Here I sit when I should be getting ready for work because this pre menstrual headache and cramps does not inspire motivation. I took the regular Motrin which hasn't kicked in, and won't really eliminate the discomfort. This I know from many years of experience. Don't be alarmed, it's status quo for me and doesn't indicate anything other than the usual.
The other day on the radio I was listening to a talk show about women's health and menopause. And on days like today, I say bring it on. I know that menopause brings its own set of stuff with it, but still. Today specifically the headache and cramps seems to be the worst of the possibilities.
Yesterday I didn't listen to the radio because I had a guest with me, my co-worker's car is in the shop so she was riding with me. Usually, to be frank, that wouldn't really make me thrilled. I am a weird sort who really enjoys my driving to and from work alone. It's thinking, praying and focusing time. So as utterly silly as it is, it is something of a (very tiny) sacrifice to carpool. My friend has a 3 year old who has to be taken to the baby sitter in the morning so I have a carseat in my truck now! As I sat there talking away to "Angelou", which is what I call her daughter and no, that is not her name, while her mom strapped in the car seat; I found myself happy.
Not happy for the company during my morning commute.
Not happy for the headache and cramps which I was also experiencing yesterday.
Happy that this moment in life is imperfectly exactly what it is supposed to be. A season in life, a time in my life different than the time in hers. No more little ones in car seats for me but very clearly I can remember days of needing to borrow my mom's car to get my kids to pre-school. I recall my grampa and gramma having their own car seats as did my parents not only because I occasionally needed help but because they just plain old liked having my kids around. Hard times while they were happening, survived without scars by the grace of others. People who were older. People who had not had babies in the cars for a long while. People who had enough money to have a dependable car. And people, here is the lesson, people who acted like it was their pleasure to strap my little ones into their back seats.
I didn't enjoy those times. I was stressed out and embarrassed. I was sure I was a burden. Yesterday as Angelou was showing me her blanket and explaining to me that there were cherries on her pajamas I looked over at her mom who thanked me for the ride and apologized profusely for not having a car. And I had an epiphany. I liked seeing Angelou in my backseat. I was enjoying her little girl voice and beautiful face and her excitement at "riding in the big truck!" And I liked, loved, was amazed and overwhelmed at something I didn't expect. I realized that it was my turn. It is my season to have the car, to extend the hand. My season to have someone else's little one in my backseat and not resent it but just to enjoy the beauty of her life. My opportunity to be made aware at how far life has come for me. I received grace and now I give it. And in the giving I am relieved of that old old feeling of having been a burden. It wasn't failure so much as just the seasons of life passing, blessing flowing from hand to hand.
What does this have to do with cramps? Well, just this. I do not enjoy my current state of being. But it's a season too. I will probably not love every moment of menopause, but it's a season. And every season has its beauty and its ashes.
Pain lives beside grace. Sure, in my case it's PMS living beside carpool, pretty silly I suppose. But the lesson remains true.
Pain lives beside grace.
Grace reigns over pain.
All seasons are beautiful.