You will find a joy in overcoming obstacles.
Loss. Sadness. Pressure. Discouragement.
Life. Joy. Peace. Hope.
Somewhere deep inside, I witnessed a crack to my inner peace, a chink in my armor. With all the outside news, deadlines I have to meet for two college classes, work I must complete with curriculum changes with my teaching position, and just the responsibilities of life, my week was stressful and overwhelming.
It didn’t help that Tuesday was the one-year anniversary of my brother’s death. His presence was everywhere. David was in the conversations with friends and family that inquired about my well-being. He was with me in silent moments when I remembered the day he died. He was with me as I looked through childhood pictures. He was with me.
The very next day, I received news that a family member had died. My cousin’s husband, Dale, died of heart failure. He was a loving, kind man, and I had just reconnected with them at last year’s family reunion. Although the older couple remembered me from when I was an infant and a toddler, I didn’t remember them. When I was four, my parents and my baby brother moved out of state, and later as our family grew, vacations and homecomings were just not within the family budget. When we reconnected, they made me feel as I had never left. In fact, after the reunion, they invited me to their home. My two days extended to four since I was off for the summer. Spending time with them was such a gift as they shared family stories, and as we laughed and talked and visited. Having them in my life filled me with such a newfound sense of joy that comes with the connection of love and family.
This month, we were planning another, and we could not wait to spend some more time together. Now, I have found myself worrying about Nina, for she and her love were married for nearly 68 years. This month when we see each other again; it will be at his funeral. With all my heart, I would have given just about anything just to see him one more time.
Some days, the stress, the pain from loss, and the amount of work I must complete created such an emotional rollercoaster and such a flood of ups and downs as I tried to juggle and balance all my responsibilities on my own. While most days, I have really enjoyed my independence and have preferred the life as a single woman, days like today, I long for someone in my corner. Often this week, I wished I had someone to help carry some of the burdens. Over and over, I have repeated and reminded myself that life will get better.
Yesterday, I snapped at a friend for no good reason, and while I will call and make amends, I berated myself for being such a jerk. Last night, I forgot where I placed my only pair of working glasses and could not find them although I had searched for nearly three hours this morning. Afterward, I broke down and cried for the first time this week about missing the people I love. I wept about class deadlines and teacher responsibilities and the glasses I needed to complete those tasks. I cried for all the overwhelming number of projects that need to be completed around my home, and the lack of funds required. I cried for the loss of my income with pay freezes, massive health insurance hikes, and another forthcoming deduction for retirement that will profoundly affect my monthly budget.
But mainly I angrily railed at myself for postponing my visit to see Nina and Dale; I originally had planned to visit them in May. But I allowed deadlines and end of the school year duties get in my way. My chronic back pain flared, for I did not rest when I should have and worked too hard. May was a stressful month, and when life’s pressures intensify, my pain increases also. And since I was my own worst critic, I started to berate myself or all my shortcomings.
• If only, you had started getting healthier sooner, you would have felt better in May.
• If only, you were more organized, your life would not be a series of disasters.
• If only, you had not become a teacher, you could make a decent living.
• if only you did not have a back injury, you would be stronger.
After my I cried, I decided to get out of the house. Grabbing an old pair of glasses that once were used to see for distance use only, I called my puppies and decided to get away from my house. Stopping at McDonald’s, I grabbed a coffee and a Sausage and Egg McMuffin. While driving home, I rolled down the windows to get some fresh air. My pups peeked over the top of the windows while searching for native wildlife. Spotting rabbits, prairie dogs, and birds, their excited squeals made me laugh. Their excitement was contagious, and I found myself starting to relax. For the remainder of the ride, I prayed. I prayed for Nina and her family, I prayed that I could meet all my deadlines. I prayed for peace, and I prayed that I would find my lost glasses. Solutions started to swirl in my head as I thought about reading and trying to work. Although I stopped wearing my contacts, I had some that would hold me over until I made an appointment and had my eyes checked; it was time anyway.
Once I arrived home, I took a deep breath. This life has been more than challenging at times, and it has often broken my heart, but it has also presented me with unimaginable joy. In the past, God never let me down, and I know He will not start now. True I have faced challenges, but in this world, who hasn’t? He reminded that I wasn’t alone after all.
Oh and the glasses? Well, I decided to eat my breakfast and drink my coffee and relax in bed while watching a little TV before I started my day. As I walked by the window, I brushed against the curtain, and It slightly moved. Something shiny caught my eye, and I glanced down. My glasses were partially poking out from behind the curtain. And then I remembered. Instead of placing my glasses on my dresser as I usually do, last night, I was tired and set them on the window sill before I crawled into bed. They had fallen from the sill and were on the floor, slightly hidden behind the curtain.
Relief spread through me in an instant. The scales had balanced, and life suddenly didn’t feel so overwhelming after all. In the midst of this crazy life, I discovered I need to take a break from the busy schedules and deadlines and just relax and have some fun. So today that’s exactly what I am going to do. Today, I decided I will watch a movie in bed. And who knows what the rest of the day will hold, but whatever I choose to do, it will not have anything to do with laundry, classes or work!
But those who trust in the LORD for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak.