The Escapism Purchase.

Day 214: Items Purchased: 0, Temptation Radar: 10–stress-induced urge.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Let me first discuss yet another trigger for the compulsive shopper: The Escapism Purchase. See, there are moments in life that become so supremely stressful or disturbing that they ignite the parasympathetic nervous system, sending an S.O.S message ,”ESCAPE via LARGE AND WILDLY INDULGENT purchase!” I have experienced this very response many times.  Buying under emotional duress somehow makes me feel like I’ve successfully escaped the difficulty of a situation and allows me, but for a moment, to feel relief.  Today presented the perfect storm for such a scenario: my 3-year-old daughter had her tonsils and adenoids removed.   After a year of dealing with phantom fevers,periodic seizures & recurrent tonsilitis, we decided on the surgery option. There’s just something about seeing a team of nurses, surgeon, and  anesthesiologist take your baby from your arms and roll her away that leaves a bottomless pit feeling of helpless angst in your heart.  She stared back at me over the doctor’s shoulder with a nervous grin and I waved. This is the third time in less than two years Olivia  has required surgery. You’d think it should get easier, especially with something as routine as a tonsil procedure. But, it doesn’t.  Anxious reluctance wants to grip me every time. I believe the reason for this lies in the simple concept of surrender, a topic that is extremely hard for me. I had to trust. I  had to trust in my system of beliefs that influenced our decision to proceed with surgery. I had to trust the physicians and staff who supervised her care. I had to trust God to oversee it all.

Sitting in the waiting room, I watched scores of people  also anticipating news on their loved ones. I observed their reactions and overheard many stories. My thoughts turned to Olivia and the joy she brings me, eyes filling with tears as I fought to restrain my cry. The tears were not for fear or sadness, but because I understood how great a blessing it is to serve my family.  Yes, it can be difficult, exhausting, and often times even frustrating, but to love and be loved by others….to help facilitate the growth of my children; help them become who they are destined to be…there is nothing greater. Nothing more important. Nothing more life-changing.  Today, although I was tempted to take a shop break to distract my mind, I rather turned that energy toward the next few days, inventing ways I could serve my kids better. Yes, I said serve them. It is a privilege, despite the message of  a hyper-consumptive me-me-me society. Rather than “I deserve it” mentality to justify every whim, I find myself thinking now of what they deserve and how to deliver it.. Oddly enough, I celebrated the tears because they do remind me that I still “feel”. After setting out for the hospital at 4:3o am, I returned with a fragile Olivia in the evening.  That same “fight or flight response” that would normally send me to, propelled me this time, to snuggle the patient, change the sheets on Owen’s bed, fold 3 loads of laundry and tell my husband I love him. I call this progress.

I’m way more excited about the drinking. Drinking fluids=Go Home Soon.


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