Lately people have taken to asking me this question, “So what does a typical day in your life look like?” I cannot tell you the flood of thoughts that run through my head as I try to come up with a coherent answer to that question. I worry that if they really knew how aimless my days can be that they would be appalled. I try vainly to come up with what a typical day in my life actually looks like, because none of them are really the same, but then why do I feel like my life is this endless monotony? And then I wonder if they will feel compelled to try to help me get things out of the chaos and into the arena of structure. Or will they think, “What does she have to complain about? That’s not a bad life at all!” Well. Let me give you a peek, dear friends, into a day, with the disclaimer that it may or may not look like any other day in my life:
This morning I opened my eyes at about 7:30 and started thinking who I needed to be praying about. I prayed for my new friend V who is suffering from some pretty difficult health problems, and I prayed for C whose husband just came through brain surgery and is on a long path of recovery. I prayed for D and J whose story I can’t even hint at here. I prayed for K who is suffering a great loss that she may never fully get over this side of heaven.
At this point I was distracted, thinking of what I wanted to accomplish today. I need to write something for my blog (wasted minutes here being frustrated at how much of my time and mental energy has been spent on Strokeman’s blog – I’ve had plenty of time, it isn’t his fault!). I need to take care of the roots on my head that are giving me a distinct skunk-like appearance. I need to catch up on the clutter that has started to take over since my back started hurting on Thursday (by the way, all those people out there who have chronic pain: how do they keep from killing people? I feel mean as a snake!). I need to write that letter to my dear friend whose wife just died. I wonder if I can also manage a bath in epsom salts today to soothe the angry beast in my back? And come to think of it, I need to talk Strokeman into a shower.
I crawled out of bed, put on my glasses and grabbed my phone. I gathered the urinals by the side of the bed that needed emptying and dumped them, washed them, dried them, and put them back on Strokeman’s bedside table. A small price to pay for being able to sleep all night uninterrupted. He asked me to help straighten his shirt where it had gotten twisted during the night, and to don his non-skid sock that keeps his left foot from slipping when he walks to the bathroom. I also made sure his right house-shoe and cane were strategically positioned, then I got dressed.
As I went to leave the bedroom, Strokeman told me he had another change to his blogpost that had already gone up this morning. I swallowed down the irritation, and said, “OK” as I made my way to the kitchen to find the coffee. With coffee in hand I sat in my favorite blue recliner that belonged to my mother-in-law, and opened my computer to check my blog stats, Facebook, and email. I noticed my irritation with every little thing before I noticed the ache that still resides in my upper back. I read a few things, responded to a few things, played a round of Bubble Safari, and downloaded to my phone the new Gungor album I purchased this week. I heard the toilet in the guest bathroom leaking and fixed it. Then I went to check on Strokeman to see if he was ready for breakfast. He was back asleep, so I fixed my own breakfast of gluten free toast and one egg over easy.
As I ate my breakfast I read Matthew Henry on Judges 20. I noticed with relief that I am almost done with Judges, and next comes Ruth; a book I have less confusion about. I gleaned a bit from Henry’s commentary “worthy” in my estimation to be copied into my journal where I collect quotes that appeal to me from the various authors I am learning from at the moment. From Henry I wrote, “Everything that grieves us should bring us to God.” and “The falling out of friends should thus be the renewing of friendship. Even those that have sinned, if at length they repent, must be forgiven and comforted.” This reminded me of a painful loss of friendship I experience last year, and prompted a prayer for wisdom as to how to proceed there.
I went on to the next book, The Tealover’s Devotional, a gift from my youngest daughter. From it I wrote, “There is a great deal…” and then Strokeman called from the bedroom. I marked my place and went to tend to him. He made his breakfast order – pancakes, eggs and ham, chamomile tea. I went to the kitchen to make pancakes, listening to my new album while I cooked. I am going to like this band a lot! I set up Strokeman’s place at the table, complete with morning pills, and went to help him get out of bed. While he made his way to the table I set up my laptop so that I could make the necessary changes to the new blog. While he ate I took dictation, checked his blog stats for him, and posted a link to his latest post on my Facebook page. The he decided to add another link in his post, so I went back in to make yet another edit, trying unsuccessfully to hide my irritation. Strokeman thanked me, then said, “I have had enough, I am getting uncomfortable, and pushed himself away from the table so that he could have room to stand up. I thought to myself, “Good! Cause I have had enough too! Oh dear Lord, please forgive me and help me to have a better attitude.” Then I went to help him settle into bed where he would lay, watching TV and thinking about his next blog post until lunch time, occasionally yawning loudly or moaning.
At this point I decided that I had better not hold out for a bath, and resorted to taking some tylenol, and making another cup of coffee – both things I don’t do very often. Then I went back to my chair to finish up my reading. I noticed my new picture hanging on the wall above my desk; a gift from a dear friend. It has the words, “HERE I RAISE MY EBENEZER” crocheted into a beautiful lacy mat that is overlaying a dark background. I love it for the person who made it, and for the significance this phrase has in my life. I continued to write, “…of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea. Emerson” I took a moment to imagine a chest of tea…wouldn’t that be a lovely gift to give someone? Then I was reminded of the tea I received from my friend Francis last week, and thought, “Yes, a lovely gift.”
The next book I picked up was a book I “won” for a comment on a blog, Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing. From it I wrote, “When we come home to God it is not a leap into darkness. It is a magnificent leap into light – the light of God’s love for us!” I thought about some special people I have in mind to give this book to.
Finally, I turned to The Right to Write. Then I noticed the toilet was leaking again. This toilet that has been fixed by me, my son-in-law, and two different deacons; it’s very persistent in its insistence to stay broken. Back to my book after stopping the annoying tinkling of water from the tank of the renegade. Too many quotes here to share at this time. The gist is: Put it in writing. But this one, “We are all works in progress. We are all rough drafts. None of us are finished, final, done.” It reminded me of a conversation with a friend earlier this week, “I think it shouldn’t be this hard to remember that God will provide. I should have learned this lesson already from past experiences.” Which made me think of another friend who is apt to say something along the lines of, “I am thankful that after all these years God is still faithful to point out the sins I still need to fight against.” Which prompted me to pull Larry Crab’s book off the shelf; the one that years ago planted the idea in my head that our whole lives we really fight against the same sinful tendencies, just in different venues and from different angles. I thumbed through it for a minute, then went to stop the toilet from running.
In the midst of all this, I texted and messaged various people about various things, and finally I set about starting this piece of writing – noticing it was already almost noon.
After a while I got up and went to the kitchen where I unloaded and loaded the dishwasher. Then I started a load of clothes. I made lunch out of left over brown rice that I stir fried with fresh veggies and a couple of eggs. While I ate, I read a chapter of a rough draft entrusted to me by a friend. And then I read another chapter, because I couldn’t stop. As I was contemplating a third chapter, I heard Strokeman calling from the bedroom. After tending to his needs I asked him if he wanted lunch. He opted for soup and crackers, with the promise of chicken fried steak from Babe’s for supper.
After getting him settled into bed, I went for a walk. On the way home, I met up with my single mom neighbor and her son. I learned that I had been referring to her son by the wrong name in my prayers for them. When I got back, I took Strokeman on a walk; out the front door, around the cement pad a few times, then back inside. He got a shower and a cup of tea. Then I made myself a cup of tea. Actually, I made myself a cup of coffee, dumped it out, and made the cup of tea I had set out to make. Then I ordered Strokeman’s supper from Babe’s.
As I drove to pick up Strokeman’s steak dinner, I listened to my new album again. Just as I peaked the hill between my house and town, I noticed the sky to my right was light gray with darker gray wispy clouds. To my left the horizon was aflame with deep maroon. Gunger sang, “You make beautiful things out of dust, You make beautiful things out of us.” I had a moment.
Returning home, I set up Strokeman’s dinner and the computer and got him up to the table. We answered the two comments he got today and read through next week’s chapter. We checked stats and Facebook, and I read him a Spurgeon quote that somebody had posted. Then I put him to bed, “fat and happy”.
I did a little playing on Facebook, then a little writing, then I went to take care of those roots, wishing I hadn’t waited so late to get this done. While my hair was “processing” I ate the rest of the stir fry I had made for lunch and watched a British mystery on PBS. I took a shower to rinse my hair, blew it dry and dressed for bed. I poured a small glass of wine, got a little bit of chocolate, and finished watching my British mystery.
When my show was done, I went in to the bedroom, put eyedrops in Strokeman’s eyes, gave him his melatonin, and made sure his urinals were ready for use. At 10:39 my head hit the pillow. By 10:40 I was asleep. The toilet ran all night.