The Beauty of Routine

A couple weeks after diagnosis, finding a “new normal” has surpassed the immediate grief reaction. And, happily, we’re finding peace and joy in the process. Two weeks is such a short amount of time, and an eternity. You get more obsessed with life when mortality is at your back.

I can’t express how grateful I am for the return to work at [no I’m not saying but it’s big and financial]. At times it feels so strange to tickety-tick away at my keyboard in advertising, that fleeting shout about a fleeting thing. But then, all of life is fleeting, so why should financial services not get its due? The routine feels wholesome, purposeful, an affirmation that our silly lives continue and still give us reasons to smile. Mom had brain surgery (literally, even though it was outpatient and knifeless–how weird is that?) the second day I was back, and I felt so lucky to have pre-built relationships with my coworkers so I could tell a few people without wondering if they’d second-guess my commitment or intentions. My plate is still a little bland, but I’ve been here before–I know it picks up, and I know how to scrounge up the work when it’s hiding.

Talking about it is easier. It’s become an accepted fact, like how the autumn days are getting shorter and moving towards a season of night. I can still love the season, even though I despise darkness. Is this new-found acceptance a type of objectivity, or peace? I’m not always sure. And yet, I never give an “update” the same way twice when people ask, as I discover new concerns, new hopes, and new faith in what God will do.

I do forget that every time someone who cares about my mom finds out, there will be a strong reaction. I realize more and more how many people she has touched with her quiet faithfulness and compassion, and how many people are taking the news hard. But selfishly, although I’m grateful she’s loved, I get so drained when people grab me in a hug and start crying. I appreciate their intentions, but we’re all choosing our moments carefully, and rationing our emotional energy. Is it rude to wish people would take their cues from our current moods? The lesson for me: remember to enter into people’s grief where they are at that moment–because sometimes it will look like joy, for life is beautiful.

This is the real adulthood. It’s not the close to my roaring twenties I expected, but a full reality of letting hope, happiness, pain, and the fleeting time coexist gracefully together.


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