Wednesday, February 23, 2011
All Is (Not) Well
Through it all, they kept a blog, a letter to all the concerned family and friends, detailing each day's struggles and successes. At the end of each day, they signed off, "We are well."
I think about that signature often, and wonder how, in the face of all that was wrong, they could say, "We are well." How, when I so often find myself thinking "All is NOT well today."
All has not been well in a while. I broke my foot and ruptured all the ligaments that hold my ankle together. I got the flu. The flu developed into a nasty sinus infection. That sinus infection developed into asthma. My oldest daughter got a cold. It turned into a sinus infection. My youngest daughter caught an awful cold. The first daughter then picked up a great case of strep at school. My youngest daughter countered that with the flu.
I haven't seen the outside world in nearly a month. We are out of milk. The car needs maintenance. I have a graduate school packet I need to get in the mail that I can't get to the post office to mail. I'm behind on my reading, writing, and blogging. In two days I'm supposed to drive my oldest daughter to Richmond to chaperone a weekend of All-State Choir, as long as she stays well and I don't catch the flu again, and my youngest is better. In four days we have company coming. All is not well.
I've had discussions recently with friends who wonder how everyone around them seems to be doing more than them. The admiration for others always starts with "It's all I can do just to ___" Fill in that blank with whatever it is you do. Because whatever it is you do, it's not as much as someone else. Isn't that what most of us think?
But the fact is that all of only have 24 hours a day, and most of us fill it with however much we can. Some keep cleaner houses. Some make more gourmet meals for their families. Some entertain. Some write 10,000 words a day (you know who you are!). Some go to school full time. Some work full time. Some are juggling the schedules of six kids (and those of you who do that are probably not reading blogs). Some read. Some are exercise and fitness enthusiasts. Some run businesses. Some homeschool. Some take the moniker of stay-at-home-mom to new heights.
And by doing whatever it is we do, other things slide. It's the rule of time. There is always more to do than time to do it, and I'm convinced most people I know really do the best with the time they have. How do I write and go to grad school and run a family of five? I have laundry that sits in the dryer until another load kicks it out. Then sometimes it sits in a hamper waiting another week to be folded. I cook things that only take less than 30 minutes to throw together. I have cobwebs in the light fixtures. I don't spend nearly the time I used to playing with my kids. I skip meals. I quit the gym. I don't read or write blogs regularly anymore. I shop a lot less and if I forget something at the store, we do without until the next week when I go back. Others in the house are having to do more.
Sometimes I am sinking. Sometimes I'm falling. Sometimes I'm treading water, keeping my nose just barely above the surface.
But in the end, what needs to be done gets done. And I realize a lot of things don't really need to be done. And maybe that's what my friends have taught me. When a crisis narrows your life to a hospital room and your son's future is dubious, maybe you can really see what matters.
Am I alive today? Are my loved ones alive today?
Then maybe all is well after all.