I used to ache on days like today when I had to go inside. Even though I liked being with my students, there was most definitely a kernel of resentment at having to miss a glorious day such as today was. I frequently gave my students homework to go outside and play for a minimum of 30 minutes. I taught high school, mind you. On the occasional day when I had to take a personal day or a sick day, and the weather was nice, and I needed to get out of the house, I felt so guilty–like I wasn’t supposed to be in a world in which I knew in my soul I belonged. I couldn’t enjoy it fully, because I was supposed to be somewhere else.
And speaking of being somewhere else–I was never fully present. I couldn’t ever just be with my children or husband. They never got my best…just what I had left over at the end of the day–which wasn’t much. My poor husband, I’m sorry to say, did not have much of a helper in me. Don’t get me wrong, we are great partners in running a household. But, I wasn’t very good about helping him.
But that was then.
Today I was positively blissful at 10:50 this morning when I got to sit out in the sunshine and enjoy this fountain on this perfect fall day. What’s better is that I wasn’t “stealing” time or “taking time for myself.” No, I was actually taking care of my husband by waiting for him as he finished his physical therapy. He is still not cleared to drive after his neck surgery, and as his chauffer, it was my good luck to have this beautiful view while I waited. He also can’t carry a gallon of milk anywhere, pick up our cat, load the dishwasher or empty it, take out the garbage, or change bedsheets.
Contrary to popular belief, we do need help taking care of ourselves sometimes. And I’m not just referring to post-surgery, physical care. Sometimes we need help to simply be good to ourselves. We are not built to make it totally on our own. Most of us who try end up feeling some kind of profound sadness, even in the midst of seeming success. Yet society tells us that gentleness, particularly the need for gentleness, is weakness. If you want to be kind, well, that’s your business. But good heavens, don’t be vulnerable.
I’ve been wanting to update you on what’s been going on, what God is doing in my life, how He has been walking with me, drawing me closer and closer to Him, what I’m learning about myself, but most importantly, what I’m learning about Him. The truth is, I’m not really sure I can explain. So much has happened in the past four months. So, I’ll just leave it at this:
I used to ache to be inside on days like today. On this day, I sat outside with absolutely no place I was supposed to be. I used to feel bad that I wasn’t better helper to my husband. On this day and for the past month, I have been able to be by his side helping him with whatever he needed, taking him wherever he needed to go. I used to have to muster up all the reserves of my patience and energy to help the girls through their homework. Now I positively look forward to picking them up from school.
What I am learning is that it is okay for me to be good myself.
It is okay for you to be good to yourself.
I won’t lie. It gets tough sometimes. Our financial situation is getting pretty…interesting. That’s the word I’ve been using. To be even more truthful, sometimes I’m just plain scared and worried. But just when I start to slip back into my old, bad habits of beating myself up over the situation, He sends me someone that helps me to be good to myself. Helps me to remember that just when we feel most in control is when we are most in danger. That when we are trusting Him to come through because we honestly. can. not. see. a. way. out., that is when we are on the safest ground.
I wish I had the eloquent words to share with you how I know–deep in my bones–the truth of this. I promise that from now on I’ll try to let you in on the day-to-day of what’s happening and what He is teaching me. I know this is not polished… maybe not even all that cohesive.
I just feel very strongly that somebody out there needs to know that He knows what you need, even better than you do. This I know from experience. He wants you to rely on Him. Baby steps are ok. And He wants you to be good to yourself. He really really does.