My husband is going through an incredibly stressful time right now- he has worked non-stop at the theater for months facing many different challenges, and doesn’t have any time off until mid-September. To make matters worse, he fried his glasses last weekend (leaving them in the sun), and can barely see….and his new lenses won’t be ready for one to two weeks. I am in Lincoln until tomorrow with my best friend, and I feel helpless as I listen to my usually very positive and upbeat husband on the phone, obviously reaching his breaking point. As someone who is an emotional sponge, I have to work hard not to take on his uncharacteristic negativity or feel responsible, while still supporting him through this tough time. For better, for worse….but this time I cannot fix the ‘worse’.
I have always been one who wants to fix everyone’s problems to avoid conflict and drama. Over the years, I have finally begun to realize that sometimes people just have to swim through tough times on their own, that maybe they need the lessons that come from those challenges (myself included). “Fixing” their problems isn’t really helpful or practical (or usually possible), and so I need to honor that and just do my best to be a loving, encouraging friend or spouse. It’s not easy for me to let go, and I confess to worrying about Dan, to feeling guilty because I’m not there to do what I can to help him…but I know that I am where I need to be right now. My best friend is battling breast cancer- and I can at least bring her love and laughter for the few days that I am here. Perspective…when something not so great happens, Diane reminds me, “Hey- it’s not cancer!” How right she is.
Tomorrow evening I will be home with Dan and will take over the home and animal care duties so that he can focus on work. There is a light at the end of the tunnel- he goes until mid-September without a break…but then we have a little beach escape planned. I will do my best to give him a peaceful, loving place to come home to every evening, and I will get him to focus on the beach- his favorite place in the world- an oasis at the end of this particularly difficult period. He has done that for me before…sometimes we are so alike it is laughable. And I will keep reminding myself that I can’t fix this for him- a lesson for which I seem to need many reminders.