Inhale….exhale…inhale…this too shall pass….

Anxiety bubbles up as I try to sit quietly and focus on my breath.  I’m struggling to shake off the last couple of weeks.  A stream of images plays over and over in my mind.  Could I have said this or that better…done more here or less there?  Doubts and second-guessing casts a cloud over me for a moment making it difficult to relax.  But I am determined, once again, to not let stress take me down.

So….Things come in threes….or so the saying goes. Not necessarily so for this month.  It’s been one thing after another…we’re on to number six now.  I’d like to be able to stop counting.

Christmas Day’s car incident left us stranded for three hours while we waited for a tow truck.  We were unfortunate enough to hit a rock partially submerged in water that had been washed down a mountainside during a solid 24-hour period of torrential rain.  Up til then, Alabama had been punished for three days straight with rain which has led to widespread areas of flooding…and due to warm temperatures, apparently even the snakes are coming back out!  It’s December for heavens sake!  Naturally our accident is just a minor inconvenience; at this writing two people lost their lives due to flooding in Alabama (not to mention the devastation that took place in Texas).

We had been on our way to Christmas Day mass when it happened. Given the rain, visibility, traffic, and other factors, it wouldn’t have been safe to avoid hitting the rock that seem to suddenly appear in the middle of the road.  Truly, it happened so fast.  One minute we are discussing the plans for our Christmas Day…the last one in our home-sweet- Alabama home…and the next we round a bend in the mountain only to be met with an explosive bang.   Poor Rocket-man.  He had been enjoying a rare sleep-in on Christmas morning followed by opening presents and lounging in his comfy flannels despite the unusually warm weather.  He wasn’t excited about trudging out into the pounding rain for church.  But I insisted we go (that’ll teach me!).   “We’ve got a boatload of prayers to say.  There’s prayers for my mother…and your mother….and my son…..etc.etc.” I nagged.  “We are not going to miss Christmas Day mass!”

Hitting the rock damaged the transmission (or so we gathered).  We still had not made it down the mountain when the red transmission malfunction light illuminated.  Then it practically screamed: STOP….like… NOW!  By the time we neared the bottom of the mountain the transmission died completely.  We literally coasted into a turnoff dying partially into an empty parking lot of an ice cream establishment.  Barely off the road in a puddle of transmission fluid and rainwater we called on-board assist and got the ball rolling for a tow truck.

“So much for my prayer session for my mother,” I moaned as we sat in our dead car. We were both drenched as we had tried to push the car completely off the road.  It was not happening especially since we kept slipping in the transmission fluid.   I looked down at my pretty leather ballet flats and worried that they’d be ruined as they were now thoroughly wet and laced with oil.

“Well at least we can listen to Christmas music,” I said as I turned the volume up.  Rocket-man was making good use of the wait by clearing emails on his phone.  Throughout the wait it continued to rain hard around us and there was lightening and thunder too.  I counted six, the number of folks who stopped to offer assistance.  One fellow asked if we needed food or our phones charged.  Another gave us a final push so that we were in a safer spot.  Despite the utter annoyance of it all I smiled and joked with each person who offered a hand.  And in the end, our neighbor came to our rescue otherwise we’d still be waiting for a tow-truck (long story on that one) and the Christmas turkey would never had made it to our dinner table.

“I have to admit these Alabama folks are fine people,” I said to Rocket-man.  “I hope we meet such generosity when we move on to our next destination.”

So we are down one car for a week, maybe more.  And my car just received another new tire due to the “gift” of a four-inch nail puncture the day after Christmas (this after we purchased four new tires barely three months ago).

“So we’re done now…right?” I ask as I look up towards heaven.  No more health challenges, emotional outbursts, family drama, or accidents of any kind for goodness sake.

Mom is still in the hospital but just started rehab care. Sis and I cross our fingers, praying that our mom will do what it takes to get strong enough to fly home.  With any luck she’ll be able to return home by next week.  God knows that she makes us turn into purple minions but at the end of the day–when all the emotions have settled, like particles of a fine dust on a beautiful old table, we do love her and we want her to be at peace and healthy enough to enjoy that peace for the years she has left.

Time is so precious.  There isn’t a lot of it left.  But there is now.

So enough of the bad stuff already. Let’s end the year on a brighter note shall we?!

Inhale….exhale….This Too Shall Pass!  Smile.