Today we rest at my parents’ home, then we are driving home tomorrow… missing the worst of the Thanksgiving traffic.
I’m going to pause now for a Christian moment, since I have been surrounded by very religious Christians for the past 5 days… Praise God Almighty! Praise Blessed Jesus!
I only have another 30 hours to go (give or take) till I am back in my car and headed HOME to my own space, my own diet, my own schedule, my own life.
This really has been a very challenging time for me. The most challenging thing, by far, has been dealing with people’s prejudices and judgments. My spouse has been having some difficulties, being off their schedule — as have I. They’ve been tired and irritable and have not been thinking clearly or as mobile as one would expect. And both sides of the family do not handle that well. So, they are hard on my spouse, which is hard for me to watch. My in-laws, especially, are pretty judgmental, and they put all kinds of pressure on my spouse to DO SOMETHING about their condition.
Get up earlier each day.
Get regular exercise.
Get a hip replacement.
Go out into the world and do all the things that people without noise and light and scent sensitivities can do.
Of course, they know nothing about the strokes, seizures, cognitive impairment, and I’m not about to tell them that, because they are exquisitely attuned to finding the worst in everything, and trying to overcome it. They will pick out the worst piece of information (e.g., if the power steering fluid had spilled all over the exhaust system, our van could have caught fire) and then they dwell on that. That will become their mantra — Something Terrible Could Happen — and they will proceed to make every thought center around that.
Which is a really draining way to live.
And now that we are away from them, I can breathe. My side of the family is overwhelming in other ways – we’re about to start the day’s social overwhelm drama – so there’s not a ton of respite. But at least it’s not that constant dark cloud of risk management and imagined damage control. At least I’m out from under that.
So, what have I learned from all of this? It’s going to take some time to figure that all out, but one thing I’ve gathered, is that I have a very unique ability to see people for what they are and accept them for what they are… regardless of their perceived disability and limitations. I can see the goodness and strength in everyone, and I can see the hidden abilities they have, which are usually eclipsed by their challenges or shortcomings. I’ve known a lot of functionally limited people over the course of my life, and none of them have actually seemed as damaged or as strange as others said they were.
I have always been this way, perhaps because it’s what I needed most from others — but never got it. When I was younger, it got me in trouble because I was taken advantage of by people with ill intentions. It’s taken me years to learn how to discern and steer clear of the trouble-makers.
What I’d like to do now, is find some volunteer opportunities to use that to help others.
I have several free days my employer gives me to use for volunteer work, so for the holiday season, I think I’ll look for a chance to do that.
Everything can be used — especially the difficulties.