Monday, May 02, 2011

Overwhelmed - and Grateful

In this installment of my “Grief and Gratitude” series, I’d like to talk about my thankfulness for something that many may think a strange thing to be grateful for – the fact that I have too much to do.

In my former life, I too would have thought this strange. When I was raising seven children with a full-time-plus career, I always had too much to do, and I was always exhausted and often distressed. I dreamed of a time when every hour of the day wouldn’t be over-booked. A time when I’d be able to read, meet my friends, take a nap…that would be Heaven, I thought.

After Timora died, I found myself with all the time I wished for back then, in my old life – and it was Hell. As I expressed it in my original blog (and described in my memoir), “Not only did I lose [Timora] herself, but I lost a whole world of experience, as the activities on which I’d been spending a great deal of my time suddenly became irrelevant; I literally didn’t know what to do with myself.” Unable to work, unable to concentrate on anything other than what I absolutely had to do, I awakened every day to the prospect of hours upon hours of empty time stretching before me.

Now, ten years later, my life is full again – perhaps too full. I have my work, my marriage, my children and grandchildren, my writing, my improvisational theater group, my book club…I’m sure I’m forgetting something. But after going through that emptiness, I appreciate every single activity I’ve crammed into my overflowing life.

Now, whenever I start to feel overburdened, I think of all the reasons for which I could have too little to do. I, or a significant other, could be ill, or severely disabled. I could be unemployed. I could be poor, and not able to afford drama groups, books, or even train fare to visit my children and grandchildren. I could have no friends to meet. For that matter, I could be in prison…. You get the idea.

Yes, I’m tired, and sometimes feel overwhelmed. But I thank God that the opposite is not the case, and that my life is now filled to (and over) the brim with stimulating, meaningful, and satisfying doing.

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