Last night my husband was working late and I had just finished tucking the last little one into bed. I came downstairs and began to tidy up the dinner dishes, then walked into the living room where our dog was curled up in her bed dreaming about chasing squirrels or birds or deer. The house was quiet and calm again. I stood in the middle of the living room for a moment trying to breathe in the peace but about a half second later tears were streaming down my face. So I sat down on the couch and wept.
I’m tired. We haven’t slept much for the past month (six years, really.) The 11pm, 1am, 3am up for the day wake ups are wearing everyone down to the bone. I’ve got a knot between my shoulder blades from the constant tensing that happens when I’m trying to keep someone from hurting themselves or breaking the furniture or running into the street or hurling something across the room. My throat is a little sore from the talking, pleading, reassuring, and crying. I need a nap… and maybe a massage.
But that’s not why I’m crying. I can withstand a pretty good amount of physical exhaustion and most days my patience, while at times runs thin, doesn’t run out. No it’s not that. It’s the break and the cracks and the throb in my heart for the people I love most in this world. I look into the face of my little person – who I would give both kidneys to in a heartbeat – and watch as trauma and fear and anger and hurt pours out. It’s the pain of watching that little one suffer and not know how to help. There are some hurts too deep for even a mother’s love and it breaks my heart.
The words a doctor gave us over a year ago are still ringing in my ears, “This isn’t a sprint it’s a marathon.” I know that is true, but that do you do when you get to the point of the marathon where your muscles are cramping and you’ve hit a wall of fatigue? You’re trying to pace yourself but all you can do is gasp for air, reach for water, and let out a groan. The finish line is nowhere in sight and you’re feeling desperate… and scared. The future can be intimidating when you just aren’t sure tomorrow will be any better than today. And what if it’s worse?
I’m all out of answers, all out of energy, and running quite low on hope. I have just about nothing left and that’s when I find myself weeping on the couch with only one prayer left.
“Jesus the one you love is sick.” *
I have to remember that Jesus loves my children more than I do, as hard as that is to comprehend. I have to remember that God sees us even when I feel so very unseen. I have to remember that he is still with us, even when I feel lonely. I have to remember that our story isn’t over yet, even when I feel hopeless. And today? Today I just have to do the next right thing, knowing that sometimes the next right thing is to sit and cry on the couch… and then it will be to get up, dry my eyes, and start all over again. Because the one I love is sick and I’m in this race until the very end.
* John 11:3