When Awake Is Better: Night Musings

Insomnia is a plague, a terrible affliction of mind and body but there are times when the mind is so filled with good things that extra hours of thought are a blessing.

Last night’s reasons to be awake….

Yesterday we did the garage sale search looking for those elusive wood and metal toys. After a morning of zero finds, I am convinced that wood and metal toys gather dust in the attics of antique stores or are touted in high dollar green-catalogues.

While driving in a beautiful lake community, we saw our neighbor’s truck and trailer loaded with rock and pipe.  Steve was ankle-deep in mud, bent over a loaded shovel.

Steve is one of those naturally gracious humans ready to smile no matter what the interruption.  Bob’s “How’s it going?” brought a typical Steve answer. “Great.  Just enjoying my life.”

Further conversation explained that he was doing drainage repairs to the house as barter for some equipment the home owner was willing to trade.  Barter.  What a great way to handle parts of the struggling economy.  And what an unusually nice man.

Thursday was Sam day, the highlight of every week.  Sam is close to 3 1/2, tall, thin and filled with wonder.   Taking advantage of a break in the rain, we were playing outside when a pick-up pulled into the driveway.  For over a year, this man has come multiple times wondering if we wanted the driveway sealed for a really good price.   Sam watched and listened as the man sat on a step and began the sales pitch while Bob kept shaking his head.  “Not now.  Maybe later in the summer.  We just don’t have the money now.”

Sam jumped up, ran to the toy room, opened his cash register and counted out eight pennies.  Hurrying back, he handed the man the fist full of money and said, “I will pay for Papa’s driveway.”   What a beautiful little boy.

During the past two months our family has experienced multiple health challenges.  Many things about the health care system are miracles of restoration and comfort.  Some are frustrations of the most maddening sort.   “Too big to fail” was one of the justifications for the financial bail-out.  “Too big to be transparent-to big to admit mistakes” might be applied to health care.   How I hope the evolving situation will prove me wrong.

And now the last chapter of wakefulness.

Why is it that so often it is easier to handle a loved ones physical problems than to handle the mental and emotional problems?  Why do so many of us reach out to alleviate physical pain while dismissing emotional pain as weakness?  How odd we are.

We profess to love but can withhold that love if the beloved needs on-going support for mental, behavioral and emotional sickness.  For some of us, there is no question that we would help a loved one fight cancer with every ounce of determination.  But let a loved one fight depression, and we bail.  We can sit by the physically dying for weeks on end, but we pass on the emotional dying calling those symptoms weakness or craziness.    Wonder why the boot-strap mentality is so difficult to shake.