Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What would YOU do?

This has been a stressful few days. First, I contracted some form of a stomach virus which has put me in a cranky space. It's very difficult to be loving and patient when you feel like your body is imploding. Reading the stories about the pain and devastation in Haiti has hit me hard as well. Those images are never far from my mind, and despite my donation of money, I feel helpless and small in this world right now. My mom has been having health difficulties and yesterday received some potential diagnoses, one of which is quite serious. Then I got to get up this morning, achy stomach and all, and go to work with my new boss. The two of us are the only ones working in our school, and this is going to bring about the all-dreaded word: change.

Last night, after speaking with my mom, I lay in bed trying to imagine life without her. I know that eventually that day will more than likely come, and I'll have to find a way to handle it. My anxiety was pretty high. In those moments, I want to be close to those I love. I fought the urge to go snuggle with my daughter, check on my son, track down my husband. Instead, I pulled Gabi close and petted her for awhile. Sleep finally came around one a.m.

This evening I saw an article on AOL news about a journalist who faced severe depression several years ago, to the point he contemplated suicide. On that day, as he made a choice not to end his life, he asked himself, "What would I do if this were the last day of my life?"

This seems to be a popular question. Songs are written about it, books are penned, poems focused on how we would choose to spend our last hours on this planet if we knew the end was near. It seems a basic, simplistic philosophical question, yet still one worth pondering: what would I do if I knew it ended tomorrow? What parts of my life would I be content with and what would I regret?

I know in my gut how I would spend my last day. With my family. What would I do? I have no idea. It doesn't matter. I would kiss my husband and tell him all the things I hold back from sharing. I would hold my son and reassure him that he is perfect in God's eyes--and in mine. I would snuggle my daughter and let her know that I could not love her more if I had given birth to her. And I would kiss my dog and chase her through the yard, playing catch.

I would be content with the fact that I have touched many people's professional lives. I would be proud that I have influenced many young teachers and the way they interact with children. I would reflect fondly on all the children I have taught and have a last, wonderful giggle at all the funny things they have done, and gratitude for what they have taught me.

I would call all of the people I love and tell them so. I would go back to writing poetry and leave a mark for each one, so they have a piece of me written indelibly for them. I would thank them for all of the wonderful moments we spent together and encourage them to spend more, to make more memories. To build love in their hearts and their lives.

I would take a walk through my neighborhood and see--really see--the wonder of God's world around me. I would smell the flowers, lie in the grass, watch the clouds. I would sit in wonder of all the things I tend to pass too quickly.

My regrets? I would have a few. That I haven't been able to give as much of myself to this world as I wish I could. That people still suffer and I can't take it away. That there is so much need and such limited resources. Activism. That would be my regret.

Ironically, here's what I wouldn't regret: I wouldn't regret not having my own birth child. I wouldn't regret having an unusual family, or the house I live in, or the job I have. I wouldn't regret having a messy house or not doing laundry on a daily basis, or not cooking a homemade meal every night. In comparison, those things seem inconsequential.

So, just something to ponder. Sometimes it's good to prioritize all that we have, all that we're given. The things that seem so important that aren't. To focus on who we are, spiritually, versus who we get bogged down being in our daily lives. I am God's child, and He has his finger on my life. Trusting that he knows where we're going is important. Recognizing that I don't have the answers, equally important.

I can't heal my mother, take away the horrific pain in Haiti, solve the economic crisis, or even smooth over transitions at work. Some of it will be scary. Some may be depressing. Sometimes I will cry and be anxious and need to snuggle my dog or kiss my kids or get a reality check from a loved one. But I can be me. And I can bring my gifts to the table every day, to the best of my ability. I can be the best mother, wife, daughter, teacher, person I know how to be. And I can keep learning and growing and trying.

What would--and can--you do?

No comments:

Post a Comment