Yesterday morning, after rushing through my usual Saturday morning chores, I was preparing to go to the local AB Women’s Association Spring meeting. I had been stressing about this event all week. Saturday morning chores are mostly centered on my elderly mother’s needs and taking the time for the women’s meeting was going to require a good deal of rearranging of her weekend schedule.
I had vacillated between my mother’s needs and my responsibilities to the women’s ministry, finally telling myself that if I could just get through the basics for my mother before the meeting began, then I would go to part of the meeting and come home in time to fix her lunch. I knew this would be upsetting for my mother, but it seemed like a necessary compromise.
When I walked into the room to tell my mother of my plans I found her lying face-down on the floor and my youngest son, looking distraught, at her side.
Mom had fallen, cutting her arm, and was unable to get up.
At 96 my mother does pretty well, most days, getting around very slowly with the aid of a walker. She has had a series of strokes and has marked weakness on her right side and difficulty speaking clearly. During the weekdays while I am at work, my sons (both in their 20’s) are able to be with her since they are completing their college degrees online. So, she is never alone. However, she looks forward to the weekends when I can be with her and have time to prepare more elaborate meals, clean her room and take care of all the little things that are becoming more and more difficult for her. When I have to be away on the weekends it distresses her.
My son and I were able to get Mom off the floor, I bandaged her arm and settled her down in front of the TV with an ice pack and a Tylenol.
I never even told her about the women’s meeting, after all, and cancelled all my plans for the weekend. Finding Mom lying on the floor with blood smears around her was a shock to all of us. It was a wake up call that forced me to look hard at my priorities.
All that morning I had rushed through my tasks, ticking them off so I could get to my “important” meeting. My thoughts were elsewhere while I hurriedly shampooed Mom’s hair, even knowing that she looks forward to that bit of pampering all week long. She looks upon the weekends as special days while I had been thinking of only the added burdens they held.
A life that puts more importance on busy-ness and outside responsibilities than on caring for loved ones is out of balance. My lack of balance didn’t cause my mother’s fall, but her fall helped me see my own lack of balance.
While it is important to live up to our responsibilities, sometimes it is necessary to examine the value of the time we are spending.
I don’t suppose very many women at the meeting yesterday even noticed my absence. I know for sure that for my mother, my presence meant everything.
I want to remember that lesson. I pray that I will.