Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Escape (01/02/06)
By Judy Anderson
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I try to focus. There was a time when I was self-disciplined and happy. I remember it; a time not so long ago when I awoke early, refreshed and ready to take on another day. There was anticipation and hope, a future out there just for me.
As I move slowly into the day, the phone rings.
“Mrs. Anderson? This is Laurie from the nursing home. Your mother-in-law fell last night. We don’t believe she is hurt, but we’re sending her for x-rays this morning.”
“Not again,” I reply. “Will you call me when you have the results? Do you need us to come right now?”
“No, she seems fine and yes, I will call you this afternoon.”
I hang up and dial my husband’s work number to relay the news. This is the third fall in recent weeks. Restraint seems degrading and dehumanizing, but we need to keep her safe. She forgets and tries to get up and walk on her own. We’ll talk about it tonight with my father-in-law.
I hear a shrill voice. It’s the voice of the one keeping me awake with insane worry.
“Mom! Where is my black tank top? I threw it down the laundry chute a long time ago!”
“Dear Father”, I whisper. “Give me patience and the right words today.
Honey, it’s hanging downstairs. I remember washing it a few days ago.”
“Can you get it for me? I’m late already!”
This is a point of contention with my husband. He wants me to give our teenagers more responsibility, to stop catering to their every need. I suppose he’s right. But most days it’s easier to just do it myself.
“No honey, I’m in the middle of something. You’ll have to get it yourself.”
One small step for mom.
“Thanks a lot mom! “
She doesn’t utter another word and slams the door a few minutes later.
I sigh deeply, as I will several more times today.
I miss my brother.
I should call my sister-in-law and take her to lunch.
I used to be able to help others. Yes, I wanted to help others. The gift of mercy is my spiritual gift. Have I lost the gift? I don’t seem to be helping anyone lately, including myself.
I am caught in the whirl of my own selfish need. Is there no way out?
Replaying and reliving current worries is doing me no good at all. Yet the cycle continues, reliving the moments around my brother’s bedside, thinking about how to support my husband as he worries about his mom and his dad. There are so many decisions and so much paperwork.
That reminds me. I need to call their insurance company today.
My daughter. The heaviness in my heart catches in my throat. She is caught, too, in a web of deceit. She looks us straight in the eye and lies. The group she is with scares me. She is old enough to make her own decisions, but how can we let her continue down this path?
The phone rings again.
“Hi Sally. It’s me. Pastor Mike. One of your friends from mom’s group suggested I call you. Would you and Nick like to come by sometime this week and talk?”
My mind becomes clouded with confusion.
What? What do you mean? I serve others. Are you kidding me?
“Sally. Are you there? Listen now. At some point in this earthly life, we all need help. This is your time. Let us be with you. Let us pray with you. Let us serve you.”
I don’t know how to respond. I tell him I will call him later. I sit with my head in my hands.
Nick won’t want to go.
I can’t tell Pastor Mike about our daughter getting in trouble.
How can I admit I need help, when I have Jesus? Jesus should be enough. At least that’s what I have always believed.
I stand. I pace the floor, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.
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