Monday, November 7, 2011

My Life Isn't Hard (although sometimes I like to think it is)

I am so tired of snot.
It's been over a month now and I'm still wiping noses constantly.
Or worse yet, listening to snot being sniffed back up into noses.
Finding trails of dried snot across couch cushions, pillow cases, tee shirts, my pant leg.
Every table in the house covered with soggy, snot-filled tissues and rolls of toilet paper because we run out of tissues too fast.

It's gross.
Oh, how tired I am of snot.
Because along with the snot there have been a seemingly endless string of sleepless nights.
All that snot makes for much coughing.
And sleepless nights make for cranky days.
I know they must feel awfully miserable, because they've been acting miserably awful.

But the sad truth is that they were not the only ones acting awful.
For a few days last week, I sort of lost it.
All the little things, from the sniffing of snot, to the piles of laundry that I couldn't seem to conquer, added up, until there were moments when I literally wanted to pull my hair out.
The only thing that stopped me was knowing how much hair I've already lost.
Sadly, I am not kidding.
And I wondered if something was wrong with me.
I was so short with my kids.
I'd find myself furious over insignificant things--knowing I was being unreasonable and yet not stopping.
It was scary.
But more than anything, it was lonely.

I didn't want to talk to anyone about it because how do you tell someone, "I can't handle this right now.  I feel like I am going crazy."
And when they say, "oh my gosh, what's wrong?"
You say, "well, there's a pile of snotty tissue in every room of the house, and if I have to wipe snot off of one more persons face, I might pull out my hair. And no matter how many times I clean the windows they still put their hands all over it, and I just don't want to do this right now.  I want a break."
Because when you say that, they'll look at you like you really are crazy because none of that is very bad.
My life is not hard.
I just like to think it is.

I've seen hard.
When I was 16 I went to India.
We didn't stay in a hotel.
Or live in one of those neighborhoods surrounded by a tall wall and protected by guards with big guns.
We lived in the slums.
There was was electricity.
There was a toilet.
A room with a hole in the ground where you squatted and afterwards poured a cup of water down the hole to "flush" it down.
Everyday we'd walk past streets with open sewers running right down the middle of them.
Past beggars on little wheeled carts, with limbs missing from leprosy.
We'd walk past homes made of cardboard and maybe a piece of plastic for a roof.
And inside those homes, a mommy and daddy, some babies playing in the dirt with some dirty clothes on.
Or none.
Lots and lots of those homes.
There were piles of trash.
Many were big--taller than me.
And so smelly that I gagged every time we walked past them.
I will never forget the day we were walking past one of those piles and there, sitting in the trash, the same trash where rats crawled in broad daylight, sat a baby.
She was not very old.
Maybe a year.
She was alone.

It was horrifying.
But the news that her parents were probably near by, rummaging through the trash for scraps of metal or cloth to sell, the lowest of the lowliest jobs, was even more horrifying.
What did life hold for her?
No.  My life is not hard.

And yet, I heard myself say it, one night when I was up again, soothing a crying, coughing child.
"Why is my life so hard?"
I knew when I said it that it was ridiculous.
But I was sick of it all.
And then I turned on the water in the faucet to get a drink of water for my boy.
And I remembered that little girl.
And her momma.
And I thought, "if her girl was coughing she could not get her water from a faucet.  She couldn't give her hot tea and honey.  A steam shower.  Or, if things got really bad, a breathing treatment."
How hard that would be.

Sometimes I get lost in my own little world.
I loose sight of the truth.
I believe the lies: "your life is so hard.  You don't deserve this.  No one appreciates you."

I am grateful for truth spoken into my heart--truth from 19 years ago.
I am grateful for this post that describes so exactly how I was feeling and reminded me that I am not alone.
There are lots of other mothers walking this journey with me.
And even more importantly, God is walking this journey with me.
In the middle of the night, when I am spent and achingly tired, God is there.
In the snot, in the cranky days, in the yelling, the frustration, in these most cheerless days of motherhood, He is here and He cares about this.
He cares about me.
Think of it!
"Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7)
And that changes everything.

Things are better.
Even though William, Lilly and Davy were all up last night.
Even though William is still trying to wipe his snotty nose on the couch.
Even though James is still coughing up a lung.
Even though circumstances haven't changed much.
My perspective has.
Yes, I am grateful for the truth.
"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32
Love from,


tracy said...

what a great post. and a great reminder to all of us who have all said (at one time or another) the exact same thing.

katie said...

This time of the year is so tough. I find myself worn out from sick kids and trying to prepare for the holidays. I am short and grumpy, which has the trickle down effect. I start to feel sorry for myself. Then I remember that there are families who go to bed in fear of their safety and not knowing when they will have their next meal.

Thank you for your honest reflection and healthy reminder to keep our perspective in check.

meg + andy said...

wow, i really didn't want to read this post. in fact i stopped half way through because i'm grumpy and frustrated and hate that winter is coming and making everything cold and gloomy, and i'm just tired and think my life is hard too and i'd much rather stay in this funk then believe the truth and get over it. Thank you for sharing this. It made me cry and hopefully will change my heart and perspective before i ruin the rest of my day.

Greta said...

Meg--I so wish I could reach through the computer and give you a hug right now.
I know just how you feel.
I hope you allow the Lord to soften your heart and look up to him--even though you dont want to.
I hear you sister.
And I will lift you up.
Love from,

Jennifer said...

this is wonderful. wonderful. i so get it.

my husband has been working some really long days and i homeschool and deal with chronic pain & illness and a million other responsibilities and the other evening, when i done dinner & bedtime alone again... when my daughters had gone an entire day without seeing their daddy again, that barring an unforseen car problem or accident, he *would* be home tonight. and we would go to sleep, all 4 of us together, safely, under one roof. warm... full tummies... together.

i thought of refugee camps and families being split apart and not knowing when or IF they would ever see each other again.

and i was just so thankful that my husband was going to be home, even if it was nearly midnight when he got home.

a {hug} to you and a virtual UPS truck full of Kleenex. while we're at it, i'm delivering a salted caramel mocha and a salted caramel dessert bar because a friend delivered both to me today as a thank you for babysitting her daughter, and it just changed my world for a little bit.

hope you get a break soon.
hope your kids are well soon.

sorry for posting an entire blog post in your comment section.

natalie said...

yes! i too had a monumental mommy break down last week….& it in turn was a sort of break thru about how utterly selfish i am…& how a change of attitude or perspective does a world of good. i see how blessed i am…truly. but it is easy to lose sight of it sometimes.
thank you for your encouraging & real words.

meg + andy said...

Greta, thanks for being such a tangible friend even though we've never met. I so appreciate how you sweetly mix honesty and vulnerability with the truth of the gospel and the challenge to set our hearts and minds on jesus. I've been thinking about you a lot and praying that you are finally getting some sleep. Press on! love, meg

jessicaclarke said...

Awesome post I've been feeling the same way with lack of sleep and 3 sick kiddos, but I know things really aren't that bad. Thanks for sharing

kim said...

Greta, thank you for such a genuine and heartfelt post! It's so nice to read your blog. Thanks for being so "real" and not pretending you're supermom. It gives me hope, lol. How on earth do you maintain such a beautiful home with four kids????? And homeschool???? Honestly, if you have time to offer some tips I am all ears. We are moving back to CA, we hope, but it will be to Monterey and I am so scared! We will need to rent. The house will have to be tiny. And we have three kiddos the ages of your first three. And we are homeschooling. Many thanks in advance! (((hugs)))) Kim from Montana