LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps. Jeremiah 10:23
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23
Another week complete. Day 225 (!!) of the lockout of mom’s nursing home… Again, as I have said before, I get it. I am in a very unique place…I REALLY get it. My employer rightly has kept our 30+ senior centers closed as the COVID-nado hops from hilltop to hilltop, seemingly indiscriminately in many ways. We have to do our part in stopping the spread of this virus. Hopefully all will be better by spring, but we shall see. As far as mom’s nursing home, there are still extremely widespread infections. Nearly every single resident has tested positive and over 10 have passed away. It is a terrible situation. 🙁 I feel for the staff and administration there as they have done what they could…including keeping me from seeing my mom for 225 days…to no avail. I am limited to a weekly Zoom-ish call that has been missed the last 2 weeks. I suspect that they are super shorthanded again and can’t provide this service. Terrible indeed. 🙁
So what’s next you might rightly ask? I mean, COVID, race riots, stars/athletes dying right and left, murder hornets (which are barely a thing, but it seemed like they were everywhere when we talked about them first), snow storms everywhere these days…kind of early during a global warming period, isn’t it?…, terrible politics…what could possibly be next?
I have a good answer for you. I think it is good anyway. My answer:
Who <stinking> cares??? Let’s let it go.
(Screeching tire sound)
(Enter arguments stage left)
“But I have to stay educated on this stuff!”
“There is power in knowledge”
“I have to be ready”
I get it. It SEEMS like it helps to know all and have plans for everything. Note here: I am disaster preparedness director for 17 counties. It may seem foolish to say such things. Am I not a 24/7/366 prepper??? Nope.
Here are my suggestions as we weight a seemingly insurmountable, Herculean task.
Limit your screen time. Watch news in a small sample of left-leaning and a small sample of right-leaning news. The AP and Reuters tells them all what to say anyway and you can get enough info pretty quick without endlessly doomscrolling. Seek to understand…not be an expert on every angle of an issue.
Eat right and exercise. We all have a tendency to make at best neutral choices and at worse terrible choices when we stew around in the stresses of our lives these days. Instead of mindlessly spending 4 hours watching the 11th season of Criminal Minds, spend 3 hours binging the show and 1 hour walking in nature or perhaps yard work. Get moving…it will help your body and your mind. No worries. You will appreciate your show the same amount or more with a little less time watching it. 🙂
Talk to the Lord. Pray for others. Pray for our country, but not with a hopeless, fearful attitude. Know that God is in charge, is on His throne, and has a specific and good plan for us in the midst of what seems pointless and terrible. This stuff is far above our pay grade… The Lord is mighty…and available 24/7.
Inspect your schedule. Are you REALLY too busy to do things that are good for you and others? Create a time journal and evaluate where all of your time goes and make corrections where necessary. Do you watch the news for 3 hours, eat a bunch to fight the stress it caused, and lay around because you are full and tired? Well…as the great nutritionist Barney Fife says “You gotta nip it in the bud!” Stress and depair builds on itself and it builds even faster on the backs of these activities that seem to help at the time and come up far short.
Teach yourself new habits. Charles Duhigg is completely on to something with his take on habits. It is not enough to use willpower to fight bad habits caused by the despair we live in these days. We need to retrain ourselves and replace the bad habits with good ones. Habits can never go away…but they can be transformed from things that hurt us into things that help us. Do you get “hungry” when the stress of caregiving gets heavy…and I know it does…notice the correlation and feed your brain with a chapter of a great biography of someone who has overcome an obstacle…or, better yet, a chapter of Psalms. It takes time to change from one habit to another…but if you can find the trigger and replace your response to something that rewards you instead of harms you, you will find a new joy.
Get help. If you are overwhelmed, even a little, find help. Help may be physical, emotional, spiritual…or even time help. However, take inventory of what you need and ask for it. You would be surprised how many people are just tripping through life in your circle that would like to help but don’t know how. Ask. 🙂 Find a task and ask. Oh…and if you need emotional/mental health help, ask for that too. There are many, many counselors out there that you can afford that can help. If you don’t like the first one, keep trying. Talk to your pastor. Talk to a deacon or a trusted brother or sister in the faith. Self care, and recognizing your need of it, isn’t lack of faith…not even a little.
Optimistically… throw up your hands like you just don’t care. Face it. In life there are times that are well beyond us. As I have mentioned before in past posts, anyone who says “God will never give you more than you can handle” has never read 1 Cor. 2:3-5, nor 2 Cor.1:8-10, nor most of the Bible. We cannot handle this stuff ourselves. We are weak. But in our weakness, He shows His strength and is mighty to save and protect and love and guide and shield and did I mention love? Give up on handling this stuff by yourself. Today.
Easy to say, not to do…I get it. However, the journey of 1,000 miles starts with just a step. Start stepping that way today and let the rest go.
Update: Sadly, there are less than 10 that HAVEN’T had COVID-19 at mom’s nursing home. Many have died. Double digits to be sure. They are doing their very best…so good I never get to see mom…and it made it in anyway. Rough situation, but, following my own advice, I do what I can and leave the heavy lifting that is beyond me to my Savior.
WW Update: I an still about 4-5 pounds away from 100 by my goal day of next week. Can I make it? Maybe…but if not, I will get it the next week. I won’t be defeated by self-imposed barriers.
Thank you all! I appreciate each and every one of you. 🙂