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Respite, Reflection, and Renewal

Sometimes we just have to stop. Stop talking. Stop listening. Stop doing. Stop everything to achieve respite, reflection, and renewal. We can’t ignore the signs of depletion, disorder, and discomfort. When we get to the point that we can’t think anymore, pray anymore, sleep anymore, or live anymore, it’s time to pull the plug.

The past months of my life have been some of the most horrific I can recall. I was afraid of losing the love of my life, care-giving responsibilities were overwhelming me, my eyesight was impaired due to sagging eyelids, my most recent book wasn’t selling as I’d hoped it would, and my son-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer and was suffering post operation complications. THE BIG WHAMMY? I lost my best girlfriend when my sister passed away.

Talk about feeling devastated and disconnected. As my world closed in on me, leaving me devoid of any conversations with people other than doctors, hired care-givers, hospitalists treating my husband for acute viral infections and/or orthopedic surgery, or telling the same things over and over again about my husband’s health, I felt trapped in a downward spiral of sadness. I slogged along as best as I could. I spent time talking with my sister as she praised God and contemplated her passing until Jesus brought her home to him (praise God!). A month later, I tried to pick myself up and get going again, only to feel more discouraged about the season in life I was trying to live through.

Honestly, I don’t think I was feeling sorry for myself, as much as I felt a blanket of sorrow shrouding me because of what had happened to the people I love. I would have gladly taken the place of my husband in his excruciating pain rather than watch him struggle. I hated that my daughter in Seattle was wringing her hands in fear of her husband dying, and worried that the extra stress would cause her MS to exacerbate.

Wishing that I could be with my sister in heaven was an uncomfortable, but prevalent thought that filled my mind — especially when I looked at her picture on my nightstand, or breathed in the smell of her ashes in the pewter heart sitting next to her picture. I would cry out, “Oh Mickey, if I could just be up there with you. It would be like old times. I don’t know if I will ever be over losing you. I love and miss you so much.”

Soon, the idea of respite, reflection, and renewal slowly crept into my mind, and the Holy Spirit guided me to a deliberate decision to stop; to stop everything. I spent seven weeks sleeping late every morning, doing only necessary household chores, and sitting on my back patio reading, reading, and reading (25 books). Soon I began to reflect on my sorrows, and came to terms with the fact that Jesus holds all things together, and that his plans are perfect.

Two weeks ago, a surgeon fixed my drooping eyelids (still not completely healed). In the meantime, I created a new header for my website, and today I am writing a blog. Even though so many things have changed in my life, I am now praying and thanking God for his grace, mercy, and love.

There is always an end to the trauma tunnel when you know Jesus. Jesus never leaves us or fails to love us, even when we can’t think, pray, sleep or live. Jesus understands us in our turmoil, and he always brings us peace beyond understanding.

Blessings, Carol




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