This picture reminds me of the farm my maternal grandparents lived on until their deaths several years ago. There was a field on this farm, back behind the pond, and even further back behind an old cemetery. As kids, we had many stories we could tell to scare one another about the deaths of the people who were buried in that cemetery, or the ghosts that lingered on the hill. But back in behind there was a field completely surrounded by trees, almost like a big oval or circle; and, although as kids we roamed every inch of that farm playing, as I grew older, when I took walks, I always ended up there. I could breathe deeply there it seemed. It allowed my thoughts to settle and caused me to be reminded of God’s majesty in creation. When you walked back out and down the hills, there was one lone tree like this standing gloriously alone.
I only ever thought of the term respite in relation to medical lingo, and trust me my knowledge of medical lingo is slim to none. I never really was aware of the use of the term in regard to situations such as foster parents asking for respite for a brief time – until my daughter went to a group home before she turned 18. There was drama (imagine that), and my daughter went to someone’s home for the weekend who provided respite care. Since that time I have heard the phrase used and often have thought of the meaning of the word. Respite. A delay for a time … an interval of relief ... don’t we all long for that during seasons of our lives?
Recently I have been longing for respite. Respite from the craziness that tends to crash in from all different directions in my life these days. If I listed all of the different directions that my head and my heart get jerked around to, it would sound as if I was regurgitating a litany of sad, scary, stupid things and I don’t want anyone to get sidetracked by my own personal dramas. But respite is what I need. Not only do I need respite, but I know Joseph and our two little ones desperately need it as well.
However, for me, respite has never been something that comes easy. I might be able to quiet my body for a moment, but my mind is often churning. Those are moments when I have learned to make myself stop and literally tell God to “take this, because I can’t”. Since a week ago Friday, the main thought in my head as been: Be Still and Know that I am God. Hmmm…God knows I need respite as well. I know that there are things that, as a family, we are going to have to work through. We are going to have to process emotions that could threaten to tear us down. We are going to have to be strong, incredibly strong, in order to help the ones we love overcome obstacles that would drive any adult to their knees, let alone a child. We have the potential to be told news that will be heart-wrenching at best and could even be so bad as to be devastating, yet for me, if I don’t have the chance to get my feet squared and my knees locked, I may not do so well. So we need to be shored up.
In raising grands, it is difficult to stay connected with your partner. At least for us it is, and I would find it hard to believe we are unique. We are older, raising young children who have come from a hard place, and while these are the years we looked forward to being along as a couple, we are blessed with the amount of life and joy (with heartache, screaming and tears mixed in) that we have in our home right now. But as a couple, and as a family unit, we need respite from the world. We need that moment to bind together as a family, to strengthen our bonds, and to prepare our footing for what each day may bring.
Some may think of this thought of a time of respite as a way to run and hide. It’s not. Trust me when I say, there are few things in my life that I have fled from, I’m more of a bull in a china shop. I want the truth and I want it unfiltered, then I can analyze. I have said before I do not believe in coincidences. I believe the week ahead will bring a lot of fun times for our girl, but will also be a week that will lay bare some scars. Once that hard work is performed, I want her to have the chance to just be a kid. To explore and be amazed and laugh and for a moment have no yucky thoughts. I believe God’s hand is on our paths at all times, I believe in more ways than one He is reminding me to Be Still. I don’t believe He would leave me hanging when it comes to the respite we all need.
At the end of the day, God will provide. He cares about the most minute details of my life, and it matters to Him if my soul, my husband’s soul and our grand’s souls are refreshed through a moment of respite as we move forward on our journey. But for a moment, my prayer is that God continues to know our hearts and continues to shine the light on our path so that our steps can be firm and steady.