I had some routine lab tests done the other day. When we were finished the tech handed me an envelope that said, Thank you for taking care of your health. Since this is a priority for me, I was grateful for the sentiment. I imagined the card inside saying something like this:
Congratulations! You’ve taken care of your allergies, you’re drinking slightly less and you’re intake is down to three thousand calories a day.
I smiled modestly and headed back into a busy day of writing, flogging the babyTrekker, and doing as little housework as possible. The card sat on a book shelf in the living room, unopened. Later, my husband picked it up and brought it into the kitchen. “You went to the lab today?”
I smiled, hoping he didn’t feel too badly about not receiving a card of his own. I made some comment about receiving a ‘thumbs up’ from the Northern Regional Health Authority. He grunted something in reply. As he left the room, he said, “Don’t fail the poop test.” He waved the card at me. “I’ll leave it in the bathroom for you.”
I was stunned. Instead of a thank you card, I’d received yet another test. This one, I had to do myself. The directions seemed vague, as if the management details were up to each individual. It was like two tests in one. I needed a whole new set of skills just to cope, like a better brain and some kind of Olympic level gymnastic ability. Did I mention that it would take three days?
I really wanted someone to talk with about it, someone who felt as insecure and uncoordinated as me. This wasn’t something I could post on facebook, either. (Unless I was writing about it in a blog.) Being a slightly anxious person doesn’t help. I kept wondering how my result would compare to others. Would I fail? Did I have the right stuff?
I’m not someone who enjoys being tested. This wasn’t even something I could study for, not that I would have done that anyway, going by past behavior. I felt as if someone had jumped out at me and started asking the hard questions. “Are you successful? Do you move through your days with a sense of optimism, or are you holding back on life?”
“I don’t know,” I’d answer, probably tearfully. “I thought I had been given a thank you card, and it was just another test! When will I be done with it all? When will I feel that I’ve reached all my goals, crossed the finish line?”
I have a feeling that it’s never going to happen, at least, not in this lifetime. And when I’m dead, and meet Saint Peter at the pearly gates, he’ll probably have a pop quiz or two for me as well. I’ll stare at him, slack jawed and vacant eyed, thinking, really? If I’m truly blessed, he’ll pat me on the back, open the gate and holler down the road, “She didn’t really pass, but I’m giving her an E for effort.” I’m pretty sure that I’ll take it.