The doldrums…for some reason that comes to mind and I picture in my head some primitive cartoon drawing of a large pocket watch and a dog and some odd-looking kid. I know it’s from a book and I can’t place it. Hold on while I do a quick google search because this will bug me all day…
HA. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
And look! My fuzzy memory was close…it was an odd-looking kid for sure 🙂
What I remember is that this story was super odd as a kid – I don’t think I really understood much of it although it was required reading…because I couldn’t tell you what the story was about – I want to say it left me with a semi “yellow submarine” vibe… Now I’ll have to read it again to remind myself!
Anyways – the doldrums – Not sure what it was that triggered that word in my head, but I think I was feeling like the holiday rollercoaster we were on just got teleported to a desolate land called “JANUARY”. Where everyone all of a sudden opens their eyes to a world of people swathed in grayscale, surrounded by mute animals that bark, meow and chirp with no audible sounds and we stumble around like zombies with unblinking eyes. Our brains have long functioned on tight schedules and impossible timings, and are used to short-circuiting on a regular basis with the sound of whistles, bells and tinkling angel chimes. Our fingers are crackled and creased from the drying onslaught of wrapping and bows and our feet bursting with callouses from those Christmas shoes. Our hearts hang limp like balloon fragments caught on branches, as they’ve been mashed and squeezed, filled to bursting point and prodded every whichway by well-meaning holiday well-wishers and family growing pains until the life inside pops and squeals its last breaths through the snaggly holes and is left shuddering and heaving crouched in a corner, patting the ground desperately for an inhaler!
You’re either laughing at this moment, or your eyesockets have sprung a leak and you’re fighting the wall for support while you try to stay in an upright position! November and December have a tendency to be full of the most exhausting moments of our entire lives. I’m not just speaking of negative exhaust-inducing moments! Sometimes the most beautiful times in life are absolutely the most draining on our systems and we find ourselves come January 7th, with a nasty list of New Years Resolutions that now feel like a New Years Revolutionary Battle that we cannot even hope to claim victory in. With each day beyond Day 2 of “resolution” we are slowly filling our grave with one more scoop of mud upon our heads! (A note on this – before I get too far drawn into the morbidity of that illustration – just climb out. Kick your right foot into the side of the dirt wall, hook your toe into a foot hold, grab that snaggler of a root that’s about two inches from your head to your left – no, your other left! – and pull yourself out. Once on top-soil, your first order of business is to make one last New Years Resolution : #11: “Never Make New Years Resolutions” (see how easy that is? just saved your life. You’re welcome.)
(disclaimer: Some of you make NYR’s every year and you excel at self-discipline – you keep every single one you’ve ever made and you. are. amazing. We respect you almost as much as our mothers. You are one in a million, and you should be very proud. And you definitely should continue to excel at making and keeping NYR’s.)
Anyways. January 7th. (most of us have a) List of NYR’s freshly crumpled in the trash. Zombie-stares and grayscale world. Our bodies and souls are so whiplashed that we don’t even know what to do with this silence it is maddening!!! 🙂
I should be thankful. My kids are in school and I have been to CrossFit two days in a row. (miraculous, given the past two months). Let me rephrase: I AM thankful. I’m just feeling like January is the month of “The Doldrums”. Where life gets bored and boring is right on schedule everyday. Boring I guess is not the right term – just “routine”. With everything finally happening as it should, when it should – no more sleeping in, no more spontaneous Settlers of Catan games started 3 minutes before bedtime because “it will be a fast game this time!”, no more “what should we do today?” or “what should we do tonight?” back. on. schedule.
You know the other thing that’s back on schedule?
WAITING. PATIENCE. SILENCE.
We have been super thankful (while at the same time absolutely straight-jacket-inducing BONKERS) to have such a busy all-consuming past two months because it allowed us a distraction from the silent wait of the IBESR in Haiti. In three days (January 10th) we are approaching the one-month mark of our Dossier being on a physical desk in someone’s actual hands in the right country, in the correct government building, in the appropriate office, in the right place, right time, right moment. And when all of these things line up – in perfect linear fashion…the “wait” begins. This wait is no longer perforated by email updates or phone calls, or blog blurbs or “nothing today!”‘s…there is simply silence. The silence rolls on and today, January 7th, I am fearing the doldrums of the Silence to come – wave upon wave of deafening Silence. I fight my fingers as they hit “refresh” constantly on my mobile email inbox, even though I know the next news to come will probably be important enough to be transmitted through a telephone call. “…but just in case…” I hit refresh. My phone is practically handcuffed to my wrist, and the only reason it doesn’t hang in my shower is that a waterproof case is too bulky to fit in my pocket every other moment that I’m out! 🙂
Feels like 47 times a day someone asks “So, when do you get him?” “Have you heard any news?” “How much longer til you get to see a picture?”
I am patient with answering for now – God is daily force feeding me a spoonful of grace with my protein shakes each morning. My answer this moment is “We are waiting…it could be today, it could be tomorrow, or it could be three months from now.”
But I’m secretly hoping for a groundhogs day scenario so that I can re-live Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years again just for the sheer distraction!! 🙂
I can see The Doldrums on the horizon, and as it inches closer and closer with each hour that ticks away, I can’t help but wonder how long we will be wandering in this silence? I think of the Israelites and their 40 years of wandering…I wonder how many spoonfuls of grace they were prescribed when the end neared?! I can imagine the breakfast conversation…”How much longer?” “FOR THE LOVE OF MOSES! STOP ASKING!” 🙂
1-3 months? even 3-6 months? a year? Sheesh. We’ve got it good. There have been times when someone has asked “are you adopting a baby?” and I’ve answered “No, we are adopting a 4 to 7 year old!” And the mangled look of disbelief and weirded-out horror/terror on their face as they respond: “A FORTY-SEVEN YEAR OLD????!!!!”
Good thing we won’t be “wandering the silence” of this waiting period for 40 years…because at that rate, we WOULD be adopting a 47-year old! 🙂
Blessings to you all as you leap onto the next step of this year’s journey ~ 2014 ~ and feel free to offer up any “distractions” for our upcoming perceived doldrums! 🙂
In all honesty, the moral of the Phantom Tollbooth surrounding the Doldrums and Milo’s experience with boredom is sometimes it’s not the situation that is boring, but rather the person is deciding to BE bored…so when our family DOES hit the doldrums – expect great things from us – we plan on pulling out all the stops and making our silent wait the most exciting and entertaining doldrums the adoption world has ever seen! 🙂
Expecting great things,