up, you will, NEVER get this time again. Work hard when your hear so you can enjoy it when your not, well work the rest out”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for these encouraging words. I, too, have a boss who supports my parenting – it makes a difference. Motherhood has proven incredibly challenging at times – you know the moments are fleeting, but sometimes it’s hard to prioritize life properly so that you can actually savor them. I’m still learning, but I’m always grateful for another day to try again.


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