Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Alligators go away, I don't want to come out and play

This blog used to be called Life in the Swamp, because we're wrestling with life's alligators and things like that. I don't talk about the alligators we wrestle with very often because I'd rather laugh than cry. But some of those gators (which are also blessings in disguise) include living so far from "home" and being poor, and stuffing our family of five into a small two-bedroom apartment.

Some of you may remember {this} post from my writing blog, about the night the police pounded on our door and tried to take Chris away because of a violent argument the neighbor's thought they heard coming from our apartment through those thin, thin walls. Well, we were so asleep we never heard the argument coming from wherever it came from. We were so asleep we never even heard the police banging on the front door. When we finally opened the door, you could see it in their eyes: we were guilty.

It took me weeks to get over the fear that the police would come back. I was so scared that I wouldn't let Chris turn on the air conditioning at night, because I didn't like knowing that someone could be screaming for help and police could be knocking on our door, and we'd never hear it above the roar of the air. So we slept in sweat for weeks.

I'm still not quite over it, even though I've relaxed a little. Until a few nights ago. Something woke me up at 3 am. A man's quiet, controlled voice, and a woman crying. It sounded like he might be hitting her, but she never screamed. Just whimpered louder. I couldn't tell where it was coming from, and since I couldn't figure out if he really was hitting her or if it was something else making that "thwack, thwack"  sound, I didn't feel comfortable calling the police. This continued off and on for an hour and a half.

The next morning I let the apartment office know what had happened, and they appreciated the information since they take this stuff seriously here. But there wasn't anything we could do, since I couldn't tell where it was coming from.

And I was left feeling homesick again. So, so homesick. For my quiet yard. My house with no neighbor noises. No neighbor smells. No neighbor fights.

It seems like every time I get brave enough to think, "This is good. The gators are sleeping. I can be happy here," one of those alligators wakes up and tries to bite me. And I have to start all over trying to make myself love the Swamp again.

But last night when I went to bed, I looked at Chris in the dark. Even the fighting neighbors were a blessing in disguise. It made me realize how thankful I am that Chris would never raise his voice at me. He would never talk in a negative way to me or about me. He will never, ever hit me.

Wherever Chris and my kids are, that's home. And I'm happy there.

So I put the gators back to bed, and life goes on in the Swamp.
Until they wake up and I have to go pull on my wrestling pants again.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for those thoughts, Gaylene. Life is full of struggles that test us, but you have such a nice way of helping it seem more bearable.