Blessing vs. Burden Mindset by Maureen Locher

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Maureen Locher photoLast Monday, the day after Mother’s Day, I hit a wall. I couldn’t wake up and stay awake – I just couldn’t do it. I had been running on empty for so long visiting my parents at their new “home” every day, talking to nurses and aides and therapists of all sorts. Running everywhere; doing everything. Signing papers I never wanted to think about let alone sign. DNR were merely three letters to me a month ago. But oh the difference a month makes. Do Not Resuscitate…two people I love most.

Family meetings, dispersal of a lifetime of memories as well as the garden variety of possessions and plain old junk. How long will this take? It boggles the mind. Never have  I been more grateful that I’m not an only child. And never have I been more grateful that my parents took the time and made the sacrifices to make their family what it is today. The part of me that is them is getting me through this difficult time.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday I just couldn’t seem to get it together. My reserves were clean spent. My burden mindset held me tight within its clutches. How could I keep going? I couldn’t do it anymore. And I wasn’t very happy with God. How could this be happening? What did He expect of me? How much does one person have to take? I wasn’t exactly Pollyanna before all of this.

I’ve never quite mastered the mom-of-four-men role yet. The mom-of-four-boys was my forte for years – my reason to wake up in the morning. But then they all grew up. And as they grew their messes grew proportionately. Their little problems were bumps in the road of life 10 years ago; now each is responsible for their own life-altering decisions. And I can’t help them. Letting go is my primary mom role right now.

And letting go is my secondary role with my parents. I know it. And I hate it. Every time I think of my mom alone in her new room I want to cry. Yet every time I visit my dad he is remarkably improved. Pop is working his hardest at physical therapy each day because he is thinking first of his wife’s well-being. He knows that once they can be together in one room that my mom will feel better. He’s probably right. After all, he’s known her since she was 16 years old. For 74 years she has been his best friend.

With all these emotions swirling around in me it’s a wonder I kept it together as long as I had. But long about Thursday I knew I had to rejoin the land of the living – somehow. God knew I was kind of mad at Him. But still I asked His help. No amount of sleep or running away would do the trick. I needed God’s help. And, of course, He gave it to me.

Even though I had been an ungrateful child whose family and friends had bombarded heaven with prayer requests which God had graciously granted, apparently that wasn’t enough for me. How soon I’d forgotten what God had done. My dad didn’t die when he conked his head on concrete. My dad is getting stronger. My parents are as together as they can be two halls away from each other. They are safe and well cared for, seeing each other every day.

And I think I have it rough! But that’s me. I require reality checks, and never once have the checks been pleasant. It amuses me to realize how much I complain to God about my boys-turned-men. Who does God complain to about me?

I needed the blessing mindset. Walking through my parents’ house I spied so many treasures that mean the world to me. But where on earth will they fit in this already bulging house of junk? Lack of storage has been a much-preferred lament for years. Suddenly the light bulb brightened above my head. God showed me the way. He gave me the guts to tell my dear darlings that they WILL comply – or else. And He gave me the needed energy to devise and begin implementing the plan. I feel differently because it’s not me against them; it’s me and God against them. I know God’s not against my kids, not really. He’s just “for” what’s right. And part of what will make this whole situation better is working together to improve this house. The “ending” of my parents’ home is a new beginning for my home.

I’ve always felt that I’ll never truly grow up until I don’t have my parents any longer. They’ve been my rock since Day One. So I can’t reject these last lessons of maturing even though I’d rather fly away to Never Never Land with Peter. So I stay and plan and do and take one day at a time recognizing all the small as well as great blessings God bestows on me even during my most troubled times.

Copyright 2010 Maureen Locher

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