Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Priority list

I sat in a car last night, and listened to a friend vent, and cry. I heard fear in her voice. I saw it on her face. I also sensed her hopelessness. A feeling that is, I think, terrifying. It is a total loss of control over your life. Not to be in the driver seat, but rather a passenger, on a really fast and harrowing ride. Not fun stuff. Some days, all you can do is hold on, and squint your eyes.

A year ago, I sat and looked out the windows, and watched the orange and yellow leaves fall to the ground like snow. I followed the sun from window to window, in my house, and felt a fear I have never known. The fear of the unknown. The feeling of no hope.

David and I picked up our foreclosure notice from the sheriffs office last year. Almost to the day. We read it. I cried. David clenched his jaw, and we drove to the girls school, and watched them in their school Halloween parade. And we smiled the biggest smiles.

But in my head, I was screaming. It seemed like our life was spinning out of control. And I felt irresponsible. Like all of this mess wouldn't be so bad if it was just David and I. But here are kids. Looking to us for it all. Looking to us to provide. If we can't keep a roof over their heads, what kind of parents are we?

My friend cried in her car last night, and told me how they are behind in their rent. Unemployment checks don't cover everything. It just doesn't stretch far enough. Their only  car needed repairs. When they received the tally of repairs, and the cost , they asked what was absolutely necessary to keep the car running, and what could wait. A priority list. They could only pay for some, not all.

I think worry needs to be dealt with like that. A priority list. Because if you worry about it all, it will kill you. If you worry about next week, that is enough of a stress. But if you begin to worry about a month from now, or 6 months from now, it begins to break you down. It will paralyze you. I have laid in bed at night, and not only worried about what will become of my family, but of the far future. I have had sleepless nights thinking about melting ice caps, and rising carbon levels, and some date in 2012 that the world is supposed to end on!

But really, to keep myself road worthy, I am beginning to realize that I need to just worry about what is happening, rather than what could. What I can control, as opposed to what is out of my hands. That will keep you running. For a while. Like a patch on a slow leak.

 The other stuff will have to wait.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Erin,

    Read your post on NPR. We are in same sort of situation. God, there are so many of us.

    It's the uncertainty and self-recriminations that keep us all awake at night. I hope you and your family get through this time before too long.

    Good luck,
    Joy Jacques