Rebecca Burtram

CALLING ALL ANGELS

CALLING ALL ANGELS.jpg

My mother is a saint. Maybe she is not exactly a saint because I just looked up what makes someone a saint according to the catholic church, and she is disqualified because, well, she isn’t catholic or dead. She did meet the other two requirements though:

1. Live an exemplary life

My mom is maybe the most exemplary woman I know. She loves unconditionally, and she gives and serves without asking for anything in return.

2. Perform at least two miracles

My mother came to visit me for a week. In that week she performed many miracles. The most notable of which was she made a mountain of laundry disappear. She also made my garage floor appear. See? Miraculous!

Since she can’t technically be a saint, I guess my mom is an angel. She is a messenger of God. She proclaims his love in all she does.

My last post was about how incredibly stressed out and lonely I was beginning to feel. In the past few years, I have been learning to share my struggles and ask for help. The post was an admission that I am not perfect, and I can not do this alone.

Now that I am 35, I finally get that struggling alone is a losing battle. I asked for help, and God sent me some angels.

My college suite mate, who I had not seen in person for at least 6 years, came to visit. My husband picked up some extra duties so I could spend time with my dear friend. Despite the fact that I had to work while she was here, it was refreshing to connect and share life with someone with enough history to just know me.

A couple days after my friend left, my mother arrived. I had called her right after I wrote about what it is like to be me right now.

She booked a flight immediately. She didn’t ask why I needed her; she didn’t hesitate. I called, and she came.

My mom cooked; she cleaned; she read with the kids; she played games with us; she listened; and she restored my peace.

I thank God for the angels among us- the people who show up and tell us with their actions and their words that God cares for our every need.

Don’t struggle alone. Call your angels.

Shared experience is a mathematical phenomenon:  the weight of grief is divided and the celebration of joy is multiplied. Life was meant to be lived together.

CHURCH PLANTING

LET YOUR CRAZY OUT

crazy

Deep down, I am a little crazy…. or maybe I should say still a little crazy. It is hard to say what level of crazy I am, but I know it is less crazy than I used to be.

I was so good at hiding the crazy for so long I actually had myself convinced the crazy wasn’t there…. until it was flying out making a mess of everything.

Recently at our Life Group, we talked about how burying emotions is like pushing a beach ball underwater. When you push a beach ball underwater, it often comes up in a somewhat unpredictable manner. The bigger the beachball, the harder it is to keep it under water….. so maybe my level of crazy had gotten pretty big.

Finding people to share the crazy with is so important. I have expressed this sentiment in previous posts. This little section from a post I wrote after time with my sister and my cousins sums up a good deal of what I want to communicate right now:

There is something healing in the sharing. We need to let people into our lives because shared experience is a mathematical phenomenon:  the weight of grief is divided and the celebration of joy is multiplied. Life was meant to be lived together.

You see, we need each other. We need to let the crazy out so it doesn’t build and build until we have no choice but to let it explode up out of the depths, splashing emotion and mess in our faces and on those closest to us.

Let your crazy out… in small doses. Let someone else in, so they can bring pieces of sanity and order to the emotions that get messy and tangled. You will find you are not the only one with emotions, and you are not the only one with a need to share. Don’t let your desire to appear sane and perfect isolate you from those who can help you actually be sane.

Let the crazy out.

I have not seen my sister in months, and I miss her greatly. In honor of our shared crazy, I am including the little piece from the same post as the quote above:

She folded my laundry, and I felt her love deeply. 

She carried some of the load so that I would not have to.

The filth of living was shared between us

And she created neat piles of order and sanity.

The load is too heavy alone. Share your heart, share your fear, share your dreams, share the crazy. It is worth it.

LEARNING

BE WITH ME

BE WITH ME

I have made an amazing discovery: the world will not fall apart if I do not wash the dishes. It has been a struggle to test this theory, but I have found that every time I do, my hypothesis is correct. This is also true for folding laundry and tidying up the living room. I’m not sure about keeping the clutter off the kitchen table though; I’m still pretty sure my world is falling apart if there is clutter on the table…..

“Mom, can you snuggle tonight?”

Believe it or not, this request occasionally requires effort for me to grant. I am not a cold hearted woman that does not enjoy time with her children. I am just caught up in all there is that must be done. I have a tendency to gravitate towards doing rather than being.

My 11 year old son frequently will ask me to snuggle for a couple of minutes. I have decided that I am going to do this every time he asks. Instead of rushing off to do, I am going to be.

This decision still takes practice because the perfectionist in me is fighting it. The perfectionist in me wants to accomplish the tasks that are visible. However, I am finding out that my chances to be present with my son are quickly running out. He is more and more independent every day.

Being is something I am practicing in my daytime interactions as well. When one of the kids is upset, I am attempting to listen to the hurt rather than jumping to fixing it. It is likely that I started doing this after some counseling or after reading an article on relationships. Either way, at some point it occurred to me that little people need someone to listen to them and understand them just as much as big people.

So, now, I am trying to be in her moment when my middle child, our deep feeler, is crying over something I think she should just get over. I take a deep breath, and I simply hold her. If I am really doing well, I will also add comments such as, “I know it hurts, baby,” or, “I’m sorry this is so hard right now.” I am finding these are far more effective than the responses that come to my head first — “Baby, it is fine. Only think about the good stuff and move on.”

It is easy to get caught up in all there is to do. There is a weight and a pressure I put on myself to accomplish the tasks of living. However, the dishes do not care if I wash them, and the living room doesn’t mind the clutter.

“Mommy, can you watch me dance?…Can you play this game with me? Will you sit with me?”

I am taking deep breathes, blocking out the list of things to be done, and choosing to just be.

PARENTING
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