as I knelt on the boy's bathroom floor with my head in their less than clean toilet, violently emptying the contents of my stomach out of my mouth. My toilet stopped working a few weeks ago, so I had to use the only toilet in the house that makes me vomit even if I don't have to.
Since my most recent doctor's appointment, the one where I was told I have high blood pressure, I've been very conscious of trying not to react to life's circumstances in a way that makes my blood boil. And since that doctor's appointment I find myself telling myself to 'go to my happy place' about a hundred million times a day. (My happy place is me on a lawnchair with my feet on a log at the beach with the sun shining and the wind blowing.)
I've had tea with a few friends these past few weeks, and holy cow, are we ever a stretched-thin-and-stressed-out crowd these days. Is it our season in life? Or is it just this season of the year? Or do we just make big deals out of the tiny blips on our landscape?
Yesterday, for example, brought a few parenting challenges that caught me off guard. I probably didn't deal with them as effectively as I could have, so I second guessed myself all evening. Then my newly "nineteened" son needed to do what "everyone" does, so I spent twenty hundred hours praying for him. Then I offered to speed read a book (I gave myself 5 hours) because another deadline never killed a cow. At 9 pm I was checking my work email account and discovered something that gave me the mother of all hot flashes. Something that needed my immediate attention. Something that I was directly responsible for. I kept telling myself to 'go to your happy place' while I fixed things up, but once your mind is racing about Max, Drew, deadlines, friends in need, job security (Clint counselled me yesterday, telling me I needed a plan B re: earning an income. "What are you doing? Do you have something in mind? Come on mom, plan ahead"....) and the colour of trim on my house - it's hard to imagine the beach.
On top of that, the high blood pressure thing was torturing me in my mind. I was feeling squeezed everywhichway from Saturday. In my mind.
I went to bed at 2, but couldn't sleep. So I read some more. Then at 3, I put down the book and just started to pray. At 4 I could feel the familiar pressure building in my stomach, so I hopped out of bed, ate 3 Tums, took that "magic" pill and hoped that I wouldn't get a full-on four-hour gastritis attack.
It was the worst one I'd ever had (and I've been experiencing them about once a month), and oh my goodness, you should have heard me call out to God. I was a pentacostal southern baptist praying for deliverance and healing in the name of Jesus. And then after 2 hours, that seemed selfish, so I prayed for any and everyone God brought to mind. And through it all, I felt the imaginary blood pressure band on my arm getting tighter and tighter. By 7 am, I was sure I was going to die of some high-blood-pressure related complication. Like H1N1. Or a brain aneurysm. Or stupidity.
"Go to the beach. Feel the breeze. Is that a camera in your hand? Take a pic of the waves. The sun is so warm. Happy place. Happy place..."
At 8 am there was room to breathe in my diaphram , so I was able to lie down again, and the next thing I knew it was 1:30 pm. I moved each body part tentatively and disovered, joyfully, that I was pain-free.
Pain-free has never felt so good.
I will never eat chocolate again. (Somehow I blamed this attack on the last of the Halloween choclates I ate.)
I will never consume food after 8 pm again. (I want no food in my stomach at 4:30 am. THAT was nasty.)
I will never get drunk again. (Oh wait, that wasn't me. That was someone else I was praying for.)
I will go get high-blood-pressure meds because clearly I can't manage my stress levels.
And I will count down the days til this month is over.
Three things I'm thankful for:
1. I am not alone.
2. I woke up to unexpected sunshine.
From today's prayer in John Baillie's book:
O Thou who has set the solidarity in families, I crave Your blessing on all the members of this household, all my neighbours, friends, extended family and fellow citizens. Let Christ rule in every heart and may His law be honored in every home. Let every knee be bent before Him and every tongue confess that He is Lord.