Everything is Coming to a Grinding Halt


Remember that song?

I got a comment that made me pause. In fact, it brought me to a grinding halt. I was forced to remember what my values have always been.

The comment was really hard for me to read. The author of the comment was clearly someone that knows me, has helped me frequently and feels used because our relationship isn’t a two-way street.

I stopped blogging. I got swallowed by shame. I wanted to know who it was, and how I could make it up to them and I felt like a selfish pig. I thought I needed to stop asking for help completely. I was trying to convince myself that I don’t have needs.

But I didn’t quit blogging. I didn’t let myself fall into a deep despair because I don’t have the energy for that. If can’t even walk up a flight of stairs because my heart is not operating correctly, I can’t let myself be pulled down by someone’s belief that somehow I am not enough or that I don’t do the relationship correctly.

Good deeds can never be reciprocal. They are circular in nature. You are always paying it forward in life. I set up a soup train for a family dealing with depression. Kitty and Fun came over and spent the whole day cooking prepared meals.

I had lost my appetite and stopped eating. Their love and good food filled me up and made me want to eat again. I set up an auction for a friend who needed financial help. She can now afford to continue treatment. I give. You give. We just don’t always need to give in a “two way street” pattern.

I’m sad that a “friend” wouldn’t come to me and tell me I was neglecting her, and that she was offended by my “all me, all the time” energy of my blog.

Hmmm. . .what’s a blog for? It’s about me. My story. My experience. My needs. I am so grateful that I am strong enough to ask for help. When I ask people for help on any level, I believe that I am full of gratitude. When my friend Carrie comes over to help, I ask about her husband and daughter and her work and her dog. I don’t always call and check in with her (well, there is that issue that I HATE the phone), and I don’t always email her to ask her about her teaching.

I try SO hard when people visit to make it about her/him just as much as it is me. I try to make sure it is about community, not about me, me, me. I’m not in the world every day to see people. I’m caught up in my own life. And it is full.

And I have very limited energy. I am in a constant push/pull against what I want to accomplish on a daily business. I have shoulders that can’t get to 90 degrees. I can’t unload my dishwasher or dress myself. Sometimes I can’t take care of my sick children, and no amount of money in the world will give me healthy children or a husband that is well. This is my life. It isn’t bigger or better or hard than yours. The events and needs in my life don’t matter more than my neighbor’s life. My difficulties do not trump the young woman on the East Coast, a dancer since the age of 3, who just gained the ability to walk this week after two years of not being able to. I am not better off nor am I worse off. There is no hierarchy of pain, grief, despair, illness. There isn’t. Your brain tumor is not more valuable than the stage 4 Ovarian cancer. A job loss or longtime unemployment is not more or less difficult for you than anything anyone else is going through. Different. Just different. And hard. All hard.

No matter what our struggle, we need to maintain the courage to ask for help. It’s been a very difficult life experience for me to be so vulnerable. But I encourage everyone in need to try it on for size.

When you hurt, tell people. When you need, ask. You can’t worry about the outcome, even if your friends start feeling used and hurt. If you are feeling used and hurt you can step forward in courage and talk to your friend. Holler, “I NEED YOU.” Be honest.

Every time YOU ask, every time I ask, every time YOU help, every time I help, We send that strength and courage into the world.

What’s my alternative to asking? I can’t do this alone. None of us can through our troubles alone, and if we try to, we will just end up feeling hurt and lonely.

I have been grateful for every single person who has donated time, energy, love, or money to our family. Every dollar. Every moment. I may not express my gratitude as much as people would like. I may not return it in an equal value, but I’m doing the best I can. Just doing the best I can.

I’m back to blogging. No more music by The Cure as my daily theme song.
Because out of my “All me, all the time,” blog, I know I’ve touched the lives of people that live in overwhelm and Moms that live in fear for the lives of their kids. I know it. And I’ve saved at least one life.

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7 responses to “Everything is Coming to a Grinding Halt

  1. Was this the hardest post you’ve written? I think it may have been, and one of the most eloquent and impassioned. Given your always-gifted, insightful writing, that’s saying a lot!

    The work you’re doing strikes me as spiritual work: about balance, release, acceptance, and surrounding and flooding through all of it, through everything, always, LOVE. Finding the clarity to parse through the complexities of ‘is this really just all about me, truly?’ takes one far beyond our world with its preoccupation/fixation on the immediate, the concrete, and the brusque.

    I don’t know of any shortcuts to deepening spiritually other than trials and tribulations. It is only (I truly think) the heart that’s been there that can really accept all and still offer love and gratitude. And yet still do battle for health and understanding. That’s the paradox we’ve talked about before.

    You’ve done a brilliant job – simply brilliant – working through this very critical question and issue. Thank you for sharing all parts of this process, and most importantly your thoughtful reflections and realizations. Once again, I am sharing what you’ve written with others who can understand the brilliance of what you’ve written, who will also know just how hard your process was to clarify and distill your way through the issue.

  2. Not everyone’s going to hop in for your journey. That’s to be expected. It’s hard not to take it personal.

    You do ask a lot about others, Jeanne. I know you do. I sometimes wonder why you care so much about others, when you’ve got a full enough plate in terms of problems and challenges. Like you get all bent out of shape about line-drying and composting and I’m like, I think you get a pass from these things, as you are ill and so is your family. But you don’t want to easily give up those values. Nor the values of helping others in need.

    And you are right. Love isn’t a capitalist transaction. It doesn’t stay in a container and come with a receipt. What you give me, I might not give back to you. It might dribble into another’s bucket; it might warm someone else’s back like sunshine. It’s not zero-sum exchange. Some people aren’t down for that. Whatever. That’s about them, not you.

    I know you could take help, continuously, like a glut drip in an IV. And people get intimidated, thinking that’s what it’s going to be, if they continue to befriend you. But that’s them not understanding their limits, that they aren’t heroic world-savers, not you being greedy. You are asking for support, and that can be a nod and listening. Or washing dishes. Or something heroic, too.

    I believe in the value of sincerity. And above all, despite you saying you are morbid and crazy and brain-damaged and whatever else, I think you are sincere. Keep being that way.

  3. During a long period of unemployment, someone deeply hurt me with name calling and hatred. Someone I considered a friend. I found myself, not long after the attack, desperate for help and the comments and vitriol kept me from asking for help. In turn from being the best mother, spouse, person I could be. I am so grateful you ask for help.

  4. I am one of your silent readers, and find your posts to be educational, informational, hopeful, and brutally honest at times. I appreciate that. I have gotten the same response at times from “civilians” in the healthy world… We write because we must. Keep on blogging…we would miss what you bring to this Lyme life.

  5. Well said girl! You have helped me a lot!!

  6. beautiful… you are, very simply, very honestly, lovely… I am sorry for the sharp cut of your friends words.. but I am thankful, that your soul seems stronger now… Your heart bursting with new knowledge of SELF, and who you are in the world, and that even though…. (fill in the blank.. any given day.. any given way) even though life has thrown you a curve (spiral??) you didn’t wither.. but grew… sharpened.. gained… and shared…

    What more is there to say.. but that you can share here, and I am thankful to get to read into, get to glimpse into the little parts of you and your life, that you feel comfortable sharing.. You are lovely, inspiring, encouraging, compassionate, thoughtful, thought provoking..

    God BLESS ya girlie… and keep on bloggin TRUE! πŸ™‚
    love your bloggin buddy πŸ™‚

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