Paying Attention to Other People’s “Stuff”

Another week has come and gone.

Last night I realized that when a person is in the middle of his/her own “stuff” it is hard to pay attention to and/or he/she has less patience for other people’s “stuff”. Unfortunately, sometimes our lives are filled with a lot of not-so-great “stuff”!

While last week was a combination of positive and negatives, I managed to find the positives pretty easily. I finished two projects and delivered them ahead of time. Woo hoo! Mailed out two belated birthday gifts. I got to see my daughter and baby boy several times and spoke to my son and texted with him more often than usual. The rain has continued (we really needed it) and the pups are over their kennel cough issues. I went to a couple of wineries to pick up shipments and had a glass of our favorite red while remembering Steve. A hummingbird keeps buzzing my head this morning! (Stinker!! I wonder what it wants?).

But, negatives and sadness has also been a constant presence and I just didn’t have the patience I should have had to deal with it all. But you don’t need to hear all of THAT!

Sadly, I guess what I am trying to say is that for the past several months, although things have improved somewhat, I have been so focused on my own “stuff” that I haven’t really paid close attention to the “stuff” that is going on in other peoples’ lives. I just kind of dug in, circled the wagons, closed myself off and with a very narrow lens, focused on my “stuff” never realizing how selfish I was being. In fact, over the past couple of weeks, I…

  • Worried a friend that she might have said something to hurt my feelings because she had not heard from me and I was really hard to get hold of by phone.
  • Hurt another friend’s feelings. I made her feel like I didn’t want to spend time with her. She thought that I wanted to take a “break” from our friendship. Then I made it worse by fussing at her and telling her that she needs to stop overthinking things and that sometimes things aren’t about her.  (Yes, rude!!)
  • Failed to realize just how hard a time my child is having with her second baby, the loss of her daddy, dealing with the terrible twos all and getting ready to return to work, allllll on little to no sleep.
  • Didn’t know that, because one of our family members continues to battle the demon of alcohol addiction, he lost his job and his sweet wife has been destroyed…again.
  • Found out that another family member has been called back to the doctor for more tests to be run. She’s scared to death as she is a single mama of two littles.
  • Worry that my son is not being forthcoming when we talk about how he is doing…is he really okay or does he just not want to tell me what is going on in his head because he doesn’t want to add to ‘my’ plate.
  • A Ft. Worth police officer died Friday evening after being shot in the head by a criminal.  I didn’t know that because I don’t watch the news anymore!!

So, last night was a wake up call of sorts. I acknowledge that I must take care of myself, grieve and get on with the business of living but I must also remember that the world does NOT revolve around me! I need to focus on others and try to make their lives a little easier. While I may not be able to change their circumstances, I CAN empathize, pray, show a little more patience, offer a shoulder and an ear and, when able to, take some kind of action to lighten their load.

The road to find joy isn’t to be a passive journey traveled alone. It is active, always changing and should include the people whom you care about and who care about you. It’s okay to cocoon, but it is just as important to include others in your safe place where you can work on being healed and where you can help others to heal and find their joy.

So, some suggestions for myself:

  1. I will plan my week out to ensure that I have time to do the things that must be done, as well as, things I like/want to do.
  2. I will call my people (or text if they like that better) to check on at least one person in my tribe every couple of days. Most importantly, I will really listen for their needs.
  3. I will be flexible. If one of my people needs me I will be ready to go!! All the other stuff at home will still be there for me when I get back home.
  4. I will be an encourager. I will sweep the judgmental, frustrated, annoyed feelings out of my head.
  5. I will learn something everyday even if it in how to better help/treat people.
  6. I will be kind to myself by changing my internal dialogue.
  7. I will document/write down at least three things for which I am grateful each day.

Even in our own sadness and grief we still need to do our part to help others. I pledge to do better in this upcoming week and beyond.

“Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all peoiple. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.1

Thessalonians 5:14-16

 

Loss

t’s been a little more than two months since my last post.

Much has happened.

More has changed

Steve has passed away and all of our lives have been altered. Forever there will be a huge hole in our hearts, our lives and our spirits.

On March 20th, Steve began to run a fever. In cancer patients, a fever of more than 100.5 is the cue to get moving! I hustled him into the car and made the hour trip into San Antonio as quickly as humanly well, as legally, possible.

We ended up spending a little over two weeks in one hospital and three days in another. They thought it was pneumonia. Then they thought it was the cancer. Then it didn’t matter anymore what it was.

Thankfully, he was able to say goodbye to his precious children, to my mom, his sisters and his closest friends and then he went to sleep for a few hours and then he was gone. Just gone.

In my last post I talked about how life goes on.  It does.

I wrote that there is still joy in the world.  There is.

I espoused that I didn’t know what held the future but I know WHO holds it. Still true.

But this is the hardest thing I have ever experienced. It has been a month now since we laid him to rest and tomorrow will be five weeks since he died.  While I find many good parts in most days, I often find myself in the middle of a puddle of tears.

Like right now.

I still take my morning coffee on our back porch. This year, we have more hummingbirds than ever before; more than a dozen visit the feeders. Steve would love that fact! Usually I laugh at their antics but today is not one of those days. Today, I weep over our loss. I miss my best friend. Today, the loss…it cuts to the bone. The pain is real. It is sharp and it is deep.

It will pass.

Sunday is Mother’s Day and the precious man who made me a mom will not be here to celebrate that fact with us. I know the kids and I will miss him horribly on this day.  I suppose that it’s just another one of those firsts  that we will have to move through.

I want Steve back so badly.  Since that is not an option for we mere mortals, I have a box of tissues on the table next to me as I watch our hummingbirds, listen for the turkeys and enjoy the cool, southern breeze as the sun starts to peek out from behind the fluffy white clouds.

I know that joy still exists. I just have to look a little harder for it.

Some days it feels like God is no longer here with me. I know that He is.

In the end, Scripture says, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

I look forward to that day!