One of the results about too much time spent on my own is that I can get super sensitive. I am an extrovert so love to be around people, seeking people out in the way of belonging to organisations, going to meetings, etc. Today a friend of long standing said something really horrible to me. I know you can catch someone on a bad day and although I wanted to make a remark as hateful as what she said I walked away instead. I will see what the next encounter brings. We all have bad days and I guess something triggers in us that makes us bitter or just plain nasty and in some cases causes us to make a crack that we should never have said. I would hate to lose this woman as a friend so will see what happens next.
Today I went to the shopping centre, I met the above mentioned friend and instead of offering me a seat as she usually does when she is having a coffee she let fly at me . Quick retreat to the other end of the shopping centre for me as my policy is "just walk away". Got home feeling bad about it but on reflection hope it was just a bad day as I know her illness causes her a lot of pain. And like me when I was first bereaved maybe she is sick of recitations of where her friends have been, what they have done etc and I would have added to that maybe. Maybe I am insensitive and patronizing, who knows?
The problem with our long summer holiday (kids out of school for seven weeks) is that most of what I do regularly either slows down or closes down so there is a kind of blank on the days I am usually really busy. If I had family around I guess that gap in my life would be less noticeable as it is I fill it by reading,being on the computer etc. Now the rain has stopped I will do some gardening including repotting and maybe do some beach activities as soon as school goes back and the beach parking areas are not as crowded. It is a problem every year so why I don't plan better I don't know. Maybe the last couple of years I just enjoyed the peace and quiet, this year I am feeling the loneliness instead.
I had a good holiday with my son out at Broken Hill. Sure it was hot, the sky was so blue it was dazzling, there were small dust storms and one night it was still so hot I got no sleep but it was worth it. It was worth it to be there on Christmas Day with my three year old grand daughter, it was worth it to share nice meals that he and I cooked together. It was worth it to have someone to chat to in the evenings. We didn't do "touristy" things but this was my sixth visit so we have been to most places. We did go to one of the almost abandoned towns nearby, once a rich mining area for silver it is now tumbled down and only frequented by artists and tourists. But it is a wonderful place to see that broad stretch of sky that our Inland is well known for. It was great to experience that change of scenery and change of culture.
But now I am back home, home sweet home but I am lonely at home too. It really is wonderful to be back but reality bites and I feel once more that lack of companionship. Why does this keep happening? I doubt I will ever "get over it" sometimes. Forty four years of marriage is not forgotten and that sense of loss continues to plague me. I can fill my days with busyness but the nights are still so long sometimes. The hot weather exacerbates that somewhat as it takes longer to get to sleep than on the cold winter nights when I can snuggle down under a pile of blankets. Then the tossing and turning starts leaving me staring into space and thinking those sad thoughts does not help me sleep. But as we know this too will pass.
Two days ago I did the funeral service for a friend. at her family's request. I hadn't done a funeral for ten years although that can be part of my pastoral care role and never at a Crematorium so it was a bit of a learning curve. Luckily my daughter as a Salvation Army officer has done a lot of funerals so she sent me an outline and I improvised on that. The funeral went well. I think I talked a little too fast as we did a 30 minute funeral in 23 minutes but the family were pleased and some of the people present were complimentary. It was hard as I have seen a lot of this lady over the past three years and I guess I was as sad as most of those present. But she and Mum were best friends for a lot of years and I owed it to her to make her farewell special.
Does my role as a pastoral care worker make me sad? Yes in a way it does. In some ways the people I minister to are not going to get well, never going to get better, would seem to live a life that others would see as not worth living. But that is not the case. Some of them can be wonderful, funny, happy on some occasions, sad on others, wise, loving, kind, helping me as much as I help them. I do the job out of love. I love to be with positive people but also with those who endeavour in their lives to turn what would seem so negative into a positive, and that is what some of those I visit do. They are 1000% more positive than the healthy able bodied people I encounter in other circumstances and I love them for that.
Only four more weeks and the summer holidays will be over and life will get back to some kind of normal. I am sure I will find worthwhile ways of filling the days. I have a few things to look forward to already this year so I will try to use some patience in my dealing with my world and the people in it. No-one likes a sad sack. I need to get that joy in my heart rekindled and whatever the exterior circumstances learn to maintain as positive an outlook as I can manage each day. As we all know that is what counts.