A few weeks ago at the height of my busyness I had a post mulling about my head about being busy. (I got too busy to write that post.) It seemed like every time someone asked me how I was I'd smile hugely and say,
"Oh, fine, fine. Keeping busy!"
Somewhere in the back of my head I equated that with
"Fine, fine. I'm so necessary to life that I don't have a minute for myself. Aren't I wonderful?"
Many, many, many years ago I remember a young missionary in Japan bemoaning the fact that some of the older missionaries were always "busy" and they reveled in their busyness. The younger man just didn't have a lot to do yet. He still didn't speak much Japanese and the churches who called for him to speak were in a ways doing him a favor... The veteran missionaries were running from church to church giving Bible studies, preaching the morning sermon, attending ladies' meetings and teaching Sunday School.
"It's not all that virtuous being busy! It doesn't leave time for the smaller things!"
Now I'm in Southern California which might be ranked as one of the most schedule-packed, race-about cultures in the world. Fast freeways, fast food and instant communication. Everyone is busy. Except for me... Except for Grandma. The two of us sit here and look at each other. Grandma's conversation leaves a little to be desired, not that she doesn't try. It's just at about the third cycle of repetitions I start answering in grunts.
I wonder if this is how dementia grows. It is like the chicken and the egg theory. Is it because my mother has nothing to do that she can no longer concentrate on things around her? Or is it because she can no longer concentrate that she has nothing to do? She used to love jig-saw puzzles but the one Marcy and Keion gave her for Christmas was dusty and fading on the cardboard table when I got here with only the edges completed. She has lost interest in that completely.
My mother used to love to read and her early retirement days would be spent reading book after book with each title written down carefully in a notebook along with the starting and ending date. This year she takes no interest in books and though I cajoled her into joining me on a trip to the library she wasn't interested in looking at the bookshelves.
As for me, I am also a great devourer of books (when I can get them) and I'm already finished with the books I checked out at the library. I've read my Kindle.
"It's called a Kindle. I can read books in it. Do you want to try?"
"Do you mean to tell me there's a whole book in that thing? How can that be? Where are the pages?"
Some things are just too hard to explain and I don't even understand them myself!
Yesterday I sat around thinking how I would be in seventh heaven if I had all this time and a quilt to work on. So dumb not to have brought more sewing. Marcy gives me access to her cars but I only feel comfortable driving one of them. So I sat "un-busy".
I suppose I could pray. I am always too busy to do that. Or write letters. (e-mails are out. The Internet doesn't work in my mother's house.) Thank goodness my mother has never had a TV. I don't think I could sit and watch that all day without losing some of my brain cells too. Not too much cleaning to do this year...
"What'cha reading, Mother?"
"I don't know..."
I'm going to JoAnn's today...