Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Weary, burdened and blessed beyond words

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I am not as exhausted as I’d expected, let’s start there. The lion’s share of the credit goes to Kristie’s mom, who got to our house a few hours after we got back from the hospital with Baby Four and spent the next seven nights taking care of both Kristie and Isaac, not to mention the insane amount of housekeeping and big kid feeding she mastered during the daylight hours. By the time she left Monday afternoon, the house was in better shape than before our sewer explosion, the fridge was full of good food and the older boys, at least, hadn’t had much interruption in the regular routines. A blessing beyond words.

Even before our bundle of joy arrived, an almost unfathomable amount of stress and anxiety dissipated when it became clear scheduling would allow the older boys to essentially move in with my parents for a four-day weekend. While I knew they’d be comfortable there and able to adapt to routines (on account of the week we lived there in early September), I also knew what remarkable effort would be required of my parents to act as ringmasters for our traveling circus. Again, no one’s vocabulary is sufficient to express our gratitude.

This should happen less in the day and more at night. But still adorable.
Though I’ve committed to stay home the rest of this work week while Kristie continues to gain strength and stamina and the boys continue to adjust to the new normal, it already does feel we’re slowly finding our way. This is helped along by what’s becoming a somewhat predictable sleep-and-eat pattern for Isaac. He’s not sleeping through the night or anything, but when patterns emerge, the body adapts. This is why I’ve long maintained a preference for dealing with babies at night over the uncertainties of toddlers who can’t decide whether or not to stay in their own bed all night long.

Still, weary and burdened are apt descriptors. We chose this road and knew it well before setting out a fourth time, but that makes rest no less welcome. I’m trying my best to help Kristie in her recovery, and am thankful and fortunate she is so skilled at walking the line between the rest she needs and the steps she must take on the path that leads back to normal. So much of what I do these days is following cues, from her, the baby, the other kids — at times it can be exhausting to live in a state of reaction, but the tax on the body doesn’t exceed the benefit to the mind and the soul that comes from responding to the instincts that lead me to care for the people I most love.

And, of course, my body is fine. Sure, I haven’t gotten real exercise for nearly two weeks, and I’ve been eating a bunch more than usual, so my jeans are a hair more snug than usual. But I’m not recovering from a second major abdominal surgery or providing the sole source of nourishment for a human being. Toting an eight-pound fart machine for a few minutes a day doesn’t even register on the scale of people in this house who have earned the right to complain of physical fatigue.

But that’s 530 words about the physical stuff, and a hair of the mental. None of it mentions the deeply spiritual, which is where God enters the picture. At no point along the way the last few weeks have I felt anything but sustained, supported and loved by our family, friends and faith community. I cannot imagine the challenge of parenting a newborn without the kind of extraordinary outpouring of aid and concern from all corners we’ve been blessed to experience. That our joy is shared by so many, that the offers of assistance are so numerous are gifts we’re somehow still overwhelmed to enjoy. Not to brag or anything, but it is wonderful to feel loved.

As often is the case when I feel surrounded by blessings, I hope I can both turn them into praise for the giver of all good things as well as commit myself to be a blessing for other when the time arises. Maybe that will be as simple as inviting someone else to lay their worries at God’s feet and to feel the rest when the yoke is lifted. Maybe it will be a much more daunting task. But just as God as blessed me and my family, so too will God give me whatever tools I need to answer the call to serve as needed — for God’s glory alone.

A prayer for October 22:

Lord, thank you for the gift of so much time with my family. Please continue to help me take care of the many needs we all have, and open my eyes to my own limitations that we may go to you together for deeper care, guidance, sustenance and lasting provisions for life and love. May we continue to adjust smoothly and remember your role at the center of our lives. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this journey through your skilled and eloquent writing, Scott. I am sharing portions of this in my inspirations to friends and family today that they will feel God's blessings and go to Him in need. Prayers to you and your lovely family and a special hug to little singer, Max!