The jist of my pity party sounded like this… “What am I really doing or accomplishing by going to work ONE day a week? How will I ever get 4,000 internship hours behind me at the rate of EIGHT HOURS per week? And am I really helping anyone anyways?”
God I get tired of being my own mental punching bag!
So I said to God [during my 50 minute drive to work], I wish you would give me a sign I am still headed in the right direction…doesn’t have to be a lightening bolt or anything spectacular, just an indication I am making a difference.
I guess the term, “be careful what you wish for” really does mean something…
For later in the day I met a mother whose child had just started in our adolescent addiction treatment program. When I met Terry* in the lobby of our facility, she looked stressed, alone, and above all else, tired. Terry and I talked for the next two hours…actually, she talked while I listened and handed her tissues to wipe her tears and runny nose.
Terry’s daughter has been flirting with drug use and self-harm rituals for the past few years. Terry has two other children, a preschooler and a newborn baby. Terry has been trying to work with her ex-husband to get help for their teen daughter, but he is an abusive alcoholic who cannot see what is happening under his own nose. Terry remarried several years ago, her current husband [who understandably wants to keep his two young children safe from what might happen next with her teenager daughter] would just like to see this girl disappear so he doesn’t have to deal with the troubling youth issues she continues to have.
Terry is stuck in the middle of a cluster f#@% of the worst that addiction has to offer. On top of that, she is so physically and mentally exhausted she cannot even see straight.
Sometimes the very best thing we can do for someone in the middle of a huge conundrum (such as this) is simply to be still and listen. To allow for a safe space to verbalize every circumstance and fear they have been holding inside, with the possibility of gaining strength and perspective so the person can take their situation for one more day.
Often as moms we are trying to be strong, to take care of everybody else, and appear to be happy on the outside. What we don’t realize is just how emotionally exhausted we are! We also tend to be the last people to actually ask others for help.
By the end of our two hours together, Terry’s tears of frustration, fear, and uncertainty had turned into renewed hope for the situation. But it was only after getting out of her mouth the million things which had been going on inside of her head.
My best advice for her, as it would be any parent in the situation, was to find herself some back up PRONTO! It is a mistake to think we can navigate a difficult and complex life situation without first taking care of ourselves.
Terry told me how much she appreciated my listening and my understanding [sans judgment] of her situation.
Everybody has a story to tell, most people have some really heavy personal challenges peppered in. We make choices everyday as to how we will use our time and with what attitude we will approach what our day gives to us.
On the way home that night I said thank you to God for giving me exactly what I needed THAT day.
*not her real name