Twelve years ago today, after a death defying hysterectomy, my surgeon told me, “I left an ovary. It looks healthy and should have a good 10-15 years left on it.” After having my insides rotated and my oil changed with 2 pints added, I have been zooming down life’s road without a care. (see The Day That Almost Did Me In)
Well, the test of time has proven the good doctor correct. Of course, I knew he would be. I put my confidence in a guy who could not only wrangle a renegade artery rupturing, but could diagnose which was the best cow to cut from a herd of pesky bovines. But, I guess I figured the clock wouldn’t gallop faster than a runaway steer.
While I have only heard rumors of the joy of hot flashes, here is what has started popping up somewhere between becoming a grandma and the half-century birthday.
1. My rememberory delights in going on vacation. I can’t remember the stupidest little things, like the person’s name I just met. Or wait, did I actually meet someone new, or was that someone already I knew, but can’t place how I knew them? And did I put them in the refrigerator, where I left my keys last night?
2. Weird stuff is going on with my hair. I can handle the really , really ‘blonde’ hair coming in at my temples, and look forward to that promised ‘crown of splendor’ that the Bible promises of a life well lived. Besides I like the idea of matching my prematurely gray husband, and I figure I’ve earned every single one of them. But what is with the texture? It’s doing a bristly curl thing I don’t know how to deal with.
3. Which brings up the attack of blotches and Sahara Desert skin. The ghost of wonderful Kansas sunburns past are coming back to haunt me and leaving me a connect-the-dot motif no concealer is prepared to cover.
4. Panicking and over-thinking the littlest insignificant things. Yes, Miss Go-With-The Flow has turned into Battan-Down-Every-Hatch-and-Some-That-Have-Yet-To-Be-Built Crazy Woman. ‘Quit wringing your hands! Just make a decision already and move!’ is the pep talk I use to bust up the Anxiety Party. (I swore I’d never be that prancing in place gal.)
Most of these things have been taken care of with vitamins I’m sure were touched by the hand of God just for me—except for the beauty issues and I have a whole cabinet of stuff for that.
But there is one symptom that makes me just want to bawl and bawl and not stop bawling.–the flood of tears. My stars I have to up my fluid intake to keep from dehydrating,, and rumor has it that the Dollar General in town had to increase their shipments of Little Travelers tissue packets.
I’ve always been a soggy one and a sucker for those old Folgers Coffee Christmas commercials. The brother coming home to surprise his family for Christmas got me every time. From being banned from watching Lassie when I was young to getting misty as an adult watching Bambi and Beauty and the Beast, no one in my family is shocked that Mom is sniffing in the dark. When I went into bellowing sobs during the grown-up Peter Pan movie, Hook, because I was convinced I had lost my imagination along with Peter, ok, my family did want to lock me up on that one.
But now it is worse than the holiday special of Call the Midwife. I have no control whatsoever of when the rainclouds will descend. That’s what makes me mad. There are times I feel it crucial that I have to have it together. Like in front of a crowd or a few times on radio when my throat got thick and warned me not to push the weak spot in the dam. And in my stubbornness, I convince myself I could shove it away. Wrong.
Or when I am so mad and want to get my point across. Gusher time. Or life’s big events like graduations and weddings. I know I’ll get teary, but will I go into rafter shaking sobs? Or sometimes for no clear reason at all, but usually it is in front of half the world and everyone want to know ‘what’s wrong.’. Which makes me as mad as when my kids snicker and say ‘Mom’s doing the menopause thing again.’ And if you see me with my hair smoking and looking charred with a nervous tick, it’s because I can’t write for long on the computer without risking electrocution. Not handy when trying to polish up a novel for submission.
A friend told me that when she was going through this a guy reminded her of a bible verse. “You know, Jesus wept. But it does not say ‘he wept and wept and wept.” Fortunately, she thought it was funny. I did, too, but now, I would have hit him. Hard.
To me, tears carry the definition of weakness. And whose life has had a lot of room for that luxury? Maybe you are like me and is the one who takes the dog to be put to sleep? Or have you had to go where angels feared to tread with family or a dear friend? Have you had to be the protector, provider, or parent to those you never dreamed of being in that role for? Or have you had great loss? Or times you don’t know what is wrong, but it feels like something is trying to crawl out of you? I’m sure you can add volumes to this severely incomplete list.
It’s okay. You are not alone, and every tear shed is of value to the Lord. Psalm 56:8 says “You have kept count of my tossings. Put my tears in a bottle. Are they not in your book?’ Oh, they are of great value for those humble tears glorify the Lord, and he records each one. Can you imagine the bottle of the woman who wet Jesus’s feet with the offering from her tear ducts? Yes, God gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)
Enough grace to get us through the moment, the day, and 2013.
Hmmm…..As weepy as I’ve been lately, I have to wonder how big of bottle does God have handy?