On the First Day of Spring

On the First Day of Spring March 20, 2023

forsythia blossoms in springtime
image via pixabay

It’s the first day of spring, and I’m not doing so well.

Today’s the anniversary of buying my first car, the car that ended up a home for an addicted woman in Columbus, and I haven’t been driving in three months. Serendipity is parked in front of my house, and she won’t start. This has been going on for three months now. It’s something to do with the wiring. The Lost Girl’s uncle won’t return calls and we’ve given up on him. A friend who is good with cars is going to do some research and drive five hours to town in April to see if he can get her running, but his first assessment based on my description is “it sounds like a game of Whack-a-Mole.”

If only he can get her running again.

Being able to get the first car was a blessing. Replacing it with the second car was a miracle. I can’t imagine where a third car would come from. I’m out of ideas. He has to get her running again. I haven’t been anywhere since just before Christmas and it’s driving me up the wall.

I’d like to go and visit our chosen family, but I can’t, so we chat online.

Adrienne is going to a public middle school next year. We’re getting her tested for dyslexia. We’re having her take a fill-in-the-bubble achievement test instead of her usual portfolio assessment. The teachers I’ve talked to are all very kind, nothing like I expected.

When I was eleven and a half, the stress from the terrible bullying at Catholic school and the superstition of the Charismatic Renewal combined with my poly-cystic ovary syndrome caused a an emotional breakdown, the start of my lifelong struggle with OCD and anxiety. I was taken out of school. It is not exaggeration to say that homeschooling saved my life. I found friends in a supportive community of Catholic homeschoolers that I’d never had at the brick and mortar school. We took days off of lessons for our homeschool theater and I had hours every day to read books, and theater and books were my passions. If I ever do speak with my mother again, I can honestly tell her that homeschooling was the right choice. Now, Adrienne is eleven and a half. She is not the same as I am. She likes sports and Minecraft, not theater and books. Her academic strengths and weaknesses are the mirror image of mine, and I’ve reached the end of my capacity to teach her. We have absolutely no supportive community in Steubenville among the Catholic homeschoolers. Neither of us has seen a friend for a social visit in months. I think going to school will be the right choice, for her. She and I both like the idea.

But somehow I still feel like I’m betraying someone.

Our stalking neighbor has never returned. Her children came one last time to take in the junk mail at the beginning of February, then nothing. Last Wednesday, garbage day, someone came and took away her municipal cans. The house is totally quiet. No more pacing back and forth at four in the morning with her German shepherd, perseverating obscenities and threats. No more waking up in a panic to the yelling. No more vandalism. No more surprise visits from bemused police who were called for no reason. I’m beginning to allow myself to think she’s really gone.

I’m finding once again, that the opposite of being terrified isn’t being calm. It’s not having a place to put your terror. In the absence of the constant danger next door I have panic attacks about nothing; my heart just starts racing for no reason. I fall almost all the way asleep and then sit bolt upright in terror as if I’ve had a nightmare, but I don’t remember having dreamed. I’m still trying to find a telehealth doctor to help me with this, since I can’t drive to one. I haven’t written much all weekend because every time I try to write, my head feels like it’s stuffed with cotton and the words don’t come out.

We still haven’t quite rebounded from the SNAFU with the bank, but the landlord is kindly giving us time. We’ve got about two thirds of rent.

I haven’t been back to Mass since the last disaster. I don’t know when I can go back. Sometime after I find a telehealth doctor and get a car, I suppose. I don’t know what else I can possibly do.

I haven’t prayed very much, because I’m afraid God is angry with me.

I’m dreading the thought of Easter.

I can’t even tell you how much I’m dreading the thought of Easter.

I think I’d rather jump into a volcano than face another Easter.

That’s how I’m doing right now, on the first day of spring. It’s not that nothing’s going on. It’s just that everything is in flux, nothing is certain, and nothing is final enough to talk about.

And I’ll have something more worthwhile for you, the next time I write.


Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross, The Sorrows and Joys of Mary, and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.

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