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Keep Trying

Almost two years ago we moved across the country (south to north) to join some friends in working on a ranch for at risk young men.  These men spend their time living simply in community while working on the ranch and getting clean.  Their addictions range from hard drugs to video gaming.  There were criminals fresh out of jail and guys that ended up in jail for committing crimes while there.  I can recall picking one young guy up from the airport.  He was standing outside smoking what would be his last cigarette for months.  He got in my car and we loaded his stuff.  He was quiet.  He had NEVER seen the mountains!  Though the drive from the airport to the ranch was long and magnificent, he didn't seem to notice.  He was tired, still coming off of his last high and hadn't slept in days.  He had been homeless for a little while before coming to us.  I took him to my husband at the cabin and they welcomed him and began to check his bags.  He had hidden drugs on his person.  After a week of being with us, the shakes got to be pretty intense.  His skin bothered him and he had trouble functioning.  He began to fiend for a high so he would do things like steal gas to huff or break into the medicine cabinet.   This guy was a really nice guy.  I liked him a lot and had promised his family we would do all we could to help him.  It became very apparent though that he wasn't ready to get clean yet.  He just didn't want to be broke and homeless anymore.  

In so many ways I was like this young man because I too have something magnificent in front of me, my wonderful family, and I'm in many ways missing it because I'm too tired from not taking care of myself.  I remember feeling sorry for him that he missed that view on the drive to the ranch, but how many times have I missed the view right in front of me because of how badly I'm eating.  I'm tired, that's my mantra.  Anyone says, "Hey how are you?" my reply is always some form of "I'm tired."  I want to be worn out from trying so hard to do my best, not worn out from taking terrible care of myself.

While living there, I began my own journey in healing and detachment.  There's an immediate detachment to comforts that happened because we moved to a very rural area.  It took driving slowly down dirt roads that became a mess in rain or snow just to get to our everyday places like church, work and school.  Walmart was 45 minutes away and the closest gas station was 25 minutes.  This took planning, adapting, and learning new skills like how to tend to my vehicle, how to dig out of snow, how to drive on ice, how to drive through mud, menu planning and grocery shopping for a week at a time, filling gas cans to keep at the house and the list goes on.  This was all set in the most beautiful place I have ever had the privilege of living though.  God's country as locals like to call it.  We no longer had access to city luxuries we had become accustomed to like fast food and shopping malls.  An hour and a half north was a decent size city we would visit sometimes and the oohs and ahhs that happened when we saw things like an Olive Garden or Taco Bell would make us laugh!  

After living there for three months, my husband had lost quite a bit of weight from working outside everyday and eating a simple diet.  I was motivated to begin to eat healthy as well because physically I was feeling awful.  Dieting was a journey deeper into detachment as I had to let go of food for comfort and delve into some wounds that needed healing in the process.  By the end of the next month though, I was pregnant :) and so those healthy protein packed foods that had filled my days now made me ill and life changed.  Fast forward a year and a half, and here we are today.  A few weeks ago I began to feel very ill again, though these symptoms were different.  A sweet friend came and spent the day with me and brought nutrient dense food, high grade vitamins and supplements, and a heating pad.  After a week of eating well and taking the vitamins, I noticed improvements.  This weekend I have begun a strict regimen to work on portion control and continue to get away from processed sugars and foods, and yesterday I felt like that young man coming off of drugs.  I was ragey, exhausted, and during night prayer I was shaking and couldn't focus.  My detox after years of being on bad food and not taking care of my body is ugly and intense.  Today my dear husband and children are out of the house enjoying time together so I can rest and they can avoid the mom monster.  I don't know how long these symptoms will last, as I have abused my body for years, and I have tremendous fear of failing.  But I find comfort in today's readings that tell us His Spirit is always with us, that we are not abandoned, to take courage and persevere!   

Addiction, whether its drugs, alcohol, or food, is NOT who we are.  We are children of the Most High King and He is a GOOD Father!  And as every good parent knows, children need to learn the hard way some times.  So here I am, learning again to obey his commandments and not kill myself, and also to love myself and love Him by taking care of me.  And when I fall down, I will get back up again, for even Jesus fell on Calvary (at least) three times.  

Ima head to confession and mass in a bit.  Pray with me and for me please, as I pray for you!

God, grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change...
Courage to change the things I can,
And Wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His will.
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with Him forever in the next.


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