My last year in college I dated this guy and for the most part he had his life together. I remember questioning what my purpose was in the relationship because I couldn’t help him. It’s as if my value (to myself) was dependent upon how much I could help him.
Fast forward some years later when I graduated with my master’s degree. There was this deep rift that had developed in my family. At the time, I was using my graduation as a meeting place – an event I could use to get everyone involved in the room. I hoped we could discuss, mend, and heal – together.
I didn’t share this plan with anyone – not that sharing it would have helped it succeed – but I felt defeated when the plan didn’t go as planned, the two didn’t reconcile, and we were back at square one.
I remember planning my life accomplishments around this reconciliation. I started to plan when I’d get my next degree so we could be together again, and think about when I’d get married – being careful not to allow too much time in-between. All of this to help mend an issue I didn’t have.
I’ve spent a lot of years in therapy trying to understand my role in all of this. And in therapy, in the early 2010’s and up to last year I remember my therapists – different therapists – saying, “You can’t save them.” Everyone’s relationships, healing, and lives are their own.
You can advise and suggest but ultimately people have to do their own work. They have to fix their own relationships, get their own therapists, and find their own jobs. You can help but you are not their Savior. Take your hand off of it. Some things aren’t for you to carry.
If you identify with any of this, please seek help. I know it’s hard to see someone hurting or relationships broken but you can’t fix everything or everybody.
Now more than ever you need to focus on you. Do what you can and set some boundaries. You can’t save them. You can only save yourself.
I used to cry when I couldn’t get in contact with my mom. Sometimes days would go by without a returned call and I was convinced something bad happened and I would cry.
Then we’d finally talk to each other and the cycle would start all over again. Eventually, I decided it was the phone that was the issue so I bought my mom a new phone. Eventually the same thing would happen and I finally realized it was me.
My faith was so small I was convinced that missed phone calls meant death. I know that sounds terrible but some of you know what I mean. If you have loved ones who’ve needed a lot of care or had specific health needs and you didn’t hear from them, it could create debilitating anxiety.
Since then my faith has increased even as her needs have become more pronounced. I’ve had to practice the faith I claim to have in real time and in real ways.
Jumping to conclusions hurts the person who jumps while the other is oblivious to the sentiment.
Take care of yourself. Find your mustard seed of faith and hold on to it. You’ll need it. Harder things may be ahead.
Last Monday my mom had a really important surgery. Leading up to it, I’d called ahead to see if I could put my name on the list to wait in the waiting room you know, because of Covid.
After talking to the nurses’ supervisor I was on the list! I’d prepared everything – food for when she could eat again, water in the meantime and meds she’d need right after.
All of the preliminary appointments and tests were done and we were good to go.
On the day of the surgery, we approached the first desk attendant who said I wouldn’t be allowed inside. I assured him, I’d been put on the list and he let me go to the next station.
At the next station, I was told no, I couldn’t go in. Still confident, I shared that I’d talked to the nurses’ supervisor the week prior and was cleared to go in. He said he needed to call her, I welcomed it.
After realizing I wasn’t going to let up, he put me on the phone with the supervisor.
I listened in, explained what I was told and about a minute into her response I began to cry. She kindly and carefully explained that the Department of Health in California had added new restrictions since I’d made the call and……everything changed at midnight. I wouldn’t be able to wait in the waiting room like we’d planned.
For some, during Covid, this is business a usual but I’ve been acting as my mother’s proxy and the change was going to complicate things on a level I’m not yet able to explain.
With this news, I hugged my mom goodbye and told her I’d be back. I spent the next hour trying to understand why God let this happen.
God knew this was going to happen. Why did He allow it?
And then I reasoned that maybe He’s helping me transition back to supporting from afar – preparing me to be away and be ok. Then I thought about the time I’d already spent in California and how this surgery was the reason I’d stayed so long and here I was, there but not there.
Over the next hour or so I talked to my mom, my family, and the doctors and nurses as she was being prepared for surgery and everything turned out fine. But I can’t front, while I waited I was asking God why and attempting to understand His will in what has become the most uncertain time in most of our lives.
This year has presented a myriad of challenges and so many things are out of our control. How are you going to respond when things go left? What are you going to do when everything changes at midnight?
You’ve made your plans, and all of a sudden there’s a shift. What are you going to do?
I cried, acknowledged who is in control, and asked why. Ultimately, God wanted me to trust Him and He used this situation to show me that.
What is God asking you to trust Him with? Even after you question Him, are you still going to trust Him? I’m glad I did but it was hard ya’ll.
Try responding with faith. Feel the fear but keep circling back to faith.
And if things still don’t go your way, trust God. He hasn’t failed you yet.
It’s taken me forever to write this post but here it goes.
I didn’t come to Cali to kick it and I didn’t come to stay. I came to help my mom.
Health challenges began years ago. If I’m honest, I saw it coming – and since April of 2016, things have been drastically different. Now, every year presents a new challenge.
Some of you know what this is like – you know what it’s like to be a caregiver – near or far – and to drop everything and go.
It’s been both beautiful and rough. I’ve had an amazing and incredible time with my family and two emotional break downs since I’ve been here. But still, I’m glad I came. I wouldn’t change a single thing – even this awful pandemic. Because in reality, it’s the reason I’ve been able to stay so long. It’s crazy how God works things out for our good.
Last year my saying was – live it up because you don’t know what’s going to happen next and this year the saying is – you gotta take the good with the bad. Grateful for the good. Working through the bad.
Still, I am happy to report that whenever you talk to my mom she says she feels fine, and you can hear her smiling through the phone. That brings me joy!
I am grateful for everyone who has prayed for my mom and family, for my brother and sister in law who’ve been holding me down this whole time, for extended fam that let me borrow their car, for all of the doctors and service providers who give me updates and know me by name, for the caregivers who stand in the gap and for God’s covering this entire time. It’s the hardest thing and the greatest thing. It’s the good and the bad and I’m grateful.
It’s been a faith walk like no other but one thing is for sure, God’s got a plan and we’re staying aligned. So what’s the lesson here? Whatever your situation is, walk it out. While it may feel like it’s destroying you, it’s actually designed to grow you.
Just about every financial expert encourages us to save for an emergency.
For the most part, they’re talking about home repairs, unexpected bills and even job loss. But a few days ago I experienced a personal emergency that nothing to do with bills.
I had a breakdown.
I had an uncontrollable, emotional breakdown. It was fight or flight and I chose flight because I had no more fight in me.
By flight, I’m not saying I got on a plane but I did get way. I needed a minute to myself, to think about myself, to checkin with myself.
For the past several years I’ve been processing drastic health changes on both sides of my family. After college I’d cry quietly on the phone while talking to my dad because he was different, his mind was different and I didn’t know how to deal.
Then, once I got a handle on that, my mom started to get sick. I noticed some changes in 2014/2015 but by 2016 she was in the hospital and things haven’t been the same since.
It’s like being on a violent rollercoaster and I don’t know whether to stay on or get off or what any of that even means.
I am tired. My soul is tired. And I need a break. I am having a personal emergency and I need a minute and if I have to pay for it, I’m going to pay for it.
I got an Airbnb and took some days off of work to get my whole life together. While I’m still helping my mom, I’m also helping myself – I need my help.
It’s all too much and I can’t help anyone else if I don’t help myself. Help yourself folks. You are worth the time away – Even if it’s only 10 minutes. Take the time before the time takes you. Don’t break. Take one.
But if you have to fall apart, do it with someone who is going to help you put the pieces back together. That person may be someone else, but that person might also be you.