Its been a long and awful week. Listing events in the order of occurrence, not importance:
-Horrible canker sore in my mouth just the day before a fast day meant I couldn't eat much before or after the fast
-Burn on my hand from cooking
-Passing away of Steve's grandmother who we loved so dearly
-Job challenges which shall remain mysterious
-Husband working 30 hour on call shifts
-Weird medical malady that left me thinking I had cancer all week (thankfully not the case!)
-Two weekends alone with the kids and no hubby or shabbat plans in sight
-Breakdown of my car leaving me stranded with the kids
-Husband gone for 60 hours including an overnight shift and 40 hour trip to Denver for funeral that me and kids couldn't attend
-Friends letting me down in a hurtful way
As you can see, I have shed a lot of tears and burned a lot of brain power swimming in the misery of this terrible week. Friends and family have surprised me in their support while others have focused rightly so on their own issues that consume us all in our day to day efforts.
One can literally become so consumed in their pity for oneself that it can become a barrier to enjoying life and seeing the good things that surround you. I started to become that person. To be fair, everyone should have the right to acknowledge their feelings and come to terms with the hardships they face. In fact, I find myself often in the situation where I either am afraid or don't know how to ask for help. I get so caught up in keeping it all together or taking care of other people, that I overlook my own needs.
For example, picture a weekend where Steve is working, I'm trying to shuffle work, taking care of the kids and making shabbat plans. Here I am, calling friends offering to host a meal, including shopping and staying up late night just to make a few dishes to create a shabbat atmosphere for me and the kids when the hubby is away. Its critical for me to try and maintain a senses of stability when the schedule gets us down, but sometimes my desire for creating a Jewish environment ends up with me taking on too much so that I am in over my head when most other people would pick up ready made food, eat on paper and plastic with the kids and call it a day.
As I was sitting in my doom and gloom of a night, reflecting on the hardships both physical and mental of this week, I realized that the answer of how to turn this all around lay simply inside ME. By doing something nice for another person or reaching out to ask for help, I can give someone else the feeling that I want to have and I can let someone into my world to do something nice for me.
I have been overwhelmed with the support of friends today talking me through my challenges, buying me groceries and driving me and the kids 30 miles to the airport to pickup Steve's parked car after my own broke down. I feel so lucky to have friends such as those.
But I decided tonight was the time to also turn the corner on my blog project. After my first outreach call to my mom's maid of honor, I was able to put the pieces and detective work together to locate my mom's long lost first cousin. Through the help of classmates.com, Google and Facebook, I found her alive and well in Seattle (my favorite city on the planet thus far).
I chose to end my night with a bit of exploratory learning about my mom, her home life and childhood, her musical talents and her dream of creating normalcy in her life by marrying the man of her dreams and starting a family. She succeeded in so many of her goals, becoming a junior high English teacher, settling down with my dad and bringing life to three lively kids. Even though she died, she continues to live inside each of us and instilled in us the dream of making our home and family, not our jobs, the center of our worlds.
Perhaps there is a light at the end of all our tunnels. We just need to lift up our eyes to the mountains and see the horizon for all its glory. It would have been easy to mope around in my pajamas tonight clinging to the challenges that lined my week. But, I'm done with that. I've shed enough of my tears and had my disappointments. I have places to go and stumbling and falling down is a part of the real world.
We've all been there and know how easy it is to get stuck. But at the end of the day, it isnt other people who are going to recenter your world.... its YOU. Its a decision, whatever your malady, whether it be emotional, physical or mental difficulties, to choose to view it in a different light. Reconnection with my family and with those my mom held very dear has warmed a place in my heart that used to be cold. To hear the obstacles my mom overcame in life just to make a loving family is so inspiring to me. And here I am in the midst of it all, living the life she always wanted.
Perhaps all those things that can make it seem like the sky is falling down all around us are really just there to teach us that we're human and that we're still here. No one is immune to pain and hardship. But everyone can choose to turn the page.