We had an Eighth Day budget committee meeting this afternoon after the church service. I realized during the night that I had to fix a couple of minor things on the suggestions for the budgeting process. So I got up early to work on it. This should not have been a difficult process. Ordinarily it would have taken, perhaps, half an hour. But I knew that I would have some mental slowing, so I allowed for an hour and a half.
But it took me five hours! I missed church and was half an hour late for the meeting. And still I wasn’t sure. These should have been simple changes, but I kept getting confused. I would figure out how to fix something but before I could actually finish doing it, I couldn’t remember the details of my reasoning. I kept trying to simplify the process, writing each step on a piece of paper, but I kept having to go further back in the reasoning process just to remember, for instance, the obvious fact that total income equaled past income plus future income. I knew why this was happening, of course, so I didn’t really blame myself, but it was frustrating anyway. Eventually, I got answers that I thought were probably correct, but even now I’m not sure.
After I’d arrived at the meeting, I told the other committee members that I wasn’t sure of my estimate of how much was going to be left over at the end of the year (that we could then use for next year’s budget). I could be way off, I said. If so, we’d have to go through the entire several-week process again. Ultimately, I suggested that we use the figure I’d provided but emphasized its tentative nature. There was really nothing else to do, so we soldiered on with the difficult task of allocating income, knowing that we might have to do it again. Again, as we went through the process with only tentative allocations, no one seemed to harboring negative feelings toward me.
At the end of the afternoon, Maria volunteered to come back to our apartment and review my calculations to make sure they were right. So she did and they were. As she was leaving, I told her how appreciative I was of her willingness to come over. She said something like, “Well, I’m going to be available to you through this whole thing.” It was really wonderful, a moment of deep connection.
I was very grateful that I’d informed the church membership about my impairment and its implications for the community. Since I knew they knew, I didn’t have to apologize over and over or make up some reason or be really embarrassed. Everyone knew what was going on. No words were spoken and none were needed.
My own reaction was also positive. Even as I was working on the spreadsheet in the morning and frustrated with my inability to do it right, I didn’t blame myself or get angry or become afraid. I understood what was going on and just treated my confusion as a fact of life, frustrating certainly, but nothing I had to guilty about.
In the entire process, I had much to be grateful for.
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