Wednesday, November 6, 2013

When The Going Gets Tough

To my son Tommy,

It occurred to me that it might seem odd to you that I was talking about volunteering while everything medical is going on with your mom.  Let me be clear, your mother's health takes precedence over any volunteer work.  Your mother's health takes precedence over my job even.  Though my first priorities have changed, in times of struggle, you don't stop doing, especially good things, if you are capable.

You don't stop taking care of yourself  because of hard times.  You don't stop taking care of your home and family because of adversity.  You don't stop paying bills if you can afford.  You don't stop working if you can avoid it.  You don't have to limit your activities to mere survival.  You can still go to church.  You can still volunteer.  You can still recycle.  You can still enjoy a stroll.  You can still laugh without feeling guilty.

Life is struggle.  If we shutdown every time struggle came at us, nothing ever in this world would be accomplished.  The key here is prioritizing.  Perhaps that load of laundry can wait till later.  Perhaps you can give yourself an extra week with the sheets on the bed for a slight break.  Your head is probably swimming and it might not know if you are coming or going.  So you have to rely on your heart and your gut.

There are certain times in your life when it is okay to let everything else shutdown.  You will feel it in your heart when those moments come.  Deep inside you will know if you should be there by the side of their hospital bed at all times rather than volunteering at a soup kitchen or something.  If death strikes a family, all the other goings on in the world take a back seat as you flock to the comfort your family and friends and lean on those same people for your own comfort.  Perhaps later you can continue the rest of the stuff but at that point you just need to grieve and be there for each other.

It really is a balancing act where there seem to be no universal right answer.  There will be times where your clouded head will somehow override the choice by your pure heart and you end up with the wrong answer.  Often we realize that with hindsight from a clearer mind.  Other times we have to be told by someone else that it is time to go back to what really matters and leave the rest for later.  Last night, for me, that someone else was your Bwama and as I was using my volunteerism for escapism and was ready to go on to the fifth computer, she pointed out that the computers will be here tomorrow and the next day and it was time to get home to my wife.  It is a tricky balancing act that everyone is bound to screw up in one form or another, but, God willing, we will get it right more often than we will get it wrong.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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