different perspectives in the experience of joy

sunday night and i just wanted to crawl into bed and snuggle up next to brian, but i got a call from one of my mom’s caregivers – the night nurse hadn’t arrived. then i realized that it was my mistake! in scheduling for the substitutes while our regular rose was in japan visiting her newborn grandchild, i had forgotten to schedule someone for sunday night. i don’t know what i was thinking. i made some calls, but none of our regular caregivers were available at such late notice.

so i hit the road and headed up to spend the night with my parents.  at first i was mad at myself for being so forgetful – how could i forget there are 7 nights in a week? and then i was mad that i have to be responsible for caring for my parents, where was my brother who lives only 20 minutes from them? but as soon as i got in the car, i realized it was all about attitude. if i was going to do this, i had to have the right presence of mind and heart. i asked myself, if my parents were my children in need, would i be mad? simply and absolutely ‘no’.

my parents are in need just as my kids were at some point in their lives. there is no leaving them unattended anymore. we run the risk of my dad trying to help my mom, him hurting his back or his heart, my mom falling or being in pain…there are just too many risks. when the kids were little, i would never have left them without loving supervision. and it’s as simple as that – i love them too much. i wanted them to be safe.

as i walked down the hall towards their apartment, i could hear my dad playing his harmonica at the top of his lungs, as if playing the early morning revelry! there is no such thing as ‘quietly playing your harmonica’….the first thought that came to my head was ‘he loves his music, but his neighbors may not’ – it was already past 10 pm and everyone goes to sleep early around here. i know how much joy and peace he finds in playing his harmonica but how was i going to let him know that it probably wasn’t a good idea so late at night. he stopped when i entered the apartment, “what took you so long?”

i kept him engaged in conversation and i didn’t have to ask him to be considerate of his neighbors. i just created a shift in focus.

the next morning we were up with the rest of the early risers ordering our 7 am breakfast. a lot of their friends were already sitting drinking their coffee and reading the paper – something i love to do with a good book.

i look over, and my dad’s shaking his head. and the first thing that comes out of his mouth is, “i don’t understand why they like to sit around reading the paper. it’s such a waste of time.”

i laughed thinking about how we’re all so different. what is seen as a waste of time is another’s connection to the world. i wondered how many of his friends would have been shaking their heads in judgement of him playing his harmonica at the top of his lungs late at night.

what’s seen as a waste of time may be another’s connection to his peace.

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