I consider myself a free association writer. Most days I simply sit down at my computer and write, with no specific topic in mind. My inspiration seems to come from what I’m feeling at that exact moment in time. Today’s post, inspired by exhaustion, validates this writing style for me. I started off by endlessly harping on how fuddruckin’ tired I am. Then, I somehow found myself on the topic of prayer and free will.
Some call me a “deep thinker” but the truth is that I’m easily distracted and go off on tangents.
The Slow Drain
Every morning this week I sat down to write a post. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t seem to get going. All I seem to think about is sleep. So, today I’ll just write about it. I’m sure there were times when I was this tired, but I really can not remember being so for such an extended period.
I know the cause. More accurately, I know the sequence of events that has gotten me to where I am. Some might remember what I associate this with… the slow drain.
It all started in early March when I knew something just wasn’t right with Ryan. I worried constantly for a week. I worried even though the doctor told me Ryan seemed just fine. Thank goodness I trusted my instincts and had blood work ordered.
The results of the blood work didn’t help my worrying. It simply changed the direction of it. Instead of thinking Ryan was “off”, I had clinical evidence (i.e., blood labs) to prove it. Even before he became symptomatic we had him admitted into the hospital to begin figuring out the source. Two days later he was whisked off to surgery to remove an infected kidney stone that had started to cut off his urine flow.
Then the next two days in ICU. If there is one place in a hospital that is not conducive to rest, that is it.
The rest of the month of March was a regular routine of IV antibiotics and follow-up surgeries. It was exhausting and I was clearly feeling the effects… even then. I was limping along just hoping for a break.
It didn’t come.
Turns out, it just kept getting worse. I pulled an overnight shift, going some 40-plus hours without a wink of sleep. I wasn’t even limping along any longer… I was crawling. Then, within a matter of days, I had to do another 40 hours all over again. That one was the final straw, as they say. The point when the water overflows the sink.
Ah, the life of a 24/7 caregiver!
Pedal to the Floor
The one thing that I hold on to… the one thing that keeps me going… is Ryan. I would do anything for him or my daughter, Kari. ANYTHING! I just hate that it might be killing me. How unfair is it — not just to me, but — to him and my family that I am forced with deciding when to harm myself. Well, I decided a long time ago to give everything I have for as long as I can instead of preserving myself for what might come in the future. I slam the gas pedal to the floor and refuse to let up. I know the consequences, but that’s not to say I like them. It’s the reality of the situation. Oh, how I wish I could take the time to look after myself as so many have advised. Again, that’s not how this tragedy works.
Some have told me that I must “put on my oxygen mask first, before tending to others” and I get that. The problem is, people assume there is an adequate supply of oxygen masks. In my metaphorical world, only one drops. I don’t even need a second to decide who will receive the benefit from it. I’m sure all you parents understand my way of thinking here. Even when I use it, it’s just long enough to pull in as much air as I can.
Then I hold my breath. I do so for as long as I can because taking another is denying it to Ryan. It’s only when I’m on the verge of passing out that I begin to think of another.
Let me also say this. I find nothing noble or exceptional about how I am. I’m not fishing for kudos (but I certainly appreciate it). Hell, if I were I could share some stories with you that I wonder if you’d even believe! Again, parents, please back me up on this one. Please tell that this is how it is when you love another so deeply that you don’t blink when there is a tradeoff between the two.
Prayer & Free Will
Yep, it’s not anything special in the way that I think (and act). You — meaning readers of this website, specifically — are no different, I expect, and would behave the same. What is “special” is that I must. I must live this life of totally unwanted self-sacrifice when I’d rather feel the bliss of excess. What I wouldn’t give for someone to ask me, “What do you want, Ken?” Would I answer that I want it all? I suppose it would depend on the context of the question. In some things, yes, because I love ecstasy and complete gratification as much as the next guy. But when it comes to most areas I simply wouldn’t.
I know this because I never wanted it all. In fact, I asked for very little.
When I were a praying man I would ask for one thing that I considered personal. I prayed to God that He would keep my family from harm. Not me, mind you, them. It was their protection that mattered the most. Let’s face it, I no longer believe in the power of prayer. Besides, even if I did, it seems “Free Will” trumps it.
So, I suppose free will reigns supreme when it comes to the cosmic hierarchy. Anything, and everything, is easily explained away with that clause. It’s the kicker. I’m only speaking from my personal experience here, and I make claim that I’m correct. I suppose the only thing I ask of you is to think about how these might not reconcile.
But, all that aside, what’s worse — at least in my mind — is it is through no fault of my own… through no fault of Ryan’s… only through those who are completely and eternally responsible… because of Austin Vantrease and Jonathan May (both of Newark, Delaware). These low-life, violent thugs (in my opinion) left me without a choice in living and thoroughly enjoying my life. They, and they alone, are why I am so tired.
Their free will circumvented my prayers.