Escape

“Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress of vex her.” Jane Austen, Emma

I am stuck in a bit of a funk, friends.

Discouraged and frustrated, I find smiles a little forced and laughter a bit of a chore. I don’t know why this is. Today the sun is shining and the air is balmy with the salty scent of the ocean and I feel like crying for no reason.

I hesitate to share these feelings, afraid of sounding hollow and shallow and fishing for encouragement. I’m not overly prone to put myself out there like this because it makes me feel a little too exposed. But there is some relief that comes from admitting that life isn’t always a musical.

Or maybe it is and this is just one of those sad interludes where you want to get up and go to the bathroom and come back when everybody is happy and tap dancing in the sunshine again.

I don’t know why I’m down. Maybe I’m tired. Perhaps swirling hormones have knocked me off balance. Maybe I’m still getting used to the new schedule, still hoping and praying that sending the kids to school was the right choice. Maybe I’m overwhelmed, though I don’t feel a bit stressed. I just feel…down.

Life is full of blessings and there is so much joy to be had. We are healthy and blessed. I’m counting those blessings today and reminding myself to choose joy. While happiness in this thing called life is not a guarantee and cannot always be grasped, joy is a choice. I can wallow in my invisible frustrations, in the unknown things that leave me glum, or I can choose joy.

I can waffle in a puddle of self-doubt and waver under the banner of feeling like I’m always a step behind, or I can choose to look at all the joyful things that surround me right now, at this moment.

A steaming mug of green tea.

A building full of books all teaming with imagination and dreams.

Clean hair thanks to a hot shower this morning.

A computer that (mostly) works and allows me to connect and pour out my heart to the rhythm of a clicking keyboard.

A few moments of quiet in which to read my Bible and lose myself in Jane Austen’s fantastic world.

I bought three new Jane Austen books today…and a book on Albert Einstein. Random? Yes, I know, but I found the book too intriguing to pass up and upon reading the first few pages, I am so glad I bought it.

Fascinating.

I came to the bookstore with a plan to stock up on Jane Austen goodies. I’m going to admit something shameful right now. I have never read an entire Jane Austen novel. I started Mansfield Park in college and upon getting distracted (so many cute boys!), I put it down and never picked it up again.

I’ve seen the movies, but we all know those aren’t the same thing.

I’m going to lose myself this weekend and hope that the written word will pull me from my funk and give me a fresh confidence in my own ability to pen words worth reading. And above all else, I will choose joy this weekend.

May your holilday weekend be filled with family, friends, grace and joy, everyone. Happy Friday to you all.

PS: Which one should I read first? 

Comments

  1. Mary Ann says:

    I think we all feel like that sometimes. And remember, it’s always important to feel sadness to feel happiness. There needs to be an opposition in all things so you appreciate all that you have. It’s just a part of life. Buck up, little camper, it will be ok! But, as for books, I would go with Sense and Sensibility–I love that one!

  2. I was so grumpy last night. I knew I was just picking at my husband, but, yet, I couldn’t muster anything else. SHOULD HAVE KEPT MY MOUTH SHUT. Sadly, I was tired. Not tired because I stayed up too late or didn’t sleep well, but I was just tired. Life had caught up with me. I had a few busy days, one of which was a mental exercise in timing and logistics, and I was just tired.

    So I went to bed at 9:15 p.m. and slept until 6:45 a.m. My husband was singing a song this morning (yes, really) about how it’s a great day or something or another. And, you know, I realized new mercies after 9 1/2 hours of sleep are indeed glorious. Even worth singing about, and this comes from someone who isn’t gifted in singing.

    I hope you have a great weekend with much peace, relaxation and joy.

    • Thanks, Kristin. And good for you for having such a good attitude when he woke you up singing. My husband woke me up with music not long ago and it left me feeling less than inspired. Of course, it was a rare morning when the kids were spending the night with my parents and he chose to come dancing into the room with the Gaithors blaring at 7 in the morning.

      That might be biblical grounds for divorce. I dunno…I need to do some research. ;)

      • Well, you know, I probably felt bad for being so grumpy toward him last night. Because, really, I firmly believe TVs, radios and, well, voices should stay turned off at least until I’ve eaten breakfast.

  3. OH MY GOSH YOU DIDN’T?!!!!!!! Um, Mansfield Park is probably one of my favorites. That one and Persuasion is REALLY good. I think I’ve read everything Jane has to offer. I LOVE her. Have you read Jane Eyre? It’s also soooooooooooooooooooo good. Oh! I’m tickled pink by this!

    P.S. If you were here, I would invite you over for scones and tea and we would watch the 5+ hour version of Pride and Prejudice. :D

  4. in our jammies.

    with messy hair.

    and we might switch to wine half way through.

  5. and I know Jane Eyre is not written by Jane Austin. It’s just in the same genre….

  6. Oh I love Jane Eyre. It’s my second favorite book nestled snugly between Anna Karenina and the Poisonwood Bible. Might Jane Austen replace anyone n the list?!

  7. We’re making minion cupcakes. Should I bring you one? Twinkies are a prominent feature.

    On the serious side, I’ve fought the funk the past couple of days myself. It’s from watching my home of 11 years, the place I thought we’d be for another 11 or more, get “depersonalized” and basically turned into a place I would never want to live. Builder Beige walls, anyone? My biggest challenge has been to not gripe about it. The enemy keeps getting me on this one. I mean, our main reason for doing this is to NOT be attached to worldly things like a house or a kitchen painted just the way I like it. To drive ourselves to seek and care about only what is eternal. So one minute I am rolling my eyes at the realtor who suggests we need to put in granite counter tops so some spoiled rotten American buyer can have a modern kitchen and I’m thinking, “I’ve watched a mother of 7 squeeze into a 14′ by 10′ foot “house” and be ecstatic about it. Don’t whine about Corian countertops not being good enough.” But then a week later I am the very one whining about my pretty kitchen having to be repainted a boring color. How’s that for irony? That’s how I roll. And again, the challenge is to keep my eyes focused on the goal: to be free and available for Him and His will and when I get to spend the next year of my life traveling to all the most beautiful parts of our country I really have NO reason to complain. But I also think God looks upon us in our funk and He loves us greatly because He knows that living in a broken world really sucks and He longs for the day when He gets to welcome us to the place where there is no more of that.

    Can I borrow the Albert Einstein when you’re done?

    • Oh I so undersatand the moving thing. I cried so much when we sold our St. Louis house last year. A house is so much more than four walls. Even when a move is good and exciting, it’s still so, s hard to let go of the place where you built so many memories. So I feel ya.

      And yes. It’s so fascinating!

  8. Bethany says:

    Ohhh, Jenni, that last sentence of yours helped me so much: “God looks upon us in our funk and loves us greatly because He knows living in a broken world really sucks and He longs for the day when he gets to welcome us to the place where there is no more of that.”. Sooooo many times I picture God as sternly disapproving over any sign of funk– “I gave you so much and you still dare to be unhappy?!”. Thinking about Him as loving me greatly even when I’m disappointed is a staggeringly encouraging and humbling thought! You have no idea how much you’ve blessed and sustained me just with that one concept.

  9. I’m sorry you’re having a down day. A wise person once said that sad people expect themselves to be happy all the time. Happy people will expect to feel down every once in a while.

    To cheer you up: I can’t remember how I found your blog, but I’ve been following for a while. I just adore you, your writing, your spunk, and your pink hair!

    Oh, and yes, my name really is Spring. My parents told my older sister they’d have a baby in the spring, and it stuck. :-)

    Finally, I’d go with Pride and Prejudice. I adore them all, and I’ll second the suggestion that you read Jane Eyre (My #1 Favorite book of all time – I have two copies, one which is literally falling apart and another with guilded pages that I just think is pretty). But of Jane Austin’s, Pride and Prejudice is the best. I’m sighing just thinking about it.

    • Hi Spring! So funny…I met a girl in high school named Season (no lie). And when I commented on her unique name she told me that she had three sisters named Autumn, Summer and Spring. So there is another Spring out there somewhere.

      Unless that’s you. Do Yu have sisters named after the seasons? :)

      Thanks for the encouragement. I am already feeling better. Pride and Prejudice is every bit as dreamy as everyone has said. Love it! AND I’m going to the hair doctor on Wednesday for a title TLC and to get the pink out back into my hair. Things are looking’ up! :)

  10. Ohmygosh, i love poisonwood bible! anyway… Just wanted to say, i totally have those sort of inexplicable blue times, too. I feel like they often come to get me to slow down & listen to myself better, take better care of myself. Spending downtime is huge for me, too when im down. Sometimes it is a good book i need to get out of my own head & listen better ( weird that i sometimes need to get out of my head to hear myself better, but somehow its true?!). Also, coffee, chocolate, baking, walking, & creative endeavors seem to help me, too :) . I think it takes such courage to be so honest – thanks for doing it… Also, im so there with the school thing. We just sent Hudson to K & though all is good & we really felt that was what was right for us, i totally find myself wondering if we did the right thing. Its such a huge decision. So i get you on that one, too :)

    • It’s so good to hear other people say they have inexplicable down times, too! I felt like such a weenie for feeling blue without a good reason. I must say, though, that Jane Austen is just what the doctor ordered. That and having Lee back in town. And we are going to the beach tonight AND tomorrow.

      I’m on the mend! :)

      Miss you guys…

  11. Well, I’m late with the his, but you get one anyway…. Or two. :-)

    Can you believe that I read A LOT, and I have NEVER read any of those?

    So all I got is hugs!

    • This is a perfect time to mention that I miss, miss, miss my desk top! I hope you can decipher what my iPad screwed up for me! and even though I wasn’t going to fix anything, I did decide to go back and add a p to the word up. ;-)

      • Oh girl…I have had EPIC autocorrect fails on the Internet. E-P-I-C. It’s all good.

        And if you can’t read the books, I highly recommend watching the Keira Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice. I am DYING after watching that and now reading the book. Swoony…