This has been an exhausting week for me.
It started out with my father having surgery. Seeing someone whom I love so much and who has been such a strong presence in my life vulnerable and impaired is hard for me. It makes me think about a lot of things – and makes it a little more difficult to be upbeat.
My parents have been together since they were fourteen. When one is sick, I almost worry more about the other one. All week I have been concerned about my mom; I don’t want her to be alone as I know she worries about my dad. I want to be there to distract her.
Normally my husband is so helpful in situations like this and we are able to divide and conquer our duties. This week, though, my husband has been really sick as well. We have been living in different areas of the house so that I don’t get his bug and pass it on to either of my parents.
My workload has picked up this week, with a big new rush deal, and I may have slightly over-committed myself by serving on boards for four local non-profits. It seems each one needed something done this week.
To top it all off, there have been some very sad things happening in Savannah. Surprising deaths, including of a young man in a local high school. With the size of Savannah, the entire community seems to be affected. Also, there has been a new occurrence of animal cruelty on the news every day. I have had to stop watching the news; I cannot stand to hear those stories.
I am not complaining. And I know that we all go through times like this and many have much more stress on them. I know I am fortunate.
For all of these reasons, though, I have been emotional this week. I feel like I have been walking around with my heart on my sleeve … exposed … unshielded. It is as if my heart was so present in everything I did. My actions this week have been governed by my heart.
In reflecting back, I am struck by the intensity of everything I felt – the low lows, but also the incredibly high peaks. The incredible gratitude – and not just for those who helped my family (and there were some wonderful people who did), but also for the random kindness in my life; for the friend who reached out to ask me about attending a yoga weekend; for the friend whom I thought I offended through a series of events yet reacted to me with gentleness and kindness; for the friends who sent me texts for no reason other than to tell me that they were thinking of me; for my dear sweet friend at work who immediately puts my family on her church’s prayer list whenever we are in need.
Do I notice these things in my everyday life under normal circumstances? Do I appreciate them as much? I am not sure that I do – and I so want to. And even more, I want to provide those positive touches to others in my life. The human contact. The kindness. It can be so significant.
I think I have lived part of my life numb; I tried to protect myself from extreme emotions. At times I ignored feelings by burying myself in work.
After spending a week that was raw with emotions – and trust me, some of them were pretty rough and feelings were hurt – I have come to an odd conclusion.
I like it that way.
Yes, this week was exhausting and one with less drama is definitely preferable. But I want to walk through my life with my heart exposed. I know that I have a huge heart. I want people to see it; I want people to know me by it; I want it to define me. The highs are worth the lows – and even the lows make me feel more alive … more present … more aware.
The same friend whom I thought I offended urged me to follow my heart. Three very simple words that we have all heard before. I guess in part because of the week I was having, the words really struck a chord with me.
Have I questioned my judgement in life? Of course – often.
Have I questioned my analytical skills? Yes.
Have I ever questioned my heart? No. I may have ignored it, but I have never doubted it.
This week was a good reminder to me.
It is time to follow my heart.