Three Steps Back

At least, that’s what my hairline took this past week.  The whole looming government shutdown has been so stressful for me lately.  What gets me most is the uncertainty.

First I heard rumors that just like in the 1995-96 shutdown, my department would be exempt and we would all continue to work.  Then I heard that things were different now, and they were looking at the contingency plans again.  Some of us would be deemed non-essential and most likely get furloughed, but still receive retroactive pay as in the previous shutdowns.  This seemed  OK to me, send me home, pay me later.  OK.  Then the rumor started that only the people who are told to come in would be paid.  Discussions erupted about health coverage and who and when would the premiums be paid.  Then I found out, I wouldn’t be one of those coming in.  This bothered me until I heard the next rumor that even the people who were forced to come to work would have to work, and not get paid.  If they didn’t show up they would be fired.  Well, I felt much better about being one of the people who could at least stay home and not get paid.  Debates broke out about filing for unemployment.  Soon though everyone knew that if you came to work you would get paid.  So I would stay up late watching the news to see if they were close to a deal or not, worrying the whole time.  Finally, today (cutting it close, eh?) I got an email saying that we ARE exempt and everyone should report to work Monday as usual.  This was the storm going on around me.

You know what else feels like a storm sometimes?  Yeah.  Kids.  Sometimes it feels like there are so many toys laying out that they are all swirling in the air around me.  The mighty sounds of rushing waters crashing on my ears from the musical toys playing, the toddler speaking incessantly and the  baby crying.  Then the dog joins the fun and starts howling and barking.   I’m getting drenched under the rain of tears being sopped up by my shoulder, the slime from the book in Pax’s mouth, the wet spot on the couch from the sippy cup that tipped over, and the warm feeling on my leg from a leaky diaper.  When it rains it pours.

My desire for peace and quiet is met with dissapointment (or grief?!) and that usually results in me getting frustrated, angry and impatient.   Then I read this quote today, “Patience brings an internal calm during an external storm*”   I’m trying to work on patience.  Ironically one of my recent posts was about being in the eye of the storm and wishing that moment could last forever.  Well, if I was patient…it would.  Yesterday was an experiment with this.  When things started getting hectic, I tried to take a deep breath and remain calm.  When I had to sacrifice a small part of my day when I wanted to sit down and rest, I got up, focused, and didn’t get frustrated.   So when I think the reason I’m getting frustrated is the kids, or my work, or the dog that may be the immediate reason, but in the bigger picture, the problem is me.

*Quote taken from “The Love Dare” written by Stephen Kendrick & Alex Kendrick