It's 8:48a and i've already been humbled.
If I haven't mentioned yet, I am an intensely introverted person. I know this is shocking to anyone who has heard me speak or teach, but I stick pretty close to the vest in social situations. My social anxieties also make marital social events difficult because my husband has a stamp a his forehead that says, "Talk to me, I want to know."
Last night after a really long day and a last minute change of plans we joined a group of Kevin's old friends and their kids for a gathering. I was doing okay after the park. Lots of space, lots of attention on the kids, I could remain fairly annonymous. Then my worst nightmare, the park closed at sunset and the gathering moved to my sister-in-law's home.
4 little boys and 2 little girls. Adults drinking - which I have NO problem with (in fact a beer may have curbed my anxiety a bit), but I choose not to drink on nights before I work because even small amounts of alcohol and I don't function pleasantly in the morning. Mosquitos biting. No air-conditioning. It took all of 20 minutes for my blood pressure to rise and my breath to quicken. As the noise level grew, I bit my lip harder to keep from bolting out the front door to catch my breath. I didn't want to lose it or heaven forbid, cry. I sat quietly in the recliner refereeing my children and watching the "germils" take turns running on their wheel. I know that I was being anti-social, but it was better than having a complete emotional breakdown.
Eventually the night ended and we packed two sweaty little kids in the car for a fairly quiet ride home. I was exhausted. Completely. I didn't even want to talk to my husband and it wasn't because I was angry.
The pall still hangs over me this morning. I had to prepare a pot of soup for a staff lunch and in the hubub of the evening had not gotten to the grocery store for the last minute ingredients. I shot out the door when the sitter arrived to stop at the "neighborhood market" on my way to work in a neighborhood that quite frankly, puts me on guard.
It took me 10 minutes to wade past all the crap aisles to find beans and then I had to weave into a hidden corner of the store to find fresh produce. I settled for collard greens because this is not the kind of place that you're apt to find kale. May I add, this place is a nutritional nightmare for the people in this neighborhood.
I got back in my car and continued down to the next intersection where a middle-aged man was sitting on a decrepit concrete barrier drinking a beer - at 8 in the morning. Yet one more block down I see a twenty-something woman, about 8 months pregnant, waiting for the bus - smoking.
Now, I can't judge the God-given lives of these people. I don't know their circumstances, but is this what our society has come to as a collective whole. And, while I will not down play my own anxiety issues or my experience, I sure have a new perspective from which to look at it from.
It made me go back and read my own recent post at Catholic Mothers Online. Even if I can't turn the frown upside down, what am I going to do today to make my life less about me and more about bettering the world around me?