I haven’t written much for this blog lately. The fact is that for the past few months I’ve been in an emotional (and sometimes spiritual) survival mode.
It was almost a year ago that my husband’s car was totaled by a loose highway reflector bracket that flew up into his front grill and spiraled it’s way through the length of the car, flattening a tire and popping open the trunk as it exited out the back. It was only a 1997 Skylark, but it had belonged to his mother, then came to us when she died a few years ago. After a few months and lots of red tape we did get a settlement from the state highway department but it wasn’t enough to replace it. Thankfully, some very generous friends gave us the key to an extra car of theirs and said, “Keep it as long as you need it.” There is a God.
Last fall we hit a crisis point with our bank and are still scrambling to make arrangements to pay what we owe so we can keep our house and deal with other creditors, too. That’s what happens when you spend a few years losing a job or two and your insurance premiums keep going up until they drop you and the “good” car needs repairing and you have to have glasses so you can see to do your job and… well, I’ll spare you the details.
Last fall I also had to have eye surgery. It was just a routine exam for new glasses when the problem was discovered. Mine was not the kind of laser surgery that fixes you up good as new in a day or two, this was the kind that takes a few months to heal, limiting your ability to function well in the meantime. I’m grateful I had wonderful doctors and other medical professionals and insurance to pay for them, plus a husband and daughter at home to look after me.
I was almost back to normal when I got sick on Christmas Day. It started with a cough and quickly went into a sinus infection, as little sniffles tend to do with me. From the description of other friends who got the flu and were left with a lingering cough, I’m guessing that’s what started it all. And just to remind me that I’m only a frail little human, bronchitis set in for another week or two for the big finish.
Today, I’m feeling like myself again. Finally.
Mind you, I’m well aware that these challenges we’ve been facing are a drop in the bucket compared to a cancer diagnosis or the death of a spouse. But I confess that as these issues piled up I waffled from a fierce determination to overcome them all to facing my own helplessness and just trying to hang on for another day.
If I have spoken to you at all during the past few months, please know that every smile, every friendly wave, every “I’m praying for you” - whether in person or over the internet - has been tucked away in my back pocket and carefully saved, to be taken out again and again as needed to shed a little light on a particularly dark day.
In October of last year, when I was feeling especially powerless to change my situation, I decided to volunteer at the the Anne Arundel County SPCA. I needed to spend a little time with animals who have always calmed and comforted me. During a time when I felt like nothing I did was making a difference I thought I could at least make the day a little better for the homeless animals cared for by the SPCA by giving them a little time and attention. It’s amazing how a few purrs and tail wags can change your whole perspective on life and teach you something about God and Grace.
A couple of weeks ago I took pictures of an Animal Wellness Event at the SPCA where several volunteers use their skills and training in Reiki, massage and other healing touch modalities to benefit the animals who may be stressed or having trouble adjusting to shelter life. It was the first time in quite a while that I’d covered an event, though I used to do it frequently years ago. It felt good to get back into the groove and stretch those old muscles of observation and storytelling. At the end of the evening when I started to gather my things and drive home I found Pebbles Cuddles, our official office cat, curled up for a nap on my coat. I think I’ve been accepted into the family.
Thank you, God, for your grace.
Thank you, family and friends, for your love and support.
And a special thank you to Pebbles Cuddles and the Anne Arundel County SPCA.