It’s been a long, painful (in various ways) week. My boy hit his head hard on a concrete floor on Sunday. (I heard the sickening impact.) My mother’s heart was wound tighter than a spring as I watched him for signs of confusion, sleepiness, etc. Also, Ian started antibiotics earlier this week, but near the end of the course of the medicine he developed the same symptoms that made the docs put him on the antibiotics in the first place, leaving us questioning whether he is truly healthy. In addition, I muddled through a small bout of a stomach bug and spent Sunday through Tuesday unable to move without lots! of pain in my neck. The pain lessens each day, but still remains almost constant. For some reason, this has been a week of feeling the monstrous weight of full-time loneliness that being a stay-at-home-mother can sometimes invoke. Finally, Daniel and I have spent months thinking about a major decision which will impact me greatly in the coming year. (No, we’re not having another baby.) This decision must! be made within the next few weeks, and we still lack important information… so very frustrating.
All these things have my head spinning and my motivation low. I’m prone to worrying instead of confidently concluding that it will all be ok—like Daniel does, so I find myself feeling pulled down, hardly able to smile and make conversation with the kids because I’m so entrenched.
Most of us have heard about the effects of stress/worry on the body, and I have certainly felt those effects over the years. The problem is when I think about the effects of stress on the body, I then start to worry about those effects on my body and how they’re shortening my life thus only adding to my worry, the effects of which shorten my life, a vicious cycle and very upsetting to think that I’m probably throwing hours (days or weeks?) of my life right down the drain.
I’ve tried to think about the millions upon millions of other people who have “real” troubles, much greater than my own, but it still does not ease my worry. I’ve tried to channel my worrying energy into prayers, but sometimes it feels like that only feeds my worries (not all the time, but sometimes).
Usually, when I’m close to the end of my worry rope, Daniel sits me down; and after I spout off all of my what-ifs and God-forbids, he then reminds me again that everything is as it will be and that I can’t change anything by worrying. And so this time around, I decided to try to find a new venue for my worrying energy. Instead of reviewing my what-ifs and mights like an annoying kid’s movie on automatic replay, I decided to take an entirely different approach to my worries. I decided to write a list of things I’m thankful for, 50 things that prove the goodness in my life. So here they are.
50 things I’m thankful for…. (in no particular order)
- sustaining faith
- motherhood & pregnancy
- able to live my dream of being a stay-at-home-mother
- family (I could use the remaining 43 slots listing family members, so this space includes parents, siblings/in-laws, nieces & nephews and MUCHO extended family)
- community & church
- forgiveness & grace
- friends/deep relationship
- our house
- our dishwasher!
- clean water
- temperature controlled environment for our living space
- two cars
- access to medical services
- food (lots of it) for energy
- chocolate and ice cream (yes, chocolate & ice cream deserve its own enumeration since they are definitely part of my reason for living, while broccoli, green beans, etc are necessity.)
- restaurants (ok, so what I’m really thankful for is a break from cooking—this would also include eating at someone else’s house)
- sound mind
- schools/higher education
- ability to read
- books to read
- computers/email (since I’m not a phone person)
- opportunities- the world can be my oyster so to speak
- able body
- nimble hands/fingers for gardening, cross stitching, piano playing, typing, buttoning buttons, so much more
- new-found running enjoyment
- all my senses (I was recently helping in Alice’s classroom, and they were discussing Helen Keller. It was interesting to hear first graders deciding which sense—vision or hearing—they would rather live without if they had to. Most of them wanted to be able to see instead of hear. But that brings me to the next item I’m thankful for.)
- Faure’s Requiem and my favorite composer, Rachmaninoff (Yes, this is music, but it’s music that stirs me like none other and so it deserves its own spot.)
- my own ability to make music – singing & piano playing
- sleeping through the night!!!!
- foam memory pillow (which will be one of my next purchases) and my bed
- Sunday afternoon naps (and the other naps I occasionally slip in during the week)
- nature’s beauties – I could easily fill up the remaining blanks listing the things I love about nature, but I’ll try to limit myself to only a few
- waterfalls, streams & rivers
- mountains (hiking mountains)
- lightening (not while on a mountain or in a field)
- fall – changing leaves
- flowers & trees
- gardening… and here I will end the nature theme – I think 7 slots is enough tribute to the great outdoors, but as you can see, I’m definitely a lover of nature
- the opportunity to watch my kids learn new things
- slow, relaxed days
- date nights
- each breath of each day
Dear Worrier, I will take care of you and your loved ones. Remember how far I’ve brought you, and look at what I have given you. Peace be with you.
I wrote this post about a week ago. While some of the situations from the first paragraph have changed for the better (my stomach and neck are better); a lot of it is the same with additional circumstances that could be stressful. My boy is still sick, but the docs keep telling me it’s all viral. He lays there and cries without Tylenol and some form of entertainment (a video or a “book reader,” which happens to be me). I feel so helpless. (I was going to stuff this post full of pictures, but my time has been spent fulfilling nursing duties instead of browsing and editing pics.) But instead of worrying, I’ve tried to continue focusing on the good things—like the 20 minutes Ian spent playing with his toys last night. And in doing that, there has been a lot less space for worrying.
What about you? What are you thankful for? What stirs your soul and resounds the goodness of your life? If you take some time to think about that today, you may find your load a little lighter.