This was originally a letter meant for my children. The past 9 months had been, in a word…. difficult. I wrote it to help them understand why their mother had been melting down so much. And why she needed to get away for a few days.
If you are unfamiliar with our family’s story, below is a quick synopsis of the last nine months.
My eldest son was in a motorcycle accident and broke his femur in two places, shattered his arm and broke his neck in three places. He moved back home for four months and I became his home health aide. Miraculously he survived with no lasting injuries.
We almost lost our 9 year-old daughter because the cyst from her brain tumor was filling up with fluid unchecked. Then she needed multiple surgeries followed by six weeks of daily radiation treatments.
Thankfully the women in our church stepped in and sent me ALONE to a time-share for a week. By the time I left I was angry, tired, burnt-out, emotionally numb and feeling guilty about feeling that way.
You know how much I enjoy old Movies. One of my favorites is “It’s a Wonderful Life” I love the story of George Bailey a good man who has become burdened by life and has become burnt out and bitter. The Bible says “hope deferred makes the heart sick” and George is sick from putting his hope and dreams aside to constantly do the right thing. From boyhood he wants to get away and travel and “See” the world but life kept George at home in his small town with small town doings and small town views. George is a “Big” plan guy and he has “Big” dreams and wants so much to see “Big “ vistas and landscapes.
Disclaimer: I HATE Colorized films, but YouTube didn't have this in B&W
George gaining a new perspective, a heavenly perspective, solves the dilemma in the movie, being stuck in the small while dreaming of the big. Through the intervention of Clarence a bumbling angel sent by God he is shown all the ways his life matters to others. He is given the opportunity to finally see the “BIG” picture, to travel to a place where no one else in that small town has ever been able to go, to a place outside of time and history. Finally: George’ gets his “Big “adventure.
Some of it astounds him and some of it is painful. Especially when he sees what his small town would have been like without him. In the end all George wants is his small town life. Even with all his looming problems and burdens. By the way George’s problems are real as he is facing embezzlement charges and jail, but George realizes his small life is wonderful, hence the title of the film.
It is no secret that Mommy has been feeling much like George Bailey lately. Burnt out and bitter, angry and frustrated. Being a mother and wife is such an honor and privilege; more like a calling and vocation. But I too have let the things that have happened lately and the resulting burnout turn it into a source of hurting and pain. I also think I let the pace of life become too fast for me. Much like a swift moving current. Instead of heading to shore when I could for breaks, I let my pride fool me into thinking I could tough it out on my own and I ended up nearly drowning. I had given up praying, reading my Bible and being honest with others and myself as to how much help I really needed. And how much pain I was truly in.
As an aside I hope you know reading the Bible and praying are not the end of your relationship with God they are just the beginning. They are there to help you draw closer to God. Much like spending time alone with your husband or wife, listening to each other, loving each other. It is called being intimate. I pushed away all intimacy from my life as I began to shut down. This was done to try and protect myself from pain, but really it made things worse and my heart grew angrier and bitter. You can never run or hide from yourself, others or God, at least not if you want to remain healthy and whole. It is just not possible.
That brings me to my trip away. Some of the women in our church knew I needed to get a way in order to be able to think and pray through things. So I could draw near to God instead of pushing Him away and to rest. This is different from running away, in fact it is more like running to something. I think about Jesus and how He went away and prayed, not to “GET AWAY” but to get something from His Father so He could go back and do the things He was called to do. I’m praying and believing that God will help me so when I come back I can do the things He has called me to do. I’m asking Him to show me a better way to deal with the stress that comes from this life and from being in our particular family. We really do seem to do the hard things in life back to back. I’m praying that not only will I hear His voice but do what He says. If you are praying for me it is helping and if you are not please do. I need all the help I can get.
In “It’s a Wonderful Life’ George has a break down and takes out his anger on his Uncle, his wife, his own children and even a teacher who calls to check on one of his sick kids. He feels trapped in a serious situation and can’t see a way out. In the past he’s always been able to fix and make right whatever has come his way. Even if it meant giving up his own dreams, he could fix it. Now he sees no hope and no one can help him. In fact the one person he turns to in desperation mocks him and calls the police to have him arrested. He drives to the local bar and begins to drink heavily. He feels like a failure as he realizes he has hurt those around him. In final desperation he prays: “God if you are there? Show me the way”. Moments later he gets punched in the face by a fellow bar patron who is angry because he is the husband of the teacher George yelled at earlier. As his friends pick him up off the floor one of them notices that George is bleeding. “That’s what I get for praying”, he groans as he stumbles out of the bar on his way to take his life.
Normally I don’t base my theology on movies. But I do know that you can find truth anywhere, a piece of music, a painting, and the words of a friend and in nature. Truth is all around us, lies are too but that is not my point here.
Do you know what truth is? It is that which corresponds to reality as filtered through the lens of scripture.
Anyway what got me to thinking about “it’s a Wonderful Life” was what happened when I left on Monday for my 5-day get away.
To Be Continued....