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Friday, September 23, 2005


At a committee meeting the other night I said, “I need help” with surprising emotion. Although I was speaking in relation to the work of the committee, I later realized that my plea for help went much deeper. My mother is slipping steadily, but slowly. There is no way to predict how much help she will need, when, or for how long, and I find that uncertainty stressful. In the meantime, I am spending way too much time on the Apartheid course I am teaching at the University of the Arts this fall. As a result, I’m only getting a few hours per week to write, less than I’ve had since Luke was in nursery school. When I have written, it’s been for the blog, which is fun, but different than working on a larger project, like a book. Now I’m uncertain if I should carve out time for my other writing, or relax my carving muscles and just focus on family and teaching. Trying to do too much makes me stressed, but giving up writing makes me cranky and fat.

When all these issues bubbled to the surface after the committee meeting, I realized I was due for some discernment. It’s been awhile since I’ve asked, “What am I being called to do now?” even though much of my writing is about the importance of asking this question. Somehow I’ve forgotten to squeeze it in between helping Megan with her homework and monitoring Luke’s piano practice. So Wednesday I spent most of the day alone. Instead of bringing my lap top to the coffee shop, I worked at home and then took a walk along the Wissahickon Creek in the afternoon. I didn’t have any epiphanies, no clear set of instructions from on High, but I did breathe a little deeper again and feel more in touch with my sadness about my mother, who now at 64 pounds, personifies the cliché “skin and bones.”

This morning I heard that a friend—another mother of two—just got hit by a car. She was on her bike and is now in the hospital with a broken pelvis and collar bone. It’s a reminder to take each day as it comes. Despite my desire to know how the next months will unfold, I can’t. I can’t and shouldn’t expect to. So instead of asking what I’m called to do and wanting a two-year plan made clear to me, I’m thinking I should ask the question one day at a time. This morning, I felt led to come back to the coffee shop where I write most of my blog posts. This afternoon I’ll visit my mom. After that, who knows.


Blogger Libby said...

This helped me. I'm in a similar-but-different place, needing discernment and being forced to remember that I have to take days as they come. At the moment breathing deeply is the best I can hope to do; I hope you get the breathing space you need.

1:30 PM  

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