Wow! Four weeks already. It was another tough week. Not because of the work, but because of the rest. Because of life. Because of emotions. And normally I am not TOO affected by outside stuff, but I think the exhaustion is making me more susceptible.
So here's an emotional dump about last week.
Horomones, feeling disgusting, low iron, low energy, a new workout plan that has me up and moving super early, new eating plan, no time to straighten my hair in the mornings which makes me feel unkempt, fatigue, frustration, three friends going through major surgeries, remembering babies lost, school picture day, feeling left out, dizziness, nausea, disappointment in others, expectations not met, two medical appointments requiring a follow up and orthotics for my daughter and a "we can't do anything about that painful lump" for me. The realization that I am growing out of my clothes and they are becoming quite uncomfortable to squeeze into. The smokey, smoggy air keeping everyone inside with windows closed, and making it hard for people to breathe - the realization of the seriousness of asthma, and the thought that people are losing their homes and their lives because of raging wildfire and they can't do a thing about it.
It's crazy to be filled with gratitude for something that you don't currently have. I felt this in a HUGE way two separate times this week. The first was because of the smoke. I am so thankful for the clean air we usually have, and the blue skies.
The other thing is much bigger. It is almost September and as most or all parents know, money gushes from our bank accounts freely at this time of the year. Despite our household income being significantly higher than it has EVER been, our bank account is running at a $500-$800 deficit right now, even before the $850 cheque I wrote for a marching band membership this week (thank you overdraft!!), and on top of the debt we've accumulated over the past year of income not meeting expenses. On Wednesday evening, I went out to put air in my leaky tire and complete a few other errands I'd been putting off. As I was crouched down trying to get the air hose to seal properly and send air into my van tire instead of letting more out, a man called out to me from a few metres away. He asked if he could exchange favours with me - if he filled my tire, could I please maybe buy a cheeseburger for his partner. She was sitting over in a parked van and hadn't eaten yet today. They were living in that van right now. His eyes were concerned but kind.
I told him that of course I would buy her a cheeseburger, and that he didn't have to fill my tire; I was doing just fine (which I wasn't, by the way. LOL). He put his hands together and bowed his head to say thank you, and I watched him let her know, then cross the street and start approaching people at the convenience store across the way.
Wary of strangers, I pulled up to the parked van in my van, and I didn't get out, but I rolled down my window. There sat a woman, not old, not young. She turned to me with sad eyes and an embarrassed expression. I smiled and said, "I heard that you haven't eaten today."
She confirmed that she hadn't and I told her I would buy her a meal. She asked me if she would have to go into the restaurant with me, as she showed me her holey sneaker. I told her I would just drive through, and asked what her favourite thing was on the McDonald's menu. I had to convince her to tell me; she kept insisting the cheapest thing was perfect, no matter what it was.
In the end, I got her a super-sized meal of her choosing, with a gift card for the man to use that evening or the next day. There were tears in her eyes as she got out of her van and thanked me. They were living in their minivan, begging to get by. That day, they had received a total of $8 for their efforts. They had tried to stay at a shelter, but she had gotten sores on her skin from staying there, and after a visit to the hospital to get them looked at, had decided not to return. They had no other clothes, and hadn't showered in two weeks; even a shower at the truck stop was too expensive. As I pulled out of the parking lot to return home, the man was on his way back to his van. He saw me and smiled; put his hands together in prayer position and bowed his head to me again.
I didn't have the money to buy this couple dinner, but I knew that there was more money coming to me, so I did it anyway. I am heartbroken for them in their situation. It could be any of us, couldn't it? Even as this all played out, my brain still argued with itself..."Are they telling the truth? Am I getting scammed? I want to do more for them. But what if they are just playing me? I should buy them real groceries. No, don't fall for it. I could take up a shoes and clothes collection and meet them back here. You'll never see them again. They just want a free meal. But they are working so hard for it. What about Jesus saying "I was hungry and you did not feed me?" Does it even really matter if it's truth or a lie if you are doing a kind deed for another person??
$20 in the grand scheme of things isn't as big a deal as it once was for us, but I've lived times that it was. I have thought of this couple all week, along with others going through times so tough that I can barely imagine how they are breathing through the physical and emotional pain. Knowing that there is nothing I can do in some situations really makes me feel helpless and depressed. I've sensed so strongly this past week that the world is so broken, so hurting, so full of pain and struggle and loss...I wish I could do something to make it better. Better for one person, better for a few. Better for more than a few.
But there is only one me.
And I am so very tired.