James 1:2-3 – Dear brothers and sisters, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow.
Gratitude Day 725
Last night, I attended a visitation. My co-worker just lost her 90-year-old Dad. He wanted to celebrate this milestone birthday with a pizza party; almost a last wish for his life. He had pizza and cake and received a bunch of balloons for his special day … and then, passed away four days later. What a beautiful end to his life. Yet, there is grief in death, no matter what the situation.
Last week, I was talking with a woman who I chat with about nutrition and my health. She mentioned that the day before, she had met with a 75-year-old woman who told her that she is tired of feeling stuck in her life right now. My nutrition lady indicated that she is having so many more of these conversations with clients these days. After two years of living in a pandemic, some people just aren’t quite sure how to live life. What to do. How to think about what lies ahead in their lives. It’s a very regular and real part of life today, she said.
You don’t know the names of these people and you will never see their faces on the cover of a magazine. They are all ordinary, regular folks who are trying to live life the very best that they can. What I do know is that all of these people are going through a phase in their life that feels different. Challenging. Maybe even difficult.
I have a beautiful friend who is a single parent to three children: two twin boys with a younger sister. We had a quick lunch together recently. While driving to meet her, I kept wondering to myself, “How does she do it? Full-time job. Raising three kids under 10 by herself. Making time for lunch with me …”
I kind of felt like a shlep knowing that my daily demands are so different from what she lives every day. How can I ever really feel like I have “too much going on” in my life … compared to this wonder-woman Mom?
On the way to meeting this friend, I had a phone conversation with another friend whose brother passed away a few weeks earlier from an accidental drug overdose. We talked about the memorial service, the emotions she and other family members are experiencing right now. Her brother lived in an apartment that was part of her parent’s house. Her mother found her brother. I can’t even imagine how they are managing to function right now. Yes, there was known drug use. But the family also knew their loved one wanted to live. He was doing the best he could when this awful incident happened. Now, they are trying to live while part of their hearts feel like they have been ripped away.
My heart breaks for them.
We live in a world that loves to glorify people by their outward and visible wins. We praise people who seem to have accomplish the most; whether it be a proficient athlete, the number of social media followers you have, how many books you have written or sold, a person who owns the stage, or someone excels in business and politics. Yes, there are lessons we can learn from these folks and use as encouragement in our own lives. Yet, too often we elevate people with these accolades more than the person who simply shows up everyday and is trying their very best, no matter what their situation maybe today.
Life can be very messy. Sometimes, the messes are ones we have created ourselves. Other times, our messes are the result of someone else’s messes that encroach unto our turf and affect us. Sometimes, we can look at the garbage in another person’s live and decide if we want to get involved in the clean-up or not. Sometimes we can walk away. Other times, we feel compelled to help out. Neither is right or wrong. Both options require a choice that we make.
What I do know is that there are a lot of people who feel like there is going on their life right now and it is EXHAUSTING. Simply exhausting. People who want just a little bit of a break; a sliver of light at the end of the tunnel where they can find hope. Peace. Maybe, even a bit of joy.
Friend – if you are feeling a little challenged these days, please stop. Place your right hand on your heart. Close your eyes. And breathe. Feel your heartbeat. Stay there for a few minutes and just be. Love the person that God created YOU to be. Allow yourself to simply feel what ever sadness or heaviness that is buried deep in your heart. Take another deep breath. Stay present with yourself for as long as you need to.
Or, if you feel like you are in a really good spot right now, reach out to that friend or person who you know is feeling a little swamped by life. Sit with them. Listen to them. If possible, hold their hand. Let them know by your actions that you care for them and whatever awful thing they are enduring right now.
For those of you who feel like life is difficult today, may I simply say that others see you. We know you are trying your best. We applaud you. And we pray for you.
I pray for the family who is enduring financial challenges and not sure what to do.
I pray for the family who feels besieged by addition and the cycle that does not seem to end.
I pray for those who struggle with unhealthy habits and the power they have over us.
I pray for those who feel someone has treated them unfairly and want to move beyond this.
I pray for those who have health issues that are affecting bodies.
I pray for those who have loved ones that are nearing life’s end.
I pray for those who are trying to care for loved ones who are going through life transitions.
I pray for you who feels that life has been simply too much and just want a break.
I pray for the person who is raising a family alone and feels like they do not have the support they need.
Thank you for showing up in your life today, no matter what is going on. Thank you for inspiring other people around you, even when you have no clue that you are. I believe most of us are just doing the best that we can today. You are showing up for yourself, your loved ones, those closest to you. Keep showing up. We need more people like you.
For those people who keep showing up even when it’s difficult, I am grateful.
Holy God – You know exactly what events and challenges and difficulties the person reading these words are experiencing right now. I thank them for showing up. For doing the best that they can. For holding their hand to their heart and feeling the beat of the person You created them to be. Amen.
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