I’ve got about 20 things I’d like to write about today, but I’m going to backtrack to a thought I had about three weeks ago. I’m thinking that if I could use the insight I received that morning, then you can too.

Picture this. I’m hauling my purse, books, and laptop in the car in preparation for yet another morning commute to my place of employment. Before I can really get on the way, however, I have to stop to pick up Jim, a co-worker with whom I carpool two days a week. It’s the end of the semester, and I’m feeling overwhelmed with the deadlines and due dates inherent in teaching eight classes, six for my primary employer and two (online) for a former. As usual, I’ve risen at 5:25 a.m. in order to read something inspirational and get my psyche and soul together before taking on the day.

I left the house around 7:05 feeling like a harried Hannah, fretting about the jillion things I needed to do. Oh, and did I mention that some friends and I were going to New York City at the end of the following week? And that I was going to spend a couple of days at the beginning of that same week with my daughter Carrie and her family in Rincon, GA? Yep, I was feeling crazy. So anyway, I ‘d loaded everything in my trusty Highlander and was zooming out to meet Jim.

On the way, I missed my turn and ended up driving by Springdale, a long-term care facility housing patients with a variety of maladies and disabilities. Some have Alzheimer’s disease while others are too frail, sick, or demented to be cared for at home. Too well for the hospital but not well enough to be on their own, some spend months here. Others stay only a few weeks. I’ve been in that joint many, many times, and it’s never been a pleasant experience for me …never.

As I rode by Springdale that early spring morning, I could visualize the patients lined up in their wheelchairs outside of their rooms, positioned there waiting, waiting, waiting. Waiting for a kind smile, a visitor, breakfast, or something…anything. Just waiting. Some were still lying in their beds; they were waiting too. Waiting for someone to get them up to take them to the bathroom, to get them dressed, and to bring their breakfast.

In a flash, I saw them as inmates, not patients. Trapped within the walls of the facility, they weren’t able to jump in a car, interact with dozens of people, visit grandchildren in another state, perform job duties, or even walk outside without permission and perhaps assistance. These thoughts saddened me deeply, especially when I thought of my situation juxtaposed to theirs.

Which seems preferable to you? Your current job and crazy life or life trapped indoors sitting and waiting, waiting, waiting? If anyone who knows me ever hears me whining or complaining about my job or the stress in my life, please wake me up to the reality of how wonderful life really is.

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