I'm not at all proud to admit ~ although I am extremely thankful ~ that my husband can see the storm brewing within me before it hits, and he has become exceptionally good at ducking for cover. (Figuratively speaking, of course.)
When Charlie is having a tough time, he takes off for an afternoon bike ride and returns a new man. But that doesn't work for me. I can feel it building, building until my head explodes. The problem is that for the past several weeks, I've been having explosions, a lot.
Until - we went to Disney on our family vacation and we made a decision.
Finally, we had a plan and it was such a relief.
But just as we were starting to get excited about it, our plan totally tanked. When I considered the real estate loss - and the depressed job market - and my current schedule of seeing the children only briefly before I left for work in the early morning and kissing their sleeping cheeks when I returned home late at the end of a long day ... I started flipping out. Repeatedly.
Now that I'm on the other side of my flip out, I can see that I was being terribly selfish. MY plans weren't working out. Obviously, I wasn't getting what I wanted, so damn it all to hell with a side of coleslaw.
And ... that's just about the time God decided to step in with a heavy-dose of perspective.
Because this afternoon, when I came home early from a meeting, I noticed that one of our sponsored children, through Compassion International, had sent us a letter. Little Elvis lives in the mountains of Peru. He is five-years-old and was writing to ask us for prayers because the swine flu is sweeping through his village.
While I know that people die from the flu every year, the H1N1 strain has me really concerned. More than 25 people have died from it in San Diego since June, including a five-year-old girl who died last month.
We'll be taking the children in to the pediatrician next week for their five-year checkup. I plan to have them all receive the H1N1 vaccination at the same time. We're very fortunate because that vaccination is available to us. But it dawned on me today that even if our children fall ill this year, we are incredibly blessed to have clean water, electricity, Puffs Plus with Lotion, Tylenol, Gatorade, Jell-O and an excellent children's hospital less than 30 minutes a way.
Our friend Elvis lives in a tiny shack with his parents. His father earns in a year what I earn in an hour. When our children are sick, I can put them in the car and take them to the hospital. If Elvis or someone in his family is sick, it might take them days to see a doctor. But the most sobering thing is that of the four children we have sponsored, Elvis is the most well off by a long shot. Our children in Africa, Bangladesh and India are even poorer.
They have dirt floors in their homes and tin roofs that leak.
Huh. What is it again that I'm so mad about?
I'm having a really tough time remembering...
Sometimes, I think that the best thing I could with my life is get rid of everything and go on a mission trip. What an awesome learning experience for our children about what the really important things are in life and yes, Anita, I very well could be bipolar.
(Goodbye! Goodbye! I'm traveling around the world to deliver rice to remote mountain villages accessible only by llamas**. I promise to write!!)
So many of us are shielded from the world when we sit in the comfort of our own homes with electricity at the flip of a switch and clean water at the turn of a knob. Instead of recognizing and reveling in how lucky we are, we bemoan our circumstances.
At least for me, it is so easy to get caught up in having the houses - and cars - and 401Ks with matching contributions - and fancy new digital cameras. Which surely, those things are important - but relatively speaking - they are definitely not critical for survival. Especially when you are reminded that there are millions of people in the world who have absolutely nothing. Except their faith. Which I could definitely use a bit more of these days.
After reading your insightful comments (and e-mails) on my last post, I'm less inclined to run off and see a therapist, and more inclined to send each and every one of you a co-pay along with my most sincere thanks.
Truly, this blog is better than therapy.
If anyone is interested in learning more about Compassion International, I have added a widget to the top left corner of my blog. I have found it to be a wonderful organization that I would highly recommend.
Our children adore the new friends that they have made and I really appreciate that they are having such great exposure to cultures different than their own, while picking up an excellent lesson in caring for others.
EDIT: ** If you see that I spelled something totally wrong, please speak up!
Llama is two "L"s not an "I" and an "L". I'm not sure why I thought it was pronounced Ill-lama ... and not L-lama but when I'm writing a post at midnight, sometimes I don't pay very close attention to spell check. So when my husband points out the error, my husband who once spelled his own daughter's name wrong ("What you mean there's a Z in Elizabeth? I thought for sure it was an S!"), it feels like I've been walking around a cocktail party without realizing that the back of my dress was tucked in to my pantyhose.
I actually witnessed something similar to that once. I was at a concert and the poor woman had seats on the VERY front row. Just before the curtain came up and the lights were dimmed, she walked from the back of the PACKED hall to the very front, with her dress snuggly tucked in to the back of her hose. She was flocked by a group of women just before she sat down - and her reaction was awesome. Instead of passing out from embarrassment, she gave the audience a smile and a curtsy and then pulled the dress out before briskly walking back to the restroom.
Now, if that ever happens to you - you'll know what to do. Or you could just check your dress before you leave the bathroom. Or ... in my case, pay better attention to spell check.
(Smile. Curtsy. Dash back to the "edit post" button.)