Yesterday was agony. My brain was like a popcorn popper with thoughts bouncing around all over the place. I was posting on Facebook, I was Christmas shopping, I was writing letters, I was doing household chores, I was caring for my three year old, I was solving the problems of the universe in my spare time……and wasn’t doing a very good job at any of them.
By the end of the night I needed to pick up my grocery order because I had nothing to make for dinner, but I was trying to get Austin’s car track to fit together. The more I tried to fit the pieces together, the more anxious I got, and the more convinced I became that I could not leave the house and get the groceries. That would involve driving and talking to people, and not crashing. Then when I got home I would have to bring the groceries inside, and keep Austin inside, and face my other boys who would be playing games upstairs and wouldn’t want to help me with groceries. Then I would have to make dinner, and no one would want to eat it…….I pushed and pushed and I got the groceries and then I sat in the driveway outside my house. I called Ben.
“I can’t go inside. I’m in the driveway.”
“I’ll be there in a minute.”
Ben pulled up to the house a few minutes later and he gave me a long hug. We brought the groceries in and I made dinner. We got the kids in bed. We even read scriptures and I read Austin a bedtime story. It was hard, but I did it. We did it.
Today Ben was leaving for work. “Are you going to be okay?” he asked. “I don’t know,” I replied half dead and still in bed. I had taken a sedative the night before because I was over the top anxious. It had helped me have a wonderful restful night, but now I needed to get Austin to preschool. That would involve showering, dressing, dressing Austin, packing his lunch, driving to the school, dropping him off. It might involve toddler tantrums. We would be late. There would be shame to fight off. Then I would need to pick up Devin from school and take him to the Neurologist in Ft. Worth. Then Layne and Wesley have Orthodontist appointments and I’ll have to bring Austin and he won’t get his afternoon nap. Then I have choir rehearsal tonight for the concert Saturday that I’m not ready for. Then next week Ben is going out of town for work for a week. Then my Wesley turns nine years old. Then it’s Christmas break and the kids will be home all day!!! AGGGHHHHHH!!! The anxiety will kill me. Except it won’t. I take it one crazy step at a time.
Today I spent most of the day driving in the van. At a stoplight there was a homeless guy with a sign. We don’t get a lot of homeless in Mansfield. I never carry cash, so there was nothing to give him. I thought of one of my blogger friends on here who passes homeless people every day on his way to work. He has made friends with a few. I thought of my fear of homeless people. Once Ben and I were almost ambushed by a group of them at gas station in a bad part of town. Ever since, I have felt a combination of awkward, sympathy, and fear when I see them. They are so vulnerable. They are broken and they know it. They are like me that way. They reach out for help and they are ignored by humanity who avoid their gaze and deny their existence. I call myself the handmaid of the Lord. What would my Lord have me do? I faced my fears. I rolled down my window and said hello to the man. I told him I had no cash to give him, but asked the Lord’s blessing upon him. He had a nice smile, asked me for directions, which I gave him. I wished him a Merry Christmas and he was gone. He’s gone from view, but he’s been with me throughout the day, a silent reminder that Christmas will not be a joyful event full of presents, candy, and time with family for everyone this year. The suffering live among us. Do we see them? Do we give them what we can, even if the best we can do is a smile and a “God Bless?”
The Pharisees were trying to trap the Savior when he told them to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” They asked him who was their neighbor. Who is my neighbor? Do I know his name? Do I know his pain? Does he stand on a street corner with a cardboard sign? Is her skin a different color? Does he speak a different language? Was she born in a foreign land? I decide who I will be neighbor to, and today I choose to be a better one; a better disciple of Him whom I adore.
It will be hard to love them. I can’t take away their suffering. I am only broken me, but through his grace, I can do every needful thing, even the hard ones. Every day I do hard things. I get out of bed. I face the day. I face the shame. I say I’m sorry. I pick myself up. I breathe. I pray.
Today I prayed for a long time. It was a beautiful prayer. I don’t remember what I said, but the words just tumbled out and I told him the truth about myself. That I’m broken and weak and nobody, but that to him, I am a queen with mighty spiritual gifts. To the world, I am of no importance, but to him, I am of infinite worth. I know in whom I have trusted and to whom I have covenanted in his holy temple to consecrate my whole life, my talents, and all that I am to serve Him. In the furnace of affliction have I been tried, to become his instrument, his handmaid. And so I will sing! I will sing in my prayers to God and they will rise above the clouds and be heard in the chambers of his mighty dwelling place. His power surrounds me and gives me the strength to do hard things, to testify of things he has revealed to me, to testify to you that He lives. He is no respecter of persons. All things of the flesh will pass away. Kingdoms, Presidents, and governments will rise and fall, armies will amass and destroy, and yet his hand is over all his creation. All these things must be, but his judgement will not be stayed forever. The time will come when all men shall choose, the wheat and the tares will be sorted, and then my Lord will come.