Good and Bad, Pleasure and Pain

Nothing really “heavy duty” today, just some comments about a conversation my sister Ann and I had yesterday. We were discussing some of the highs and lows of family life, and I commented that at any given time there are always good things and not so good things going on. 

True, some times and things are better than others (a new job, a new house, a raise, a day at the beach), but even then there might be some little something to put a damper on things if you let it. That new job involves learning your way around and meeting new people, and although I LOVE the beach, there’s the sand to contend with. And why is it that on the days you want to do nothing but read and snooze someone closeby has the loudest voice in the universe?

About the not so good happenings, we’ve had our share of them too. Yet even then there’s beauty, pleasure, and laughter. Yesterday was crammed with good and bad, highs and lows. I began the day at 4:45 a.m. because of my old friend insomnia. I awoke with thoughts of driving to and from Charleston to sit with my sister-in-law and niece while my brother was in surgery, and soon I was thinking of my brother himself. I then thought of the four and ½ hours of class that had to be sandwiched in before making the drive to MUSC.  I then thought of the work (both professional and house) that I was behind in. By the time DH left for work, I was anything but what Connie would describe as the “epitome of sweetness and light.”

Picture this. I’m telling DH good bye and am so stressed about the drive and the teaching and my brother’s health and the busy weekend that I actually sat down on the steps and put my head in my hands.  My laid-back, calm husband said something like, “Look. You’re going to come home tonight and get in the bed and go to sleep, and tomorrow you’re going to sleep a little later (sevenish), put in a full day, and then go to bed and sleep that night. You’re going to do your best and do it day by day. There’s no point in getting so worked up.” Ah, wise words. I could elaborate on how that’s easy for him to say since our work and personal lives are a lot different right now, but I won’t.

I’ll say instead that there are goods to equal every bad in my life as well as yours. Sometimes you just have to look for them.

*Too stressed to sleep or think straight and having a husband to calm me down is a positive counteracting a negative. It doesn’t have to be a husband, by the way. It could be a friend, something you read, a song…whatever.

*My car’s rear fender is dented in BIG TIME because of an accident in the Wal Mart parking lot Wednesday evening. DH checked it out for me at the insurance agency, and it looks like I can get some help repairing it without having it count against my insurance. Again…a good and a bad.

*Speaking of the accident itself, I was hot and tired and frustrated as the three of us (DH, man I hit, and I) waited for the police to arrive. A woman walked up and began talking to us and kept saying, “It’s gonna be all right. Everything’s gonna work out.” I had no idea who she was at first, but she made a definite change in the energy field for the better. I found myself feeling a little more upbeat, and when she said that she got the call about the accident when she was on the commode, I chuckled aloud and wondered, “Who is this woman???” She saw my look and told us that she was the mother of the person whose car I’d hit.  Dinged up car vs. funny lady, bad and good.

*I was hustling to my second class yesterday, hoping that I had everything I needed, when a former student and mother of four young children, said, “You still look good, Mrs. B.”  Bless you, Georgelynn. I was feeling like what my mother would call “the wrath of the gods.” I hugged her, a positive exchange for both of us. I was stressed over “stuff,” and so was she…mainly the challenges of four little children, the youngest an infant.

*Once in the car, I felt a momentary sense of anxiety because Charleston can be a tricky city, and I’ve never been to MUSC alone. Good thing: the GPS. Right away I learned that I had 92 miles to drive to my destination. Isn’t technology marvelous?

*Arriving at the hospital, still feeling a bit anxious, friendly people kindly directed me to where I needed to go. When I walked into the fourth floor waiting area and spotted Lisa and Sarah Beth, I felt immediately better.  Lisa’s husband, SB’s father, and my brother was being operated on right that moment, but we all felt better by being together. Lisa told me one of her aunts had died that morning. Sad, very sad. BUT, get this. Lisa’s son Will and his wife Mary Catherine had had a baby girl at 8:00 that very morning. She got to see sweet baby Caroline before leaving Columbia for Charleston. There’s that juxtaposition again.

*Tired of sitting, we went downstairs for some exercise and a drink. MUSC has its very own Starbucks, but alas, it was closed for ten minutes. We waited about 15 minutes, and finally someone arrived. Lisa treated us to some sort of chocolate concoction with a mound of whipped cream and syrup on the top. Ummm. Yummy. Also yummy was the marbled pound cake that Sarah Beth and I shared.

*We got back in the elevator and right away we saw a smiling woman with a large growth on her chin. It was bleeding. She was smiling! I felt such compassion and sadness for her. I glanced at Sarah Beth and her glossy black beautiful hair and…well, you know…the juxtaposition thing again.

*We got back to the waiting room, and almost right we learned that Mike was in recovery and that we could go back to see him. SB and I walked back first, and it was such a relief to see him awake and aware.  Despite having just had tissue removed from his kidney, he was in good spirits and even told a joke. I laughed. Pain and pleasure.

And did I mention that the sun was shining when I left? It was.  I heard birds singing too.


Author: jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer

3 thoughts on “Good and Bad, Pleasure and Pain”

  1. Wow, I tired just reading all of that. You’re definitely juggling a lot. I find that it helps on those days to remember that, before I know it, I’ll be on the other side of it.

  2. Wow… a lot of things happening. Stress. Even when they’re all good things, it’s a lot to take in… and usually there’s bitter mixed with sweet in everything.

    It’s odd how births and deaths happen together. My little daughter was born the day before my husband’s grandmother’s funeral.

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