Photo (c) Pixels.
2014 bled into 2015, and the effects of saying yes were amazing on my mind.
I’d say it started mid-2014. My son graduated from high school and went to live up North with his dad for a while, and I found myself suddenly with more time for…myself. Summer time was great. I caught up with old friends and started helping out at a food bank. It was something I was always curious about. Several people from my church also volunteered there, so I got to know them a little better. There was a nagging worry about my son, but guess what, it was always there since he became a teen. I kept busy.
Eventually, he came back, as things didn’t work out there. I figured he learned some necessary lessons being away. Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know if they sank in. He enrolled in college and had a few more troubles, then withdrew from his classes. He really went through a rough time, and so did it. It was hard to accept that his journey into adulthood would be nothing like mine. There was a sense of loss. He was not the person he used to be and would not talk to me about things that were going on. We sought help, but I did not seek help for myself. Perhaps I should have. I dealt with it, somehow.
In November, my mom and I spoke seriously about getting a dog. She and I live with my son in the same house. He voiced no opinion on the matter. She went looking one day and told me about the sweetest dog she’d found. My son was there and did not voice disapproval; he didn’t voice excitement either, but that is nothing new. It seemed apparent the dog would be my mom’s and my dog. Two days later I went in and met the dog. I’d thought about doing this for a few years and always stopped myself because of the new responsibility, the cost, the adjustment, etc. Well, I decided to accept this as a happy adjustment. There were so many adjustments that year anyway. I put down the deposit and went back to get him when his stray hold was over at the shelter. Let me tell you, a new canine family member is an excellent way to stave off depression.
Around the time, I was asked to serve on the Session at my church. It is somewhat of a governing board. Now, I’d grown closer to spiritually, but mostly in the sense of begging God for help, begging for acceptance to enter my soul, begging things would not get any worse than they were. I’d discussed things with my pastor now and then, and when someone nominated me for this, I discussed my fears with him and what were the positives. Obviously, when you’re asked to do this, you have to know you are going to be in a place of servitude and can’t just think “What’s in it for me.” However, I didn’t want it to distance me from my son even more, as I was his transportation and he was involved in a few programs to help him get a job and help him sort his life out. Still, I said yes after deliberation and talks with my pastor. It was the third time I’d been asked to do this and this time I finally said yes. I would start my term in January, 2015. Let me tell you, it was a challenge but rewarding as well. I am looking back and reflecting on it, because my three year term recently came to an end. It got me involved in some voluntary activities that I would not have done otherwise, all very rewarding.
During the three years, my son lived in a world separate from me, in our own home, in his mind. I still made efforts to keep him on the right path. He was in a state of recovery and did not ask much of me, yet he needed my support. He would at times accompany me to church events. I learned a lot while serving on the session, and I felt closer to God. I frequently was in a state of reflection, and I started writing more. Poetry had been a sometime hobby for a few years, but I started writing stories. It was a great escape.
In mid-2015, I bought a little notebook to write down all the zany ideas that popped in my head and disappeared when I later had time to write. I binge-watched Mad Men that summer, and the character, Don Draper’s transformation and soul-searching inspired me. I wrote a few stories online that I shared with no one other than the writing platform where they were housed. In early 2016, I started blogging here at WordPress. It opened a new world to me, and I would respond to photo prompts and communicate with other bloggers who are also writers. I still benefit from the WordPress community. I submitted some stories at Wattpad, and while I think their audience wants something different from my brand of stories, I grew some confidence, and I decided to extend one of the stories into a book and self-publish. Since I had joined an online Writer’s Group, I had learned a little about the process. I am still learning more today. I really got into a mindset back then of telling myself, “Yes, I can,” and “If not now, when?” I had put off writing for several years because of hurting in my hands, being busy at work, fogginess in my brain (which was probably a sort of depression). Writing helped sharpen my brain. It acted on that problem, and it happened in spite of the first two afore-mentioned problems. Sing it, “We Shall Overcome.” That is the story I want to live.