Have you ever prayed, without even knowing it, and had that prayer answered? I have.
Early this morning, I sat slouched in my desk chair staring at the screen of my laptop. My Google calendar was making my eyes glaze over. I wondered, vaguely, why I had ever chosen to color code the calendar. It looked horrible to me, like a pack of rainbow unicorns had vomited all over my screen. Clearly, I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing, even though I knew the end result would make me, and Mom, happy.
I was trying to figure out when I could get down to pick her up for Christmas, and it wasn’t going well. The calendar days just weren’t adding up for me. There were tactical and strategic factors to consider, which were heavily intertwined, and with the added dose of holiday stress on top, I felt like I was drowning.
The strategic concerned how long Mom should stay. I’d love for her to stay the week–we all would–but it’s not about what we want. Thanksgiving reminded me of that. I plan to bring her back on Wednesday, so if I pick her up on Saturday that will be four nights, Sunday will be three nights, Monday will be two….but that seems too short. On and on I went–a circle of repetitive thoughts that felt like a bad nursery rhyme, “Four, three, two…what was I supposed to do?”
As my mind circled the combinations, I also had to consider the tactical issues of what I could move (or miss) to fit in the six or seven hours (round trip) to get Mom.
Work is busy on Friday.
Lucy has a party Saturday.
I’m supposed to help Brad on Sunday.
I have a stupid meeting on Monday?!
I made a mental note to try not to be so scheduled on the weekends, but that wasn’t going to help me now. And it was becoming painfully obvious that there just wasn’t any great option.
As I sat staring at the screen, my phone rang. My uncle was calling. Uncle Dick is Mom’s brother, and I felt a subtle pang of anxiety (is all good with Mom?).
“Matthew, it’s Uncle Dick,” he boomed (as he always does) into the phone. He has never seemed to grasp the existence of caller ID, and it makes me smile.
“Hey Uncle Dick,” I replied, smile on my face, though I was anxious about Mom.
“I’m with your mother and I’m calling to discuss the plan for next week. I’ll take her up to you on Monday. Is that ok with you?”
Relief flooded through me. Not only was Mom fine, but Uncle Dick had just neatly solved my whole problem.
“Really? Are you sure? Are you sure that’s not putting you out?” Uncle Dick answered my questions by telling me to “be quiet,” and “that’s the plan!”
I thanked him (and thanked him) and we hung up. Then I sat there and went right back to staring at my screen. Though this time, instead of seeing the blur of multi-colored rainbow unicorn vomit, my vision was clear and the corners of my mouth were pointed north in a big smile. I felt it my cheeks after a minute or so, and I could see my reflection in the screen.
It seems easy, I know, to “just ask for help.” But the reality isn’t easy at all. It’s actually exhausting and frustrating. I’m so in the weeds most of the time, it’s hard to figure out where I need the help.
Then there’s the whole mental battle of actually asking. I’m extremely lucky to have my Uncle Dick; he’s a huge help with Mom. His love for his sister is clear, always has been, and I’m very thankful for that. But I don’t want to be a burden and I don’t want Mom to be a burden. It’s just not that easy to ask. Or even to remember to ask.
So when someone, out of the blue, takes a bit of the load (like my uncle did), the feeling is indescribable. I can describe some of the pieces–happiness, relief, gratitude, energized–but the sum total of how those pieces come together defies words.
Though I saw what could be an apt description on Twitter. Someone tweeted “It literally feels like someone poured a bucket of sunshine into your head.”
I know this feeling. When it happens, it literally feels like someone poured a bucket of sunshine into your head. https://t.co/96sPoyuuew
— Keri Alletson (@kerialletson) December 18, 2018
Which is about the best description I’ve heard of anything. Ever. And it might just sum it up, because a bucket of sunshine was exactly what I needed.
So when I see Uncle Dick at Christmas, I’ll thank him for answering a prayer. For giving me the help I didn’t even know I was praying for.
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