Thursday, May 27, 2010

Just Do the Next Thing

The best advice I was ever given, at one time. When you don't know what to do, just do the next thing. If that means cleaning up yellow, stinky spots around the toilet--so be it! Maybe it's laundry, loading the dishwasher--one more time, or going to bed early. Whatever it is, just do it and try not to think too hard about what is beyond that.

Reason why? When your emotions are running high, it requires enormous amounts of energy to process through the "stuff". Sometimes all you can do is just whatever simple task is next, on the list. Times like these can feel like you're walking around in a fog. You can't see straight and don't really know where you're going. Staying on course is vital and there is comfort in a routine, however mundane it may be.

Yesterday, I went to the MN Zoo with a good friend. She is a generation ahead of me, in life, and I've found her to be a source of peace while dealing with the loss of my mom. I enjoyed spending the afternoon with her and her grandson, and my kids in tow. It was a beautiful day and being outside was just what all of us needed. A nice break from the routine--which made it easier to come home and pick up the list of what was next.

Last night, I finally decided to read the letter. My mom had written a special note to the kids. I received it, after she died, along with my own letter. It was addressed to both my son and daughter, so at the time I just couldn't open it. Finding myself in another layer of grief, I've been sad because I figure where my mom is, she probably isn't concerned much with earthly affairs. I would imagine her completely, blissfully happy--having little knowledge of how much we miss her. I remembered her telling me, in my letter, that she hoped that God will "fill her in" on how we were doing. I didn't think much of it, at the time.

Well, it turns out that she has also told my kids the same thing--that she would ask God(when she got up there) if He would allow her to know how they were doing, as well. It finally hit home to me. All the years that she was absent from my life, she really didn't want to be. I can only imagine how much that contributed to her depression, and how I would feel the same way in her shoes. And while she was eager to be free from her diseased body, she didn't really want to leave us.

That's why she wrote what she did. She wants to know how we are, what we're up to, and what is new. Some people believe that their deceased loved ones are "looking down on them" from Heaven. I don't know if this is true. I can't recall reading a scripture, anywhere, that confirms that one way or another. But the point is that was her heart's desire. Apart from not being able to remain with us, in physical form, she wanted to be a part of our lives.

So many unknowns pervade our lives. We are born into this world with nothing and knowing very little. As we grow, we are hungry to learn about everything around us and above us. As children, we see stuff from our level, like little hobbits, scampering around. My son loves bugs and caterpillars at the moment. He searches for them when we're outside and remarks that they are "so cute, mom!" He looks up and asks questions about what is beyond his comprehension. And yes, someday, like all of us--he will be a confident young adult, walking around, thinking he has "arrived".

As I've been told, the older you get the less you know. I'm learning that, as the years go by. There are sometimes no good answers. Saying, "I don't know" is ok. What I do know is that God loves me, no matter what happens. I can rest in that. And while I'm waiting to uncover the mysteries surrounding my life, I'll do what I can do: the next thing.