Gathering Strength

We are getting close to the final quarter of what can arguably be the named the strangest year of all time. No need to rehash it, we’ve all lived through it.

Unless you’ve moved to a cave on Mars, you already know we are in the most contentious political season of our lives. Anyone who knows me well, knows I have opinions and I love to discuss them with anyone who shares them or opposes them but do not fear…that’s not the point of this blog.

In fact, it’s the opposite. I’m noticing a fatigue and I’m compelled to discuss it.

It makes me think of when my kids were little and they’d gather around me on the couch…always touching me, grabbing my arm, curling up under my legs or in the crook of my arm. My mom would smile and tell me that my grandmother always said when her kids did the same thing that they were “gathering strength.” As if they could actually siphon energy by their mere proximity to us.

I think most parents would acknowledge that it felt many times as if this was precisely what had occurred as our energy reserves were usually spent by the time the day was done. And as tired as we were, the parental instinct would willingly allow us to pour into them whenever it was needed. We will drain to an empty shell if necessary. Raising littles is hard.

As our kids get older the demand is different…less physical and more mental. As they mature, we find that they start to gather their energy from outside sources and there are days where I strangely miss the former times where I had total control over where they were and when they would be there. Somedays, I’d love to have all three curled up around me on the couch like this picture.

More often than not though, I find myself enjoying the changes that come with children who are growing older. Despite my age increasing as well, the independence they find brings more relief than sadness.

That recognition has allowed me to note a recent internal empty tank recurring and I remember the feeling all too well. Rather than endless “why’s?” or dirty diapers or middle of the night awakenings as the source, I find this fatigue after reading headlines or social media posts from friends, I find my eyes scanning through “news” source after news source digging for truth…an elusive endpoint these days.

Do you feel tired too?

I know you do. I see it everywhere. In my husband, family, friends, patients and strangers.

We.are.all.so.tired.

I know we’re pacifying ourselves with a November 3rd date to find some relief but I think if you really dug in we’d all admit that there is no way we’ll get relief that day. No matter the outcome.

A few days ago I was talking with some friends and we were discussing “new driver worries” as our kids get their licenses and how the sound of them pulling into the garage after being gone brings a sigh of relief that they are home safely again. My friend, whose husband is in law enforcement, said she likened it to when she laid in bed at night and heard her husband un-velcro his bullet proof vest when he came home late after his shift ended.

I don’t know about you, but that image (or auditory file), just gutted me. For her, for him, for their children, for all of us.

And it made me even more tired.

And at first, angry…angry at things I’d seen posted online. Angry at people who I love that seem to be “getting it wrong.” It made me imagine all the things I’d say to them if given the opportunity to explain what they were missing.

But then…before my emotions took over, I decided to play my own devil’s advocate. I asked myself…

“Seriously Suzy, If _____________ was standing in front of you. If you hadn’t seen them in years. If you just happened upon them…what would you do? Be honest with yourself. What would your exact reaction be at the moment you saw them?”

And I felt my own eyes fill with tears because person after person’s name that I put in that sentence allowed the same exact reaction from me.

“I would gasp in the joy of seeing them and hug them immediately. COVID and all. Mask or not. I would be thrilled to see them, I have missed them so.”

Well…to be completely honest: 95% of the people I put in that question gave me that reaction.

5% of the time I say this…

🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 If 2020 made us appreciate anything more than humor I don’t know what it is…except maybe toilet paper. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Back to my point though…

Why am I so angry about their opinions when I love their hearts? I love who they are and the role they have played in my life and the time we spent together or continue to spend together.

In the words of my patient from last week who is also my facebook friend…

“I thought about cancelling my appointment because I hate your politics so very much but I love you so I still came.”

This made me laugh but it also solidified my thought process that we need to remember that we as humans are capable to have our opinions but also to not BE our opinions.

At our core, what we ARE is human beings and children of an Almighty God and no matter WHO lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave next year, HE is ultimately in charge. I can take great comfort if I just remember that fact.

So my plan, for the next few weeks, is to hear my Grandmothers words and…

Gather Some Strength

How?

I’m limiting social media exposure because let’s be honest, as good as it can be, and it really can be good…right now, it’s a toilet bowl. Strike that…it’s a porta-potty at a marathon race. If you’re a runner, you know what I mean, if you’re not, just imagine thousands a people revved up on endorphins and stimulants before a race…it’s not pretty.

I’m reading lots of books. Fiction, biographies, self-help, anything I can put in my hands that makes my brain work.

I’m watching my kids play sports, go to dances, and complete in person schoolwork–things I will never take for granted again.

I’m praying. Again…I know who is ultimately in charge of it all.

I am remembering that this country is great. Really, really great. It was an idea of freedom that allowed us to rocket to greatness. It will not be broken. My youngest recently had to memorize the preamble of the Constitution of the United States of America. It is such beautiful document.

However you do it…gather your strength. Prepare you hearts for the outcome. But ultimately, remember why you love the people who are agitating you the most and remember that they too are simply gathering strength for the days to come. Let’s all have grace.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Comments

  1. mary quinlan says:

    Intelligent and compelling and well written–I am proud of my Suzie! Love from your aunt Mary

  2. Katie Scully says:

    Susie, I love your blog! This gathering strength idea is just what I need right now. I don’t remember in my lifetime so much political hatred. It is scary and unnerving and makes me really sad. Your blog is a breath of fresh air!! Keep ‘em comin’!

  3. Suzy, That was awesome. It really makes you sit and think. You have so many good points.

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