Changing The Settings

I woke up at 4 this morning.

I have a math test later but that’s not why I’m up.

I decided to play Spider Solitaire to pass the time. I haven’t played in a while and I was having a lot of trouble. I usually don’t have this much trouble and then I realized why. Someone had reset the settings to Advanced. I play Beginner so I set them back and went on to an enjoyable challenge.

Wouldn’t it be great if I could reset other things in life?

What if I could go back and reset my brother’s response to our father’s death? What if instead of trying to drown out the incredible pain with alcohol I could reset his coping mechanism to reliance on God? I’ve always said I wouldn’t change my life because it made me who I am and I’m pretty comfortable with this strong person who depends on God for her strength but once in a while …

I’d rather have a family than strength.

Once in a while I wish I could run back and keep the phone from ringing at 4 am. Once in a while I wish I could stop the knowledge of his death from being ushered in on the arm of Peace. Once in a while I wish there were no reason to be strong for my brother and mother. Once in a while I wish I could avoid the ridicule of going to school to take a math test on the day my father died. Once in a while I wish my brother hadn’t stopped at the liquor store after dropping me off at school.

It’s 4 am. I have a math test later. And it has me thinking about another time I was awake at 4 and had a math test later.

I can’t change the settings of the past.

So I accept them.

Jogging A Monday Memory

I read the words and cringed. Class is cancelled so everything gets pushed forward meaning my first math test of my first college class in over 20 years will be next Monday instead of this Thursday. I’d rather take the test on Thursday while I’m in the math learning groove. You may think I’d appreciate the extra study time, but who wants to study over the weekend? It’s bad enough I have a Saturday class.

After reading the rest of my e-mail I went and did what I always do … updated my status on Facebook. It wasn’t until I saw the words on the screen that I remembered another time they were on this very screen … when I wrote my memoir Then Monday Came. If you’ve read it, and in case you haven’t I’ll include a link at the end of this post, you’ll know my father died on a Monday morning and I went to school because I had a math test.  No, this morning’s words weren’t exactly the same as in the book but they did jog that memory.

Jog the memory, why? Did it need exercise?

Maybe. Now memories aren’t like people, they don’t need exercise for weight loss. Or do they? The fact that I remembered my other Monday math test this morning is just that–a fact. It doesn’t carry the emotional weight it once did. I’m not upset that I went to school when my family may’ve needed me at home. I’m not trying to figure out why. And I stopped punishing myself a long time ago.

So next time something jogs your memory, let it run. It might just lose some emotional weight and leave that burden you’ve been bearing lying in the dust of the jogging track.

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