No rest for the weary?

Normally, I sleep pretty well. Aside from when my boys were small, I’ve usually been able to sleep well. My husband is a very light sleeper and gets up pretty early. If it was up to me, I would probably sleep longer but I always feel guilty sleeping in. After all, there is stuff to do. I’m not a 5am type “early,” but I do get 6-7 hrs of sleep. And I need to or I don’t function well. I know this about myself.

I was recently thinking about the difference between sleep and rest. To me, they are not the same. I can sleep well, but not feel rested. And I feel like my soul needs rest, but it does not need sleep. In the last 6 months, many of us have had more time at home than ever before. Some of our busy has been replaced with other kinds of busy. Commuting worries replaced with internet speed worries…Wondering what to wear replaced with wondering what to cook… Trip planning replaced with “at home” routines. Balancing work, school, cooking, homework, internet speeds, lack of travel, gardening, markets, relationships, baking, mental and physical wellbeing has been exhausting for my soul. Some days are better than others, but I’ve felt a general sense of needing rest, regardless of how much sleep I get.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Matthew 11:2

Ugh, weary. That word just speaks to me so much. Weary is a very vivid word, and it makes me think of a tired soul. Weary – like a mom who needs some time alone. Weary – like a teacher worried about her students. Weary – like a pastor who just wants his congregation to be together, but also to be safe. Weary – like a cancer patient navigating treatment during a pandemic. “Come to me, and I will give you rest.” Jesus isn’t saying for you come to him and take a nap. He is saying to come to him with your burdens of worry, and lay them at His feet. How many times would you like to take off that weight on your shoulders and set it down? You can. Easy to say, not as easy to do. We hold so tightly to the straps on that burden, clenching it in our fists… afraid to set it down. Afraid of the “what if’s.”

  • What if I didn’t do enough to help my kids?
  • What if their time online outweighs their time to be “kids”?
  • What if work doesn’t think I’m doing enough?
  • What if my house is messy?
  • What if I have to say no to someone?
  • What if my kids’ mental health suffers?
  • What if mine does?
  • What if I miss the Senior year and don’t soak it up enough?
  • What if my health suffers?
  • What if a loved one gets sick?
  • What if I miss out on time with my spouse, even though we see each other more?

Lay it all at His feet. Hand it over. Worrying just steals from today, it doesn’t change anything. Telling someone not to worry is also not effective. So maybe we do both? Allow the thought, acknowledge it, and release it. Either hand it over to God or write it on a piece of paper & burn it. Release it, so you can rest.

I wish you peace on your journey of enough… The kind of peace that gives your soul the rest it needs. Time to get some sleep too.

Yabut …

My high school art teacher recently passed away. She was a cool lady. She told it like it is … no sugar coat at all. She didn’t like it when someone said, “Yeah, but….” She would stop you. “There is no yabut,” she would say. Either you agree or you don’t. I think that was her point.

There are lots of debates being waged on social media. Lots of yabuts. Lots of keyboard warriors on a crusade. I’m guessing the posts have changed very few minds. If I strongly believe something, some stranger yelling at me isn’t likely to make me suddenly switch. Instead of yabuts, what about “yes, and?”

  • Yes, I believe in God, AND I think others can believe whatever they like.
  • Yes, I want to get back to normal, AND I worry about my high risk family members.
  • Yes, I support friends who are cops AND there are some changes that need to be made.
  • Yes, kids are missing school AND I have family who would be impacted because they are school staff.
  • Yes, I understand the desire to go back to work, AND I’m a wreck with anxiety.
  • Yes, I want to travel and explore AND I want to stay in my house.

It’s draining. The energy around people is almost visible right now. Tension, anger, frustration… if I could float down the river each night, I would. Tonight, I’m pressing pause. I’m sitting in a lawn chair on a gorgeous MN night… reading a book and writing to you. Asking you to pause. Put down the anger and frustration. Leave the “yabuts” for a while. Look for some miracles or inspiration or something positive. I almost didn’t write today because I was too overwhelmed… then I figured just maybe someone else needed to pause too.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. May you have more “yes and’s” and fewer “yabuts,” and take some time for o pause. People will still be angry online tomorrow.

Speak kindly…

After spending part of a Wednesday night in the ER with our oldest son, I have some thoughts to reflect upon. He had complained of chest pain/pressure before, but it always went away and wasn’t accompanied by other symptoms. That night, his face was red and his left arm bothered him. Hmmm, I’m not messing with heart issues, so we made a trip to the ER. I knew the walk-in wouldn’t have the ability to run the tests we needed, and we already met the insurance deductible after his brother’s skiing/broken leg this past winter. I could see the worry in his eyes… “What if I have a heart attack? I’m too young.” I tried not to convey the worry in mine. He’s had a couple of brushes with death, and I’m not ready for him to go.

The ER treated both of us with compassion. They explained what they were doing. They showed him his heart beats on the screen and how his flipped down and had some pauses. They turned the ultrasound screen towards him so he could see his heart and lungs. (“Want to see your liver? Here is your kidney!”) They showed him the EKG print out. They explained what the blood work was for and what the blood looked like (and that they normally draw a couple of extra in case the doctors request additional tests.) As they explained what an ectopic atrial rhythm is, I could see his fear lessen. As they talked about cardiology consults and possible next steps, I could see him relax. He was seen and heard, and not ignored.

I did get the question about why we waited so long to come in. Well, he had no other symptoms to go with it. Also, I don’t see him 24/7, so I don’t know how often this happened. The questions made me feel like a bad mom. It made me doubt myself. I had to focus on the fact that I did bring him in.

Thursday morning, I was very tired. I went to work as normal, but wasn’t very focused. Then we went to the regular Dr on Friday to get a referral. More questions, “Why didn’t you come in sooner?” It takes the wind out of me. It makes me feel less than as a mom. Then (at work) to get questions or hear comments about being gone for the appointment makes me feel less than as an employee.

Always speak kindly. Don’t assume you know the story.

The woman who looks tired? She may have stayed up all night worrying about her kids. She may have just a heard a diagnosis she can’t wrap her head around. She may have spent time in the hospital with her father. She might be wondering how to hold it all together. She may be struggling with infertility, too scared to share her story. She may feel the weight of financial burdens. She may be struggling with anxiety and depression, wondering why she can’t just be grateful. She may have had a tough conversation with her kids.

The woman who has missed a lot of work? She may be going to counseling. She may be taking her child to counseling. She may have gone to her doctor appointment, only to hear “try again next month.” She may be having radiation treatments that leave her so exhausted, but she shows back up to work anyway because she’s scared of losing her job. She may have a sick kid and have nobody else to watch him.

At one time in my life, these were my real scenarios. Not all at once, but sometimes more than one at a time. The list could go on and on. My point is, we all need to speak with more kindness & less judgement. More “how are you doing?” and less “where were you?” Truth be told, most of the time, I feel like I’m failing…Treading water and almost out of breath. It’s like a balancing act on a teeter totter while juggling – we all have our own version. If I spend more time at work, I feel like a bad mom. If I spend more time with my family, I feel like a bad employee. If I spend more time for myself, I feel like a bad spouse. Too many “hats” … too many roles… only one me.

I’m stretched thin, but I’m getting heavier. I know I’m not alone. I know there are other moms out there with the same balancing act. It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to have a crappy day. I know one day I will sit in my empty house and wish for the busy that I have now. Until then, I wish you peace on your journey of enough. Speak kindly to others, you never know what burdens lie on their heart.

Thank God…

This is why you wear a seatbelt. This scene is from last weekend. After my niece’s wedding, our 16 year old son was supposed to get up early so he could drive to Albany, MN and meet up with another FFA chapter and go to camp. Only he didn’t make it to the bus. He is ok, but this could easily have been a very different post.

At 5am, after only a few hours of sleep, he got up and got ready to go. I was also tired, so I failed to give him snacks or a pop to help keep him awake. 6:12 am my phone rang. “Mom, I’m not sure how to say this. I’m ok, but I’m in a ditch outside of Lidgerwood. I fell asleep and over corrected and ended up in the ditch.” My heart stopped and I was immediately awake. He was shaken, but ok. I asked if he could drive out and he thought he could. There was grass coming through the hood, but he cleaned some of it out and put the hubcap back on and drove out of the ditch. He was only a mile away from a town, so he pulled into the Cenex to clear some more stuff away, get a drink and be on his way. It was clear the car had more damage than he initially thought. It wasn’t going anywhere. At 6:30am, his FFA advisor isn’t answering his phone and he doesn’t know the people he is supposed to be meeting for the bus ride. He will not make the 8:45am bus. We are an hour away from him and couldn’t drive him there in time.

He eventually got ahold of his advisor who contacted the other chapter and the camp to let them know he would be delayed. My husband drove over to where his car was. We could drive him to camp ourselves, but they’d need to come back and get me and our other son and then go home and drop them off.

His seatbelt saved his life. He was tired, going 64 mph on cruise, trying to stay awake. Window down, then up, shifting in his seat, radio on… until he heard the tires hit the gravel on the left side of the road. He startled awake and over corrected, swerved back and forth and slammed into the ditch. Thank God it was 6am on Sunday morning, so there was no traffic. He could have hit someone. Thank God he wasn’t on the interstate. Thank God he was wearing his seatbelt, or he would have been thrown through the front windshield and the car would have driven over him. Thank God he didn’t roll it. Thank God he didn’t fall asleep 10 seconds later because he would have ended up in a ditch full of water. Thank God he is ok. Thank God he learned a lesson in a non-fatal way.

He learned a few things:

  1. Wear your seatbelt, even if it’s not “cool.”
  2. Driving while tired is dangerous.
  3. Do not drive with the cruise on if you are sleepy.
  4. Have snacks or drinks along to help keep you awake.
  5. North Dakota mud will turn to a clay brick if it dries.

Shaken and probably suffering from whiplash, he still went to camp. I drove him the 2 hours from our house up there. He was be able to catch the bus back home, or at least to Albany. “Mom, I could have died. It all happened so fast.” Yes, yes I know. I am beyond thankful for the angels watching over you, tapping you on the shoulder and helping you to wake up. I’m thankful that God spared your life that Sunday morning.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough & always wear your seatbelt!