Preserving Our Past For The Future

Monthly Archives: August 2012

I am one of the unfortunate sufferers of arthritis and osteoporosis. The effects of both these conditions have pretty much been a part of my life in one way or other since my late teens, early 20’s. At first, my parents thought it was traditional “growing pains”, so we pretty much ignored it as such and went on. But as I left my teens and entered my 20’s I started having some really odd pains…most mornings it was hard to get out of bed.

I found I couldn’t do the common things of a 20 year old…it was an effort to pick up my baby, my hands would “give out”, or my upper arms some mornings had virtually no strength in them, seemingly overnight. My feet had what I called heel spurs, but looking back I can see it was where the osteoporosis had set in. Not the normal physical life of a 20 year old. I plodded through it and played more with my daughter on the more mobile days, and cut back activity on others when we sat and read a lot or watched the tube, due to my aching joints and bones. But once I entered the 30’s, the pain had become debilitating more days than not, so off I trotted to the doctor, and thus the diagnosis all those years ago.

Several different medicines have been tried, but not being much for synthetic answers, I pretty much have just “adjusted” to the pain and difficulty in my body as the years have rolled on. Now at the age of “over 50”, there is pain every day, all day, in more than one spot of my body and that is my norm. Frankly most of the time I push through it and don’t even really notice it until it gets outside the pain level I have grown accustomed to all these years.

This week, I decided to change my daily routine. I had begun working at home the last couple of months pretty much exclusively and although I am a very organized person, I kept finding myself kind of drifting from one activity to another during the day and not getting as much accomplished as I desired and knew I could complete. I also seemed to be running out of time to just be myself and do some personal things I love such as read the Kindle on the back deck. So I sat down with pencil and paper, jotted down a tentative scheduling of my time and necessary daily activities, and placed those in general slots of time during the day. I wanted to create a new “normal” schedule for myself since the “normal” I have had for many years was no longer existent when I came back home to work, rather than going to an office every day.

All week, I have been on schedule and now that it is Friday it is actually starting to kind of feel “normal”. I marvel over the things I am accomplishing. I am marveling more over being able to stop at a certain time of the day, just like in an office setting, and fix my dinner, watch TV, read, rest or whatever I want to do for a slot of hours in my evening, rather than working till bedtime because I took 5 minutes here and 15 there during the day and “got behind” on things I really needed to complete for the day trying to grab moments of personal time of reflection and rest. I am more focused, I am more energized, and even my body is responding by getting more physical rest in longer segments, which could do nothing but aid in my health issues, right?

What I have found most interesting is this…

I have spent years working in my business. Many hours were willingly put in and very much enjoyed because the business was growing and so was I. I was meeting new people, being recognized in my community and among my peers, becoming a spokesperson for my industry. My new “normal” was getting up, working till bed with a few moments sprinkled through the day here and there of personal or family time, and doing it all over the next day. Prior to this working career, I had been a stay-at-home mom that worked at home, was in my yard and gardens for about 30 hours a week ( my passion), worked in my church, cooked every day, made bread, and did all those things that I adored doing for my family. A sad divorce forced me into the work world, and I adapted to it quickly and loved it, too…but the things that were once “normal” for me became the “abnormal”, and stayed that way for many years.

When I got up this morning at 6, I started thinking about my life now, and what my “normal” is now…and more what my “normal” today should be. As I took my morning walk, I thought about how my joint pain over the years had grown to a point that what was once thought of as terribly paralyzing “growing pains”, were tiny compared to the pain I now feel in my body as the norm each day. It truly does paralyze me in many ways and make me incapable of living a “normal” life for my age. I had let pain and difficulty physically become my “normal”. Nowadays, some pretty severe pain has to come along to slap me and say “hey you, you have some real physical issues here that need to be addressed. This isn’t just something you have to go through…a “growing pain”…it is out of the NORMAL…do something about it”.

How many of us, I wonder, have let sad situations, people who are jerks that consistently disrespect us by their words or behavior, or personal hardship and fear become our “normal” because it was looked upon as a “growing pain”…just something you have to go through, everyone does… it is “normal”…

Maybe it’s time for each of us to take a good long look at the life we lead, who we allow into it, what activities and priorities are part of the DNA of our today. Have we allowed people, emotions, beliefs or any number of “abnormal” things become our “normal” through disregard of the pain they may be causing us, and have caused us over the years? Is it time for us to change our perception? Or, even more… is it time to take a look at our pain head on, decide what has taken the value of our life and turned it into a devaluing thing…and then make a shift back to our kind of “normal”?

It might be that going back to our “normal” is the real growing pain we need to experience today.

This blog post comes at the end of a perfect day. I usually go to yard sales a.k.a. junkin’ as my Granddaughter calls it, but not today. I decided to stay home and work around my house instead. So much was accomplished…the piles of things that had accumulated over the last week from estate clean outs and purchasing trips was put away, housework was done, organizing in my home office was marked off the list and I was ready to retire for the night. Then I remembered that I had read there was a meteor shower, more visible after midnight, and I quickly looked at my watch and decided to head outdoors. The air was really cool for this time of year, unseasonably so. I had a glass of strawberry zinfandel and my lawn chair as silent companions, and I waited, peering up at the night sky. Perseid comes through each August. It is the time of year that the Earth goes through the shattered remains of a comet that actually began disintegrating around the time of the Civil War. Amazing, we are still feeling the effects every year at the same time, just like clockwork.

As I sat waiting for the light show I was certain would be spectacular, I began to grow restless when no shooting “stars” were visible immediately. After maybe 6 or 7 minutes I saw something fly across my peripheral vision…and then it was gone…so fast I thought “Did I really see what I thought I saw?” So I waited for another…and waited. More time passed and I was about to convince myself I had seen a random firefly rather than a meteor when right in front of me swoosh…one flew past…and went out as suddenly as it had appeared. Now that was thrilling! I couldn’t wait to see the next, and the next…the time in between was pretty much the same…every 6 minutes or so, but once I had seen a sure meteor, I KNEW I would see another one, so the wait felt shorter each time one flew past my line of vision. I never doubted again that I would see exactly what I had come out to see…a life event.

As I gathered my things and came indoors I realized I had witnessed a life lesson for myself. So many times we ask, we pray, we plead for opportunities to change our life, our job, our home. We wait on those opportunities…and we wait. We think there will be a “sign in the sky” or some type of out of the ordinary event that will give us the assurance that THIS is what we need to do, or THAT is where we need to go with our path. Many times the chance to make a real life change comes by so quickly, we aren’t even sure we really saw, or heard, what we thought we did. So we continue to wait for change to happen on its own. Time passes and we think we really didn’t see the opportunity clearly and maybe we were wrong to even think that…oh, there goes another opportunity whizzing by…much brighter than the first! This is when we may get excited…maybe, just maybe, I am on the right path this time…maybe this is where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to do. And maybe…when we were so heartsick, lonely ,afraid or feeling as if we were in a huge rut we didn’t see the opportunities coming, just like clockwork, every year, every month, or day to give us the permission to accept them and pursue our own contentment.

In the same way the comet exploded into tiny fragments, with millions of pieces flying through the air and our planet barreling through those fragments for the last 150 plus years…maybe we are guilty of spinning through opportunity after opportunity, rather than seeing them right in front of us because we were looking for that one big “something” rather than the tiny little pieces that would make the spectacular life we have always wanted become a reality.

In the Bible, 2nd Corinthians says our troubles are “light and momentary” but achieving a far greater thing in eternal ways. Perhaps all the light and momentary opportunities, just like the meteors that went flying past and were gone, are just the pre-show to the really wonderful life that is to come…if only we reach out and take hold of them before they are gone. I only know, I don’t want to be sitting in a lawn chair watching my opportunities…and my real life path…go flying past anymore. It’s time to gather the light and momentary and turn it into something lasting and true .