From Despair to Delight


Sometimes I get caught up in self-pity.  Feeling sorry for myself because I am not writing enough, doing enough, being enough.  Do you ever feel that way?  I wrote two blogs on Aug 8th.  After I did that, I worried that I shouldn’t have posted them both at once.  Then a couple of days went by and I worried that I hadn’t written anything yet.  What’s more I need to write something positive and up beat.  Who wants to read something depressing and yet I don’t feel positive and up beat at all.  All of this went to a full-fledged pity party feeling like I failed myself, God, the Universe, everyone.  That’s how important I think my little speck of an existence is.  When I woke up, I wasn’t feeling any better.

Mike got up and did his usual routine; he took our Chocolate Lab/Pit Bull/Vizsla/Rhodesian Ridgeback/Chesapeake Bay Retriever dog, Angie for a walk and brought in the paper to read in bed.  He laid down on the bed and rustled the front page of the Milwaukee/Journal Sentinel settling down for a satisfying read.  I was on my side watching every move thinking what a miserable wretch I was.  He turned to face me and asked? “How are you?”  He must have sensed my mood yesterday.  I usually get quiet or/and start complaining about anything that crossed my path, something like, Angie is staring at me like she wants me to do something.  What does she want anyway? or, Did you see that?  That butterfly flew right past me to land on that flower over there.  I could have run into it then where would it be.

So now Mike is wondering where my mood is this morning probably because when he usually tosses the sports section at me so I can check the weather I pick it up eagerly grabbing my glasses off my night table at the same time but this time I just let it lay next to me.

Most times, lately, like the last couple of years, I wake up with a sort of solution to what I am stressing about.  It just comes to me.  Like one day the thing that threw me into the pit of despair was I thought one of my sons was avoiding me.  I woke up and the thought that came to mind was just the advice I needed.  “Listen,” I told myself, “He just got married two years ago and had a baby last year.  He has a lot on his plate and he doesn’t need you getting all weird on him.”  “You know you’re right.”  I thought smiling to myself feeling my mood lift.  Now the situation didn’t change, just my view of it.  This time, however, no such words of wisdom were coming to me.

As I watched Mike read the paper, I squinted at the paper trying to read some headlines.  Sometimes I can’t make it out and will grab the paper and angle it in my direction.  This morning what caught my eye was the sub headline that read, “Weakest children left behind by parents”.  I wanted to know what was happening with these children

“What’s that about?”  I asked Mike jabbing at the paper.

“The famine in Kenya,” he said.  “They are trying to move the people to a different refugee camp and the children can’t make it.”

This made my mood sink even further.  Now I felt bad for worrying about my petty little problems and here these people are fighting for their lives.  Shouldn’t I be doing something?  How can I help?  I felt powerless, impotent.  All I can really do is pray and send love to those people.  Is this enough I wonder?  Does that really make I difference?  I hoped so.

This feeling stayed with me for must of the morning when the phone rang.  It was a relative of this elderly gentlemen I care for through a home health agency.  He has been in the hospital and my work with him has stopped but I went to see him a couple of times anyway  His daughter was calling to let me know he was at a different hospital just in case I came to see him.  I told her I would be there today to see him.  “Thanks for coming to see him.  I know that will make his day brighter.”

Last time I went to see him in the hospital, I brought a big yellow balloon with a smiley face and some flowers.  We laughed and joked about how big it was.  “I don’t think I’ve had a balloon before.” he said.   I told him it was to help him smile.

This time I picked up these two plants I had on my porch to bring him.  They are plants that he gave me because he was going to throw them out.  I transplanted them in ceramic pots I picked up at a rummage sale.  They turned from yellow and wilting to green and lush.

I walked in with the plants and he grinned. “Well, Hi, Janice.” he said beaming.  He looked at the pots in my hand.  “Why did you bring those here?  I gave them to you.”

“That doesn’t mean we can’t share,” I said.  I set them down and they looked refreshingly green against the white walls of the hospital room.

“But they’re for you.” He said again.

“I brought them to you for a visit.  Don’t they look good?”

“Yes, they do look good.  But now I have to worry about watering them.”

“Actually, you don’t.  I just watered them and they are good to go for at least a week.  Then I will take them back.  Ok?”  He looked from me to the plants.  “When you look at them I want you to smile.”  He smiled.

Driving back home I thought about the people in Kenya and that all I could do was pray and send love to them.  However, I can, also, do what I can for the people here in my neck of the woods, even if it is just one person.  Both ways of helping

Mother Teresa, the ultimate crone, said, “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”  Here I thought I had nothing in me positive and up lifting.  Yet, I somehow managed to find something and uplift myself in the process.

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6 thoughts on “From Despair to Delight

  1. You worry too much! You are such an awesome person. Look at what you did for an elderly man…you made his day…more than once! Just be you…that’s all you need to do.

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