So this was supposed to be the post that I had half-written last week, when I was writing the update on Ray’s recovery. But it’s funny how, in the blink of an eye, everything can change and the “I’m doing okay but dang this is a lonely business” post changes to an “I’m a hot mess and I can’t stop crying and there’s no way I can possibly do everything I’m supposed to do and I am having a hard time seeing the good things in life right now” pity party.
Let me start by saying that I think I’m past the hot mess pity party, or else I probably wouldn’t be writing this post. I hate whiners and, while I might whine to close friends and family, I do try to keep it off the internet for the world to read. So, while this might start out negative, I do promise to end on a positive.
So here’s how it goes. Last Thursday, I’m coasting along, having had a remarkably good day on Wednesday. In fact, Wednesday night I posted on Facebook, reflecting that I had actually achieved all of my critical “to-do’s” for the day. Of course, when I realized that I had only slept 3.5 hours the night before, and I’d hired help for four hours, I joked that I could stay on top of my work load if I never slept and each day was a half hour longer. Anyways, it was Thursday and life seemed pretty good. Until Ray and I met with the neuropsychologist who coordinates his rehabilitative therapy.
And she told me I wasn’t doing enough.
Okay, okay, she didn’t use those words, exactly. She was very nice, really. But the bottom line is this: Even as I thought Ray was making such remarkable progress (and had just posted a blog post about it, for the love of all that’s good!), the therapists felt that he wasn’t making enough progress, and that it was because we haven’t been doing enough therapy at home.
Exit happy, “I’ve got this” Stephanie. Enter “You’ve got to be kidding me, how can I possibly do one more thing” hot mess disaster Stephanie.
I made it through the meeting. But for the next several hours the words kept playing through my head. I’m not doing enough.
I lost it when I was telling my sister about it. At Dude’s rugby game. For all the world (or at least all those rugby parents) to see.
I lost it again the next day when I called my mom and told her what had happened.
And I lost it again as I watched what seemed to be a pint of blood go down the drain because Ray had sliced his fingers while cutting steak (blood thinners really work).
Reality struck. I had everything under control in the way that a cartoon character carrying a giant stack of dishes has control of those plates. Add one tiny tea cup, a spoon, or – heck! – even just a napkin, and the illusion of control is destroyed.
I’ve told friends that my life right now isn’t much different from that of a single mother with five young children with lots of doctor’s appointments and mountain of long-term-disability/social-security paperwork and medical bills to wade through.
But, seriously? What woman can handle all of that?
Well. Here’s the answer. Not a one. At least, certainly not this one. The reality is that things are going to remain undone and priorities have to be set, and that when that mom is trying to do everything, she’s going to make herself – and most likely everyone around her – miserable.
But here’s where the hot mess pity party ends, and light streams through the clouds.
I’ve written before about my need for this virtue, and the opportunity for growth remains. Humility is the knowledge that, without God I can do nothing. When I try to do too much and fail, I come back to the knowledge that I’m trying to do these things on my own. Yes, I can do all things. But I must not forget the last part of the verse. Through Christ, who strengthens me.
And so my hot mess pity party of last weekend was a blessing in disguise. It got me back down on my knees in prayer where I belong. It helped me to refocus and reignite.
I can’t say that I won’t fall apart again, but, with God’s Grace, I will find the courage and strength to acknowledge my weakness, cling to Him, and allow Him to put me back together again.