Things happen in our lives and because we are human we react, whether emotionally, physically, mentally, sometimes spiritually, we react. I think how we handle or manage our reaction is the key to either avoiding grief or enjoying a speedy recovery from a bout with grief or the blues.
Let me share my day with you. Today was a beautiful day, 62 degrees with bright sunshine. I stepped outside and saw the spring sprinkling of yellow dandelions. All along the block you could see beautiful green lawns and green stems with bright yellow heads swaying in the breeze. “Uh-oh! Time to start the war on weeds,” I thought. So to my surprise and pleasure, my husband agreed to take me to the nearest Home Depot to buy “poison for the yard.” Upon returning home I went right to work on the front lawn. I had already sprayed the roots of the dandelions and huge crab grass with my DIY concoction of vinegar, salt and Dawn. The dandelions were nice and dead. I dug them up, mowed the lawn and swept the walk. Just when I was about to go inside the house I saw it: pieces of dandelions I thought I had yanked out of the ground. I went back to give a good strong tug and realized that thanks to arthritis, I no longer have the strength in the left arm. “No problem, I do have another arm.” I had forgotten my right shoulder has a torn cartilage and here lately has been too sore to do the usual things. The left arm is numb from the elbow to the wrist because I injured it months ago.
I reflected on the activity that contributed to the demise of my left arm. I worked for InstaCart, buying groceries and delivering them to clients. One assignment called for 7 cases of water and 5 cases of pop. I lifted the cases and placed them in the cart. No rush, I took my time, but as I lifted the last case of pop a sharp pain ran from my left elbow to my wrist. I lived with a horrible pain in the left arm for 3 weeks. Working with one good arm, my speed decreased and eventually I was terminated. The lifting incident took place in January and the termination took place in February. However, I was already eligible for termination prior to the injury because I was too slow for management’s taste. I really liked that job. I enjoyed driving around, seeing new neighborhoods and meeting the clients. I never had a cross or mean client. Termination brought a mild case of the blues.
So here it is in April and I am reminded of this arm thing while doing what I love to do: gardening. Today it occurred to me that maybe, possibly, my gardening days may be coming to an end. I enjoy mowing my lawn, pulling weeds, dumping mulch, spreading fertilizer and watering my yard and garden. As much as I love the physical activity of gardening, sore back and swollen knees included, today I seriously considered paying for a landscape service. Today all my enemies paid me a visit: Allergies invited Asthma and she stayed way too long. As mentioned before, my right shoulder and left elbow competed for my attention because Arthritis started an argument between the two. After they battled for an hour my lower back jumped in the race. Lower back won and I went into the house feeling defeated, too tired to shut the garage door.
It hurt just thinking about not doing what I love to do. All winter I dream, what will I do back there (in the yard) this year? What will I plant this season? What new (for me) vegetable will I grow and eat? The thought of not pulling a weed made me depressed as hell. While sitting in that chair I could hear my grandmothers voice ever so faint saying “Count your many blessing one by one, It will surprise you what the Lord has done.” I heard my mother say, as she always did whenever I could not sleep, “make a list of all your blessings!”
So that is what I did. I shared my day and all its aches with you; let me share my list of blessings.
- After 2 foreclosure warnings I still have a house.
- The house has just what I always wanted: a front lawn and a back yard
- What I have planted thus far is doing real good; like the grave vine.
- The grapevine gives me the biggest sweetest concord grapes!
- I’m thankful that I had the physical stamina to do gardening.
- I’m thankful for the cardinal, the many robins and the blue jay that live in the tree.
- The white rose bush died. I’m grateful for the 2 years it lived and the beautiful flowers it produced.
- The red rose tree is not quite healthy. I’m grateful for the many, many rose bouquets that the bush provided.
- I’m thankful and grateful that what I planted flourished. Thank you Lord for this green thumb you have given me!
I am reminded by a friend who is 20 years my senior that growing old can be painful. The realization that you cannot do what you used to do don’t sit well with many maturing people. “Grow old gracefully,” my mother always taught me. ‘Don’t fight it. Time will slow you down and make some changes. Accept the changes as a gift. Because you are still here, accept the gift of moving slower.’ “Growing old ain’t for punks!” declares Maxine, a cartoon character who speaks frequently on life’s issues.
I thank God for allowing me to become a home owner (well, a mortgage payer), I thank God that I have or had what it takes to pick up a shovel and dig a hole big enough to plant anything. I thank God for allowing me to live long enough to get arthritis, an age related condition. I thank God for…
I was depressed today and to be honest, quite fearful. I lost a job that I enjoyed and I lost the opportunity to make some money. While working I lost some use of my left arm. Gardening is an outlet for me that brings me joy. The thought of losing the ability to function as a gardener was devastating. I can’t make money and I can’t have fun either??? That is just too much.
There really is some grief attached to growing older. Death is not the only loss that one can experience. Here, today, I experienced the loss of ability. That brought the perceived loss of independence; I’d rather do my own lawn care and not pay someone else. The “what ifs” got started in my head. Forget gardening what if I can’t…? The list subconsciously started until I heard my grandmother’s voice. ‘Count your blessing one by one. Look and see what God has done.’
After I made my Blessings List I felt calmer, peaceful.
If you are feeling anxious about anything or if you are grieving or sad about something, try creating a list of blessings or positive things to remind you of the goodness in your life. If you can’t find a blessing, if they don’t just pop out at you, then look, SEARCH, for blessings in your situation and in your life. They might be hidden but they are there.
What do you thank God for? I invite you to make a list of your blessings to share. Taking the time to create a list of blessings is a secret to healing.
My Blessing is you are here!
Thank you for visiting and please come back 🙂