Friday, May 3, 2013

swinging and bending, part 3: the carrying.

{can't find the link to this picture--found on google images}

Read the first part of this story, 

and the second part,

as luck would have it, once ben finished school we found ourselves moving back to utah.  we were jobless, penniless, and insurance-less.  i was 5 months pregnant with our first child, a boy who was going to be called caleb.  we moved into the basement apartment of my parents' home, with ben's family home just a couple of streets away.

we decided to try our luck with a new path: finding a career.

placing all of our eggs into the basket of luck was tricky, and we returned back to the drawing board empty-handed time and again. ben was severely discouraged--this fresh college graduate, who had set out to change the world with his dreams, wound up working for $7.50 an hour taking care of adults with autism.  as hard as it was for him to feel like he was continually failing in the world's definition of "provider," he was surprisingly fulfilled in this job.  he knew when he clocked out at night that he had helped someone who was unable to help themselves, and this meant more to him than any amount of money deposited in our bank account on payday.  it's in the seed that was planted during this time that i can see God's plan for him, for us.  this was the beginning of his journey in the mental health field.

with a baby on the way and the intent to live in our own space, he moved on to a new job, working 2 days on, 1 day off at a lock down facility for troubled youth.  i spent most of my time at home, growing a baby, grateful for a break from being the full-time provider.

living in the basement with my parents was somewhat surreal, in the way that i vacillated between who i had been and who i was becoming.  i didn't know how to navigate the extraction from my previous family role while living in the environment that bred it, and found myself slipping easily back into who i had been before married life.  i took on the role of pleaser, buffer and rescuer without even realizing it.

the storms between our loved ones continued, and it became increasingly difficult to navigate between them.  we tried to declare our little space as neutral ground, offering peace and switzerland to whoever entered it.  but because of hard feelings between others, our neutral territory didn't last long and the boundaries we asked to be upheld were continually crossed. i was fearful of the possibility of contention to bring it up when it happened, so i stayed quiet and accepted what i believed i could not stop, instead going behind the scenes to do damage control.

i began again to carry what others gave me; their anger, their fear, their insecurities, their guilt, their shame.  i told myself i could take it, because i was the "good girl," the obedient one who would be there "no matter what."  subconsciously i stood with my arms outstretched, letting the toxicity of my loved ones pile on, until my back ached and my arms and legs began to bend under the weight of their load i accepted to bear.

ben sensed the change in me as i reverted, but didn't know enough yet to put his finger on it and say it out loud.  as grateful as he was for the comfortable surroundings we were quickly and graciously provided when we needed it, he told me he felt an urgency for us to move out--he was feeling suffocated.  i could see glimpses of the unhealthy dynamics going on, but only with the part he was playing in his family instead of my own.  it was easy for me to recognize his aching back, the arms and legs bending under the weight of his own role returning.

as turbulent as this time sounds, there were really a lot of good memories during the year we spent in the basement apartment.  but this was an integral point in our lives, where i can now see the carrying and bending that eventually led to the breaking years down the road.

while we were still living there, caleb was born.


Nana said...

I know this is difficult to express, but is so healthy to write down and realize the blessing and Tender Mercies from our Heavenly Father. He really does love us and helps us realize boundaries and desires of change.
Sending love your way as you express your tender feelings!

lynsey said...


i love your comments! thank you for being who you are and seeing what you do in me. it keeps me plugging along so i can write to get on the other side of this story.

sending love back,