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Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Very Different, Very Same Day

Difficulty often means that you are locked in a world of sameness. It feels like you're living the same day over and over and over again. And while the days are mind-numbingly the same, there is little you can do to alter them. It's like sitting in a movie theater and watching the same scene over and over again and realizing that your strapped into your seat and you cannot get out.

In the middle of the sameness you don't really live your way through the day as a willing and active participant. No, what you actually do is look for ways to survive the day. You grasp at things that will make the hours pass quickly so that you go to sleep and wake up to live the same day all over again. You do this so you can get as many days behind you as quickly as possible because you know you have been relegated to living this same day over and over again for a long time. It's hard to be thoughtful. It's hard to be productive. It's hard to think that you have been blessed with time to do what you previously wished you had time to do. In difficulty it doesn't feel like you have been blessed with time, it feels like you have been cursed with time. Yes, you have been given unencumbered hours, but it's the same unencumbered hours over and over again.

When struggling with the constant sameness of repetitive days, little differences take on a whole new meaning. You notice even the smallest alterations in the schedule or character of a day and you tend to be thankful for even the minor things that result in the day being just a little bit different. Yesterday was a very different, very same day.

We all were prepared for yesterday because we have lived it so many times already. We knew what the needs, duties, schedule, and expectations would be. We did the same things that we always do on this same day, but it was different. When I went to bed, my heart wasn't as heavy as it had been on the days preceding because this very same day had been very different in one particular way. Nicole had a bright and cheerful day. Nicole has a wonderful (quasi-sarcastic) sense of humor and her humor was in evidence yesterday. She even made some gallows-humor jokes about her condition and her life in the wheel chair. When Nicole smiles the room brightens.

The room was bright yesterday and that made the very same day a very different day. How can we not be thankful? It's hard to know why yesterday was different, and you feel reticent to over-analyze it, but it was nice to have a day characterized by sweetness and humor.

I don't expect that yeterday began a major difference in our days. I suspect that we will return to living the same day over and over again. So it is right to stop, observe and be thankful for a different day. It probably wasn't a long-term change, but it was a sweet gift, given by someone who knew we needed it. We are grateful.

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