Do you ever get the feeling that your life is weird? Maybe you’re, I don’t know, sitting in your daughter’s room with sunglasses on, lights turned off, hiding from the noise of the blender and hoping your children aren’t destroying the kitchen. That’s me, right now. Then again, you might be rushing around trying to get to all the things and having supper in your car on your way to a meeting just praying you have enough energy to make it through till you can hit your bed. Maybe your life looks absolutely bizarre as you try to describe it to someone you consider “normal,” someone living a regular life.
Only, who is living a regular, uncomplicated, “normal” life? Aren’t we all going through something challenging?
Last week, someone told me they couldn’t believe I was smiling with what I was going through (suffering with daily debilitating migraines), but I can’t imagine how hard her life is right now because she just lost someone she loves. But we were both choosing to smile. For me, part of that is choosing to be goofy, to act silly, to look at things in an odd way and laugh about strange things like sitting in my house with my sunglasses on.
So, what do we do on a hard day? How do we handle, let’s be honest and call it what it is, disappointment. Disappointment that the life we are living is not what we thought we were signing up for. Perhaps disappointment in ourselves for even feeling disappointed. Disappointed that we are just struggling to recognize things to feel grateful for because we should just be happy to be alive. It’s more important than ranting, it’s about being honest. I have been reading the Psalms again and I can’t tell you what a comfort it is to see how David gets worked up about the hard things in his life. And who was he telling? God. So maybe we shouldn’t be scared of telling God how we feel on a hard day. Just admit, “This isn’t what I wanted.”
And then, let your kid do your make-up.
At least, that’s what I did today. One daughter did my make-up while another shot pictures of the whole silly thing. Then, we had popcorn for lunch (though I had to hide in the other room while it was popping). We have laughed about the oddest things, listened to a funny podcast, sat around quietly reading, discussed a new historical drama, and generally enjoyed ourselves. And yes, the kids are helping with supper. I cooked the sauce and they are blending it and then emptying the dishwasher because we are a team.
I used to feel like I had nothing in me to give my kids, but when I started recognizing where I could delegate and spread out some of the responsibilities, our home began functioning again. I know it sounds strange, but this spreading around responsibilities actually gave us room for fun again because I was no longer preoccupied with all I couldn’t get to. I know I have teased in the past that I felt as though my kids were stealing my sanity, but when it comes to being on my team and making our family work (when I can get them to stay on task) they are actually protecting the heart of our home, protecting our fun.
And there are other people who divide up the workload outside our home, other people who have graciously volunteered to be on our team. As I’ve finished writing this particular blog (because my head wouldn’t let me finish it in one day), the kids are over at a friend’s house and then heading to karate because I simply can’t drive most days anymore. I don’t know what I would do without other adults helping shoulder the burden that my illness creates. You know what’s amazing? They don’t make me feel like a burden, and that protects the fun also.
I don’t know what your life is like right now; you could use that phrase: You don’t know my life! and you would be right. I do pray you can admit and then let go of your disappointment. I pray you can choose to smile and find a team of people to help you spread out and divide up the responsibilities so you can get back to finding ways to have fun, even on hard days.
Photo credit: Hannah Tasker, Ben White, Katherine R. Roe
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