Downtime – part 2

In my last post, I recounted an experience I had for about 6 months. It was an agonizing way to live if you call it living.

Some examples of issues I had:

1. Food was almost tasteless and when I did eat, I felt worse and worse with each bite.

2. As a Swede, I should have enjoyed a morning cup of coffee but I quit having coffee cold turkey.

3. I would enjoy in the past making flavored drinks with Crystal Light mixes. I couldn’t enjoy those at all.

4. Honey Bunches of Oats was a favorite for breakfast and I had to choke it down and couldn’t finish the last few morsels because it was too sweet.

5. My biggest pain was heartburn that raged all day everyday and would barely allow me to sleep.

6. I would sometimes feel a little better when we would leave our apartment to run an errand or go to a doctor appointment. But not all the time. Worry consumed my thoughts.

7. My belief system was of no use to me. I couldn’t pray or read the Bible. Attending church was impossible even though I tried to go a few times. Those times were unbearable. I was barely able to maintain my work at the church as an IT support consultant.

8. The holidays were a nightmare for me. Thanksgiving and Christmas were activities to be endured not enjoyed.

9. The new year dawned with no apparent changes in sight for me. Finances were in question as our resources dwindled to almost nothing.

So, what finally brought me out of the wilderness of this depression and despair? I was offered the opportunity to get away for a while to visit friends and family in Southern California. The expenses were partially covered by others who wanted to see us and celebrate my wife’s birthday. I had rejected taking the trip in January 2017 but was finally cajoled into the trip in the first week of February 2017.

Inexplicably, I began to feel a little better each day on the trip. The first day’s drive was not much different than the day before as far as how I was feeling physically and spiritually and mentally. I was a bundle of nerves as I expected the worst in each traffic jam we encountered. I was sure we were going to be in a major pileup as we traveled the 405 in West LA all the way to Huntington Beach which was our destination.

We did arrive safely with the great assist of having a car pool lane to stay out of the backed up midday traffic which was as bad as it could be.

I was very relieved when we finally arrived.  The healing was beginning even though I didn’t know it was occurring.

After two days of visiting with our close friends, I was really beginning to feel like my old self again. Then, another trip was required on the LA freeways and more carpool lanes saved us again.

We visited with my wife’s sister and husband and then got to our hotel. I noticed my energy returning with each passing hour.

More visits to other friends and family made up the next few days. We visited old neighborhoods where we had lived – seeing schools that had been attended by my wife and going by the church we were married in. We also visited the cemeteries where both sets of our parents were buried and also the gravesite of one of our dear friend’s whose funeral we were not able to attend last year.

It is strange how precious that time was for both of us and my brother and sister-in-law who were with us. An extra special treat that day was a lunch at one of our favorite steakhouses in Covina.

Our trip also included a movie that was very very good -A Dog’s Life. Since we are dog people and always have been, the movie was another capstone in my healing. It was so good to feel healthy emotions again.

Our trip was almost over. Before we left, we both were excited to be heading home to pick up our dog, Chewie, who was being taken care of by our daughter. She was a major influencer in getting me to agree to the trip as was my son. They both gifted us with gift cards to help with expenses of the trip. Most of all, my wife’s brother and his wife were the reason we could make this trip.

The return trip began at 2:00 am so we could avoid So Cal rush hour traffic and we missed Sacramento morning rush hour as well. We were exhausted but glad to be home.

Healing continued and soon I was back at full speed and being blessed by God again in a new way. I had weathered the storm in my life. My wife was a rock through all of this downtime. She has put up with my highs and lows through our soon to be 45th year of married life and from our beginning together as husband and wife in 1972.

I have not deserved her faithfulness to me but God has truly made her the helpmate I have needed through all of our years together. I have to give her my love and dedication to try to never allow myself to go through this downtime again.

Words pale in comparison to what a blessing she is and has been to me. Her attitude is amazing and I love her very very much.

I wish you the same blessing in your relationship and a belief that God is the great Physician.

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