Just recently life has thrown a few curve balls into my personal space. Nothing drastic, but enough to throw me off balance. And then, of course, there’s the dratted weather, which has thrown enough curve balls into everyone’s territory to create disruptions galore.
My last posting (yes, I know, it’s been two long weeks!), was on 7 March Musings- Freedom, and I shared how sick I had been and how much I was enjoying the freedom of wellness. We had a short interlude of a few days of good weather as I regained my strength, and the first call of order was the garden. So much needed to be done in the way of general tidying and clearing before beginning on the major project which would completely remodel my front yard.
I have to admit that even as I experienced the joy of gardening, I struggled with a certain level of frustration. As much as I wanted/needed to be out doing the garden, especially as I had lost so much time due to bad weather and we didn’t know how long the warm weather was going to last, I also really wanted to be writing. Having two passions is sometimes difficult to manage and the garden passion and the writing passion each carry about equal weight in my heart.
Well, I chose the garden and managed to get a few days good work in as well as immersing myself into the the general mainstream of my daily life. I was on about day five of this readjustment back to normal when the next curve ball arrived and truly took the wind out of my sails.
I had just arrived in St. Augustine for a Body Talk appointment. I pulled into the parking lot, took my phone out of my bag to put it on silent mode, and it rang in my hand. It was my husband calling to let me know that he was in the ER with chest pains “but please don’t get alarmed”!
In hindsight I have learned that my reaction to crisis/alarming news is to back off, disconnect if you will. In that moment I said to my husband, “I’ve just arrived at my appointment in St. Augustine, do you need me there?” He kind of muttered around for a few moments as I cautiously allowed my mind and my heart to re-approach the reality of the situation, then he said, “Yes, I think I’d like you here.”
As I ran in to cancel my appointment before turning the car around and racing back to Jacksonville, I realized what my comment must have sounded like to my husband as he lay on a gurney in the ER. I called him immediately and left a message (they had made him turn his phone off). I told him that even as I had asked that ridiculous question, there had been no doubt that I would go right to the hospital to be with him. I had just needed a moment to allow my fear to subside so that I could get on and do what I needed to do.
I guess for me it is a defense mechanism. Stepping back so that I can allow my head and my heart to kind of sync up together and work in harmony. It’s the kind of mechanism that has us go to numbness or disbelief in the face of personal tragedy. We need that small space of time so that God can step in and hold our heart and our hand, or even pick us right up into His arms, and walk us through the pain and the difficulty of any given tough situation.
I spent the whole of the drive back to Jacksonville in prayer mode. I asked God to protect my husband and surround him with His healing grace. I made a couple of phone calls: one to my daughter to put her in the picture, and two more to dear friends so that I would have my support group in place no matter what.
By the time I got to the hospital I was calm. They had done a bunch of tests on Richard and were beginning to administer some different medications. His EKG’s, chest X-ray, and blood work were OK, but he was still experiencing tightness and pressure in his chest as well as shortness of breath when speaking. They kept him in for observation for a couple of days before sending him home with more medication and instructions for follow-up, including an appointment with the Cardiologist.
It is amazing how a couple of days and a crisis can affect the human system. It was only after getting Richard home and seeing him slowly return to normal that I realized how exhausted my body was. As I went through the process of letting go of the anxiety all I wanted to do was sleep. I also noted how I felt generally irritable, and irritated toward Richard. (Like how dare he put me through that!!).
Stress is a very hard task-master that produces strong emotions and reactions. I am grateful that I know how to recognize stress fairly quickly and can take positive steps to reduce and eliminate it from my life. I booked a massage in the next few days and also returned to my beloved garden, two of the best therapies for stress that I know work for me.
I actually started writing the following three paragraphs in the middle of the last posting that I wrote. However, I quickly realized that they did not belong there so, rather than delete them, I saved them as a draft. I figured that if the words had manifest themselves on the page they were important to come back to. Here are the three paragraphs as I wrote them.
As I have been sitting here, stopping from time time to just breath in deeply, I have been checking the news on my info page. I guess the biggest item that has rocked the world in different ways is still the news coming out of Haiti. I have followed this story, as I’m sure many millions of other people have, and have come to realize how difficult it is to take in the reality of such a situation.
No matter how many photos they print, and there have been hundreds, even though they depict the grim reality of the circumstances it is hard to make it a reality in my own life. Story after story carries an underlying sadness, pain, and desperation. It is heartbreaking to think of the level of suffering and helplessness that overwhelms the surviving Haitian population in the aftermath of the earthquake.
Yet even as I understand the meaning behind the words in these stories, and even as I can see clearly what is depicted in all the photos, there is a part of me that is unable to truly comprehend the magnitude of this tragedy. I went through something similar after the tsunami out in Thailand and Indonesia at Christmas a couple of years ago.
So now I will try to pick up the thread of my thought process a week after writing this. As I said, at the time I was sitting outside in my lanai on the first really warm day after much freezing cold weather had not allowed me to take my lap-top outside and work. I have just reread the three paragraphs and remember now sitting out there in the warmth and sunshine, catching up on world-wide news and feeling so strangely detached from the horrors taking place in Haiti.
I am not sure why this is so. I try to practice compassion in a very real way on a daily basis. I am a Christian person who “loves his neighbor”. I am also an intelligent person, so it’s not that I don’t have the brains or the smarts to grasp what is going on over there in Haiti. Neither am I afflicted by learning disabilities that slow my thought processes or skew them somehow.
I have read on numerous occasions that we, the human race, have been so saturated with violence in today’s world that events such as those taking place in Haiti don’t reach down into our hearts, our guts, or they only get halfway there. Modern media thinks nothing of throwing blood, gore, and downright evil at us in the name of “action movies” and the like, and as a result we become inured to the real life stuff.
As I said above, I see the pictures, I read the stories, the facts, but I have a hard time bringing it all into my own perception of reality. I’m not sure where I want to go with all this, or if I need to go anywhere in particular. Of one thing I am sure, the words presented themselves on the page out of my mind so they must have some specific significance.
I know that I do not feel very happy or comfortable about this posting. It has come out in fits and starts, between one interruption and another. Half way through I found myself thinking, “maybe I should just delete it and start a totally new posting”. But there is a part of me that knows the words need to stay on the page.
Perhaps the discomfort that I am feeling is because this article makes me look at a part of me that is not so nice. That part that wants me to just stay in my comfort zone and get on with my ordinary life. After all, don’t I deal with enough of my own pain without taking on the pain of others? But I know that I cannot do that. If I do, I will experience even more discomfort.
So the words stay, the article stands as is, and I battle on through the stuff that maybe I would prefer to ignore. I ask God to help me find the growth that this is leading me to. Hopefully there will be a quantum leap in my spiritual growth, in my prayer practice. Maybe a little more honesty, another small slice of humility, and just a smidgen more courage to keep me on track.