November was a whirlwind! A business trip to Pittsburg coincided with a medical emergency for my dad. I spent tense days alone in a hotel room far from everyone who loves me. The prayers of friends and family buoyed my spirits and helped me regain my focus, but it was a tender and tense time. The tension turned into action as I booked an emergency trip home to be with my people. Seventeen days on the road, torn between work and family, my familiar home and the home of my memories took a toll. I am settling back into my life, trying to find the loose ends and tie myself back into a familiar routine. I feel a bit disconnected… jet lag and worry minus the daily and weekly rituals that connect me to my life have left me off center.
New Pajamas- The night before I left for Pittsburg we ran out in the cold because I needed traveling pajamas. It’s a tradition my mom started when she traveled for work, and I have adopted as well. I don’t know why a shiny new pair of traveling pajamas brought me such joy, but each time I slipped into them I felt better. Wrapped in warmth and beauty at the end of each day helped me to remember to care for my own needs as well as everyone else’s. This small act of pampering helped.
Technology- Sitting alone on a hotel bed in a faraway city made me feel alone in the world. I’m so grateful that technology allowed me to see my mom’s face and cry with her as she described my dad’s fall and her helplessness. It allowed me to see my husband’s familiar face as I poured out my fear and frustration. Our family Facebook group helped keep everyone informed and up to date on what was happening. A Facebook messenger group connected me to my people for prayer and encouragement, and another group text connected and updated another group of friends. On ordinary days, these technologies can feel like a distraction but in the midst of this turmoil, these things became lifelines.
Text messages- There is a woman in our church who sends a text every morning with a verse from the Bible. I don’t know how I got on her list, but I’m glad that I did. Some days, I forward the verse to someone who could use some encouragement, but this month I found these messages to be like rays of light reminding me that there is a God in Heaven who cares about our lives.
PHILIPPIANS 4:6 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”
Time– It felt urgent to get to Oregon a couple weeks ago, but as is often true, once you get to your people there is little to do but be there. From my hotel in Pittsburg, I was overwhelmed by the distance. Being with my family, sharing in the mundane tasks of life and preparing for the Thanksgiving celebration all felt like gifts this year. I baked pies, mom made too many desserts, we all pitched in for dinner. As I looked around the extended table, I didn’t see the family I created, but the one who created me. We shared the things we are most thankful for, tears fell, and I will store this in my heart forever.
Just three- We are moms, sisters, friends, and wives. Our lives pull us in a thousand directions and the days slip away so quickly. For brief moments in the past ten days, we were just us three. My mom, my sister, and I. We talked, we planned, and we listened to both the words that were spoken and the ones we didn’t need to say. This friendship, kinship, lifelong love upholds me. I am so grateful for them.
The push and pull of life- Dad is getting stronger, which means he is longing to take back his normal life. We want to protect him. He doesn’t want to be protected. We fuss, he fights back. Sometimes it makes me crazy, but this is probably the best thing of all. Dad is regaining his strength. One minute, he was so sick and we weren’t sure what to do, and before we knew it he wanted to drive. This is a good thing.
What made November better for you?