I woke up at 3 a.m. this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. General anxiety was gnawing away at me–that pesky, but quite dangerous and infectious rat that sneaks up and nibbles away when our guard is down. He’s a small, ugly thing, and he seems easy enough to shoo away. But then it occurs to you that if you close your eyes in the dark, he may return with a dozen friends, and then you’ll be in trouble. Serious trouble. So your fear of that rodent-like anxiety produces more anxiety, and you resolve to simply get up in the middle of the night and wander the house, read the news, and fight off the anxiety rats. Like some cock-eyed staging of the Nutcracker, but without the enchantment of Herr Drosselmeyer or the Sugar Plum Fairy.
That was my night last night.
So no surprise that I found myself this morning in a church named St. Jude’s.
God bless St. Jude–the patron saint of lost causes, of impossible cases. . . of fragile situations.
And of hope. Because as long as there is a patron saint, there is hope.
I started this blog, four short entries ago, thinking of the humor, and the sure irony, of moving to a town named Niceville.
I will tell you that the town has not disappointed, as far as that goes. We have braved the wilds of storms and snakes and gators, with well-coiffed hair and sangria glasses in hand. We have endured the surprise of landing in a neighborhood of retirees with good humor and giggles.
But the irony that must be implicit in living a life, any life, in a town called Niceville, is harder to stomach. Funny sometimes, stinging other times.
The sweat-inducing hard work of moving into a new house; the anxiety (and adrenaline)-producing task of trying to make new friends, and the heart wrenching business of trying to settle your teenage kids into a new social situation–a new posse of kids who aren’t eager to take in the new and different that falls into their midst. This is excruciating.
There is plenty of Nice to Niceville, but there is plenty of heartache too. Do you think the founders of the town considered that? Was the choice of names simply a Pollyanna-inspired attempt at putting a cheery face on life? Was it a call to arms to make this place better? Was it a literary irony– a wicked bit of humor as they knew things would often get hairy– or a humorous attempt at Americana?
I’ve no idea. But, by God, I’m glad that this so-named town has places like St. Jude’s, where you can take a little respite and peel the yellow smiley face facade off for a while and simply say, This is life, and it is fragile and difficult, and beautiful and precarious, and so many things that can’t be swept under the banner of “Nice.”
Because if you’ve had a bad day, or the rats have come nibbling in the middle of the night, then “Nice” is just a slap in the face.
I think the patron saint of lost causes must hear this complaint a lot.
So today, I’ll think of this blog site as “Greetings from Judesboro.” Perhaps some day soon, with more sleep and fewer worries, I’ll learn to use the nice-word again.