Tuesday, October 22, 2013

blooming and fighting.

But I'll still believe though there's cracks you'll see,
When I'm on my knees I'll still believe,
And when I've hit the ground, neither lost nor found,
If you'll believe in me I'll still believe

--Mumford & Sons, "Holland Road"

whew, it's been a while, hasn't it?

life has been a roller coaster the past month, in pretty much every way possible, and i'm not sure where to start--so i guess i just will.

ben's dissertation has (again) taken its sweet time in becoming anything except the back-and-forth of one approval after another, leading to his school giving him a deadline to be officially approved by the court he's working with in texas for his project by this thursday--yes, in two days--or else he will have to wait another year before he can apply for residency.  we have both been so frustrated with this situation that sometimes i feel we might explode with it.  it is so much out of our control and it's difficult to leave our fate in the hands of another.  so, all signs are pointing to another year on hold in arizona, with ben now job-less by the end of november.  we will be floating, waiting.

however, we were talking last night about this and have observed that:

it could be worse.

we're both grateful we moved to the bigger home that provides the ability to stretch out, and have guests while not killing our nearly-empty pocket books.  we are happy and comfortable here, in this home and neighborhood, and feel for the first time we have roots.  neighbors, friends, and schools we know and love.  as much as we want to move forward with school, and finish it for crying out loud, it would be hard on all of us to leave. this has been the longest place we have lived in 11 years.

i just wish so fervently the torture for ben would be over.  because honestly, that is what school has become for him--and consequently, me--and the longer it continues, the further i feel away from that finish line, and i know he feels the same.  i trust it will happen though.  i hope.

we have talked about other options, as far as him going to another school, or just accepting a master's degree and working within it. both of us feel unsettled about those ideas; whether it's because we have come so close that change now would feel like giving up, i'm not sure.  i'm guessing that is part of it, but not all.  there is something bigger in this for us, i feel it in my deep-down squiggly parts that are my compass to tell me what is Truth.  there are things at work here and in this arduous process i do not understand yet, but can sense them.

and so, we have concluded that:

we will continue to bloom where we are planted.  and be happy.

surrendering control is easier here for me than it is for ben.  accepting another year of his idea of a hellish state means battling his demons that whisper "you're just not good enough, and you never will be" which have been his constant companion since 2008.  can you imagine hanging on for that long?  i guess we all do, in some form.  but he is choosing this battle, instead of running from it, like i believe the majority of us would.  he squares his shoulders and walks through those doors every time with decades of memories of being called stupid and lazy that flash before him and nauseate him and attempt to stop him in fear.  somehow he has twisted this to say he is a glutton for punishment--because who in their right mind would choose this?  what dyslexic, attention-deficit, high school drop out would actually attempt a doctoral program?  yet he does, and calls himself insane for it.

but i call him the opposite; the very essence of the word courageous.

i do know that if he gives in, this process of school has the potential to be the undoing of him.  i don't know how he's holding on right now, but he is.  we are.  and somewhere along the past couple of months, our love and bond has become even stronger.  i look at him with so much admiration in my eyes and pray to God there will come a day when that admiration will not just sit on the surface of him, while he sets it aside with the "of course she has to feel that way about me, she's my wife" nonsense.  some day it will pierce through his skin to help him feel what i do--that this world is chock-full of men who are giving into those demons, letting themselves be swallowed whole in shame and self-hatred, or lust or whatever it is that haunts them.  these soul-wrenching decisions that can break apart a family with one moment of letting their guard down.  but he carries on, with weary shoulders and his eyebrows furrowing.  with the tiny, daily choices he makes, he stays on the winning end of the fight.

i'm so proud of him, i get tears in my eyes just typing about it and full-on weep when i let myself really process it.

he (we) will get there.  even if we have to wait another year.  i can feel it.

there is more to write about--from surgeries to miscarriages, to work trips and relationships...but this will have to do for now.


brandon said...

You both inspire me and impress me so much. I feel so much respect and admiration for your waiting game, which cannot in any way be easy. It brings me a fresh perspective...and a deeper level of respect for your perserverence and trust in the Lord. We think the world of you both and hope you know we are cheering you on!

brandon said...

dang, That was me--Rachel...

Pam said...

Our lives test our very core...we are promised to be "proven in all things" and yet, I keep not expecting it :) we are proud of Ben! And we love you both. And I am serious when I say that whoever is in your (both of you) circle of influence gets a serious gift of delight and perspective.

Jake Forrey said...

"Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (see Prov. 3:11–12). He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain."

-Richard G. Scott, October 1995

MeggyT said...

Mike went to Widener University in PA. It was a really nice program, don't know exactly what Ben is looking for by way of dissertation and the like, but if you are even kinda-sorta thinking of switching schools, I'd look there first.

Nana said...

You are both so blessed to have each other! I think it is "easier" to have an eternal perspective and face the challenges each day when you know that this life is a test and we have a loving Heavenly Father who "knows" each of us.Tell Ben to keep going! You too! Life is full of regrets. Don't add this to the list. Getting through this.... Will help you be better and solidify your Eternal Marriage for the storms that are ahead.
Sending love and hugs to both of you as you face your challenges!