For My Good…I Guess


Day 10 of the sickly buhstinkumus. My youngest has a cold that won’t quit. I hear that most of the kids in her special needs class have been out. Their immune systems aren’t so good, you know. I know my little one’s system has its fits and starts. She bounces back from brain surgery like it’s nothing. But a little goo in her nose and a big blob of mucous in her chest? Forget about it.

I’m stuck in the house, figuring it’s the extended stay plan crafted by the Almighty for whatever mysterious reason He’s concocted for my good. I’m sensing He might not agree with my plans. Could it be He wants to keep me from speeding down to the gym we just joined and ripping the manager a new one about the suspicious processes and procedures in place for pulling new members in with phony contracts, automatic withdrawals of dues from checking accounts for amounts 30% higher than what was agreed, and the subsequent inability of the billing department to get it right and then having the nerve to call me and complain that my account is past due? Probably.

It could also be that He doesn’t agree with me regarding the amount of exercise my newly bionic-ized body should endure. My mind still believes I can do what I once did at the peak of my physical fitness. Ten years ago. I try. I even had a meeting scheduled with my old trainer for 9:15 am today at the Peets around the corner to…you know…catch up. Had to cancel. Sick kid.

Like a mouse trying to run to freedom before the cat slams down his paw wall, I have been restricted to a small space. For my own good. I guess. I mean, “I believe.” Maybe it was the heels I wore to church on Sunday. My first time in heels, you know. Didn’t really work. I had to come home and change into my tennies, the ones with the elastic shoe laces, before going back out to venture through Costco’s fascinating aisles amidst the throngs of other members of the unwashed masses. It was the only time I’ve been out of the house during the past ten days. I wanted to make it count, i.e., cool high heel boots make me look skinny, but they would’ve slowed me down. It’s important to have every advantage when walking among the unwashed masses.

Agreement with the Almighty isn’t a thing to be tossed aside as an option. It’s not an option if you want to walk in agreement with the Spirit, which I do. Unfortunately, despite my significant advances along the path of spiritual formation (uh huh), I still sometimes fall into the whole “do it my way” mindset and take matters into my own hands. When that happens, I’m no longer looking for agreement; I’m only thinking about taking charge. “Fiercely Independent Shannon” has taken over my body.

It’s not pretty.

Fiercely Independent Shannon isn’t patient. She doesn’t like things to get in her way, even if it’s her youngest child who’s been nurturing a cold for the past 10 days, or her seemingly over-dramatized teenager. No, her path is her own and you can be sure that no one else is going to tell her where to go, how to get there, or what to do when she arrives. Fiercely Independent Shannon is a pain in my butt, i.e., a thorn in my side.

Feeling exhausted after spending time and money building a writing-business machine (and thereby recreating adrenaline-fueled work weeks I once so thoroughly enjoyed in a prior life), on Sunday I got the idea that Monday ought to be a “do nothing” day. The idea came from an episode of The Goldberg’s, something about a snow day, and I liked the sound of it. It seemed the Almighty would agree, which could put me back on the same path as the Spirit. So I did it; I made the final decision to have a “do nothing” day.

Monday morning arrived. And I did nothing. For about 3 minutes.

You see, Fiercely Independent Shannon cannot rest. She must stay in charge, otherwise she begins to question herself, like her decision to leave her profession and become a writer. And other things like that. But mostly that. Which brings rise to “Fiercely Determined Shannon”, the twin sister of Fiercely Independent Shannon. Fiercely Determined Shannon does not stop trying to make something work, no matter what. Or mostly no matter what. There have been times when she’s had no choice, like three years ago when I suddenly got severe arthritis in my right hip. Despite her insistence upon me running the hills in excruciating pain (persuading me it would get worked out with exercise), my surrender was inevitable. It wasn’t a happy day. The twins had a meltdown and disappeared.

Now I have a new hip and I’m feeling much better. More like my old self. The twins are back, obviously. But three years can make a difference. Three years ago I would never have traded my high heel black boots for a pair of orthopedic-friendly tennis shoes with elastic laces in order to more courteously navigate the throngs of unwashed masses filling the aisles of the local Costco.

The Spirit has gained the upper hand.

The twins are goin’ down.

Now I have a new problem; speaking of myself in the third person.