The Seashell

shell2I used to write. And then I stopped. I am not sure when exactly because most of my writing is gone. I was looking for something else yesterday and came across the only 6 pieces of writing I kept.

I don’t know where the rest is. I suppose I threw them away. I think I know why I stopped but I don’t remember why exactly.

Perhaps I will start writing again. It is a labour of love from my heart. Some was written for others, some were inspired by others, some reflect my own deeply personal journey as I have walked this road we call life. 

What I have decided to do is share what I have already written here. May they touch your heart the way they have touched mine.

The Seashell

On golden shores of shimmering sand she stops. To gaze. The silver blue ocean blends imperceptibly into the cobalt blue sky streaked with the last vestiges of the sun. And a gull cries. Her footsteps, once so visible, grow dim in the fading light. Ahead are pristine lands yet to be marked by her presence.

She stops. This time her gaze, downwards, is caught by a glint. What is it? She reaches down and gingerly sweeps through the sand. Her reward? A seashell. Soft, delicate pink with swirls of opalescence. It gently curves towards the opening that somehow carries the reminiscence of having been recently vacated.

Who lived here? Where have they gone? Why? Will they come back? The questions linger in the recesses of her mind as she mentally wanders back to her own home.

Home. A place of love. Yet little is there. Home. A place of hope. But little is left. Home. A place of dreams. Dreams. How does one hang onto their dreams when love and hope seem all but gone?

To go. To stay. In either choice is sadness and loss. To see from whence her footsteps have come. And yet no sense where they go.

Confusion. Indecision. Love. Sorrow. Fear. Desire. Hope. Anger. All united with one man, one home. Her heart says stay a little longer. Her mind says how much more can you endure. And still no path as to where her footsteps go.

The sky darkens, the sun almost gone. The moon hangs low as if carelessly flung out of bed. And the stars are once more twinkling harmoniously to an unknown song.

A lone gull cries expressing her anguish.

Her hand drops, the shell falls.

She turns, and slowly walks. Home.

Faye Wirch

November 21, 1996

 

Finding Joy…..or is it Peace?

IMG_0754Well…It has been almost a year since I posted my first post. I thought I would post again sooner but it didn’t happen. Why, I’m not sure. I have often thought about things I wanted to blog about but didn’t set the time aside to do it. I may someday but, knowing me, I’ll probably move onto something else. However, things run in themes for me and I am sure that whatever it is I was going to blog on will come up again.

But, none of that has to do with what I am blogging about today. It has to do with finding joy, or maybe it’s peace, when so many of the things you are going through suck, to put it bluntly.

Now don’t get me wrong. For the most part I love many of the things about my life it’s just a hard time right now. Hard in so many ways, yet good in so many ways.

I love my work at CFB Shilo. I love the work I do and I love the people I work with. But it takes me out of town 3 days a week. I leave late Tuesday afternoon / early Tuesday evening and I am not home again until late afternoon / early evening on Friday. I have been doing this for over 3 years now. At one time I drove out Wednesday morning which was much harder on me physically but was better emotionally; the extra night makes it feel like I am away so much longer even though it only adds a few hours, most of which I am asleep.

I end up feeling like I am on a never ending merry-go-round of getting home, washing, packing, leaving, unpacking, packing, getting home, washing…. And I have to work in the midst of all this – 3 days out of town and 1 in Winnipeg.

But probably the worst in all of this is the impact on my husband. He finds it very hard when I am out of town. This has only been exacerbated recently as he has not been as well physically. Unfortunately, he also has a treatment-resistent depression which colours how he views his own well-being and things around him.

We are planning to move to Brandon. When? I’m not sure. Unfortunately we aren’t in the position to do this right now. Soon, I hope! But probably not as soon as my husband would like, or as soon as I would like for that matter. Hopefully sooner than it seems it will be right now.

So that brings me to my question. How do I find joy, or peace, in the midst of all this. I am usually pretty good at doing this but right now it seems to be more of a struggle. I think it’s because since Ron has been sick I have had more demands on my time when I am home. I have to do more because right now he is having difficulty with his balance and walking and his stamina is down. And, I think because he is having a difficult time he is expressing his unhappiness about my being away more.

The other reason why I think it is harder is because with all the extra demands I am much more tired. Plus I am not sleeping well. Yes, I know my stress is up! The consequence of being more tired is that I am not as efficient about getting things done. I need time for me but there are so many things that need to be done, all of which are clamouring that they urgently need to be done, that there is no time for me. There are times in the midst of all this that I simply become overwhelmed and paralyzed and nothing gets done.

So, how do I find joy, or peace, in the midst of all this. Well, it is important for me to stay in the moment. The more I can stay in the here and now the less likely I am to beat myself up over what hasn’t been done or get overwhelmed with anxiety over what I still need to do.

I need to figure out how to procrastinate less. I find that I am so tired, and so much want time for me, that I can deal with things by putting things off. Which, of course, really isn’t working all that well. I only end up putting myself down because another week has gone by and I haven’t gotten done at least some of the things I need to do. I am working on seeing the doing of these things as part of how I take care of myself rather than how I deprive myself. This is the second thing I need to do along with remember that there is joy in getting things done and peace of mind that comes with it.

I also need to break tasks down so they don’t all seem so overwhelming. I can get lost in this – it can take me forever to plan and organize getting something done while at the same time getting nothing done at all – and need to ensure this doesn’t happen. Not one of my stronger suits, kind of like not procrastinating.

I need to, as my AA friends would remind me, remember to maintain “an attitude of gratitude”. It is so easy to get caught up in the negativity and all that isn’t going well. That will surely cause the weight on my shoulders to go up and my nose to get a little closer to the floor. I need to remember the things that are going well, the positive things that have come into my life.

I need to remember that I have my little CKCS (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel), Mandi. She is always happy to see me. She never complains and she loves to cuddle. She is my snuggle bunny who brings comfort when things seem upside down. I miss her when I am gone; her snuggles are the best!

More importantly, I need to remember that even when Ron grumps I know he loves me. And I need to remember that I am blessed with the love of my two very special daughters, my two son-in-laws and my grandchildren. I am not in touch with them as much as I would like to be but I still know that they love me.

I need to remember that even if we have to give something up that that is okay as long as I still have the things that are precious to me. Ron and I were hoping to go to Israel this November. With his health and some of our other circumstances it now looks like this might not happen. It is sad but not as sad as it would be if I didn’t have Ron. Who knows maybe it will work out, but I can definitely have peace if it doesn’t.

And I need to stay positive about the possibilities, especially when Ron can be so negative stating that these possibilities don’t exist.  With where he is at right now he can be very negative about my being away, about where we are at, about if we will ever move. And, unfortunately, it can feel like (at least from my perspective) like I am being being blamed as the one who is standing in the way of it all happening. These conversations aren’t easy for me; I need to find a way to stay connected with him during these times but not let it bring me down.

It reminds me of what I tell my patients. It is time to put on my Kevlar vest. I used to say I needed to be made of Teflon so things would role off of me but I have decided this is a poor analogy. Kevlar works much better. When things are said that hurt me the Kevlar vest doesn’t stop the hurt; however, it does stop me from being devastated and destroyed by those very same words. Sore but not destroyed…other words to live by.

And, I think, blogging more may help because as I have written this I am aware that I am okay and that there are many things in my life I am grateful for. This is simply a rough patch; no more, no less. It is a tough time but it is only a tough time for now. It will change. Time has taught me that eventually good will follow bad, just as bad inevitably follows good.

So, there you go. I am going through a tough time but I have got lots to be grateful for. There are things I can do that will make a difference and there are some personal challenges I need to address but in the midst of it all I am okay. And so, I not only have peace but I have also found joy.