Saturday, April 27, 2013

This spring and last...

It is hard, for me, to face just how much has changed with my body, with my mind, with my life.  I laughed today.  A day that I laugh is one to be cherished, no matter what else happens that day.

Yesterday, I set out to clear Amos' deposits in preparation for some long-over due mowing.  A small  delay and copious amounts of rain resulted in growth you could almost see if you watched long enough.  The grass was so hard, I could not find anything to clear out.

Since my labor was going to be spent that way, I decided to dig out the ground cover that had crept into the grass.  My beloved grass.

It was there because I was too weary last fall ... this winter.  SIGH.  I saw the ground cover growing up against the brick border that was laid and spill over.  I should have just used the straight shovel all along the border to stab deep in the ground to cut the roots.  But, while I oft thought about doing so, I never did.  Just the thought of the labor was exhausting to me.

Perhaps an hour passed, between digging with my trowel along about 12 feet of yard and tending to a small patch in the side bed and two weeds in the front.  Two.  Two I had to totter up there, so weak and wobbly and completely fatigued was I.  An hour.  Just last summer, I could have sat on the ground for twice that without being so utterly devastated within my body.

That I was this way discouraged my whole being.  I notice things.  Small things.  Tiny witnesses to what I am losing.  I wonder why no one else does.  But few are around to see.  And, if they are around, some silly part of my self spends all my energy, and then some, to mask those losses.

After a few hours, I went to clean the bathroom for the guest that was arriving.  I fainted four times.  Four times merely scrubbing the tub, the toilet, and the sink and cleaning the mirror (I had tended the floors the day before).  I wish I had the courage to tell folk that they are most welcome to come but need to scrub the tub themselves.  That ... and put sheets on the bed ... both fore and aft the visit.

Four times.
I should have done what I do for myself.
Climb in the tub, sit down, and scrub before I shower.

Today, I asked the one mowing to leave the cord out for me so I could shape the burning bushes some more.  Wildly overgrown when I moved here, today was my third pruning job over the past two years.  Primarily, the second one last fall was the major work.  However, pruning with leaves is harder than pruning without.

So, after putting it off for quite a while, I fetched the electric hedge trimmers, picked up the cord, and rounded them as I wished.  No more than 10 minutes passed between pruning and winding up the cord and returning both cord reel and trimmers to the garage.  10 minutes.  And I was huffing and puffing and oh, so tired.

But it is not just the fatigue.  It is the blankness growing in my mind.  The things I am forgetting.  The things that become having-never-passed.

So often, too often, I heard that my life has changed and I have to move on.  "You need to get over it."  Get. Over. It.  Horrid words.  Cruel words.  Ignorant words.  Were it possible I would. Truly, I would.  But how do you get over something that is still happening?  How do you absorb losses that daily continue?

My darned lawn mower broke today.  Two weeks ago, for the first mow, it worked fine.  Today, the mower started a pass and it died.  Nothing.  Not a bit of power.  Wanting for it not to be so, I pulled apart the handle where the switch is and the cover, but there was no evidence of broken, pulled, or blacked wiring.  Being two years past its warranty, I suppose I got my money's worth.  Still, just four years?

Its brokenness meant being confronted by my own.

I, the scholar.  I, the knowledge manager.  I, the communications expert.  I, the writer.  Me, all those things I used to be ... the person who once thrived on the challenge of juggling multiple projects and task ... the one who cannot make a decision, who, when decisions come my way, begins to sink into panic, to become paralyzed with the burden of figuring out what to do.

After much angst, my best friend's husband came to the rescue, listening to what I had learned about an alternative to the Black and Decker model I have purchased three times, weighing pros and cons with me, and pin-pointing that factor which tips the scales one way or the other.  I happen to believe our minds are rather similar when it comes to thinking about things.  So, perhaps it was easier to do so for me.  But so few are willing to help me this way, are willing to just make a decision for me.  A decision on things that matter not, with regard to all the other things I have to face.  His help was pure and utter mercy.  Mercy heaped upon me that halted the panic and freed me from its prison.

Mercy that came even though I struggled to talk with him at first, to focus, because I saw my friend's photo on the phone and yet his voice was on the other end of the line.  I have to practice everything, rehearse everything. I cannot handled the unexpected, even if it is a good thing.

To me, it honestly does not matter if the lawn mower decision turns to be one that is less than the best.  I care not.  I just need to be told what to buy, what to do.  I need that on the things that are inconsequential to the dark and deep things weighing upon me.  I would not ask you to tell me what choices to make in medication or treatment or such things.  But what to buy, where to go for something, what to do ... that helps.  Immensely.

The seminary grad student encouraged me, having not yet changed the oil, to use a deal that came up on Groupon for both an oil change and tire rotation.  He had a concrete plan for something I had been putting off, primarily because I have always gone to Toyota, where getting in and out never happens under three hours.  I cannot sit in a chair in the waiting room for three hours.  I cannot do so for an hour.

He and his fiancé both helped me to set up an account, to purchase the deal, and to download an app to show at Jiffy Lube when my printer would not print the Groupon PDF.  I have a plan.  The number is in my phone, along with an alarm to call and ask which time of day has less traffic.  I go there. I show the deal.  I finally get the oil changed and rotate tires that have been in the same place for three years.  And I will be in a place where service is built around quantity and thus speed.  Why didn't I think of that?

I doubt either of them understand what mercy they showed me in helping me come to a decision on where and how to change the oil.  In walking me through an unfamiliar process.  No matter that it is a simple thing to join Groupon.  It is not simple for me.  

New things are not.
Following directions is not.
Making plans or decisions is not.

That refrigerator decision, finally made by a stranger in Lowe's, dragged on for a year.  Month after month the shame of wasted food when money is such an issue.  The burden so great I would weep for hours.  Today, my lawnmower broke, I frantically called all the males I know (and friends with husbands) and left messages, my dearest friend's beloved called me back, a new one was chosen, and it is waiting for me at Lowe's ... once I remember to pick it up.  [The growing grass should be a strong enough reminder to fetch it.]

It is hard to face the losses in my mind. It is hard to face the losses in my body.  It is especially hard when I have to face both.  And it is near impossible to face when all the while I have a stark contrast between a time this year and last.

The truth of me is that I spend most of my time hiding. I hide in books. I hide in movies and television shows.  I hide in the Book of Concord.  And I hide in the Psalter.

With the Confessions, I find ineffable comfort in all the times the anguished soul, the anxious person, the terrified conscience is mentioned.  I find comfort in both that the answer for such is the consolation of the Gospel  and that someone like me is not the exception, but the expected.

With the Psalter, I find ineffable comfort in the wild swings of certitude and doubt, of exultation and despair.  Again, how I struggle, how I feel, is expected for these are the prayers my Creator gave His children, gave me, to pray.

In a way, the fact that I do not remember, given how much time I spend hiding, is almost a good thing.  The movies and shows are "new" to me.  As are the words of the Confessions and the Living Word of the Psalter.

In this, it matters not the differences between this spring and last.

I am Yours, Lord.  Save me!

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