I am most often a grateful person who can look to the good things that life has given me instead of focusing on the difficulties. That is not an ability I was born with, in spite of the fact that I am the son of a woman who could do exactly that, even in her later years when the effects of diabetes were making her life harder and harder. Fortunately, pragmatic optimism and an attitude of gratitude can be learned … my particular education came in the rooms of a 12-Step program but I am sure there are other places it can be found. However, for the last few months … and in particular, the last few weeks … issues with my adult son have dragged me downward. A clash of lifestyles made it necessary for us to (finally) push him out the door and this week, after several false starts, he moved out … not, of course, without some nasty arguments with us on the way. To say life at home has been stressful is an understatement and it certainly doesn’t end with his moving. He is still our son and still on our minds.
Stress affects each of us differently. It can, of course, be a powerful motivator when we have to do something that goes against our nature but that motivation comes at a price, be it anxiety, depression, or physical illness. Mine manifested itself in a bronchial attack this weekend that kept me awake nights with ribs aching from coughing too hard. My breathing at night was a mix of wheezes, whistles and gurgles that my wife describes as percolating. The fact that she didn’t throw me out of the bedroom tells you the kind of wife she is. I am currently on an assortment of medications that seem to be helping while I await the results of a chest x-ray to be sure its not pneumonia*. I am tired, aching emotionally and physically, and afraid, I’m afraid, to be hopeful. I am grateful to have my wife and a few amazing friends to be by my side but not for much else.
At times like this, I need an Enclave, someplace peaceful that where I can refresh my soul. If you have been around Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog for a while, you know where I am as I write … I am at My Park, more properly, Yorba Regional Park, seated at a picnic table by lake number 4 in a grove of pines. Music by Peter White is playing on my BlueTooth speaker. I can’t have an enclave without music, unless, of course, it’s the beach where the sound of the surf suffices. There is an easy spring breeze rustling the trees, cool enough to necessitate a windbreaker here in the shade. I’ve journaled a little, but mostly I’ve watched the park creatures go by, occasionally snapping a picture. There have been four squirrels aggressively begging for peanuts, joined by a mated pair of wood ducks (she had on a ring) who decided they like peanuts, too. A gaggle of noisy Canada geese, a pair of Mandarin ducks and a small flotilla of red-headed mergansers also came by to try and cheer me up, too.
It didn’t work. Neither did writing this post. My chest area is still tight with bronchitis and heartache. That’s OK … I don’t expect my Enclave to change how I feel, just to bring me to acceptance of my emotional state. With acceptance comes peace, a reduction in stress and just maybe, a bit of hope. I’d prefer happy but at the moment, happiness doesn’t seem to be on the menu. A side of gratitude would be good and for dessert, a little hope. I’m working on it.
Where is your Enclave and how does it work in your life.
*Report is in. It’s not pneumonia. I’m grateful for that.