One never knows when a tragedy or disturbance of some kind will come along and wipe the slate clean for you, starting things over or at least calling for a time out.
These events can vary in severity; the intensity levels exist on a very broad spectrum of discomfort. Some happen quickly and end just as fast while others build up into a blowup which might go on for awhile. But when a difficult situation arises, we do not always know how we will react. We cannot gauge it by looking at how we typically live our lives because a response to an emergency brings out an awareness in us that we most often are not in touch with. Everything else melts away and you are left with that moment only. It brings everything into a different focus.
Most of us go along without worrying too much about what “might” happen and some of us push boundaries, exposing ourselves to the constant pressure of growth, diversity and renewal. Then there are those who paralyze themselves, not branching out into life for fear that they will hurt or uncomfortably expose themselves, maybe even lose someone they love. But, in the face of a challenge, we cannot always predict our reaction.
Whatever it is that sustains one’s degree of contentment during times that are strained or difficult is elusive. Some throw their entire faith into God or some other spiritual force. Others just live in a place of acceptance. Ultimately, the importance of sustaining one’s balance in life is unmatched and when facing strife, acceptance, confidence, curiosity, hope and growth are all necessities.
One of the most obvious opportunities for deep growth and clear messages of direction is when one becomes ill. Yesterday, I had an experience with illness that really shook me and sent me to a place in my mind that I have not visited in awhile. It was painful and scary but also enlightening.
I awoke and got the boys fed and dressed. My husband and I got ourselves ready to take him to work. We are sharing a car until we settle into our new community and that in itself has been a relationship builder. It takes a good dose of team work to manage that and I have to say that I am proud of how we have handled it thus far! This morning was like any other except for a feeling like I had a blister on my toe. This was not unusual since I get blisters on my feet often from running, so I payed little attention to it.
Now with my husband at work and getting myself and the kids settled back into the house. I decided to cut my son’s hair. I was feeling cold so we went onto the deck in the sunshine. It felt unusually warm and nice. When I stepped back inside my chill came right back and I noticed that my toe was really hurting me now when I put my weight on it. I took my youngest son upstairs for a nap and began to struggle with even the stairs. I was light-headed, short of breath, weak and sore all over. My mouth was really dry and I felt nauseous. I was not sure what to make of this.
I would describe myself as someone who handles pain well and takes a bit of pride in toughing out any kind of spell but I was pretty sure something was wrong. I called my husband, who had no car mind you, and he said I would have to drive to his work place so he could take me to the ER. Our sitter is on vacation and things were beginning to deteriorate pretty quickly. My only other choice was to call an ambulance but, again, the kids?
I managed to get us all in the car with food, drinks, diapers, you know, all the stuff! We took off and my lethargic state increased in intensity with every mile I drove. I resisted the urge to pull over because of that desire to control the situation, not panic and make it easier for everyone. Was this the best choice? I do not know. I just know that I got myself and the boys to my husband and we went straight to the ER.
They could not tell me exactly what had happened to me but they could not ignore my declining functions. There was a red line already working its way up my ankle so they quickly hooked me up on the IV for an aggressive antibiotic treatment. I tried to keep my cool and maintain a sense of humor throughout the experience but inside I was scared. Being a mother, one cannot help but first go to one of the darkest places in their mind. What is this and can it leave my children motherless?
I thought a lot about my family and how our upcoming transition has gotten us all a bit distracted. I was saddened at the thought of moving further away from some of our family members and suddenly felt pretty insecure. I laid there worrying a bit and also thinking, “Well, this is perfect timing. Isn’t it just the way of life to have something thrown at you when your plate is full.” I have been so busy making last minute plans with friends, getting ready for my final days in Virginia and preparing my family for the move that it seemed only natural that I was provided with a time out.
It gave me pause for reflection and a good dose of reality. We are never completely safe in our physical bodies so it is imperitive that we live each moment to the fullest. If you need a rest then rest! If you love someone then go tell them right now for no reason. If you haven’t spoken to someone for awhile and always regret it, give them a call! If it has been a long winter for you, go eat your lunch in the sunshine. Whatever it might be, just fully live the moment you are given and give it your complete attention.
My toe is okay and I have follow up treatment today but it was a realistic tap on the shoulder; a reminder of my mortality and that I sometimes need a time out. It gently nudged me to keep my halo spinning and growing sustainably; to keep dreaming and opening myself up to the possibility of this moment.
Love and light,