One Less Thing

I realized my self-talk whispers “ok, one more thing” over and over each time a new daily challenge arrives. This came to my attention when suddenly I experienced a fifteen minute window where I soaked in the joy of One-Less-Thing instead.

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My car dashboard mirrors my life with its scattered warnings. The tire maintenance light is forever “on”. I’ve had 5 nail punctured tires over 5 months.

The service engine light greets me each morning. The oil change guy hooked up a gadget reader to tell me the light is nothing to worry about, but I wonder. The brake light won’t go out even when the emergency brake is released. I stopped looking up what the other lights mean in the manual.

The dashboard reminds me of the running narrative in my mind. It goes something like this: I’m still sick. Stress is not helping me get well. Drop the kid off at school. Go to work. Repeat. My voice refuses to come back. The cat puked. -One more thing. I need to make dinner. Sweep the house. Keep trying to sell the house. Clean the bathroom. Move the laundry. I really should write a letter or send a care package to our deployed son. What just fell off the house?! -One more thing. If you sit down, you’ll fall asleep. Get up. Give Hubby the light weight fork because it is easier for him to manage. Position his shoes in a way that will help him be less likely to fall. Move his phone to his next location so he is not thrown off balance by carrying something when he travels inside the house. Help the remaining kid with college applications. I need to go to Lowe’s. Heavy duty caulk. A new vacuum bag. Take out the trash and recycling. Prepare for presentations at work. Who do I need to call back? Have I followed through on all work tasks? Scoop litter box. Check personal email to see if anyone has responded to my manuscript query letters. Send more queries. Do we have gas in both cars? Pay bills in a way that hopefully does not cause an overdraft. It’s going to be close again this month. Is Hubby breathing? Is the cat breathing? I really need to make a vet appointment. -One more thing. There are other people I want to check in with. I text them. There are other people I would like to be there for. My capacity is too narrow. I can’t believe he hasn’t been able to work for a year. We need some mobility equipment. That will have to wait. The kid needs an eye appointment. -One more thing. I can’t make that work financially. How many hours of sleep can I get if I go to sleep right this minute? Why can’t I fall asleep? And so forth.

I try not to complain out loud. “Just keep swimming” as Dory says. But seriously, if there is a Santa out there who wants to buy our house so we can leave and start over, that would be GREAT.

Today I uprooted this tree growing into our fence and felt delighted by the image. Yes, we are ready to be uprooted.

In an attempt to make extra cash, I placed an ad to be a Pet Sitter. I can squeeze in dog walking and more cat litter scooping. I can love on animals and give neighbors peace of mind. The first response? Someone needs help with a cat until they get out of jail in February. So many thoughts. Bless their heart. Sigh….

One day I will not feel so stuck. I visualize selling a manuscript and being in an affordable and accessible home. One day I’ll be in the land of all three. I have learned hard lessons. I can do better.

This week our youngest got a job. Go kid! And he broke my heart by saying, “You won’t have to worry about Christmas, Mom, ’cause I’ll be able to buy my own presents.” The sentiment is good. The reality hurts.

A new job means he needs new pants. We make a plan to go to the store Wednesday. I secretly stress about how to afford the pants, but I think we can make it work. I don’t want him to know how close we are cutting it.

On Tuesday evening I drag my work bag into the house as the guys say, “We have a surprise.”

There on the kitchen table are new pants one day early. Hubby even used a coupon. In my book, that’s hot. Hubby had a decent afternoon and they worked together. I hear that the wheelchair got stuck in the JCPenny door, and they figured that out too.

In the moment, I physically felt something fall off the to-do list. One. Less. Thing. This felt magical. I soaked in the joy for fifteen intentional minutes. I smiled in my own home. This surprise felt so good!

This was a glimpse that things can be better. Will be better. I will trust the process.

To all those who struggle, I send you a giant cyber hug. You can do this. We can do this. Deep, slow breaths.

And now I must go.

The cat puked.

Love,

Glenna

HOPE FRIENDS

I like people, all kinds of people.  I enjoy learning about a variety of backgrounds and experiences.

You might think this would mean that once I have a friend, then we would be friends forever, but that is not reality.

Reality is that some friendships come and go in life…for all kinds of reasons.

One time in college a guy broke up with me because he said I was “too nice”.  He “needs someone more like his mother.”  Interesting.

In my twenties, there was a woman in the office who I nearly worshiped.  I thought she was great and considered naming my unborn child after her (good thing I had a boy).  One day she was done with me and gave me a poem about how friendships are for a season or reason and rarely forever.  Alrighty then.

In my thirties, one week after my mother’s funeral, a girlfriend I loved and trusted gave me an “8 things that have to change about you” list.  Oh boy.  My favorite line item was “you’ll be friends with anybody and that’s not ok with me.”  Absorbed.  Noted.

And now the debacle of 2012, welcome to year one of being in my forties.  Someone I care deeply about misjudged the intentions of a situation.  Kindness was intended, but she did not see it that way.  She got mad.  I offered to listen to her perspective–maybe I’d learn something–but she refused.  This hurts and I suppose she hurts too.  Some relationships can grow stronger after overcoming conflict, but that’s usually not possible if friends refuse to process.

The Bible is clear about what to do when conflict arises:  you go to that person and try to work it out (Matthew 18:15).  And there’s more verses of instruction to follow, but sometimes things have to be given time.  And like the poem (ouch) says, some friendships are not forever. 

You know that movie and book He’s Just Not That Into You?  Well, I think that phrase can apply to realizations we all have about relationships from time to time.

The above examples are from my life, but I imagine you can think of examples from your life.  Yes?  No?  Oh goodness, please don’t tell me I’m alone in these experiences!

Often I witness other rocky relationships and think of a sermon we heard once about Hope Friends and how to identify a Hope Friend. 

Pastor Mecum reviewed Romans 5:1-5.  In those verses you’ll find encouragement regarding the patience and experience you gain when going through tough times.  His sermon focus was that “hope does not disappoint” and you can assess every relationship based on two Hope Friend principles:

1.  Person of Faith – Is your friend a person of faith?  Do they have a faith approach to life?  Do they live beyond what they can see?  Do they hope for the best?

2.  Person of Praise – Is your friend someone who will find ways to praise (be positive) even when times are challenging?  Do they encourage you or bring you down?

If you think of all your friends, how many have both qualities?  It’s eye-opening to think about, isn’t it?  

Then take one more step and assess yourself.  Am I a person who offers faith and praise or do I struggle in one or both areas?  Which area do I need to work on the most?

Perhaps we all struggle in these areas from time to time, but being a Hope Friend despite my flaws is what I aim to be.  And I am grateful for the Hope Friends (and Family) in my life!  Yes, I still have friends believe it or not!

May we all strive to be the best Hope Friends we can.

Blessings to you and yours,

Glenna