Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Girl Who Couldn’t Shut Up

And other tales of woe from my super long and supremely stressing day yesterday

It was only a Tuesday. You would think a Tuesday wouldn’t be that stressful. Mondays are supposed to be stressful.

My day started out a little gloomy and not just because of the weather. I’ve been having a lot of mouth pain recently. At first, I thought it might be TMJ and made a dentist appointment for December 5. Over Monday night, however, the pain localized in the upper right part of my mouth, along the gum line. So, now I’m thinking I may not have TMJ but instead have a raging infection of some kind. The pain has gotten consistently worse, so I’ve moved my appointment to tomorrow, the earliest that they could get me in.

So, I hadn’t slept much on Monday night, on account of the severe mouth pain, and when I got to work on Tuesday, everything just took on monumental proportions. I am so swamped at work! I have a 64 page program book to design, our regular 16 page member newsletter, cookie press, regular press releases, and (on top of everything) my boss just keeps giving me more stuff! It was overwhelming to a person who has gotten little sleep, is still in pain, and already has enough on her plate, you know?

Anyway, I managed to muddle through the morning. Although, I still wasn’t able to get any of “my” job tasks done, since I was tied up helping other people all day.

Then, Mom and I met for the noon meeting at Weight Watchers. I found out that I weigh ---! Seriously, ---! You didn’t honestly think I was going to tell you, did you?! Ha! Ha!

Anyway, the meeting was good, and Mom and I went out for lunch afterwards. As we were talking, I noticed Mom seemed like she had to get going. But, when I asked her, she said, “Oh no, I’m retired. I just have to go to Wal-Mart.” But she kept giving me non-verbal clues like looking at the time, glancing towards the door, and eventually picking up her cup and standing up. So, I got the message. I really wanted to talk some more, but it seemed like she wanted to get going, so we both headed out in our separate directions.

When I got back to work, I double checked with our Executive Director on our in-house volunteer policy. When she e-mailed her response, she cc’d my direct boss, and it ended up making me feel like I’d been trying to hide the volunteer work (for another organization) that I’d been planning to do. Long story short, everyone was okay with my volunteer work, but I got a little reamed out for not clearing it ahead of time. I saw the point, and no one was angry with me, but I still felt like I’d been reprimanded for doing something good and honorable.

Later, I headed out to my volunteer spot. My friend who works at the Alzheimer’s Association had asked me to design a brochure for the organization’s upcoming event. I was excited to meet the Executive Director and talk to my friend.

As we were talking, I discovered they didn’t just need help with a brochure – they need a theme, a logo, along with design help on the brochure, save the date postcards, a program book, awareness flyers, and paid print ads. That was WAY more than I’d thought I’d be helping with. But I wasn’t able to say “no” to any of it, since they are all tied together.

So, now, I’ve also got that on my plate. I was feeling WAY stressed by this time. My friend and I began talking, but before I knew it, she had to run out to an appointment. This was the second person to have to leave me in the middle of a conversation! This was kind of difficult - especially, when I all I wanted to do was talk, share some of my stress, and ask for advice.

But I was looking forward to having a cup of tea and (finally) some conversation with Carleen at Barnes and Noble. So, I headed out there from the Alzheimer’s Association and spent time browsing the bargain racks. I found a very interesting book by actor Sean Astin who played Samwise Gamgee in the LOTR trilogy movies.

Carleen showed up right on time and said she had accidentally left her wallet at home. So, we drove to her house together, got the wallet, and went back to the store. We looked around for a bit, and then (just when I was thinking that maybe we’d sit down and have some tea and conversation), she told me she was just exhausted and needed to go home and spend time with her kids (since her husband had looked a little overwhelmed when we stopped back at her house). Of course, I understood, and it was nice to see her, even if it was just for a couple of minutes.

But, then again, I felt completely abandoned, since I just needed to talk all my stress out and feel the healing power of venting, you know? I wasn’t mad at anyone, just overwhelmed and in need of a friend willing to invest some time with me.

So, I got home and was able to talk to Brett, but (yet again) only for a few minutes, since he had to go to work.

There I was, all alone, extremely stressed, in terrible mouth pain, and feeling very, very isolated in my house.

I spent most of last night tossing and turning, dealing with the pain, and also wondering if I was “the girl who wouldn’t shut up.” In a way, I felt like people had been running out on me all day. I knew they were all dear friends, people who like me, and didn’t mean to run out on me, but it was just their busy lives and circumstances. I know that.

But I questioned my friends’ (and my mother’s) ability to see my stress outwardly. When someone looks like she wants to keep having a conversation – wouldn’t you think that maybe she had something important to share? I don’t know. And I’m sure I’ve done it to others many times. It just seemed so overwhelming to me right then. Was I the girl who couldn’t shut up? Were they running from me?

So, this morning, still with very little sleep, I got up and rode my exercise bike. Depressed and stressed aside, I’m sticking to Weight Watchers no matter what this time!

As I was riding, listening to Damaris Carbaugh on my headphones, I prayed and asked the Lord to just help me get through it. I imagined myself bogged down in the Slough of Despair and seeing Jesus come by, reach out His arms, and lift me from the despair. It did help.

Then, I saw Brett standing there watching me. I didn’t even hear him come in from work. And I didn’t even know I’d been crying. He just came over and hugged me. Time was calling by then, so I had to settle for just a hug and then run and get ready for work.

It was a long day –and I’m glad it’s over. And I’m grateful that Jesus is always there. He never has to leave on account of circumstance, and for that, I can always be grateful!

And He doesn’t even care if I am the girl who couldn’t shut up.

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