“Thick, heavy snow is blanketing my yard as I type; a March “Kaboom” as our favorite local weather guy would say.”
I wrote this last week.
I have realized I cannot write anything if my family is around. And that 4-8” of predicted snow turned into 16” of high volume, tree-shattering, power-killing snowmaggedon. We spent a fair amount of time that day trying to save trees in our yard (mostly successful), and then spent 5 days without power.
Thank God for our post-Sandy generator. It can’t power EVERYTHING in the house, but water/heat/and most of the lights make all the difference. We are so grateful to all the crews trying to get Jersey back up and running.
At the same time, a lot of our good friends in the brain tumor community have been in really challenging medical situations. The peril of having so many close friends in a community of smite, especially a community of smite characterized by the marathon-like duration of the smite, means that most of the time a lot of people we know are getting smote.
This past week or two has been Smitefest Extreme.
The heaviness of the snow and no power was dwarfed by the heaviness of our friends’ struggles. We have been in similar spots. I don’t know why we aren’t now, and I feel grateful and guilty and so deeply concerned for our friends who are mid-struggle right now. One of my children scans in 2 weeks. That is heavy on my mind, too.
So last week’s blog was one line that never got published.
I have thought a lot this past week about the heavy things.
I can’t lift them, or throw snow shovels at them (tried that with a horizontal cedar at the height of the storm, to try and get some of the high snow off, that actually worked), or make the heavy things change.
In the respite we’ve had, I have realized how much working to notice the little things helps me. It doesn’t make the heavy things go away…but noticing the little things lightens my perspective.
I tend to be a hyper-noticer anyway (survival skill for a teacher), normally noticing causes me anxiety or frustration, I notice ALL THE THINGS. In a certain karmic balance, my husband notices NONE of the things, so…yes. His response to my “hey, we scan soon!” reference—“Oh. Well, we can’t worry about that now.” AND THEN HE ACTUALLY DOES NOT WORRY!!! If he could sell THAT skill, we would be bazillionaires. Well, except that I would buy all of that, thus creating a weird market vortex between supplier and demander…
ANYWAY, In the last several months I have really worked to notice not just who is chewing gum in class or how many crumbs are on my floor, but I am trying to acknowledge and appreciate the world around me, to be in the present moment and to let those little noticings of nature and life and people soothe my troubled mind. Does that even make sense?
The peculiar pale blue cast of the snow crevices on our street (never seen that before!), the frost on the edge of each fallen leaf, the shape of my dog’s pawprints in the snow, the sound of the robins returning even though more fresh snow fell today…
These little noticings remind me that the universe is bigger than the heavy things. Heavy things are heavy…but life is not JUST defined by those things.
Noticing the little things enables me to be grateful for the little things. I can’t get a friend’s chemo approved or help a child in a dire spot, or ease the strain of medical testing for a child we love—but taking time to appreciate the smell of snowfall or the vibrant colors of my felt-tip pens or the soft warmth of the heating pad my sister made—in noticing these things I find strength to unbury myself from the heavy things.
THEN I can better support our friends. I need to be available, not buried.
This is a work. I have a long way to go, and if we get buried in smite again I am not sure if I will be able to maintain this practice. But I have to keep practicing, strengthening the “notice the little things” muscle. Our respite demands no less.
What little things do you notice that help soothe your soul?