A good cry, an ugly cry was sneaking up on me. There was a little lump in my throat, small tear here and there, and deep sighs galore. So I got my jammies on, got a glass of water and went to brush my teeth. And then I turned towards my bed, saw the place where I wanted to land and fell into it. I lay there, toothbrush in hand, sobbing, choking on toothpaste and tears.
Carrying around my whole entire world has kind of been my thing. I’ve learned to set it down now, thank goodness. It used to chase me around, the responsibility of it all, begging to be held. And sometimes it seemed easier to pick it up, sling it on my hip, or throw it over my shoulders than to keep telling it to go. The thing is, I knew it so well, if I did pick it up I’d forget I was toting it around until I noticed the pain in my back. So learning to give it up, practicing giving it up, has been good.
Responsibility is a good thing to carry sometimes I know, but it weighs me down when I let it. If I’m not careful, every hard thing around me will climb onto my back. Not a welcomed burden at all, familiar though. I recognize now more quickly than I did in the past when the heaviness sets in. I’ve become accustomed to handing things over to Him. I've learned to love the feel of walking a little lighter, a little taller. I held onto this lie for so long though, believing that I was in charge of holding the world, my world at least together.
Up until sometime last year, I thought that every bad thing that’s ever happened to me and people around me was my fault. All the big and small things that have torn, cut and broken, only happened because I caused them to. More precisely I thought that they happened because there was something awful in me that called out to evil. Little-Me, Teenage-Me, Grown-up-Me too, we all thought we were covered in the shame of our wrongs and wrongs done to us. I thought the visibility of it left me marked forever with depravity, a glowing target for Badness. And let me tell you, that’s quite a cumbersome load to bear. Also, it's quite a lie to denounce.
Oh and before I found all this Freedom, pain of all kinds from all different places felt like it was mine to carry. If I found hurt sitting on a friend, I would take it. If they resisted I would insist. “Let me take that for you. It’s fine; I don’t mind at all.” And it was true, I hardly knew the difference between my own grief and someone else’s; it was all the same to me. Really I thought, “What’s the use in someone else feeling hurt if I can feel it for them and they can be free of it?” Silly? Yes, but an honest glimpse into my silly self. I am wiser now though, a little. I’ve learned that all this shame and pain is not for me hold. And I am glad to let it go, Free-er for having handed it to Him.
There are these other Responsibilities though, four of them that I am carrying around. There are Four Lives that I have been entrusted with. And I am not looking to pawn them off on anyone at all. But I think maybe I am supposed to grip them less tightly, not walk around white-knuckled with anxiety. I think the worry lines in my face wouldn’t run quite so deep if I trusted Him more with them.
It’s tricky though because I understand that I am their mother and so raising them is my job. And I am honored to have that privilege. But the thing is, I’ve spent so much of the past couple of years feeling like I have to be their Everything. I feel like I have to be Mother and Father. I’ve felt mostly… oh geez, fine, I will tell you what I told Him last night- I felt both incapable of being their Everything and unwilling to fully entrust them to Him all at the same time.
Mostly I think I do an okay job. But then sometimes I think, they deserve better than ok. I think they deserve amazing, and some days I am just too tired to be amazing. I think they deserve the best Mom in the whole world, and I try to be that but fall short on a regular basis. And then well, I think they deserve the best Dad in the whole world. And while on some level I get that I can’t be that for them, it hasn’t stopped me from trying. And it certainly hasn’t stopped me from hating that I couldn’t be that.
You know what I mean? Providing for, nurturing and protecting These Four outstanding human beings, physically, emotionally and spiritually, that’s kind of a lot sometimes. It’s too much really, more than I can... more than I am supposed to bear. I trust Jesus with me and my stuff. I have given over the weight of all the messiness I’ve experienced. I’ve stopped taking on other people’s pain. But giving Him complete control means letting Him be in control of Our Life. Last night I realized- I hang on to this fear that they won’t have Enough because I can’t be Enough. It’s a lie born out of a lie and I’m done with it.
I’ve worn myself out the last few weeks. They’ve had to deal with some big things and in the midst of dealing with my own big things, I’ve tried to help them. My attempts at being Mom and Dad of the Year have left me all kinds of exhausted. I’ve beat myself up when I’ve fallen short and I’ve put off dealing with my own stuff in favor of distraction and self loathing. And that’s wrong. So I’m going to stop it.
I am not supposed to be their Everything. He is supposed to be their Everything, just like He is mine. And the best thing I can do for them is to teach them that. And the best way to teach them that is by letting Him have more of me and in turn, letting Him have more of them. I am supposed to be their mother. And I think maybe I’ll be a much better mother if I let go of the other stuff. Worrying, struggling and beating myself up are nothing but distractions from what I should be doing. They are excuses really to blame myself and start the whole cycle over again.
So last night, in my bed, curled up in tears, messy and tired, I gave up. I confessed all this crap. I asked Him for help with this load. And that He would help me understand more and more, the difference between my job and His job. I held out my hands, let go of the protection and control that I had been gripping so tightly. I asked for forgiveness and received His Love. And this morning, rainy though it was, seemed much more hopeful. And now the sun is out, so that’s good.