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Fridays with Susan...

Belinda and I talked after cell group last night.  She grabbed a second cup of coffee and sank into the lazyboy next to me in the Gathering Room (as I call their large back room - I guess it's actually the family room).  If I had wanted more coffee, I would have got up and filled up my cup too, or asked her to, but it really didn't seem worth the effort.  It had been a long week so far.

During the course of our conversation, she mentioned having been in Lala-land for a brief period of time while something was going on that escaped her circle of awareness.  I said, "Don't you mean Belinda-land?"

She said, "No, Lala Land," and went on to describe how this event in her life unfolded in plain view, but she had essentially missed it because she wasn't paying attention.

She calls that "Lala Land?"  She has no idea.

My cell phone rang in my lap while we were talking.  I could see it was daughter Beth.  I wondered why she was calling so late and then I pressed "Ignore", thinking that I was leaving soon anyway and I would call her back on the way home.  It buzzed a few more times over the next ten minutes, but I just kept pressing "Ignore".  I was leaving in "just a minute", after all.  Finally, as we were saying goodbye and God-speed at the door (it's the last time I would be seeing her before The Israel Trip) her house phone jangled loudly and startled both of us.  I had a feeling it was Beth and stood there on tenterhooks, a little mad at myself for likely having disturbed Paul who had to get up for a very early morning meeting.

It was Beth all right.  Belinda handed me the phone and I was summarily reminded that I was supposed to be babysitting by now so that Beth could go to work.  Mike was away with Mikey for a few days, having taken a few days vacation to accompany Mikey on a class trip.  I should have been there at 10:30.  It was now 10:45 and I was 20 minutes from home.  15 if I drove like a speed demon.  I took the latter option and arrived at 11:00.  Beth, also known as Miss Conscientious, was 15 minutes late for work.

Beth and I had talked about her babysitting dilemma just the day before.  She had decided to take a day of vacation in order to make her schedule work.  I urged her not to.  "Save that day for when you can do something with your family," I said.  "I'll sleep over and then get the boys off to school in the morning as usual."

And then I promptly forgot.  It had been a wild and woolly day, starting with a trip to the Provincial Courthouse in Barrie and ending with an hour long intense phone call regarding a very concerning situation at work.  My promise to babysit had gone completely out of my mind, and my "second up of coffee on Thursday nights" ritualized behaviour took over.


That phone call, reminding me of where I was supposed to be took me from completely relaxed, and enjoying life from the slow lane, to instant panic and a boatload of guilt.  I had caused my dear daughter to be stressed out of her mind, I had made a promise and inadvertently broken it, I had caused the person who was waiting to leave at her place of work to be late going home, My adrenaline levels went from zero to sixty in about 2 seconds flat.  And suddenly I was tearing home across the back roads driving as fast as I safely could, wishing all the while I could run stop signs and find some here-to-fore hidden (and completely non existent ) short cut which would shave a few minutes and get me home even a few minutes earlier.  Sublime to panic.  Confident to embarrassed.  Sane to crazy.  In a flash of time.

This kind of stuff happens to me ALL the time.  Or perhaps I should say, "This stuff happens to the people in my life all the time."  It's all part of life in the fast lane with someone who has an attention deficit.  I don't mean to forget these things but I do.  It's probably the thing I like least about myself.  And it's what I get teased about the most.  Arghhh again.

There are ways to compensate, like always making sure that my agenda is current and updated, or setting the alarm on my cell phone, and lots of times those safeguards I have in place (when I remember to use them) kick in.  But not tonight.

No wonder I have anxiety issues!  I'm always looking back over my shoulder, wondering what I've forgotten this time.  It's just a matter of time before the next embarrassment surfaces...

It's not that I use ADD as an excuse.  No way.  I am responsible for my behaviour -whether I meant to do it or not.  In this case, for instance, I should have realized I needed some way to be reminded.  I should have set the alarm on my cell phone.  Or asked Beth to call me the day of to remind me.  But I didn't.  It's not an excuse, but it is a reality. It's part of my physiology.  I can't change it, but I can find ways to compensate for it.

Another weakness is impulsivity.  I can't tell you how many times words have popped out of my mouth which I have immediately regretted - and which have surprised even me.

Yet another disadvantage is misunderstanding.  People judge when sometimes they just don't have a clue.

It's not all bad.  There are advantages.  Even when I look relaxed and like I'm vegging out, my mind is constantly going.  I have only two speeds - crazy and sleep.  When I'm awake I am flipping through the files in my brain, one after another at lightning speed.  It allows me to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to problems.

I used to beat myself up about it - royally.  And sometimes I still do.  But for the most part now, I've learned to realize that it's one of those weaknesses built in to me where God can show himself strong.  I can't tell you how many times he has rescued me by jogging my memory in some inexplicable way - like having someone call and see, "I'll see you later!"


"At the meeting."  Oh yeah.

It certainly increases my need for dependence on his grace and goodness.  It causes me to be grateful each time I get it right.  When I miss things, it's usually an indication that I'm not listening to him and brings me right back to the cross.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me..."
2 Cor 12:8,9



Belinda said…
Susan, like you said when you arrived last night... You had given someone else grace in the words, "We are all just doing our best." That's so true. It helped me to hear them last night. I send them back to you today.
Lizzie said…
I am amazed at how similar you are to me? My impulsivity gets me in so much trouble. I blurt. Oy. As I get older, I notice I am getting better. A little bit.
Marilyn Yocum said…
My heart goes out to you!

Though not bent the same way, I sympathized completely with your choosing to ignore a call as a way of being 100% present in the current moment and conversation, then later discovering the whirlwind.

I've had a major life change in the last 3 years, since my mother moved closer to me and leukemia has come onto our radar screen. There is just too much to pay attention to at times (not all the time, but at certain points). My head spins and a floating anxiety rides in my passenger's seat. (And that is not to complain about either situation that God has allowed. I think I'm well-equipped and well-placed.)

"We are all doing the best we can" is something I've had to say to myself more times than I can count. learn to forgive myself. NOT EASY.

No advice. Just sympathy.
I DO think it is good to acknowledge how you are wired. I also think the person who knows they can't possibly hit all the marks just right has a big advantage over someone thinking they can.
A Joyful Chaos said…
Lala land...... belinda land ...... what ever you want to call it. I'm sure we have all journeyed there alreadt.

Susan you may have forgot the promise but you didn't forget to make the promise. Offering, on the spur of the moment to go take care of grandkids so mom could get away ... that's a promise that many no longer bother to make. You made the important promise, showing up 15 minutes late, my dear, is not a tragedy. The fact is you still manage a willing heart even with a busy life ... what will be remembered is that you were there, not that you were there fifteen minutes late. There are many tragedies in life, kiddo, this isn't one of them. (been there, done that, got over it quick)

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