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Year Three, Day 111: Helpless Versus Helpful in Difficult Times

I had a bit of a break down yesterday.

I am ok now.

I take that back. I am MUCH BETTER now!

I think I needed a good cry. And good look at myself.

I think humans respond well in life and death situations. Like the response to Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

I cannot get enough of all the videos depicting all the people helping people. Many of them sacrificing their own lives to save others.  Many of them volunteers.

In contrast, my life feels very bleak and small.  I felt helpless.  I was tired. I was worried about my son.  I was worried about my daughter. I was worried about finances. I was feeling lonely.

I was wishing I was in Houston helping save people.

Instead, I sat in a church office for three hours, alone.  Working on the bulletin. Answering phones. Feeling sorry for myself.

I have no students for the next two weeks. I had planned it this way. I am awaiting my grandchild. I thought I could take the time to rest, and prepare for my busy time.

But perhaps I have too much time on my hands.

After work, I walked home, sat on my bed and sobbed.  Then I got annoyed with myself. There are people who have lost their homes, their families, their lives! What do I have to feel sorry for myself for!

I had planned on going to the library and then the gym. Instead, I got out my round loom. And attempted to finish knitting a baby hat. But then I realized I was wasting time. It was lopsided. My daughter had a plethora of baby clothes.

I thought about knitting hats and donating them. But then I remembered a conversation with a lady from the church. When I asked her if I could donate hats to their Christmas bazaar she said they had plenty of items. When her mother was alive, she would knit oodles of hats, too many for them to use. They would end up donating them.

I do not want to waste time and resources. I do not want to twiddle my thumbs. I had this moment of panic and despair.  I had an empty afternoon and evening. What could I do to be useful?

Then I remembered my original idea. I would knit hats to give to the homeless and cold people I encountered in Portland. At bus stops and as I walked to piano lessons. I could also make Christmas gifts. I put the baby loom away. Got out my bigger loom.

But that could wait.

The person who really needed help right now was my son. He has been down and out for some time now.  I told myself he is an adult now. He needs to take care of himself. Sink or swim.  Hit rock bottom before he can rise. All that stuff.

But he has finally gotten some job offers. Alas, he has no car. It was stolen.  After the brakes went out. Long story.

He also has no ID. Lost it.  He's lost nearly everything. Except for his family, his good looks and his life.  For this I am thankful.

A few days ago, I decided that some adults need more help than others. I ordered two birth certificates for my son. One for me to keep in his "baby box". I have two baby boxes. One for each of my kids. They hold pictures, report cards, important papers and memories.  I've kept them since they were babies. Some day I will give them their boxes. But for now, I keep them safely under my bed.

I started thinking about him. I called him. I asked him if he would like me to come visit him. Maybe have dinner? He said he would like that.

So I wiped off my tears. Hopped on the bus to the library to return some books. Then to the Max to visit my son. I stopped at the ticket box and bought him a weekly pass.  I called him and told him I was on my way. I asked him if he still had his wallet. He said he did. I told him to grab it.

He told me there was a philly cheese steak deli within walking distance of his home. I looked it up. I figured I could do mine without bread.

I started feeling better. I had a plan. My son sounded happy that I was coming out to see him. He hadn't asked for help. But I know he needs a hand up.

The little deli was lovely. It is called "Grant's Philly Cheese Steak".

I got there first. A very nice, young man greeted me. Very small, family owned joint.  I was the only one there. A small television was on. Showing scenes from Houston. I looked at the menu. I told him I do not eat bread. He smiled and said, "You should try the steak salad!"

So I ordered a steak salad and waited for my son. He walked in and said, "I want what you're having!"

We had a wonderful time. The food was yummy.  As we ate, a woman walked in with her kids. She appeared to be the owner. The young man at the cash register went back to cook. She had a help wanted sign up. I whispered to my son that they were hiring. And just like that, he stood up and told the woman he was looking for work. They had a nice conversation.

My son returned to the table with an application in hand.  I was very proud of how polite and adult he was.

Maybe my worrying is in vain?

I told him to get out his wallet. I gave him his bus pass.  Of course, I told him not to lose it.

He smiled and said, "Thank you mom". He gave me a hug.  I almost burst into tears.

We talked for a long time. I asked him if he was happy. He said he was. He loved his girlfriend. He liked where he was living. He just needed a job.

We talked about a friend of his that died a few days ago.  He had trouble with addiction. To a very dangerous drug. I remember him well. Sweet smile. Polite. Sparkly eyes.  Now he is gone. I told my son that as long as he was alive, he could turn his life around.  He told me he had cried when he heard about his friend.

I told him I had too.

Seems like there are a lot of tears these days.

But we are still living. We are still loving.  We are still family.

My son walked me to the bus stop. He told me he loved me. We did our "MWA MWA", kiss on each side of our faces.  Then he waved and walked back home.

I did the right thing.

Happy Thursday.

Talk to you tomorrow,



PS Today was Day 77 of my Daily Hooping Experiment.  I shared the field with a gaggle of Canadian Geese! They were a great audience, but the honked a lot!

 The picture didn't come out too well though.


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