When Life is Overwhelming

I’m having one of those days.

No, I’m actually having one of those years.

Financially, things have been going downhill.  Renters decided to stop paying rent, which meant that we couldn’t pay the mortgage on that house, which means that our credit is now kaput.  This is the house that we bought to live in–oh so many optimistic years ago–and then moved after the housing bubble broke.  We decided to use the house for rental income, which has turned into a huge headache and drain on our bank account for five solid years.

In the house we live in, there are multiple roof leaks.  We’ve only lived here a year and the inspector assured us that the roof was fine. We’ve already shelled out to have a couple of places repaired, but it really looks like we need a whole new roof.


And after constant foot pain for the last few days, I decided to take a few moments for myself and soak in an epsom salt bath.  I sat in the warm (not hot) water for a few minutes, when I realized that my bath was getting colder, not hotter.

That’s when I discovered that our water heater has (possibly) gone out.

This is on top of still having tarps on the roof (and insurance, of course, won’t pay to repair the roof).  My stove burners (from the Bewitched era, circa 1960), went out a year ago and we’ve been trying to save to get a gas line put in, but due to the size and weirdness of the current stove, that will lead into a remodel.

Our one vehicle needs new tires.  Like, yesterday.  And some other mechanical attention.

Every time we get one step ahead, it seems like we take ten huge steps backward.

This morning, after my lukewarm epsom salt bath, I put the last of my dry shampoo in my hair, threw on some clothes, and sat on my bed and had a good cry.

Sometimes life is just overwhelming.  Sometimes crying helps.

But crying won’t solve my problems.  Crying won’t help sell our old home quicker (as a short sale), it won’t repair or replace the roof on the home we currently live in.  It won’t get me hot water.

It did, however, help take the edge off of the stress I’m feeling right now.  Now, my head is clear enough to take stock of what needs to happen.

Prioritize.  That’s what I need to do.

What needs to happen first?  Do I need to call contractors?  Shop for a hot water heater?  Call a plumber?  Get a job outside the home that gives me a regular paycheck so that I can pay for all of this?

I need a plan.  Like Steven Covey teaches, first things first.

And while I am making a plan, I remember that things could be a lot worse.

Aside from a few childhood germs, my family is healthy.

We have a home to live in.  Insurance will cover the interior water damage from the unseasonably strange monsoon-like rains we had a month ago.

My husband has a good job that allows him to work from home, which gives all of us so much more time together.

I have two bright, healthy, funny kiddos.

I have a sweet, ridiculous dog.

I have a vehicle.

I have friends.

My plate is never empty, and there is usually more than enough food to go around.

I have a loving church and live in a caring community.

I have so much.  So, so much.

So, for today, at least, I’ll keep my head up and remember that even though life can be overwhelming, this is just for a season.  Even if life is really, really stressful for a year, it is just a year.

Soon our old house will be in our history, a chapter that is already written.

One day, we will be able to look back and remember that time when our roof leaked and our stove didn’t work, but our kids were so little and cute and innocent, and our hearts will miss this time.

When life is overwhelming, make a plan.  For me, I needed a small plan.  One small, actionable thing to take some iota of control over the things that happened.

So I asked for recommendations for contractors.  I made three phone calls to three different contractors.  Of course, I had to leave a voicemail for two of the three.

But the first one will be by tomorrow, and I’ll get in touch with the others then.

After all, tomorrow is a new day.

Read on, my friend...

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