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It's that time of year again



Tuesday is Shrove Tuesday and the pancake dinner at the church. Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. What am I going t ogive up this year? Typically I give up hazelnut chocolate, or my weekly trip to Starbucks. I mean, what real "vices" do I have?


I gave up smoking a looooooooooooong time ago and since the stroke and new meds, I've decided that drinking isn't a good idea. Sam and I are faithful to eachother. I don't use too many "four-letter words," spend unnecessarily, go out often, none of teh typical things people choose not t odo for 40 days and nights. My weekly trip to Starbucks, hazelnut chocolate and teh 20 oz soda I drink once a day while in the office are about it.


I guess I could give up the soda while in the office. That would work. It's only Monday through Saturday.


Sunday is considered "God's time," anyway, which means we get a free day every week to "cheat." If you count the Sundays in when calculating Lent, you come up with too many days. That's why we don't count them. I've never done much "cheating," even on Sundays, in the past. I can do this. Though, part of me is a little unsure.


It just seems to me that, right now, I seem to cling to the things that were "normal" in life pre-stroke pretty hard. Where I used to roll withthe punches pretty easily, I now hate the very idea of change. I wonder if this will upset me too....


Even on the higher dose of zoloft, I'm still crying whenever anything feels llike it is a change in life, not to mention having my "feelings hurt" more easily than a small child. When will this settle down? Who knows. But back to Lent/Easter.


I don't know if I feel up to running the Easter Egg hunt this year. I've been on a "medical sabatical" from being "Director of Christian Education" for the church since I had my stroke. I've said I may be back in late March or early April, maybe. It just seems like too much to deal with.


Oh, I don't know that I would mind doing my "1 Sunday a month" in the Sunday School teacher's rotation, but running the whole show, heading up the planning for the community service activities, youth Sunday services, passion play, youth recognition sunday and all of that, it just feels like too much. I'm exhausted and dizzy just thinking about it! Not to mention planning vacation Bible school of the summer. Forget that! I just don't have it in me. I really don't. Even thinking about it feels like hitting a brick wall. I just don't think I can handle it. Just like I can'tn handle duties as Eucharistic Minister right now.


I can't walk without my cane and it is a little hard to administer the chalice with only 1 hand. Not to mention carry teh Gospel into the congregation. It takes 2 hands and I only have 1. Plus, the gyroscope in my head is very touchy. 1 tiny little wrong move and the whole world is set to spinning. I'm trying to still participate as a ley reader, though. I think, right now, that has to be good enough. I've put off seminary studies too, at least for now.


Wow. Looking back at everything I did up to the stroke, even I'm not sure when I slept. 40 hours a week at the office + 30 hours to the Sunday School + 10 hours to the parish + 25 hours studying. Um, that's 105 hours in a week of total 168 hours. No wonder I was so tightly wound!!! More than half of the total time was taken up by the office or the church. There's still family, chores, sleep and, if possible, time for Sam and time for myself. Yes, some things weren't getting the attention they deserved.


I'm starting to think that having the stroke was God's way of saying "slow down!"


So what am I giving up for Lent this year? How about the adrenaline and stress that used to almost completely consume my life?

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Lydi, you can "give up or take up" for Lent. So if you can't think of anything to give up why not just do something like have a charity box on your desk and encourage colleagues to make an occasional donation and at the end of Lent you can send the money off to the charity and you will have helped someone.


I agree that pre-stroke you crammed so much into your life and now it is time to re-evaluate. So priorities go something like: Family, work, outside interests, my spiritual life.Spend some time in Lent thinking about that, what you want in life, what you need in your life, how people will remember you etc.


I think that has been a big lesson for me during my journey as a stroke caregiver. I know now it isn't all about me, many of my best deeds will be forgotten, but many happy moments spent with friends and family will live on forever. We are all important to someone just for what we mean to them, not for anything special we have done.


Sit down with someone you trust in your church and work out what you can do and what you can't do. Then from the "can do" list pick out what you actually want to do.



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