The other day was one of those mornings where crawling out of bed in the morning felt like one more thing on my to-do list for the day. I trudged through the morning on auto-pilot as I mentally rearranged and tried to figure out workarounds for all the things I had to do that day (or felt I had to do may be more like it), while trying to fight off my body’s sluggishness of “I don’t want to.”
Running late (again) for my job, I stopped at the gas station (check) for a fill-up making me even later but it let me cross off yet another item on my list thereby making it a worthwhile trade-off.
Waiting in line for the next free pump I got into the head of “How am I going to do this? I’m so tired now, and what if…. And then what if…. Oh but then I have to….How am I going to this? I’m so tired…” and the wheels on the bus go round and round. You get it. As the tape looped in my head I noticed the guy in the next fuel lane, climbing around on the outside the cab of his 18-wheeler truck banging each window and swinging himself like a monkey from the driver’s side, (bang, bang, bang), to the back window (pull, bang, bang, pull), to the passenger side (bang, pull, yank on the handle), back to the driver’s side (bang, pull, yank, sigh).
I became mesmerized as I watched him and feeling cold for him as he was out there in just a sweatshirt and seeing his breath as he exhaled from each exertion and frustration. HE LOCKED HIS KEYS IN THE CAB AND IT WAS 9 DEGREES OUT. Oh my! I felt so badly for him when I realized this. Once I understood what was going on and watched him motion for the gas station attendant for some sort of wire hanger, all of my “to-do” stuff came right into perspective. No matter how many things I had to do that day or how late I was running, I gave one final glance to the truck driver as I drove away, silently wishing him luck, and realized that things could be a whole lot worse! Perspective my friends, it’s all about perspective. Sometimes it takes another person’s misfortune’s to make us realize this.
Now when I find myself getting overwhelmed again, I remember that poor truck driver and suddenly my to-do list doesn’t seem so bad. Things could always be worse!
They say that God only gives you what you can handle. I don’t know how true that is but with recent events, he must sure think I have some pretty big shoulders! I’m one of those people who will get done whatever needs to get done and then collapse afterward. Because of that, I was nicknamed “The Rock” by some friends a few years ago. These days, when someone calls me that, I say right back that even rocks get worn down over time.
While waiting with my elderly mother in the doctor’s office for her to be seen, I was struck by how frail and vulnerable she has become. When did this happen? There comes a time when the roles switch and the parent becomes the child and the child becomes the parent (aka caregiver). This change started for me a few years ago but is rapidly advancing to the point that there is a new problem/situation almost every time she calls. I try to be patient but when it’s the fourth and fifth and sixth time of repeating the same thing within a few minutes of each other, I find my voice rising in frustration and white-hot fear that this cannot be happening. Right here right now right here right now right here right now has become my version of counting to 10 as I shut my eyes against the conversation I don’t want to see, to hear, to have, but I must. Because I am the rock but like a river, my tears are wearing this rock down.
I always feared losing my self, my identity if I had children and I jokingly refer to my 80-year-old mother as my child. As I find myself in this not-asked for caregiver role, I realized that I have indeed lost my identity and my self as I knew me to be….but I am finding a new self and a new identity I never would have known if I wasn’t going through this. To help speed up the process of roughing up this spiritual piece of coal to a diamond, I am also tending to my husband as he goes through chemotherapy. Off with one caregiver hat and on to another! So while I’m scared and I don’t know what I’m doing, I just repeat right here right now right here right now and am incorporating a write here write now write here write now to bring this diamond in the rough more out into the open and see where this will all bring me.