But I’ve Been Away for Hours and Hours

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Lucy ran out of the empty room into the passage and found the other three.

“It’s all right,” she repeated, “I’ve come back.”

“What on earth are you talking about, Lucy?” asked Susan.

“Why?” said Lucy in amazement, “haven’t you all been wondering where I was?”

“So you’ve been hiding, have you?” said Peter. “Poor old Lu, hiding and nobody noticed! You’ll have to hide longer than that if you want people to start looking for you.”

“But I’ve been away for hours and hours,” said Lucy.

The others all stared at one another.

“Batty!” said Edumund tapping his head. “Quite batty.”

“What do you mean, Lu?” asked Peter.

“What I said,” answered Lucy. “It was just after breakfast when I went into the wardrobe, and I’ve been away for hours and hours, and had tea, and all sorts of things have happened.” ~The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Chapter 3

I feel like Lucy. I feel like I’ve been gone for hours and hours, and had tea, and all sorts of things have happened since I spent the summer on the couch in a Vicodin haze praying that a small surgery would eventually turn out all right.

I’ve begun teaching a new school year, for one thing.

And listened to a message from my husband during a small pause on Institute Day to say that he was in the ER with our son. It’s strange how one car accident can have a domino effect on stress, on finding out layer after layer of things that need to be resolved.

My son is okay, and that of course, is the main thing. But, he has no car. We have court and insurance and lawyers and lots of residual to take care of.

I’ve had 90+ degree days with no interruption in which I’m teaching over the whir of three fans as our elementary buildings have no air conditioner. It’s a strange thing in the 21st century, in a suburb of Chicago, to teach over endless white noise. I didn’t quite realize the racket until the children had gone, and I turned them off to go home.

Needless to say, I haven’t been blogging. Or, commenting. I’ve been trying to manage each new day with grace, and truthfully, it was a relief to leave the computer mostly unplugged.

I sat with my stack of books long listed for the Man Booker Prize and tried to read as many as my concentration would allow. But, did you ever notice how novels that are listed for prizes often contain life’s hardest moments? It felt like no issue was left unturned, from poverty to abandonment, divorce to death, everything heavy and hurtful has been included in these books.

It was good to read Tana French’s The Likeness for something light.

Now I’m ready to come back. I’m ready to visit you again. See what you’ve been up to. Comment on posts you’ve written about life, the books you’ve read. I’m ready to return from the wardrobe in which I’ve been hidden to rejoin the rest of you.

I hope you’ve been fine.

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32 thoughts on “But I’ve Been Away for Hours and Hours”

    1. In every adversity, there is much to learn. Simple platitudes like, one day at a time, are actually quite helpful. I realize what I can (not much) and can’t control (everything else), and it helps to know my limitations. If only I could stop the incessant worrying which I’m just managing to get on top of now…

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  1. I love how you got back in touch here. Hours and hours indeed. So sorry about all the stress. Hope your new tooth is doing OK. Hope your son is OK and you guys can help him through this. And hope that the heat will let up. Seems amazing that there are actually schools in this day and age that are not air conditioned. It’s good to hear from you. Did you like The Likeness? It’s interesting, huh? I liked it very much. Take care.

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    1. Kay, you leave the sweetest comments of anyone I know. Your gentleness just oozes out of the words you put down.

      I was crazy about The Likeness! So weird, because I didn’t like Into The Woods at all, and I thought Secret Place (isn’t that the one with the girls’ school?) incredible, so I didn’t know what to expect with The Likeness. But, it was so cleverly put together.

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    1. Lindsey, I can’t even answer the phone with any amount of calmness nowadays. I’d almost prefer the Emergency Room to text me, but they can’t give out any pertinent information anyway. Thanks for the good wishes.

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  2. Oh, Meredith, first I am relieved to know your son wasn’t seriously hurt. The call that our child was in a car accident is one every parent dreads…it is always in the back of my mind…Yes, taking one day at a time helps…allows us to take a deep breath, and leave tomorrow alone.
    Sending you much love, my dear friend xo
    Sylvie Madeleine

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    1. He wasn’t seriously hurt, which is God’s grace, but he was in the hospital afterward dealing with side effects from the accident. Thank you for your love, I’m receiving it gratefully.

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  3. “One day at a time” is probably one of my favorite ways to cope with whatever life throws at you. At the risk of hijacking this post and turning it around to mememe, I will say that I struggle with acute depression. Whenever I want to “throw in the towel,” the best thing to do is tell myself: just get through today and see if it gets better tomorrow. Experience says it’s almost always better tomorrow and I think it has been the case with you as well. I’m glad to hear that your situation and your family’s have been on the mend, even if there are still things to fix and untangle.

    It’s always a pleasure to see a post from you on my dash and I’m looking forward to your comeback.

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    1. I’m so sorry you suffer from acute depression! That is a terrible thing to deal with, I know as it has run in my first husband’s family and now, apparently, my son. We must be hopeful at every turn, or we’d spiral into despair, right? I send good thoughts your way, as well.

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  4. Oh, Bellezza, I’m so sorry to hear of all the stress you’ve had to cope with recently. It’s such a relief to hear you son is okay…that’s the main thing. Looking forward to seeing your posts again. Take care, J x

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    1. Thanks, Jacqui. It has been one event after another since June, but I’m hopeful to come out on the other side soon enough. These things give us courage, I think, and hope for tomorrow even when we can’t see what tomorrow brings. Thank you for your encouragement.

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  5. I will pray for you and your family. My desire is that God will heal quickly the physical and the emotional pain. It is good that you are back.
    Pax et bonum
    Joe

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    1. Joe, there is nothing I could ask for more than prayer. We have so many prayers being offered up at church, and with family and friends. That is what I count on, His Grace to help us through. Thank you so very much for joining in. xo

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  6. So glad your son is okay and you are doing fine in the new school year. I have just finished an extraordinary book, though set in the mystery genre, Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. About family, growing up, faith, love, tragedy and dealing with it, and two young boys solving a mystery.

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  7. My dear friend, what a time you’ve had this past month! I’m glad your son is ok, but it sounds as though there are still issues to be resolved… And the heat! I hope you’re getting some of the cool weather we’ve experienced this weekend. We’ve had our windows open and it’s quite lovely to not run the AC. Reading under stress is never easy. I find that a collection of essays or short stories is easier to handle than something weightier like fiction/literature. I’m glad you enjoyed Tana French’s novel, The Likeness. I thought it was quite good, although I couldn’t stop wondering how any of those people could be so easily fooled…

    Sending good thoughts your way. Here’s to cooler weather, bike rides amid the autumn leaves and healing bodies and souls.

    xoxo

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    1. I’m sure everyone is sick to death of my whining about the heat. But, you haven’t experienced it until you feel the stapler slip from your hand and the sweat running down your…bra. 😉

      Now, as I sit at my computer, I have the windows open to a 61 degree day, and the respite is incredible. These are my favorite kind of days, if they’re not winter snow, where we can enjoy outside without humidity.

      I know what you mean about The Likeness being a stretch. Thank goodness that Daniel was perceptive enough to catch on, otherwise it would have been completely unbelievable. Still, I enjoyed it, and in many ways it reminded me of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. One of my faves.

      Thanks for good healing thoughts, It looks like you’ve been having a marvelous summer/fall so far, and I’m so happy for your vacations and good times! xoxo

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  8. So glad that your son is alright! I cannot imagine that kind of stress. I am with you – when a lot happens, I like to leave the computer unplugged. Somehow staring at a screen is the last thing I want. Reading helps. Writing helps sometimes.

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    1. Reading helps, when I can concentrate. Writing, too, is wonderful. At least when a page is filled with anxiety it no longer resides quite so heavily in one’s heart. xo

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  9. Glad your son is OK. Yes, at stressful times you do have to carefully select your reading material. Even though Anne Tyler deals with the realities of life I do find her books a comfort because her characters are generally well-meaning and kind. Some novelists like to chuck in as much misery and pain as possible.

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    1. I completely agree that Anne Tyler’s books contain characters that are generally well-meaning and kind. Misguided, perhaps, but certainly gentle in their own way. Her books seem life affirming, and I could certainly use a dose of that after some of these Booker long listed books!

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  10. I hope that life for you begins offering up the smoother, sweeter things, and you have more room to breathe in it. I am also in the endless days of heat, although it is expected to improve soon; I sympathise greatly.

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    1. I don’t think people realize how insufferable the heat can be until they’re in it for twenty four hours day after day. What’s worst of all, for me, is how I feel it effects my thinking! I just don’t seem as sharp when I’m half melted. Glad for your sympathy, and hope things are soon cooler for you, as well.

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  11. I’m so sorry you’ve had such a rough time of it this summer. Thank God your son is safe… other issues can be sorted out over time. Hopefully you are now fully recovered from all dental woes, too. It’s really unbelievable that you are expected to teach and children are expected to learn under such conditions! Our schools finally had air conditioning installed over the summer, but my sister and her second graders suffered in a classroom that was well over 90 degrees all week. I hope you have a cooler room this week, and a peaceful autumn. Welcome back!

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    1. Ah, your sister is a fellow sufferer, poor thing. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody! Thanks for the well wishes, the sympathy, the understanding of a certain amount of stress. xox

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  12. So much to deal with! Like everyone, I’m glad that healing has begun, in all its forms. The physical often is the least of it, but the rest can be equally difficult. I know we’ve talked about the heat before. I work in it, too, but being outdoors, even in the worst of it, is better than being cooped up in a building. I suffer in the winter because our buildings aren’t constructed to cope with north winds and low temperatures, but you don’t have the huge windows, high ceilings, wide galleries and porches that help us cope with the heat even there is no air conditioning.

    Here’s to better days ahead. It’s true that we need take them just one at a time: sufficient unto the day, as the Good Book says.

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  13. Thankfully, you are all fine! Positive thoughts and vibes coming your way 🙂 I’m glad you’ve been able to escape into your reading – it always helps. Hoping cooler weather comes your way ASAP! Take care, dear friend.

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  14. I am so sorry you’ve been having such an awful time: thank goodness you are all all right, but an injured child must have put you through the wringer, even if his injuries were not too serious. And your tooth! Amazing what we take for granted until it stops working properly. I hope that you are all feeling better and out of pain and more cheerful and hopeful now. Very best love and wishes to you!

    As for the heat, I lived in Nigeria for two years with very little electricity so usually no fans, let alone air conditioning, and I totally feel your misery. It is horrible to be so relentlessly hot, isn’t it? (It makes me fiendishly bad tempered too!) May cooler weather blow into Illinois, in fact you are welcome to some of Belgium’s…

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