What are you going to do?

Sometimes, it seems as if our hearts have been given more grief than they can hold.

There are times when the question, “What are you going to do?” is merely a rhetorical question you ask of yourself when you know that life isn’t going to offer you many choices.

Sometimes, you must simply do what you have to do.

I don’t mean this in a whiny way. I’m just saying that’s how it is–and how it has been for the past few weeks, as tasks seem to multiply and the going gets ever rougher.

Arising at an earlier hour has had mixed results. Generally, I am even tireder than I was–and I seem to sleep that much longer because I am so weary. Still, getting in that extra 30 to 60 minutes of walking or swimming has been fantastic.

The trouble is–I have had to curtail some of my trips to Mr. Wu’s in order to get in those walks or swims. And there is also the cost of gas which keeps going up up up.

Shrimp with green vegetables

So today I did something different–I asked Mr. Wu to prepare two days for me rather than just the usual one meal that I eat for dinner–and then again for lunch. I asked him to surprise me. For supper I ate one of the boxes containing his seven vegetable tofu in a Hunan sauce.

And for lunch tomorrow I will have the shrimp with the green vegetables. And brown rice, of course. Love Mr. Wu’s  brown rice.

Meanwhile the rain continues its deluge. The streets were flooding tonight and I decided to turn around and go back home–I wasn’t sure whether the rain would continue to pour down in buckets or

Tofu, vegetables and brown rice.

not–but it wasn’t necessary to take that chance.Still, I missed hearing the fellas sing.

No damages here, but my heart is aching for the people whose daily lives were blown away in the tornadoes that twisted through their homes and belongings–and that left many of their bodies hurt, broken, or lifeless.

Like my cousin, Doug, who is lying in a hospital bed suffering unspeakable pain because his house  in Birmingham was lifted over him and then fell down upon him.

The cousins in our family came  in two  sets. Volume 1 included my brother and sister, siblings little Don and Susan, and then Doug (an only child) and Linda,  the little sister of Don and Susan who would later lose her life in a plane crash when she was a young mother and finally, Mike.   I came along much later with my cousin Jim–we were followed my cousin Paige, an only child. The three of us were Volume 2.

Everything that Volume 1 did was considered by nine-year old me to be exquisitely cool. Especially my cousin  Doug, who was the very personification of suave older-boyish elan. Had I been older, he would have certainly regarded me as a pest–but instead, I was just a cute little kid who was too young to even try to tag along.Instead, I admired Doug–and all of my older cousins from afar, fascinated with their talk and their irreverence and their laughter. They were, sigh, teenagers!

With his crystal blue eyes and thick blond hair, Doug was a walking talking Beach Boy–only better, because he  had that whole southern thing going.  He was the family jock, a talented athlete whose  gentle, childhood Shetland ponies turned into the galloping  horsepower of a shiny new  GTO when he was in high school.

When he married, I was over the moon with the romance of it all. His sweetheart seemed so perfect with her soft voice and long, beauty queen red hair. The fairy tale ended at some point. And like me, Doug would lose one of his children, in his case a beautiful son.

But he has remarried, and his mom told me this weekend that she is a very special woman, and a wonderful wife and daughter in law–adding that she is very  pretty. Which made me laugh, because, yes, Doug would have a lovely wife.

And I laughed because I wanted so desperately to laugh, because the thought of Doug, the handsome rogue with the big mustache and the crinkled-twinkle in his eyes, the kind hearted man, the loving father and proud husband laying in a bed unable to speak or move, and in unbearable pain— seems horribly impossible.

But what are you going to do? We carry these heavy things within us, our hearts weighed down with the agony of what life can hand us. And we do the best we can.

What are you going to do?

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