During clown shoes, poop watches and lost teeth, there have been more solemn things at hand. They aren’t as fun to write about and I suppose the same is true in terms of reading about them. We are still on this journey of Mike’s health issues which have long overstayed their welcome. I guess most could be tired of hearing it. I’m tired of living it. And as our encouraging climb up has discouragingly plateaued, it has brought out the worst in me. Who said pressure produces diamonds? For me, it has brought out all my negative grumpiness, and I have most often than not been a witch with a capital B.
We took the kids to the zoo last Saturday. While walking from the farm section through the Nature Boardwalk area, Connor zig-zagged paying more attention to everything but the path in front of him. He crossed in front of a cyclist. I called out for the 10th time that morning, “Connor, watch where you’re going!” The 2nd biker smiled, but the 1st biker who had to swerve rudely muttered, “Kid’s gonna get run over!” Normally I just ignore. I’m the type that has much difficulty over-riding the nice, compliant Asian persona even when the situation demands for confrontation. I’ll drink the worst lychee martini in my life rather than send it back asking for something decent to drink. This time I hollered to Mike who could’ve heard me whisper, “Wow, she was witchy!” also spelled with a capital B. In front of the kids.
The rest of the day was as enjoyable as the first minus the mean cyclist. We loved listening to the kind, grandfatherly farmer at the Edible Gardens give us a tour, some tastings, and interesting facts. The kids loved watching a green snake eat shrubs. We saw the beautiful puma elegantly climb to the highest rock. Two goats had a head-butting battle. There were many moments to treasure.
However, at the end of the day, I was still doing the lame practice of those who aren’t gifted with perfect confrontation when it actually happens. I imagined in my mind a series of replays with the cyclist. Yes, it was an immature waste of time and energy. Still, I pictured myself chasing her down, screaming things like, “You’re at the ZOO section! There are going to be tons of kids! Go ahead and run mine over! I DARE YOU! The resulting lawsuit will provide for my retirement, not to mention my busting out a flying sidekick on your sorry *&$! Look at the signs: You’re supposed to WALK your bike here, loser! ROAR!!” I’m not proud of my need to reenact these scenes. Why let a random stranger ruin an otherwise perfect day? I’m going to blame low resources.
My resources are spent keeping up my happy denial. So when Mike tries to talk to me about anything related to his continued pain, uncertainty with the future, the wealth of possible changes that could come, rather than sympathize, comfort, and encourage, I tend to roar. I’ve been roaring at him and at the kids a lot these days. Last time I checked, I wasn’t a lion. But I’d venture to guess that I’ve been scary to live with. Come to think of it, maybe mean cyclist is also under pressure. Did I ever think of that? No, it’s always easier to think of myself.
But somehow in all this, there is always grace. Thinking of possible changes that used to make me want to weep and bawl now sometimes actually get me excited. Going through this journey, I also recognize that I don’t want to be that person who gets tired of listening. When troubles hit, and they always do, I want to be there. Not just in the beginning with the usual outpouring of support and sympathy. But for the long haul. Long suffering friends, I hope to make good on this vow. It’s not easy. I know no one is immune to compassion fatigue. I know it’s easier to live in denial. Sometimes, I’d rather not read your blog or hear your struggles. But you have no choice when life hits hard and long. So I want to stay in that sacred place with you. Why? Because I know firsthand the difference it makes when you have the loving, steadfast company of others.
Those of you still reading, would you please pray for endurance, for Mike’s attempt to return to work this Monday on a part-time basis, for wisdom, for healing, for less roaring, and for our focus to remain squarely on Him. Thanks!