My latest revelation is that life is easier to handle when "issues" come one at a time. One is finished before the next one starts. It is when the next issue comes before the one we're dealing with is done and they start to stack up one on another that it can get to be too much! There have been times recently when we seem to have entire subscriptions, not just issues!
And that's just our little family. I have to be careful. I purposely often don't watch the news. The recent plane crashes? One news station was doing a story on the kids on the plane. As much as I care, I CAN'T watch or I will get sucked down to a place I don't want to be. It has taken a long time for me to figure out what/how things will effect me and if it is worth the price I will pay. Often times, it's not.
How much is too much? Personally, it can depend on the day. How much sleep I get or don't. If everyone has been medicated lately. The same thing that doesn't bother me one day can become my biggest concern the next.
Recently, we have had some stuff happen in our lives that hit me harder than anything I've dealt with. During? Crisis mode. Now that we are on the other side (pretty much), I can reflect.
Here are some of the things I learned:
It is incredibly hard for me to ask for help. I know this. I still struggle every time. I requested prayers. I couldn't post ALL the details because some of it wasn't mine to share. Even without details, there were people that stood in the gap for us. That helped tremendously because for a few days there I didn't even know how or what to pray for. Sometimes, I curse "social media". For support, I give it 2 thumbs up.
"How are YOU?" This is sometimes the first thing out of our mouths. We get SO used to asking, we don't always listen to the answer. Ask anyway. I have kicked myself mentally so many times for asking this at funerals. Duh. I have given myself some grace by realizing it was important I showed up to show I cared. I've tried to move on to give hugs and say I'm thinking about you. I do cards/writing better. In the case of caregivers? It is wonderful to be acknowledged. The person with the issue gets most of the attention. Not saying that it shouldn't be that way. However, it is nice to know someone recognizes stuff is hard on everybody involved.
Being brutally honest? Sometimes the thing we want to say is I don't know HOW you do it! (I'm glad it's you and not me.) I can't imagine the pain you are going through. (I'm glad it's you and not me.) Sensing a theme here? It is so politically incorrect to actually acknowledge the fact that it's OK to be grateful we are not dealing with someone else's issues. However during those times? Sometimes, you get the blessing of being the lean-on instead of the leaner. (*)
Sometimes there are NO words that can make it better, but "just" letting
someone know you are thinking of them really does help. I really
appreciated one friend who apologized for not responding sooner because
she was waiting for the right words to say and then realized there were
no words, but just let me know she was thinking of me. I appreciated the
family and friends that offered to drop everything even before they
knew what was going on to come sit with me. The offers meant more than
SO don't wait until you have the right words to say. (preaching to myself here) Be honest. Just tell them you're there and hurt with them. Hold their hand if possible. Give a hug. Bring a balloon. Bring flowers. Find a card that says what you want to say (that's what those card writers get paid for!)
I have found a lot to say about not knowing what to say. Sometimes "saying" is overrated. Being there...even if a phone call or FB post away means more than you know. Hugs and prayers, my friends. May your subscriptions be few and your issues be fleeting.
* Lean on Me (Bill Withers)(NOTE: Give it a listen if it's been awhile. Preferably with lyrics. They are some GOOD ones!)
Lean on me when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend, I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need somebody to lean on
Psalm 27:8 (NIV) My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Psalm 122:8 (NIV) For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.”
Psalm 91:9-16 (NIV)
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
"Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”