Is Your Burden Heavy? Sunday Thoughts
Burdens and Expectations
Do you ever have days when you think, I just can’t do it today, it’s too much. This is not restricted to elder care. Those with young children, lots of responsibilities or just hard circumstances in life feel this way. I feel that way today.
Here’s what’s happened. I’ve been sick for the last two days. Thankfully, we had a caregiver come yesterday morning. Today I’m on my own. Just like being a parent, you don’t get sick days when you’re a caregiver.
Mom had a bad night last night. She was not only confused, she was agitated. She insisted she could get up by herself—she can’t. She insisted on going to bed right after dinner. If I put her to bed that early, she wakes at dawn and insists my dad get up too. The UW, Husky football game was on. Usually she’s eager to listen to it. Last night she kept calling me every time they scored a touchdown (and they scored often —Go Huskies!) saying the game is over, the Huskies won, now she can go to bed. She held her call bell in her hands and rang it repeatedly, not even knowing what she was doing just pushing it because she was restless. I finally took it away and gave her a pill the Hospice nurses left for agitation.
This morning she’s so sleepy she fell asleep at breakfast with a banana in her hand. She needed the wheelchair because she was too unsteady to walk. Is it her disease or too much medicine? I don’t know. I think, why Lord? Why is she worse today when I don’t feel well? I don’t want to have to try to figure it all out today. I need a sick day! Don’t you get it, God?
My Expectations or God’s?
Every year I choose a Bible reading plan. It helps me stay on track. Often I find what I read for the day is just what I need to hear—not always. Sometimes it is just the discipline of faithful reading that is beneficial. This morning I wasn’t expecting much. I felt disconnected. My reading was the story of Jesus in the temple watching the ostentatious giving of the wealthy Pharisees, then the humble gift of the poor widow of a couple of copper coins. Jesus commends the widow because she gave everything she had. She gave sacrificially, not throwing in some extra cash she’d never miss. (Luke 21). Well, that’s me! I’m giving everything I have, right? I think I missed the point.
It occurred to me that God isn’t expecting me to give what I don’t have, only what he has already given me. I burden myself with my own expectations. I want to look good. I want people to know I’m a good caregiver. Look at me! Who am I trying to impress? I’m more like the Pharisees.
If I am too sick to do it all today, I only have to do what I can. So, Mom got a brief sponge-bath today instead of a shower. She’ll be fine. If I don’t make their favorite foods and don’t have a dessert, no one will die. If they have a bowl of cereal for dinner it will be more than some people have to eat all day. If this blog is incoherent and I’m typing it lying in bed, who cares? (And by the way I’m still in my pajamas.) Who am I trying to impress?
Then I realized I put pressure on myself to perform. Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I choose to make my load heavy. I don’t have to be perfect, to perform for God. He’s not impressed by sheets with hospital corners. I’m putting that on myself. I need to drop that heavy burden.
So, how do we make changes? I need to examine my motives. Why am I doing what I’m doing? Do you put too much on yourself? Are you too hard on yourself? Let’s do what we can, the best that we can. That’s all that’s required. Whew, I’m tired of dragging this burden around. I’m dropping it.
Have a good caregiving day,