Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holly Jolly Christmas?

This Christmas season I find myself being neither jolly nor merry about things. I am in a funk. I am impatient. I am contrary. I have lost my pep and zest. I really don't know what the exact cause of the gloom is. I think it is a combination of things -- most of which are beyond my control.

First of all I have no tolerance for being out of commission. This convalescence is the pits. I want it to be over, yet I don't know what I am going to do when it is. People ask me how I am feeling all the time. I have about one 30th of a second to decide -- is this person really interested in hearing the long version of how I feel? Or are the looking for the short, I am just passing you in the hall and really don't even want to slow down long enough to hear your answer, version? I can never decide fast enough, so I just usually stand there with a dumb look on my face, giving people the impression that I am still ingesting copious amounts of narcotic pain medication.

The truth is I am physically right on track, and I really feel pretty fine; not too much lingering pain. I am also bored, frustrated and agitated. I want to be regular. I want to walk across the room unassisted and without a limp. I want to be able to go into the kitchen and get a cookie and a cup of tea and be able to bring them both back to the living room at the same time. I long to take a shower without scooting onto a seat inside the bathtub. I would enjoy putting on my socks without using a silly shovel/jump rope looking thing to aid me. Oh, and yeah...my legs need to be shaved and my toenails need to be trimmed. Where is the dignity in someone doing these tasks for you? So, as you can see, most people aren't looking for the long version. It would make them too uncomfortable; it's not nice to make people squirm during polite conversation.

I am also a little sad and nostalgic that the magic of Christmas has worn off for my kids. They are too old for the sparkling anticipation a little child experiences while waiting (im)patiently for the big day to roll around. They have become jaded teens and tweens who shake a package one time and declare "Shoes! I can tell by the box". There is still a little of the charm left in the holiday for my nine year old. He can't let on though, because his older brothers will roll their eyes at him. I knew this day was coming, but I always felt the transition would be more gradual. It seems like they were just toddling around the Christmas tree last week. *sigh*

This period of rest and restoration of my body was also supposed to be a time for me to get my head together and figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. It hasn't gone exactly the way I planned. I wanted some quiet solitude in which I had ample opportunity for self reflection and examination. Instead I needed to have a babysitter. In the beginning, I needed someone around all the time because I couldn't do anything for myself. Now, when I am a little more self sufficient, those caretakers have become all to comfortable taking care of me (read taking over my life) and are constantly on hand. No time to be alone. I was counting on a bit of isolation to think things through.

I still have plans, though. I don't intend to grow resentful of my family. I love them and love having them around in such a paradoxical way. When they are gone, I miss them like crazy. Once they return home, it takes about 15 minutes for them to wear out their welcome.

I realize that I have to work with what I have. They pick up on my moods and attitudes. I've got to make the most of these years that I have left with them, while still maintaining a life of my own. I will not be a piece of dried up driftwood, aimlessly floating around with no purpose. I have a purpose beyond my front door and by golly, I am going to find out what it is! I just need a few minutes of peace and quiet to figure this thing (life) out.

Maybe the things that are bothering me aren't so much out of my control after all. Perhaps it is my frame of mind that is throwing things off. Hhmm... When I get a minute, I am going to think about that.

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.