Middle of the Night Honesty

February 5, 2007

I sit up at 3:30 in the morning, having slept for a couple brief hours, but awake because of general stuffiness of the head and near-constant cough. Surprisingly, I don’t feel completely stressed as I usually do in the middle of the night — I don’t think I’ve (yet) fallen victim to infamous “nighttime thinking” where I decide that everyone hates me, we’ll be destitute by the end of the week, God is on hiatus and I might as well give up (and go eat worms?).

Those thoughts flirt with my over-tired brain, but above them, in fact surrounding them, is more a sense of calm. No, my life isn’t exactly where I want it to be right now. There is still a pretty windy gap between the person I am and the person I want to be. I still want to lose more weight, including the few pounds I’ve put back on since my religious Weight Watchers days; I want to be more faithful to God and less internally and externally frustrated by life’s little tics. I want to write more and better. Last night, I spoke with another writer about the “zone” or the “sweet spot” where the words on the screen come up exactly like — no, even better than — the ones in our heads. I recognize that it’s been awhile since I’ve been in such a sweet spot with my writing.

But above all that right now: I want to quit smoking. Oh, I don’t smoke a bunch around most people I know. I’m too embarrassed by my own weakness to have succumbed to this stupid habit once again. I smoked in college and managed to quit for 11 years! I remember never wanting to go back to it, never wanting to be entrapped by something so foolish….but my mom got sick (yeah, your mom gets cancer, so you start smoking — that makes a hell of a lot of sense) and Tim was still traveling, and I told myself the lie that maybe, just maybe, one small cigarette would lift just a small bit of the stress. But in the way of all addiction, that minuscule relief of stress — and yes, relief occurred, however briefly — was merely a down payment on wanting and needing more and more and more. So now, the reward is practically non-existent and the payment is the hell of doing something to myself that I know produces great unhealthiness in my body and mind.

So, this sinus infection turns into a coughing frenzy and I think to myself, “Oh, enough already!”

But I’m weak, so so weak. And frankly, as I said before, embarrassed and ashamed by this. I actually debate right now: “Should I post this? Will so-and-so think less of me if he/she knows I’ve been smoking?” But then (yeah, thanks God), I read Jeff Cannell’s post where he makes a brief statement about how pride stands in the way of real healing, how we’re all works in progress and how transparency is the key. I know all this, I want to cry out to God — heck, I’ve even preached this truth to others. And then God comes back with, “Oh really?” (Sometimes, honestly He can be a little combative when He speaks to my heart. It’s like He thinks there’s a battle or something…sheesh.)

Yeah, really. But right now? I don’t want to be transparent. I want to be opaque and fine looking to those around me…but I want authenticity more. I know I really do.

And I want help. Prayer. Friendship. God has already given me that in so many ways since coming to Central Vineyard. In the last 4 months, I think we’ve met people that will be our friends for the rest of this life and into eternity. (McCollums are thinking about going into the Witness Protection Program at this writing, but anyway…) I continuously feel that God had a place especially made for us there — that our job was just to sidle up next to whatever powerful THING He was doing and…for lack of a better term, plug into it. Our lives have meshed with the lives of the people in this community of believers, and for the first time in longer than I can remember, I know we’re right where He has placed us. Really, really cool. Honestly, I’m speechless with gratitude.

So, alongside with confessing a love for ’80s music videos and a shelf of some pretty silly romance novels, I suppose it’s time to say that I’m a smoker and I want to quit. And to live in the fact that I remind my kids about daily, when they begin a sentence with, “But I can’t….”

“Yes, you can because the Bible promises that Jesus gives you strength for anything.” And His mercies are new every morning — and every middle of the night.


14 Responses to “Middle of the Night Honesty”

  1. Erica said

    “Sometimes, honestly He can be a little combative when He speaks to my heart. It’s like He thinks there’s a battle or something…sheesh.”

    This? IS FUNNY!

    he he he he he!

    Hey, you have GOT to read these Mark of the Lion books if you like romance novels as much as I do because they are written by a former romance novelist, so they are, like, romance novels for CHRISTIANS! They slip down just as easily, I swear, the in-suckage is tremendous and you don’t hardly have to work to read them! I’m re-reading them at the moment, so you’ll have to wait til I’m done and feeling generous before you get them, but some day I’ll be ready to move on, and then!

    Smoking is a b—-. I’ve never done it, but watched family and friends fight and fight and fight and fight it. Go for stopping, and realize that no matter how much we fail, trying again each day honors God.

    In that spirit, I will attempt once again to go to the gym today. sigh.

  2. kjames said

    well *i* knew you smoked so it’s no big surprise to me, but i am glad you want to quit. being addicted to stuff sucks, and the thing about telling those you care about that you’re quitting is that we can HELP you. hold you accountable and all that.

    i’m glad you’re at cv. so glad. 🙂

  3. Andy Whitman said

    Thanks for the honesty, Beth. I appreciate it. Maybe we can encourage each other. On the bright side, it could be pot or crack.

    Just one thing, though — ’80s music videos? I don’t know. There are some addiction issues that may be beyond the point of forgiveness.

  4. Beth Koruna said

    Thanks guys. Really.

    Erica — how much do I love the word *in-suckage*? I bought the first book with one of my Christmas Barnes & Noble cards — haven’t started it yet, but I’m really looking forward to it. Trying to make myself read my book club book first. And thanks for reminding me that each day I try honors God. Good, good word.

    Karen — Me too! Yeah, that accountability stuff. It’s a bi____, but a good thing.

    Andy — I’m all for mutual encouragement, my wonderful writerly friend. And maybe you’ve never appreciated ’80s music videos because you’ve never watched them with ME. I promise — I add an entirely new element.

    I had my last cigarette this morning and I’m all out, so…we’ll see. I have to start working out because I WON’T WON’T gain weight. You guys all work out in Worthington don’t you? Hmmmm.

  5. Andy Whitman said

    ‘You guys all work out in Worthington don’t you?”

    Yeah, Worthington. That’s it.

  6. Beth Koruna said

    Are you being mocking, Mr. Whitman? 😀 We could be workout buds if you want. I might even go to Westerville for that.

  7. Erica said

    I’m at Planet Fitness on Indianola. Karen is in Worthington. I think there are more Central Vinyardites at Planet Fitness, but it’s mega crowded right now and I wouldn’t blame anyone for going elsewhere.

    And I went to the gym. Now for Wednesday or Thursday, if I can only make it to lift weights one of those days, then I can do cardio at school and all will be well with that goal.

    Congratulations on running out of cigarrettes! Don’t buy anymore, eh?

  8. Tim said

    For the record:

    1. The ‘secret stash’ of smokes I started keeping in the trunk of my car for when my lovely wife would ask me to ‘run out and get a pack of cigarettes’ is all gone, too. No help there, love.
    2. Y’all don’t know this, but my girlfriend, she’s STUBBORN. Such as on things like persuading medical personnel, doing battle with the Girl Scout Council, and, oh, kicking addictions. I wish I had half her stick-to-it-ive-ness. In other words, don’t rush out to get her a celebratory cigar on this: she won’t smoke it. Celebratory Barnes and Noble gift certificates, however, she will spend with abandon.

  9. kjames said

    beth, if you wanted to work out with me (worthington rec center), i’d love it. there is a small handful of us that work out there. the rest workout in clintonville, of course.

    i think andy was trying to say he doesn’t work out. although i do remember a post about him on a treadmill.

  10. kjames said

    are you trying to say that accountability is a “bitch” but forgot how to spell the rest of that word? isn’t that what spell check is for? 😉

  11. Andy Whitman said

    Yep, I do fairly faithfully tread upon the treadmill, usually four or five miles per day. The thing is, it’s great for the legs, but not for anything else. So I now have an overhanging gut with Olympian legs. Those aren’t calves back there. Those are full-grown cows.

  12. kjames said

    andy, i just about spit out my coffee when i read about your full-grown cows!

  13. nikkip said

    you pretty much rock, beth. thanks for writing this.

  14. bethkoruna said

    You pretty much rock too, Miss NikkiP — and I miss reading you. You must must must get back online. And someday, if the dust ever (?) settles, we should really get together!

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