I’m kind of a mess right now. Meaning, talking about my own stuff far too much instead of listening to people I find interesting because my brain is like a car engine revved up to 8,000 rpms all the time kind of mess. Meaning up all night, could easily go skipping down any of a number of destructive paths kind of mess. I’m not saying that to garner sympathy (I have enough of that because I have lots of kind and compassionate people around me), and I certainly don’t have the market cornered on Going Through Stuff. I know a lot of people who have a lot going on. 2014 has been sort of a glass 3/4 empty kind of year so far.
The thing about being a parent is that it doesn’t stop just because I am a mess. People still poop in their diapers, and need to be fed, clothed, washed, and cleaned up after/told to clean up after themselves. And there are a lot of other areas of life in which this holds true to varying degrees. Even the most understanding of workplaces will require one to eventually, you know, be able to function and do work. Sick loved ones are still sick, even if I can’t handle it. And sometimes, the astounding pressure to just GET IT TOGETHER ALREADY is enough to get me through an ER visit. But sometimes it’s not. So what then?
My new spiritual practice is drinking water. As a way to remind myself to stop and allow myself to be replenished in the most basic way I can think of. Because if I am not intentional, I can go days without actually drinking a glass of plain water. It’s like being a Christian without praying to God for peace in times of sorrow. Sure, I can do it; probably even for quite a long time, but why would I want to? What does it prove? It’s not as though God doesn’t know I’m a mess if I don’t pray about it. I am privileged to live in a place where water is readily available whenever I want it, so why should I let myself wither like the houseplants I keep forgetting to water?
Someone’s chemo isn’t working? Stop and drink a glass of water.
Kids are fighting over the same toy AGAIN? Stop and drink a glass of water.
A friend’s baby has to have open heart surgery? Water.
We’re doing a test that will “rule out” Crohn’s disease for the fifth time this year? *sigh* water.
Now, drinking water doesn’t directly help any of these situations the least little bit. Any more than remembering to water my houseplants would keep them from burning in a fire or being smashed to pieces if thrown on the floor. But when the hypothetical fire or smashing feels like it’s hanging over my head (especially if it seems to follow me for any length of time), it’s so easy to overlook the important fundamental ways that I can keep myself from withering away in the meanwhile.
Sometimes I don’t feel any different after I drink a big glass of water. But sometimes I do.