Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pillow talk

So some days ago, I gave my mother my pillow. Even as I did it, I wondered if this was some part of my own journey through martyrdom, or if I was just giving her my pillow.

The back story on the pillow is that her pillow was really too floppy to be useful. I changed her sheets and couldn't bear to put a pillowcase on that dead fish of a pillow, so in some frustration, I handed over mine.The bed was made and that was that.

The frustration I felt surrounds my 'anality' regarding symmetry. A larger-than-twin bed needs two pillows. Yes, I'm silly like that. So I gave up my symmetry. Now, I try not to look at the lopsided bed, but at least mother has a half decent pillow. In this instance, this is just a pillow. The big question is: what other things am I willing to give up - perhaps to my own detriment - for my mother's comfort?

That question was only academic until a few days ago. There is now a real possibility that I will need to choose between my needs and hers in the next several weeks. The question is: what will I choose? One of the issues that drives my thinking is that I realize that her travel window is closing. I'm already not sure how to get her home from the US. I'm not sure that either of us has the capacity to survive gracefully an international travel experience. And that's today. What happens tomorrow? Next week? Next month? With all that in mind, I have to decide whether my needs, whatever they might be, trump my wish/her wish to be, and eventually die, at home. If we don't make the move now, then when? And if never, then what?

So, that's the question I'm posing today. I've no idea what the answer is and that's where the pillow comes in. I set aside my need for symmetry so as to ensure her comfort. Will I do that again? Is there a level of personal (my) need that trumps her needs? Where is that level? Who decides that we're at that point? Malcolm Gladwell might call that a Tipping Point. (Apologies. An earlier edition cited Daniel Pink and that's clearly not correct.) When does the scale tip? And if I do decide to put me first, will I have to curse people out when I'm accused of being selfish? And what's wrong with selfishness anyway?


  1. In the moment, you will instinctively know which needs are essential for YOU and which ones you can give up for her. God gives you the strength "today" and looking at the obstacles of tomorrow tends to make those today even heavier to handle. You have a plan, and a good and noble take her home. Each day you will find the way, the answers you need, to face the situations she throws at you and God will continue to fill you up. Yes, you have 'it' in you to just don't feel it all the time.

  2. and that about sums it up. We all have it in us, it just tends not to feel that way in the moment. Thanks for the moral support!