The email message from my co-worker, Rachel, although complimentary and sweet, sent a shiver through me. She’d been reading my writings that I had posted on my blog site. “I only wish I could keep your attitude about things,” she had written. My continuation of that thought was, “Yeah, me, too!”
As if fate had decided to test my abilities to live what I have learned, my Monday back to work after the Christmas holiday went from bad to worse. The first test was that the new software program that I had just been trained on seemed not to be working right. I pressed and squeezed and shook my brain, wondering if there was some tiny piece of lint that might break loose and connect the pieces once again. What was I doing wrong? Was it the software or was it me?
My post mammogram/ultrasound doctor appointment was scheduled for 11:30 a.m., so I set the problem aside and headed across town. Amazingly, the clinic was running on time. They always seem to be overbooked, but today, I got right in. My doctor and I chatted about the results – no changes, just come back in six months for another ultrasound. We exchanged Christmas stories, and then he headed out while I put my top back on.
When I emerged, he and his nurse/wife were discussing when/where to schedule my next ultrasound. There was some confusion, it seemed, because rather than going to our local hospital for the last mammogram and ultrasound, I had gone to a more high tech facility in Fort Wayne. And I hadn’t waited the full six months before I went. When my doctor asked me why, I told him that I had discussed it with my gynecologist, and she (a specialist in that area) had recommended a couple of changes.
Well, that was not the thing to say. He AND his wife started lecturing me or even ranting on the necessity of only having ONE breast doctor, ONE facility, and basically – I should listen to no one but HIM. So much for looking out for myself and getting a second opinion – (I have an intercystual tumor.)
I left his office feeling a bit beaten and reprimanded. It didn’t help that my hormones these days are already swinging like a pendulum. I felt like crying, and part of me wanted to call him up and tell him that I am the patient, therefore the one that pays him. That makes ME the customer!! That means he needs to be nice to me or I might not come back!!
Rather than let it be his problem with his ego, I guess I decided to join him and spent the rest of the day living in MY bruised ego.
When Phil, the creator of my new software, returned my call, he greeted me, “Hello, Sunshine!” His affectionate salutation almost sent me over the edge. I felt tears well up in my eyes. Like a child who has skinned her knee, but no tears have fallen yet, I felt his compassion and therefore the freedom to feel my pain, and almost let the river flow. But since I was at work, I choked it back. I let his nickname stay with me all day as a comfort for my frustration. Yes, I was sunshine – sometimes….
By the time I got home, it didn’t take much to push me over the edge.
I got on the treadmill, my best stress reliever, but when I didn’t hear from my son or my husband, both people who can walk in hungry and make it my problem at any moment, I slid back again. How dare they not keep me informed? If they wanted their dinner when they got home, they should let me know just when that was going to be! Right? And what was going on, anyway? Were they in the ditch somewhere? I tried to call my husband, but he didn’t answer his cell phone.
I decided to make dinner and eat. If it was cold when they got home, well, that was their fault. Halfway through, my husband walked in with his lifting partner.
“Hey, you might try answering your phone, you know?” I said – with attitude.
His response? “Yeah, I’m all over that,” he snarled, then descended into the basement weight room while his partner revealed the happenings of the past hour. My son had gotten his feed wagon stuck, then the truck got stuck, and it went from there.
By then, my face had formed a huge crease that was not going away any time soon. This day had had its way with me, and it had already won. But as if to kick me while I was down, the student loan company called about my daughter’s student loan. I tried to call her, but she didn’t answer. She texted and said she’d call me after dinner. But at that point, I was just done. I didn’t want to wait to hear her excuse for not taking care of this.
I texted her a few harsh messages, then found my way to the couch where I prayed for sleep to just take me away from it all.
This morning, as I rise, I realize that I have not followed my own advice. I have not used the lessons that I have learned. I didn’t have to fall into ego. I could have fallen into compassion. There would have been less drama, for sure, and definitely I would not have felt so victimized or done the damage that stress does to a body.
So now it is time to have compassion for the person who feels like the victim of life and everyone around her.
So, Rachel, knowing it doesn’t necessarily mean living it. Living it is a choice. And I chose to live in my ego instead of going to my heart. I just have to forgive myself for being human. Rise and start again. But thanks for believing in me!