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

THE GARBAGE IS FULL

Pet peeve alert. And a disclaimer alert. –As in, what I’m about to tell you is something I witness that bothers me, but I also struggle with this topic too. I humbly share the following metaphor and follow up information. See if you can relate also.

First, the metaphor: I don’t like garbage to pile up in my vehicle. It does not bother me if other people fill their cars with garbage, but every time I pull into my driveway or a parking lot with a trash can, I try to toss the garbage. I do not sweep or wipe out my vehicle nearly enough, but the garbage must go daily.

Last week I was eager to clear my trash when I noticed that every garbage can in the parking lot was overflowing. If I had tried to add my trash, then I only would have added to the overflow situation. The garbage cans were full. My trash would have to wait.

This life moment reminded me of how sometimes people go through a heavy mess of stuff in their life. Sometimes a person is so overflowing that their pain is obvious. That person may choose to share their troubles with you.

Here’s the pet peeve part: when someone begins to share what is ailing them I think we need to be careful not to add to their garbage. Jumping in to tell someone a story about our own lives, interrupting the other person, trumping them with a nearly similar story…all of that is usually not a good idea–at least not a good idea in that initial sharing time. How much better is it when we simply seek to be present for the other person? How rare is it for anyone to feel heard all the way? –For someone to speak and to be allowed to finish their thought?

I’m not saying that we never share when we have something in common with the other person’s issue. I’m just saying that if someone’s garbage is full, then don’t add to it. Maybe you send them an encouraging word later. Maybe you tell them at a later time that you may be able to relate to their story. Or maybe you simply give the other person the gift of listening and leave it at that.

Occasionally I struggle with this area too. After an exchange passes I may think, “Why did I feel the need to share that in response? What was my motive?”

If our motives are to be there for others and not add to their garbage, then usually the answer is to be present, to be quiet and truly listen.

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things you have….

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God….

May we be a good listener for others.
May we be blessed with good listeners when we need them.
May we know the difference and the right timing for both.

Glenna