Last Tuesday on my way to work I found myself with a familiar feeling in my chest. I couldn't breathe. A familiar feeling in my head, it was spinning....racing. A panic attack.
I've been raising two wonderful teenage boys alone for the past 4 years. I left their father and an abusive relationship to show my boys this is not how a woman should be treated. That their mother deserved respect. Their father moved across the country to "start his life over". And he's never looked back. He has no relationship with them, hasn't seen them in almost 4 years. He did it to punish me for leaving him. It's been one struggle after another, but I've made it work until recently.
Everything has started unraveling. My landlord decided to sell the home I live in. I'm in a lease, but I expect to be thrown out any day. Rentals are crazy expensive, I can't find anything out there I can afford. The stress, instability and fear of not being able to provide a home for my children has been killing me. Then there is wisdom teeth that need to be removed, a looming college tuition bill - no help from his dad of course (don't even get me started about the cost of textbooks), another increase in car insurance when my younger one turns 16 in January. Every day my thoughts are what am I going to do. Last Wednesday my youngest son was sick. The doctor diagnosed him with viral bronchitis and a sinus infection. I asked how he knew it was a virus. My doctor has known me for 13 years. He said, do you have a headache?, I did. My nose was running, my eyes puffy, my sinuses burning. He said, you are sharing this virus. You are sick. I can't be sick, I have too much on my plate. Go home he said, drink water and get some rest. My child, still sick with a horrible cough, stays home from school and I go off to work still with the bad headache and puffy eyes and burning sinuses.
I am a really positive person. My oldest son text me the morning after the Las Vegas shootings asking if I had seen the news. That it made him mad. My reply to him: "This violent act makes me mad too. All you can do is be part of the good in the world. Be kind to everyone, treat people with respect and be someone others respect. Go out of your way to help someone who needs your help. Listen to people and offer support. That's what I do, you can too."
My job is to take care of everyone else. I put on a smile and go in to work to do my part to create a wonderful life to those who live where I work. Like giving that kindergartener that gentle nudge into their classroom on the first day of school, I transition retirees into their next phase of live. It's like being the principal of the school. Some kids don't play nice, some need extra encouragement, sometimes a new focus. A pep talk to remind them of what our bodies can do instead of focus on what they used to do. Sometime it's just to listen and comfort. Some people live alone and just need "a person". I'm always happy to be that person.
Lately I've been overwhelmed. I get in my car or in the shower and have a quick cry. Mostly because I don't have time for a long cry. Then, last Thursday morning there was a knock on the clubhouse door where I work. A stranger. She said you don't know me and I'm part of a group of women who heard you are going though a rough time. I said, I am. She said I have a gift for you. She handed me a bag and gave me a hug.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It was really, really nice that 12 Ordinary Women were thinking about taking care of me. I had forgotten like what it feels like to be taken care of. You ladies, made my day, my week and my month.
Not by chance, the devotion in the book you gave me on that day read this: October 5 - Remember that Joy is not dependent on your circumstances. Some of the world's most miserable people are those whose circumstances seem the most enviable. People who reach the top of the ladder career-wise are often surprised to find emptiness awaiting them. True Joy is a by-product of living in My Presence. Therefore you can experience it in palaces, in prisons...anywhere.
Do not judge a day as devoid of Joy just because it contains difficulties. Instead, concentrate on staying in communication with Me. Many of the problems that clamor for your attention will resolve themselves. Other matters you must deal with, but I will help you with them. If you make problem solving secondary to your goal of living close to Me, you can find Joy even in your most difficult days.
THANK YOU....I need that reminder and the love of strangers. Bless you.