I saw a meme on one of my social media feeds recently. I don’t know whom to credit, but it went something like this… a grandfather saw his young granddaughter reciting the alphabet with her hands folded and her eyes closed. When she was done, he asked about it and she said that she had so many things to tell God that she couldn’t figure out how to say it all. So she prayed to God all the letters of the alphabet and figured God could put them together into words since God knew what she needed.
We are all living in a world that up-ended itself almost 2 years ago. I stopped writing. I hunkered down with our family to figure out our new world. And we rode wave after wave of change. We tried school in a new way and then no school for a while. We did SO many art projects. We walked and we danced and we gardened. It’s been a long, hard and wonderful stretch. It is very difficult to find the words to describe what we, and our world have been through.
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I need to amend the above a bit…I stopped writing to publish, but I never really stopped writing. To write is to be me! Writing is how I sort out the chaos in my head. Writing is how I organize my days and weeks. Writing is how I process feelings. Writing is how I remember what has gone before and how I review what is to come.
Sometimes my brain, my heart and my life feel like that little girl reciting the alphabet, not just in prayer, but in everything. There is SO much going on all the time that it’s a jumble and it’s hard to focus on anything. When I can’t focus on anything specific, I get anxious, because there does not seem to be a clear pathway to calm. I am supposed to pay attention to the anxious teen, and the angry teen, and the school issues, and job searches and court hearings…. And then fix dinner and get the pet food. Which do I focus on first? Or how much attention does that problem need today? Or when can I possibly schedule one more IEP meeting or doctor appointment?
So, as I am today, I start to put the alphabet letters down and soon they start to come together into words. The words become sentences, then a group of thoughts called a paragraph. Soon I begin to notice that I am not so anxious anymore and I can think of each thing, one at a time, while I hold the others safely in the background. That is happening right now.
When I sat down to write this morning, I was vague about where this was heading. Now I am wanting only to share this thought: I hope you each have ways to organize the chaos. We often hear of ‘self-care,’ but that phrase, while I understand the intent of it, only adds to my list of things “to-do” and/or to my list of things I feel guilty about not finishing at the end of the day. Maybe for you, a spa day (the go-to selfcare idea) IS the way that you organize your chaos. Maybe for someone else, a phone call to a dear one helps ease the anxiety of too much to do. Or perhaps, a dedicated time to exercise is what sets things straight for you. For my granddaughter, Inez, it seems to be drawing. She draws and draws and draws… mainly people, and at 9 years old, has a gift of being able to convey so many expressions and feelings on her faces. For one of my daughters, it is reading. She uses her time between the covers of a book to escape in a way. After reading for a while, she is more relaxed and is better able to handle what is coming her way. We are all different beings and it is well worth the effort to discover how you get to a place where you can think clearly.
Me? Writing! As I write, I hope that you will have a chance to understand what you need to do to sort out any chaos or anxiety so that you may move into this holiday season with peace and joy. ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ.