Ready, set, aim … just you wait! That is how it is panning out. It started again this morning, when the toilet clogged up. Not a great visual to start off a blog post, is it? But as I stood there with plunger in-hand, I was struck by how the situation mirrored life itself.
Life can get pretty messy, down right dirty at times. You can sink all your time, energy, and/or love into something (or someone) and there is no guarantee it won’t all (seemingly) go down the drain. Whether ill-health or ill-choice, the sobering fact exists that either has potential to create a clogged up life mess.
It is not like we can expect a crisis to fit in well with our needs, activities, and plans. Crises are never convenient. That’s why it’s called a crisis. By definition, it (whatever “it” may be) is often difficult, troublesome and demanding.
I thought about all that, in mere seconds, as I plunged the toilet and watched the subsequent swirl action free the clogged mess. What if our lives could be so easily freed of the clogs? My mind wandered to the people on my prayer list, and their struggles to be free of painful clogged-up circumstances.
I thought about our friend who is battling colon cancer. He is feeling angry with cancer and its tenacious way of clogging up his and his family’s lives. Chemo has affected everyday life; there is obvious and understandable sadness beneath the anger. He finds sitting to be difficult (thanks to the surgery), standing to be troublesome (thanks to fatigue), and mere clapping of his hands in worship to be demanding (thanks to burning pain).
Seriously, we are not likely to “thank” any of the ripple effects cancer treatment delivers. None appear to fit well with one’s needs, activities, or plans! Cancer came knocking for the 2nd time, forcing him to be stuck in its mess. Miraculously, beneath anger and pain, there is a reservoir of stamina and strength. It is clear to see, shining like an effervescent spark of hope. He gallantly refuses to let more go down the cancer drain. He is fighting hard, and so is everyone who loves him.
My husband and I recently visited with two of the families who participate in our neighborhood memory cafes. They too are struggling with some of life’s messes. One elderly woman is in the hospital battling anemia, the other one at home facing end-stage Alzheimer’s. How I wish I could dive down deep, with a plunger in-hand and unclog the trouble. There is no guarantee that our time, energy, and love can do anything. Still I remain convinced, each of those gifts eases another’s burden. It never goes down the drain as wasted effort, no matter the heart-state of the receiver. What we give compassionately and lovingly is never ever wasted. Do to others as you would have them do to you …. not just words to live by; words that are literal medicine to our souls.
I am quite aware of the need to eat well and exercise daily, but never considered the value of unplugging for a time. I took the summer off from hope matters, in terms of hosting our memory cafes, weekly writings and meetings with advocates. After several attempts to dive back in, my “ready, set, aim …” has met with a “wait” instead of “fire”. Change is coming for our organization, wonderful changes. We are flushing out what is no longer working, embracing what is still working, and creating what is bound to help us do more in hurting lives. In this process of blooming anew, learning and growing, we invite you to share your thoughts. Tell us why and how hope matters to you. We are immensely grateful to know you are along for the journey.