It was late Friday and finally time to go to sleep. Like a child being forced to go to bed early, I scrunched up under the blanket and plopped my head on the pillow. Actually, I was quite tired because it was fast approaching the time for the sun to rise, so I really needed some rest.
Usually I am completely asleep before my head hits the pillow, but I had too many things running through my mind. Making a conscious effort to relax, I closed my eyes. Deciding that the best way to fall asleep was to bore myself, I began making a list of all the tasks I needed to accomplish over the weekend.
With a list and a plan, I felt that by Monday all the pieces of my sometimes puzzling life would be in place.
Eventually I fell to sleep, but it was somewhat fitful and I woke up far too early considering the hour that I actually went to bed.
Not one to just lay in the bed and stare at the ceiling, I mulled over the list of things to do and got up to start on them.
Everything seemed fine until after I ate breakfast.
I felt overwhelmed.
So many things to do and not enough time to do them.
It didn’t matter how many times I told myself to stay calm and just take things one at a time, I still felt the surge of panic.
Apparently my list was too long.
I expect too much from myself.
Just about the time I had started to feel a little peace, a wave of nausea and a terrible headache hit me.
Nausea and headaches are not a part of my life and so, I don’t suffer well when they decide to attack every once in a blue moon.
Most of Saturday was spent sick and alone.
I tried working on my chores while I was sick, but my list…
Well, my list remained long and I felt unaccomplished.
I kept remembering being a young child and sick. My mother would bring me chicken soup in bed, pull my covers up around my neck and read me story books. I didn’t have a care or worry in the world back then.
In contrast, Saturday I stretched out on the couch, pulled my own covers up to my neck and occasionally the dog would pounce on top of my chest in order to stare into my eyes. My body continued to be sick and my mind kept racing through everything I wasn’t getting finished.
I gave up worrying about my undone tasks. There isn’t anyone else to take care of my responsibilities, so I will just have to work on them all through the week and next weekend.
As I closed my eyes, I realized that life is a huge puzzle. We all have a set number of pieces and it is up to us to get them all to fit together to create a beautiful life picture.
I am very lenient with everyone and make excuses for their faults even when they hurt me, but I expect perfection from myself. Obviously, I have always fallen short of the goal, but I have tried and tried and tried to get it right.
Nobody is perfect.
My brain knows it.
My heart knows it.
Sometimes it is necessary to take a deep breath and pause so that the puzzling thoughts and emotions can settle softly around us and just be. They will be imperfect, but that is okay.
My brain, heart and I had a long conversation.
“I’m getting better every day,” my brain said.
“Yes, I know Brain. I really appreciate you coming back. There are so many things I need you to do and it is comforting that you are starting to pull your weight again,” I responded.
“I’m sorry,” my heart softly said.
“As you should be!” I exclaimed. “If you were not so compassionate and such a pushover, most of my unhappiness wouldn’t exist! You’ve let me love people that hurt me!”
“Wait a minute!” my heart shouted in defense. “Your brain isn’t entirely innocent. It agreed with everything I was feeling.”
My brain pretended to be asleep because it was also quite guilty.
“No need to tear each other apart now,” I said. “The damage has been done. Let’s just work together so that I can start fresh with a new life and in a new home before the summer arrives. I need you both. We have all been wounded and scarred, but we’ve learned so much and are better for the struggles. It would be a shame to let it all go to waste.”
Taking a peek, my brain smiled in agreement. Looking up at us both, my heart stopped rummaging through it’s box full of protective padlocks and keys. They both seemed quite satisfied with my explanation. We have a plan. Life is still a huge puzzle, but together we are going to take one piece at a time until we’ve created a beautiful picture.
Yeah, that’s the secret…one piece at a time.