It’s hard not to blame myself. I thought I was doing the right thing.
Mornings are always hard for my 100-year-old grandmother. It takes her awhile to wake up and figure out what’s going on and get enough energy to sit up and ease out of bed. But this recent Sunday morning she was moaning every time I touched her right leg or tried to move it. It’s her bad side, affected from all the strokes, further weakened by the fall and hip surgery she had earlier this year. And some days are worse than others. So this morning when she was reluctant to move her leg at all, I gave her some liquid pain medicine we’ve received from the home health nurses for that purpose.
Finally we managed to get her up and dressed and ready for church – it was Mother’s Day, so we didn’t want to miss the service. But she was falling asleep at breakfast and hardly ate any cereal or drank any of her orange juice – unusual for her. Even after a four-hour afternoon nap, Grandma still couldn’t stay awake long enough to finish chewing a couple bites of cracker with tuna, or to swallow sips of her favorite chocolate-flavored protein drink.
It wasn’t until late in the day that I figured out the problem. Apparently this pain reliever is much stronger than I realized, and Grandma’s only supposed to have a quarter of the recommended dose on the label. The medication I gave her this morning was the cause of the extreme drowsiness all day. And I’m kicking myself for not knowing that.
The Blame Game
Too many times I’ve done what I thought was the right thing in a certain situation, only to find out that I’d committed a social faux pas or done something culturally unacceptable in that context. I’ve opened my mouth and put my foot in it many times by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong person. And then I dwell on what I should have done or shouldn’t have done for days and weeks and months… and sometimes for years.
“Why did I SAY that? That was so stupid!” “I can’t believe I did that! What was I THINKING?” “Why do I DO things like that?” Conversations replay in my head in the middle of the night like a movie stuck in an endless loop, as I relive awkward moments and painful scenarios. And I just can’t and won’t forgive myself for what I did.
But beating myself up about my mistakes only leaves me sleepless and miserable. Just like it doesn’t do any good to feel guilty for giving the wrong dose of medicine to Grandma. I learned from my mistake and marked the bottle accordingly for next time. And Grandma was fine. She was sleepy, but we just let her go to bed early that night. The next day she was back to her normal self.
Are there regrets and mistakes that keep you awake in the middle of the night? Are you having a hard time forgiving yourself for things you’ve said or done that you shouldn’t have? Quit the cycle of shame and blame. Our God is always willing to forgive. Give it all to Him and let Him help you have a fresh start today!
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” I Peter 5:7 (NLT)