Month: December 2015 (page 2 of 2)

Doing Double-Time

Double-time: to move in double time; a slow running pace; keeping in step.

I feel like I need to be doing life in “double-time”. If I could  high-step, double-time through my day, OH the things I would accomplish! thAFDFONF5 The clock is going faster and I am going slower. I wake with my never-ending  “to do” list spinning in my head. With every task accomplished and scratched through; two more are added. When I stop to get  a soda, my order response  is “the biggest one you’ve got”.

I am impatient with the traffic, the sales clerks, the long lines, and the rude people with their rude shopping carts. I am becoming the person that I find so annoying especially this time of the year.

I don’t want to be like “them”. I want to be different. I don’t want to be invisible to people; I don’t want people to be invisible to me either.  I don’t want to view people as interruptions. I think I heard  author Bob Goff’s voice in my head today. “They are not interruptions; they are people.” ( More on Bob later in the month.)

Today was slated to be just as busy as yesterday. New day but same ever-growing list.  There was no wiggle room. I knew where I needed to be and when I needed to be there.

But I had an interruption.

An interruption. That sounds heartless;  it was a real-live person. An elderly lady  I ran into while I was multi-tasking and she wanted to talk. Talk? Who has time to talk? “Stop and have a conversation” was not on my list! Shame on me.

She lost her husband this year. Married for 60 years.  She starts to open up. Thanksgiving was hard and she knows Christmas will be difficult too.  ( Uh….what to do, what to do, recalculating, circuits overloading….) Just breathe normally. No hyperventilating.  It will be OK. This is important. Don’t be rude. WWJD.

But then an early Christmas miracle: I stopped.

I stopped moving in double-time. I just stopped.  I listened. I cared.  I really  saw her. I saw her as a person who needed to talk. (It was a God thing because  I was on a caffeine overdose.)

She continues on……sometimes she just needs to have a “good cry”. Her eyes glisten now. She knows there needs to be new traditions started. But what about the grandchildren? It will be so different this year.

I am nodding my head.  Yes, it will be different. I ask her if she has a plan for Christmas. Yes, she is having her whole family over.  Her home will be noisy and full. I am happy for her. She won’t be doing double-time; she will fully enjoy every single second in slow motion. Making and savoring  new memories with her family. I assure her that a good cry is OK too and then I hugged her. We both needed the hug.

My list?  Not everything got done and I  wasn’t at the grocery store when I wanted to be.  Big deal. Whoop-te-do.

I am glad I had a choice today and I am glad I chose to be interrupted. I didn’t need to talk, but she did. I only needed to listen and love. See and share.

 Maybe God will bless me with another interruption tomorrow. I hope I stop my double-timing long enough to embrace the interruption and more importantly, the  person. But don’t mess with my caffeine.

Photo credit to the University of Minnesota Marching Gophers

 

The Small Stuff

December 1, 2015

Dear Fellow Travelers,

A new month! I have missed our walking together.  A little disclaimer:  I just want you to know I have not been a couch potato all weekend. But I applaud you if you have been potato couching!  If you were able to rest, recover and reflect from a horizontal position throughout the holiday weekend, I am happy for you and very jealous.

My walk took me unexpectantly to the hospital bedside of my dear 87-year old aunt. ( I had shared about her in my post, “Unmerited Generosity”). She took quite a tumble and ended up with several broken bones and many bruises.

With no children of her own, we (my cousin and my sisters)  have stepped into the role of “her children”. There are official, legal  titles like “Power of Attorney” and “Personal Representative” behind some of our names. But at the end of the day, she is my aunt and I am her niece and  we are family.

My aunt always treated us as the children-she-never-had. She filled and hid Easter baskets for us and we enjoyed the hunt to find them. She took us to the circus and to see our first movie in a movie theater. We went shopping for school supplies every August and she showered us with Christmas gifts. She has always blessed us and now we have the opportunity to bless her.

We came to assist in anyway we could:  help feed her, speak with doctors and nurses, make phone calls, and even help with her false teeth. I found out that too much poligrip just causes problems all day long. Use it sparingly.  But we drew the love-line for our aunt at the bed pan. We thanked the nurses profusely as we walked out of the room and they walked in.

When you spend a lot of time in a hospital, you see many things. Some warm your heart, some break your heart.  I saw a young nursing assistant washing my aunt’s face so very tenderly. It was a precious moment.

I saw in the room across the hall an elderly gentleman occasionally pick up a stuffed monkey and look at it.  That got my attention  so I headed towards the room. He had a full-time caregiver with him. But I asked if the monkey had a name. The caregiver told me that the gentleman was non-verbal. I noticed several other stuffed animals in the bed with  him. I smiled at him and I hoped that conveyed some genuine love.

A few doors down, I saw  2 police officers placed very strategically. I can see that there is a young man in that room but his only  company are these officers: one in the room and one in the hallway. All the time.

I saw a young man doing laps around the area with his IV pole in tow. Each day, he seemed to be moving a little bit easier and a little bit faster. I found myself cheering him on with each lap.

I saw my aunt’s pastor place his hand lovingly on her head and pray over her.

I saw needles; I hate needles.

I saw loneliness. Rooms with no visitors. Just the glare and noise from the TV.  If loneliness fills their lives at home, perhaps they expect nothing more while in the hospital. That is sad.

I saw kindness and gentleness. I saw people helping people; people caring for one another. Sometimes through small actions; sometime through large ones.

I stayed several days, long enough to see my aunt be moved to a nursing home facility for some rehabilitation. Her life-walk to healing will be long and slow. I know my walk will take me there to visit her and to see her progress over the next several months. I know I will see more people caring for people at this facility too. God bless them.

Arriving home late last night after driving through a cold rain, I saw that my husband had warmed up my side of the bed with the  electric blanket pointed to HIGH.  I happily climbed into my own warm bed. After pouring out care to my aunt, someone was caring for me. It was a wonderful feeling.

People caring for people. Even in the small stuff.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch , a smile, a  kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

Leo Buscaglia

 

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