Monday, December 17, 2012

Taking a Break...

I sat in a dental chair while the hygienist cheerfully chatted away.  Asking me numerous questions about my life, I answered her honestly.  

After telling her about my five children, she asked many questions about my son, the impact of cancer on him, on his sisters, the family.  

Then she stopped, held her dental  instruments poised in the air, looked me in the eyes and asked, "How about you, momma?  Have you healed from all the trauma you have been through?"

Time stopped.  
And in that moment, I knew.


A few months later, I walked away from childhood cancer.  
It was what I needed to do.

I chose to quit my job helping families with bald, damaged children, raising money, networking resources.  I walked away from all volunteer work with the organizations that help these children.

There was too much sadness all around me.
I was exhausted. 

Years of giving.  
Years of serving from my heart, had taken their toll.

I had been grieving for eight years.
Grieving the diagnosis of my son.
Grieving the impact on his sisters.
Grieving the loss of nine year old Gage.
Grieving the loss of ten year old Lesly.
Grieving for children with limbs cut off by surgeons, hoping to save their lives.
And the newly diagnosed children never stopped coming.

Then the death of my mother.  
The suicide of a precious friend's son.  

Sadness overwhelmed me. 
I was exhausted.

So I walked away.
And I began to heal, just a bit. 

But the world continues in it's heaviness.  

While I was rocking my new born niece, a killer shot innocent people at a nearby mall.  A few days later, a killer entered a grade school and slaughtered Kindergarteners and their teachers.

I cannot escape the sadness.
I am exhausted.

I cannot watch the news.  
I cannot hear the details.
I cannot allow myself to connect to this pain too.

There is too much sadness all around me. 
I am exhausted.

I am working hard to grieve.  
I cannot add anymore weight.

I am exhausted on this black, stormy night.

And then I found this poem...

"For One Who Is Exhausted" by John O'Donohue
From: To Bless The Space Between Us

When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic, 
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight.

The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
now become laborsome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.

The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down.
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken in the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.
You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time. 

I am looking for small miracles.
I am watching the rain.
I am trying to imitate habits of brightness.
I am sitting in silence.
I am lingering with friends of depth.
I am being excessively gentle with myself.

I am taking a break, knowing the healing will come, because of His faithfulness.

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