In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “First!.”
Yesterday, January 13, 2015 was one of the hardest days in my life. It was the day I attended my father’s funeral. You see, I am a big daddy’s girl, will be until I take my last breath. I was with him when he took his last breath and man was that hard too. BUT yesterday was finality. The last time we would ever see his physical body again.
This morning began with me sleeping in later than usual. I had spent the night with my daughters family because I lived out of town. I had slept with my grand children, who had to get up early for school. When their dad came in to wake them I could barely open my eyes. I fell back asleep and awoke 3 hours later.
As I reflected on my day there were 3 things I realized about my first day after the funeral:
1. Exhaustion had set in. The days following my fathers death had been both mentally and physically draining. We had to prepare for the upcoming funeral, for visitors who would visit the home and for phone calls to notify friends and family of my fathers death.
Many people had stopped by to tell us how sorry they were, to drop off food, and to ask about the funeral arrangements. Sometimes their visits would continue until late in the night.
As siblings we wanted to be close. It was hard for me to leave and go to my daughters home. I had lost my dad, I did not want to loose one of them. Sounds kinda crazy, I know, but I just wanted to be close to them.
I did not know how exhausted I was until I found myself waking up to so late this morning. By mid-day felt as if I had not slept in 3 days, however, I could not nap. I had no strength or energy to do anything.
2. I wanted to be alone. Just 3 days prior I wanted to be with my family all the time. Now all I wanted was to be alone. Alone I could keep myself busy. Busy doing laundry. Busy cleaning house. Busy on the computer. Just busy. No thinking. Just busy.
3. I was sick of eating. The smell of food was nauseating to me. You see, I realized that in my daze over the last few days, I ate all day long. I did not mean to eat. I did not want to eat. But eat I did. Every day, sometimes, twice a day, people would show up to our house with food. My mom wanted all the kids to eat together. I ate when I was bored. I ate when I was tired. I ate when I was hungry. I ate late and I ate bad food. Today I was just sick of food.
What I realized most today, the first day after the funeral, was that I miss my dad. The last 3 days had been a blur. The last three days have been busy. Today has been a day of missing my dad. It will get better each day. I know he is in heaven worshiping Jesus. I know I will see him again. But today, my first day after the funeral…..I miss him the most.
You know those times in life where you wonder, “how am I going to get through this day…or this week?” Where the only goal you have in mind of is to be able to say, “I don’t know how I GOT through this day…or this week.”
As women, we tend to put so much on our plates. When our plates are full, we just keep stacking higher and higher…because, we can handle it, right? We certainly think we can. And then the breaking point hits. The ‘food’ on our plates topples over, causing the tears and feelings of failure and being overwhelmed, and more of a mess to clean up.
Imagine how much less chaotic our lives would be if we limited the ‘food’ on our plates. After all, there are plenty of other plates that could use some extra!
Galatians 6:2 tells us to ‘share each others burdens’. I think often we think of this verse with emotions in mind. Sadness, grief, troubles, etc.. I think it also refers to our plates. An over-stacked plate can be a burden. Can I get an amen?!
My first thought when all of this was coming to me was, “when we see an over-stacked plate in a restaurant (you know, the literal kind), we think ‘glutton’.” But, if we’re honest, that’s not even the case these days, is it? An over-stacked is ‘normal’.
But, it’s not meant to be normal. We’ve normalized the abnormal.
I see two ways out of this overloaded plate…
1. Give some ‘food’ to Jesus. Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Place my yoke over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves because my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus is willing to lessen your plate. You just have to go to Him. Maybe you can’t get things off of your plate immediately. He can also ‘yoke up’ with you and help you out. That’s just how awesome He is!
2. Offer some of that ‘food’ to a fellow brother or sister. God doesn’t want us hoarding the ‘food’! He wants us to share. We each have a unique purpose, which means my plate is no more important than your plate.
I think the overconfident human part of us tends to forget that Christ took all of our burdens on all by Himself. Because, He could. He’s God. He can handle it. We’re not Christ. (That shouldn’t be a newsflash, but I think sometimes it is.) We’re just weak flesh with a mixture of overconfidence and insecurities. (Funny how that makes sense, right?) We can’t do it all on our own.
This is a lesson I continually work on in my life. Being a very independent woman, add a dash of OCD, and a touch of control in there, and I have a plate that has the ability to topple.
But, you know what? I was born imperfect, I’ll die imperfect. What matters is the time between the two. I am a work in progress! I’m a work in progress because I strive to be like Jesus and know I’ll never…ever…accomplish such a task. I’m a work in progress because I know what God’s Word says and still fail to live it. I’m a work in progress because I know I can’t handle it all on my own, even when I want to, or think I can. I’m a work in progress because Jesus is perfect and I’m not, and He loves me, and I love Him, and He loves YOU, too!
Thank You, Jesus!