Exhaustion and Hurting Hearts
"Yes, my soul finds rest in God; my hope comes from Him." Psalm 62:5
Work has been a wild race the past couple of weeks. It's like Christmas, but it's Mother's Day gifts and cards and Cemetery Arrangements instead of Christmas trees, glitz, and glitter. Life, in general, seems to be crazy in May. No one seems immune to all the hustle and bustle the end of the school year brings.
This time of year always gets to me as I help friends of David Christopher's pick out cemetery flowers for those who have gone on before them. And I sympathize with my friends who have children graduating from high school and leaving for college. I can't imagine what that is like.
Some say I care too deeply, but that's just how I'm wired. Maybe you can relate. I can feel what the other person is feeling...or something close to it. It can be exhausting, yet fulfilling to recognize folks that need encouragement and offer it to them.
I always think of my Grandmother when I get emotional at Hallmark commercials or funerals of individuals I don't know that well. Or when writing up a custom order for customers I don't know as they recant the favorite colors of their loved ones. I heard a lady today say, "Red was my Momma's favorite color. Do you have something in red?"
I assume I get my "feelers" from my Grandmother. I remember seeing her tender heart cry on many occasions growing up. She felt deeply, and she was no stranger to pain as she had lost her husband at a young age followed by many more friends and loved ones.
The more pain we have felt in our own lives, the easier it can be to feel the pain of others. Although, no one really knows exactly what another person is feeling.
A few days ago, I walked a lady to her car with several beautiful vase inserts, and she said to me, "I always worried about getting my Momma the perfect gift, and I never knew what to get her. Now, this is all I can do for her. I wish I was back to not knowing what to get for her." Her voice trailed off as she released a steady sigh.
I placed the last of the pink peonies, light green hydrangeas, and fern arrangements in her car and said, "You're right. It's all we can do once they are gone. The flowers you chose are beautiful." We exchanged a heartfelt goodbye, and I walked back to the store with a lump in my throat, sun beating down on my face, and hot tears welling up in my eyes.
I swallowed them back before going back inside and prepared myself to smile and greet the next customer I encountered.
In that moment, I thanked God I still have my own Mother I can buy a gift for this Mother's Day. I thanked Him I was planning to share lunch with her and not a visit to her grave with a bouquet of silk flowers.
Pain is a funny thing. It can ebb and flow when you lose someone you love. Some days it feels fresh and new. Other days, it feels less intense. It can resemble a pair of faded out, well worn blue jeans, a familiar friend.
It may sound odd to refer to pain as a friend, but for me, pain reminds me that I was blessed enough to have something worth missing once he was gone. And by he, I mean my Daddy.
With long and busy work days and early rises starting all over, I found myself emotionally and physically exhausted. Finding myself alone in the living room in the peace and quiet, I said, "Lord, it's time for us. What do you want to say to me tonight?"
Surprisingly, I didn't hear him impress any words upon my heart, but I felt his presence. He just wanted to hold me and allow me to feel his love, his mercy, and his grace. I melted in to his arms. And then a still small voice said, "I'm here. I'm here."
Exhaustion comes in many forms--physical, emotional, spiritual. It can come from chasing children, chasing finances, chasing dreams, and even chasing spiritual things. It can come from feeling physical pain for prolonged periods of time. It can come from fighting emotional battles. It can come from marital conflicts.
No matter how it comes, one things is for sure, it will come.
A lot of my friends and family are missing loved ones. Marriages are struggling, friendships are failing, jobs are falling apart, babies are growing up and moving on, hearts are hurting.
While I don't feel like I have a whole lot to give right now, I feel like I am supposed to give something. I don't feel like I am speaking eloquent words of wisdom as I try and type through tired eyes, but I just want you to know, you are not alone. God hears your cries. He knows your pain. He has felt every single emotion you have ever felt.
Lean in to him. Allow him to be your escape. Allow him to be your peace.
Find a corner, a closet, anywhere where you can be alone for a few minutes and ask God to refresh you, renew you, encourage you and hold you. If nothing else, let him hold you. His arms are open wide. Run to him. Let him give you the rest you need.
Father, thank you for being a God with no boundaries or boarders. Thank you for never leaving us nor forsaking us. Thank you for encouraging us on our darkest days. Thank you for allowing us to feel your Holy Spirit. You are welcome in our homes, in our minds, and in our hearts. Thank you for reviving us and giving us new life. Lead us, guide us, and let us be sensitive to your spirit wherever we go. In Jesus' name. Amen.