Sunday, July 7, 2019

Slipping Down

I laughed the first time I heard the saying -

I may look like I have it all together, but inside my shoe, my sock is slipping down.

To be honest, I feel like that a lot.  I have been told many times throughout my life things like, "You make it look so easy."  -I am not sure what "it" is.  "You are such a good mom." -My kids have been fed and they have on clean clothes if that is what you mean. "I don't know how you do it all."  -My house is a disaster of epic proportions and I am so very tired. I went to work today and did the dishes. Hardly accolade worthy.

Don't get me wrong. It isn't that I am lying. It isn't that I am portraying a fake persona and finally have everyone convinced that I know what I am doing.  My mom told me that my smile that comes naturally could be deceiving.  When I was a teenager and first heard this from her, I was confused as I thought she was insulting me.  After hearing it a few times, I asked her what she meant, because it sure sounded as if she was being mean.  My mom explained that she actually envied me. I was so confused.  She went on to say that no matter what I was experiencing, no matter what had happened, I always seemed able to locate a readily available smile that seemed genuine. She wished she could do that.  She wished that what she was thinking and feeling didn't always show on her face and in her body language.  My mom told me that she knew my heart, and she knew my joy and she admired that I was able to find something that could make me smile in each new day.

When I was 12, my parents divorced. My parents relationship went from being married to trashing each. When I was 14, my dad moved to Washington and never returned.  Also, when I was 14, I became ill with Lyme Disease and felt pretty horrible for a number of years.  But I went to youth group, I made new friends, I began to date, went to camp, attended youth conferences and went on missions trips.  I acted in plays, I sang at special events and at county fairs and at the state fair.  I went to college, I met my then future husband.  No matter what I had experienced, life had to go on. I wanted to do more, see more, experience more.  I was forced to put one foot in front of the other. And I am so very glad that it was my mom pushing me along the way.

As an adult, I have struggled with a number of physical issues.  Needing a number of surgeries, trying to figure out pain management, and desiring a pain free day, I struggle. I am usually quite honest when someone asks me about how I am feeling. But I worry that I have become a bit of broken record.  I complain. A lot.  I don't want to be known as the complainer.  I am now able to identify what kind of day it will be usually quite soon after opening my eyes in the morning.  I have good days and I have not so good days. But I feel that after my most recent surgeries this past January, that I have more good days than not.  However, one of things that I have really worked on is being very aware of and thankful for is the good that I can find in each day.

A day is made up of many moments.  Some boring and mundane, some heartwarming and edifying. Others funny and laugh worthy, while still others that fill us with emotion until inevitable tears break loose.  Each day is a sum of its parts.  Those parts become a whole.  Even on the toughest of days,  I force myself to identify what good can be found.  Yesterday was one of the not so great days for me.  I struggled with pain the entire day. Transitional movements were the worst. (Sitting to standing, laying to sitting.) However, I got a lot of work done yesterday on the computer. I took my kids to the library.  I enjoyed an almond milk chai tea at Red Bench Bakery.  I watched 4 little girls play and splash in the pool.  I cuddled with my son.  My husband and I enjoyed many games of cards together at the dining room table.  These things made me incredibly happy on a day where I could have felt nothing but discouragement.

A friend who was going through rough patch once told me that the only thing she enjoyed each day was that first cup of coffee.  I responded, "How wonderful that you have coffee! Imagine if you had to start your day without it.  That would be a horrible day."  After repeating this and other such things to her, she started to realize what I was aiming at. We spoke about our daily challenges and our triumphs. I told her how I had to make a concerted effort to explore the good in each day and sometimes, I even had to intentionally create fun. It changed my mindset.  Now, I know when I become a Negative Nancy, I need to go on a new path and search out the good.

That smile you see?  It means- I have missed you.  I am so glad to see you.  I love hearing stories about your kids and sharing with you stories about mine.  Thank you for meeting me.  I enjoyed our time together. I can not wait to spend time with you again. -That smile is meant for you.  That smile is real.  Thank you for making me smile.

Tomorrow might be another hard day.  My sock might totally be slipping down.  I have to leave for work quite early and then have to come home and clean.  But you know what? I will laugh with my morning client. We will be silly together and take breaks to love on her cat and admire her healthy patio flowers. I will laugh with my kids and swim in the afternoon sun.  I will make a great dinner for my family and probably swim again.  I will seek out the joy that is mine for taking.

My house might not be completely clean by the time the guys arrive for bible study tomorrow evening. But it doesn't matter.  Because I will probably have located my smile by the time they arrive. And there is always Tuesday. I work on pulling up my socks then.

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