Friday, April 8, 2016

There is No Tomorrow...

One of my favorite hymns is "Today While the Sun Shines."  The lyrics have purpose for everyone.  "Today while the sun shines work with a will.  Today all your labors and duties fulfill...there is no tomorrow but only today."  Those three dots indicate a break in the lyrics leading to the final line.

Living with a disability of any type...something that limits your abilities and capabilities, is difficult on so many levels.  One of the worst is the feeling that you are ALWAYS behind.  As the sun wakes you up in the morning you must make decisions about how you will use the teeny, tiny, bit of energy that you possess.

For example:

1.  Need to do household tasks?  You may need to wash dishes, mop floors, and fold and put away the laundry.  Your energy may allow you to do one or two of those tasks, but that other task remains because your energy level is done.

2.  What if you are raising children, or grandchildren?  You need to find creative ways to have them help you with the day to day necessities of modern living.  Children are not neat and tidy...they are messy.  They have emotions, and ideas far different from yours.  So, just trying to shepherd them can take an immense amount of energy.

3.  What if YOU are caregiver to your spouse, or a beloved parent?  Just waking up and getting dressed may seem insurmountable.

4.  Let's understand one concept right now.  When you are disabled you can't PUSH yourself to do more.  When your body is can't move one more step, or deal with one more daily need.  YOU ARE DONE!

5.  Choices?  How do you prioritize your day and then make choices and changes as you move along?  It's very easy to become isolated.  How can friends depend on you when you can't depend on yourself, and what you'll be able to do from day to day?  Discouragement is an easy companion.  If you are already clinically depressed (which most people with any type of disability are), and then you're discouraged on top of that, it's a recipe for disaster.

6.  When I was Executive Secretary of Finance, I had to start my day by prioritizing tasks.  As I moved through my day I was often interrupted by phone calls, or personnel who needed clarification on this or that item.  I taught myself to be flexible.  The hardest thing about my job was that there were constant little crises to address.  It made it hard to stay on a linear path of daily, weekly, monthly duties.  That job has helped me in my life of day to day constant fires to put out, but still striving to achieve desired goals.

So what is this point of all these ruminations? important...this day...and there is no tomorrow.
Focus on what you CAN do today, and not on what you CAN'T.  This might mean that your house is a cluttered mess frequently.  On the other hand, it may mean that you teach your children teamwork.  After all, they eat on the dishes, walk on the floors, and wear the clothes.  There is no reason why they can't learn to assist you with age related duties.

In Portland I had an assistant who came in 3 or 4 times a week.  (Due to physical health challenges).  To receive this assistance I had to go through an interview with a caseworker every 6 months.  One of the questions that he asked was, "How many good days do you have and how many bad days?"  I HATED that question.  I did NOT wish to give any of my days away to "bad!"

I gave the concept a great deal of meditation, and prayer.  The answer came.  I needed to change the NAME of my days.  I no longer call days "bad."  Instead I have active days and quiet days.  This may seem like a small thing to those who have never had to characterize their days as bad and good.  To anyone who faces physical or mental challenge it's HUGE!  I made a list of "quiet" day activities.  On these days I can do the tasks that I rarely seem to find time for on active days.  I write letters, call friends, play on Facebook, write, write more, nap, (and oh what a glorious thing a nap can be on sunshiny day surrounded by my furlined friends (two small doggies, and one large kitty).  I do my very best to not let the reason for my quiet pull me down.  On the other hand if I need to vent, I call a trusted friend.  It never fails to amaze me how venting to someone who cares, lifts me.  When someone that I love vents to me, it also lifts me.

Now any of you blessed folks who don't face disability or challenge might think, what does this post have to do with me.  Luckily for you, I'll tell you!  Each and every human that is born on this planet has in common the framework of time.  We all have seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years.  I personally believe that it's extremely wise to recognize all the opportunities that we have for new.  Every second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year is brand new.  The moments of the past exist only in our memories.  The moments of the future will be gone when we arrive.  Tomorrow is an abstract concept.  When we go to sleep and then arrive, it is no longer tomorrow, it's today.

We all will face challenge of one type or another in our lives.  We can see the challenge as overwhelming, or we can see them as stepping stones to help us grow and improve.  Can you wake up in the morning, no matter what obstacles you may be facing, and think, "Wow, a brand new chance to grow and learn!"  If you can, renewal is reality.  Let me say that again, renewal is reality.

One last thought.  We are all born with a huge symbolic canvas bag to put our problems, trials, or challenges in.  If we keep putting those negative things in that bag it becomes heavier and heavier.  If we never remove any of those things by going through the healing process it will not take very long before that bag weighs so much that we can no longer more forward into renewal.  Now we're stuck, and every day seems to be a continuation of the negative from the past.

Today, do a visual exercise.  In your mind imagine all of those nasty, negative experiences, or problems, and dump them into a huge vast hole.  Watch them one by one go down, down, down, far away from you.  As you finish emptying the bag, feel how light you feel?  As a matter of fact, you feel so light, that you jump up and kick your heels together (remember this is NOT an actual physical idea, it's symbolic).

Renewal...I have not lived this next second yet...what new thing can I find to fill it with?


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