“Those around us long for the same – our spouse, our children, our in-laws, our friends, our neighbors, and our church members. They are hurting, they are struggling, they are grasping for hope. We can tear down [the] walls between us brick by brick every time we reach out and say, ‘Me, too.'” – Lea Ann Garfias, Rocking Ordinary, page 36.
I wrote an entire post about the power of rest and unplugging. As I went to save it one final time so I could revisit it later for edits, I accidentally pressed publish. When I went to the post to copy, paste, and delete it, the post was blank so I pressed the back button. I copied the content, created a new post and went to paste it, and there was nothing to paste. When I pressed the back button this time, nothing was there. The post is gone forever.
I am not one to post daily. My posts take over an hour to create most times because I am searching the innermost parts of me, and for now, it is just me here. To put all of that effort into my writing entails much emotion. To watch it disappear actually left me feeling rather empty much the same way as the week. I actually had no emotions left to spare after the week I had, no tears, no anger, nothing at all. I accepted that it was gone, thanked God that I have two more waiting and said that perhaps I would not have any writing to represent this week of my life. I certainly had less than zero energy to retype all of it.
I ran a bubble bath that I looked forward to since I bought the bubble bath last week sometime. I set out to start the second chapter of the first book I have read in over 5 years, and I rubbed my aching back and neck that wear all of the stress I have carried around for the past week.
Cue the opening statement from Ms. Garfias. And I listened as God explained that while rest was definitely a step in the right direction, those words were for me specifically, not the world. He stated that the world, instead, needed to hear that regardless of the devotions, the “me time,” the family time, the fresh air, and the amazing mommy moments my neck is still killing me and so are the stress spots on my back.
Tell them that you looked like a crazy woman because you locked yourself in the closet with your cell phone when your kids refused to leave you alone to breathe for a few minutes. Tell them that you left your husband’s football game after one quarter because you had no patience, and you did not want the other spectators to see your short temper with your children. Tell them that you were enraged and almost in tears when the officer refused to open the area under that stadium to let your kids get out the McDonalds toys they dropped, that he looked at your son in tears and your exhausted eyes and still refused. Tell them that the people acted aggravated that your children kept running into them while trying to leave unnoticed without saying excuse me and all you could do was apologize to unsympathetic demeanors. Tell them you cried on the way home and snapped at your children for the 100th time that day and wondered how the other toddler mothers did this from week to week. Tell them you packed a bag with coloring books you knew the children would love in preparation for said football game and still have not located your perfectly prepared activities.
Talk about the tough kids that drained your energy so you had nothing left for your family. Talk about the “boring, unengaging” lessons you intentionally prepared so that you did not have expend energy monitoring off-task behavior, that by the end of the week you preferred bored students to actively engaged, energy demanding ones. Talk about the day you started to do yoga and spent the entire time trying to take a picture of your glimpse of peace only to catch trash in the background and a disorganized shelf. Talk about the fact that your daughter cries at the top of her lungs while you take your “me time” until you are done, and you ignore her because you cannot deal. Talk about the stacks of papers that remain ungraded in a department notorious for next day grade delivery. How you feel like a pop of bright color in sea of black and white, and you are not sure the kids understand color…Nor do their parents or your co-workers.
…Then I want you to mention the police officer at the volleyball game the next day. I want you to tell them how he knew you were not supposed to be playing in that park on the school campus with your kids in between games at the tournament. But he looked at you, and your husband, and your children and he said,”Me too.” He has had long weeks and toddlers. He has needed someone to extend an olive branch to help him stay sane. He has needed someone to smile and turn and blind eye to let him enjoy his moment of happiness in peace. He needed someone to gaze at him with understanding, to nod from across the room, to give him an imaginary high-five and an unspoken, “Everything will be ok.”
I offer the same to you today. I was going to tell you to get more rest, to find some time for yourself. I will instead tell you that I understand. I live it. Day in and day out. Sometimes my ordinary is not extraordinary It is just ordinary, and that is ok. My reality is that most days are combinations of amazing victories coupled with catastrophic losses. While some parts of life are coming together, others are falling apart, and that is ok. Some days we do not have solutions, only lists of problems and lists of answers we have neither the time nor energy to apply. Most days we are just trying to hold together ordinary. Even the thought of extraordinary wears us out.
So today, I will tell you, it’s ok not to be ok.
Today I will tell you, “Me too.”
When are some times that you needed someone to say “me too”? Even better, when are some times that you were “me too” to someone else.
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