An occasional challenge on a good week is tolerable, but when challenges piggy back onto each other in a short course of time it is much harder to deal with. Today I had what I hope is an ending to a perfect storm.
Perfect storm (idiom) 1 – a detrimental or calamitous situation arising from the powerful combined effect of a unique set of circumstances.
A few weeks ago I was honored to be the volunteer chair of my national music fraternity’s convention. It’s a labor of love. I enjoy the busy, hands on work of coordinating the volunteers needed to run a convention for 700 over the course of 5 days. However, during the same convention I decided to run for a national office. I didn’t anticipate the emotional rollercoaster I would endure while preparing for the speech portion of this election while balancing my other responsibilities. After winning the election, I was even less prepared (but still very excited) for the deluge of information I would need to download into my head over the course of seven days so I could hit the ground running with my new responsibility.
I return from my convention, excited, with my spirits lifted and my confidence on an all-time high. My fraternity sisters made me feel like a million bucks. However, I have to jump right back into the swing of my family and work life.
I came back home to a very large project at work. I needed to research and create a landing page for a specific project during my part time job and have it up and running in just two weeks. After I crammed the first 20 hours of this project into two days at the office, one of my boys has what I thought was an anxiety attack about starting a new school, but turned out to be the onset of a double ear infection complete with fever, vomiting and a good deal of pain. I hadn’t quite wrapped my head around the panic attacked turned ear infection – so what I mean by this is I was in full blown denial that my 14 year old was in excruciating pain on his birthday (oh yes, did I forget to mention, it is his birthday?) so of course he was scooted off to band camp. I visit my consulting client at his office and stop at the store on my way home to purchase the ingredients for my son’s requested birthday meal of tacos. While in the ethnic food aisle, my mother calls to let me know she has called 911 for herself at her doctor’s request due to a pesky fever that will not go away. Of course, I drop everything and meet her at the hospital.
Instead of prepping for a birthday, I have shoved that responsibility to my amazing mother in law and then spend several hours at the hospital with my mom and texting my siblings across the states on the status of her recovery (a full recovery was made a few days later). I come home just in time for the birthday dinner, only to have to come face to face with my denial about the ear infection. This kid needs to see the doctor asap. I cannot take him, because I need to get back to the hospital the following morning to be with my mother, so my husband ends up going instead.
Let’s rewind the clock back to my fraternity convention. I am also prepping for a blues concert in my office parking lot as a fun event for our clients. The previous year, I blogged about overcoming barriers about singing with the band…..this year with the barriers removed I am downright excited about singing a few numbers and have given my co-worker who runs the band, a list of 7 songs I would like to do. We agree on the songs and he promises to run them past the other band members but we know based on complicated schedules we will not be able to practice. So, during the last several weeks I have been practicing on my own……. A LOT. I had listened to only these seven songs for about 4 weeks during a 50 mile commute to work. I am running through this playlist as I run back and forth to the hospital, it is the music for my alarm clock and I even annoyed my fraternity sisters that shared a hotel room with me by playing it in the car for the entire 4 hours to and from St. Louis.
This concert happens to be two days after my son’s birthday and my mother’s admittance to the hospital. However……I see this concert as a good thing…..a release from all the unpleasantries that have made a home in my crazy week. I had spent the better part of the last several weeks visualizing this concert as something fun my whole family would go to, I would feel their love and support as I do something I love (singing!). However, now that my son has a raging ear infection and my mother is in the hospital the only family that can make it are two teenage boys that know their street cred will tank if they are actively cheering on their mom during a blues concert in her office parking lot. Normally part of an event crew, my boss graciously gives me very little to do for the event because she knows I will be singing seven songs off and on. However, due to time constraints and a great deal of importance put on those seven songs by no one other than me…..over the course of the 4 hour event I only get to sing two songs.
This, my friends was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I am exhausted. I’m annoyed I spent a lot of time working on something that never came to fruition. I feel unsupported because no one is there to tell me what I needed to hear at that moment (i.e. “your songs would have sounded great because I know how hard you worked on them” or even “I love you”). I also felt a tinge of guilt as I found out my mom was discharged from the hospital and had to call her friend at the retirement home to pick her up as I was not available to bring her home because I was “singing”. I came home and told the story to my husband whos underwhelming response to my hurt feelings just seemed to make the whole thing worse.
I just wanted to go to bed but my mind is trying to process these last few weeks and it’s daunting.
If my meditation practice has taught me one thing it is to listen. So instead of sitting awake in bed I decide to write down the one verse that I have heard over and over intentionally and coincidentally over the last few weeks:
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal……Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
Reading this, I am reminded that what I’m feeling right now is nothing close to Love. It’s a good reminder, because my rational mind can tell my broken heart that all will be well, even if at this particular moment it is not inspiring me to feel less hurt. I will be happy to start a new week and maybe look back on this week when it stings a bit less and see where I contributed to the perfect storm. But for now, I’m having a hard time letting it go and letting Love in.