When You Just Need a Minute

If there is anything that I’ve learned through this stupid grief journey is that sometimes I just need a minute. A minute to breathe, a minute to think about my sweet little mama, a minute to think about what things would be like if Cancer hadn’t reared it’s ugly head, a minute to think about all I wish I could tell her, a minute to just feel the pain, a minute to rip off the peel-n-stick smile I use daily and just cry.

Often lately, I’ve noticed that I wish I had the capability to wiggle my nose and instantly be on the beach for whatever time necessary to clear my head and then wiggle my nose to get me back home. I’m pretty sure I just had an epiphany while typing that sentence. It ain’t rocket science, move to the beach, Paula! (The beach is my most loved place on the earth because I think so clearly there…incase you didn’t know.)

But truly, there are a million instances during this thing called life that require us to regroup, reevaluate, redetermine who we are and who we want to be; you know, take a minute to “settle down” when something turns our world upside down.

So many things can manifest our own personal definition of “world upside down”. To one, the loss of a parent; to another, the loss of a job; an unexpected pregnancy; a car accident leaving one debilitated in some way; a house fire; a spousal affair. I could keep this list flowing for ten hours and still have more things to list. So many things have the ability to rock us to the core.

Why? Why are we so easily knocked on our behinds when things go wrong? I think we go along in life and constantly have these ideas and notions that are our own personal goals in life. We so easily let the words slip from our mouths that we want God’s will to be done, yet we keep making plans and arrangements on our own. We have ideas about what our lives should look like, what our kids’ lives should look like, how our neighbors’ lives should be looking. Goodness. For the most part, we can’t control anything and we just have to figure out how to deal with our new situation; even when it doesn’t fit into our well thought out plans.

I’m not saying that when bad things happen it’s because God wanted them to happen or He wanted us to have a less perfect life than we wanted to have, or even that He wanted to give us a wake up call. I’m just saying that this life isn’t ours. It is supposed to be His. He will not place you in situations that He doesn’t have the ability to walk you through.

When our children make decisions we hate. When our spouses make decisions we can’t tolerate. When things happen that are big, that you just can’t seem to accept, what are we to do?

The most simple thing to do is just take a minute to realize, the world hasn’t actually stopped turning. You are indeed still breathing. You do actually still have the ability to feel true joy, it just might be a minute before you can notice. There is very little in this life that is truly the end of the world.

When my sweet little Mama took her final breath, my heart stopped along with her’s. The problem was, mine started back again. For those few minutes directly afterward, my world was quite literally spinning out of control and I couldn’t catch my breath or have a coherent thought. I saw talking all around me but could only hear the screaming inside my head. I had held it together for so very long and the screaming inside my head was the tears and gut wrenching heart ache that had been waiting for the moment I would finally allow them out. The revelation came…I didn’t have to be strong anymore. When that realization hit my mind and soul, to say I absolutely lost my shit, is quite the understatement. I let a million loud, rushing tears go and it was not pretty to say the least. A solid year’s worth of withheld tears and despair flooded out of my weary and exhausted body. I could hold them back not a second more.

Who knows what all happened after that. Those immediate days following are such a blur to me now. I just know that I was surrounded by so much love and concern and tenderness from friends and family. I’m certain my little mama was orchestrating it all to make certain we were cared for during a time she tried so desperately to prepare us for, because she knew she couldn’t be there to physically help us herself.

What I do remember was the overwhelming need for time to stand still for just a minute. I NEEDED A MINUTE! And I was angry that no one was giving me that minute. I needed that minute to get my mind wrapped around what had occurred but there was no minute to be had. Time marched and I sort of just flowed with it. Had no choice.

But what I was being taught during that time was that there is an amazing God who was still on His throne, who kept His arms around me the whole time and never allowed me to slip under the currents for more than I needed to be under. He didn’t give me more than I could bear…with His help. THAT’s the key. He will not give us more than we can bear…with His help.

There is such a valid lesson in this for every aspect of life. Our kids don’t always choose for themselves the things that we want them to choose. They make downright stupid decisions sometimes; as do our spouses; as do we. Our spouses aren’t always capable of meeting the standard we think is required. Promotions at work don’t always happen when we think they should. Life gets messy! But God is always on His throne…no matter what rocked your little world to the core.

So take your minute when you need it. But don’t stay there. You have to get back to “keepin’ on”. You have to figure out how to keep moving and growing. I saw on a church sign one time, “If God brought you to it, He’ll bring you through it.” Right? Right.

Sipping coffee tonight and being so very thankful for parents who taught me that nothing that happens to make our life messy or troubled or rocked-to-the-core is the end of the world. Nothing. ~paula

I ❤️ Social Work

Make a difference…I suppose that is the biggest reason I chose Social Work as a career path. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to know that when it’s time for my huge Retirement shindig, the folks that get up and do the talking have worthwhile tidbits to say. (Disclaimer to those that need to know: when I say huge Retirement shindig, I mean it better be a BLOW OUT, the party of the YEAR, an affair to which others compare their affairs for years to come! Ha!) But I wanted to know that the days I spend stressed and tired and squirming because I haven’t been able to find a clean bathroom all day would be worth it. At the end of each day, I want to be able to say, “damn girl, you rock, you still got it”. Do I do that everyday? Heck no! But on occasion, there are those opportunities to feel good about something I accomplished. With all of that chatter about how I want to make a difference in this world, I’d be remiss if I didn’t address how all this “making a difference” business effects my family. Am I really making a difference if my family suffers in the long run?

I missed my kiddo’s sporting event today because I got a call that I needed to add one more patient to my schedule because the spouse was put into the hospital unexpectedly, the patient is chair bound, unable to take care of personal needs alone and has been home alone for a few days now. Yikes!

I was so torn. My social-worker-heart-strings were being tugged…but my poor kiddo. If I left work that second I could get to that game perfectly on time; if I went on that extra visit, I would get home late and miss my kiddo. I say I was torn; the “torn” only lasted approximately a nano-second. My immediate answer to my clinical manager, “send me the information as soon as you can so I can get en route”. I let said kiddo know that mama wouldn’t get home in time to get to the game, that I was sorry and that I hate to miss it but I had to take care of my patient. Are you wondering the response? “Love you too and it’s okay”.

After all was taken care of; visit made, family rallied, physician phoned, clinical managers notified, me seatbelted snuggly back into the car to head to yet another patient (they were so close to the area I just couldn’t pass them by when I was going to already miss the kiddo anyway); I had an epiphany. I have poured enough love and time and interest into my wonderful kiddos that one missed event wasn’t going to squash any little hearts.

You just have to pray that you’ve invested enough time in your spouse and children’s lives for their whole hearts to KNOW that you love them more than anything else in the world; to hopefully make it okay that sometimes, as a Social Worker, there may be someone who needs you more than they do in that one specific moment in time.

Am I sad that I missed my kiddos sporting event? Yes, of course. But do I regret missing that sporting event to help that kind soul that needed someone to intervene and show compassion? Not one ounce. Did I make a difference in that life? Yes, I absolutely did.

That simple reply, “Love you too and it’s okay”, made me smile. That simple reply let me know I may be doing something right. Maybe I’m making a difference in both worlds.

Is Social Work easy? Most certainly not. Is Social Work rewarding? Most days. Do I make a difference in the lives of my patients? Some days. Can I picture myself doing anything else? Heck no…unless they could pay me well enough to be a Walmart greeter…I could totally rock that job…as long as I didn’t have to go smile and make nice before I had my coffee. Ha!

I think I may ponder that greeter position until we meet over coffee again. ~paula