This post was written by a guest blogger who prefers to remain anonymous.
Somebody prayed for us today. After a series of unfortunate circumstances, I’d been feeling that I was caught in stormy weather that abated at times, but that I could never quite get out of the rain. Calling 911 in the middle of the night for an ambulance for my husband was a first for us and triggered fear for his health and our future. As the EMT’s packed him up and drove the ambulance out of the driveway, I was left tagging along behind feeling a complete loss of control. This second trip into the ER in just over 2 days’ time had pushed me to the edge.
Returning home after that sleepless night, I was feeling weary of caregiving, and weary of trying to give advice without being heard. Mentally I was drained and physically exhausted. Spiritually, I was asking God to give me strength and patience. But often in crisis, there were no loud nor quiet answers, neither was there a sense of peace. Instead, I found myself looking despairingly in the rear view mirror over the past few months and counting up energy-draining situations. Unfortunately, I had fallen recently and that resulted in pain that had compromised my ability to tend to the routines of all the household and outdoor chores: cooking, cleaning, laundry, gardening, and outdoor chores that my husband had not been able to do because of recent surgery. No one had taken over those tasks, nor tended to my needs emotionally or physically. Yes, I was feeling sorry for myself.
Sometimes when things overwhelm, sitting down with a friend or picking up the phone to tell “your story” brings new perspective and seems to lighten the load. But I was not in a space to pick up the phone. I was stewing, and told myself it was OK to not be a happy camper for a little while.
And then the phone rang, and somebody prayed. I wish I could say that hearing that “all things work together for good” felt like a balm for my soul or that I was given new hope and encouragement from the words being prayer that I should love Jesus more through these struggles. But the call did none of that. In the space I was in, it felt more like a sting with a bit of shame and guilt thrown in.
I’m grateful someone took the time to call and offer prayer. But the balm that I needed came when several friends called and listened to my story. These friends had experienced similar struggles, and accepted as normal the fatigue, weariness and emptiness I was feeling. There was nothing any of them offered that I needed except for listening, and that was enough to envelope my hurting heart with love.
My own mind has re-centered on the only source of hope and help that we have, and my prayers of gratitude have since replaced my hollow sighs.
This experience has been a good reminder. As I reach out to others, most likely quoting scripture or speaking easy platitudes will not be helpful. I must commit to hearing their stories first. Perhaps just listening, listening to understand without judgment, perhaps just that is enough.