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Safe Harbor

Yesterday, my mom got bit by some fire ants. In my neck of the woods, fire ants are a plague and invasive. All she did was pull-up a volunteer fern in one of her flower beds. She has a ‘yard man’ who does her yard. He was there working. She got bit by a tiny ant (probably a few of them). She took Benadryl and put on some Calamine lotion. Within 30 minutes, she had a serious anaphylactic reaction. Profound hypotension and shock. For a woman who medicates to control a stubborn blood pressure, the precipitous fall to 70/40 begged for her life.

A guardian angel showed up, as she drove her car onto the grassy median on a very busy intersection and collapsed beside her car. The EMS arrived, put an IV line in her hand and (in error) pushed epinephrine instead of giving it the normal route: subcutaneously. Their mistake intuition likely saved her life.

It was that close.

This is my realm. I am not emotional in this space. It’s my job. But when I got home, once they tucked her into a room and let her sleep, it sank in. She looked so frail and small on that emergency room gurney. She is a tough woman. She was raised by a very tough woman. She has three very formidable daughters. We are all so strong in character and competent in our lives….and yet….there are these fragile moments.

Yesterday morning, I pulled at a thread regarding my own circumstances (hours and eons before facing my mother’s situation). I AM competent and formidable and ‘differentiated’. I had to be. The thought was prompted by an innocuous Facebook post by a friend and neighbor about her love for her husband – who from my observer’s vantage DOES seem like one of the Good Ones. I was a bit envious, admittedly. I haven’t had the good fortune of being protected (in my opinion) by a Good Father or a Good Husband. And so, when you have no Daddy (like my mom didn’t have), you learn to take care of yourself. Except……there are time when you are fragile and afraid and you reach out and ask for help.

My lesson has been that there is no grace to be in need of help unless you are always and forever a Hot Mess. If you are secure 93.7% of the time but then stumble into a patch of Fear, God forbid you actually seek shelter. It’s a Catch-22.

And yeah, I am a self-centered, petulant brat talking about myself when it’s my Mom who stared down Death yesterday….but it is exactly these moments of REALITY CHECK, that clarify the lessons we are meant to learn. I am allowed to be afraid. In fact, permitting myself to be afraid and actually seeking help for someone whom I trust is when I stop being so fucking proud and isolated. Being in that other 6.3% means I submit to the lessons He has for me to learn, which is to give my heart up for consideration. When the days arrives when I stumble into this space again and seek shelter and it is offered willingly and without grudge or judgement, then I will know I have found a refuge.

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