April McGowan

Let It Go

Let It Go

I could let the stresses of life eat me alive–but I don’t anymore. I’ve had to learn to let it go. Everything comes to a halt when I’m ill. Or when I’m editing. I’ve had weeks of both, which eventually came to an end. Huzzah! During this time, I implemented the “don’t put their clean clothes away until they’ve discovered all the clothes that don’t fit” clause. Well, really, that’s just a fancy name for “if you want clean clothes, they’re probably piled on the floor in our bedroom.”

I used to like methods and schedules. I’ve discovered with chronic illness, the schedule looks more like this: I’ll try that if I have the energy and if I’m not sick. I’ve had to become okay with that. Instead of numbered lists, I do an amalgam with check-off boxes. I’ll even add things to the list if that thing interrupted my day. Like yesterday, my daughter called me to the kitchen.

“The fridge doesn’t sound right.”
Indeed. “Whirrr……whirr….sputter…whirr…” Then, nothing. Rut-roh. As we pushed the fridge away from the wall (yes, I unplugged it! We don’t want another “Mom electrocuted herself on the dryer” event do we? … That’s a story for another time…) I thought to myself: Didn’t I just vacuum this thing out? Taking off the panel proved me all sorts of wrong. I’d never seen so much fluff and dust in one spot.

I grabbed a face mask (I’m reporting this mostly to my mother who is reading along with you and would be sure to warn me of the dangers of dust—my #1 allergy) and started cleaning it out. An interrupted hour later, plugged it back in and TADAH! Worked. I immediately wanted to put “Vacuumed under fridge” on my list and check that off. But I was too tired. So I did it mentally.

My son loves his schedule. But when Mom is down with an illness, or editing, or cleaning the fridge, he’s got to adjust, just like the rest of us. It’s harder for him because of his personality. I can only hope this is training him for life, learning to roll with it, learning to stay fluid. Learning to let go.

Letting go is the theme for my life these past several years. Letting go of plans and responsibilities was tough. Letting go of preconceived ideas was harder—letting go of that picture of what life was supposed to be about. However, I think there’s freedom in that. At least I’ve found it to be so. Now my lists are more focused on relying on God for what I can get done, for where He’d like me to focus my limited energies. Some days, I erase far fewer things off that list than I’d hoped to accomplish (most days, frankly), but that’s okay. I might not be moving fast, but I’m moving forward!

 

 

10 Comments

  1. Louise Dunlap
    May 6, 2014

    Great piece April and a lesson we all can profit by.

  2. Laurene Wells
    May 6, 2014

    I had to let go of my lists a long time ago. Looking at all the things I didn’t get accomplished on my list would depress me, so I stopped making lists all together. I only make them now for really important things, like camping trips, and vacations, where if I don’t have a list I forget really important things, like my daughter’s asthma medicine. I have to have lists for those things, made a week in advance. But for daily stuff? Making the list would use up two spoons just for that one task, so I don’t make them any more. I’ve had to let go of many many things. A lot of people don’t understand. But it’s comforting to know that we’re not alone.

    • April
      May 6, 2014

      We’re not alone. And I think we Americans have way too much on our plates for healthy people, anyway. We can stand in solidarity by sitting down! LOL

  3. Jennifer Slattery
    May 6, 2014

    Great post, April.

    • April
      May 6, 2014

      Thanks, Jennifer. Although…now that song is racing through my head!

  4. Jennifer Slattery
    May 6, 2014

    Hahaha. Which one, the one from Frozen or Tenth Avenue North? Either way, great song. 🙂

  5. Jeanie Dannheim
    May 15, 2014

    April, I agree – yet it is so hard! I thought that I had learned enough through enduring fibromyalgia…now with RA I think of my fibro flares as “oh, it’s just fibro acting up today”. Just. RA has now reduced my work hours. Again. It is so hard to watch my schedule be reduced. And I confess, after the past 8 days of not being able/ allowed to work, crying out to God, unsure if my job would even let me return, I almost wish I could just not work. I get weary of fighting, especially since that makes it worse. The Lord will show me, and I keep letting go, mostly when the Lord not-so-gently pries my fingers off of yet something else. God bless you! A writing schedule with children and large home is amazing; I don’t know how you do it! And I’m looking forward to your next book. Hope you had a great Mother’s Day!!

    • April
      May 15, 2014

      Jeanie, so sorry to hear about the fibro and RA. Chronic pain and illness are so challenging- and devastating at times. I’m sure I couldn’t hold down a job outside the home- unless it involved unscheduled naps and random hours. I’m greatly blessed by a supportive home team 🙂 Some days I can write quite a lot. Others, I can’t type a complete sentence- you know what fatigue can do. But the Lord is so good to meet me and uphold me when I turn it all over to Him. My mother’s day was a lovely day of feeling appreciated and loved- couldn’t ask for better. Thanks for keeping in touch, and reading 🙂 Many blessings!

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