These past few weeks have been a wee bit… draining. After spending most days barricaded in the homestead, I have made purposeful effort to get us out a few times, so the kids would know life around us still exists. Ok, maybe not that bad, but still, my little loves need some kind of normalcy. One particular weekend recently it took a lot of gusto, but despite our main morning motivator being away for a few weeks on business, I managed to get us all ready and out the door.
I was well aware, because of the amount of makeup I kept arranging and rearranging on my face, that I looked, ummm, not so much. I looked a lot like I felt, and it wasn’t very pretty. This is what really struck me that day though; the day that my insides showed up so blatantly on my outsides. That morning, several people that I had seen time and again, even reached out to, purposefully made their way to me to reach out, to extend friendship, help, concern. There is nothing wrong with that, no, I was weary beyond my own capacity, desperate for the hands of others to help carry what I could not. What nudged my conscience though was the timing… why do we wait, dear friends? Why do we pose in the background until we see the dark circles of defeat in their faces, the heavy limp and labored breath that announce the weight of the battle being fought? I do it, same as you do. We are timid, passive, exclusive.
Shuffling back to the safety of my nest, I scowled at myself, knowing I had been approached because I looked so startling, and thought if we had talked sooner, these kind strangers would already have known my road to here, even on the days it has not shown on the outside. Then I thought of all the times I have not stopped to know; to catch that a friend was struggling, to realize a kindness I could extend, to see that all the cashier needed at the grocery store was someone to genuinely care about how they were doing. We assuredly can not run around being all things to all people, but let’s step out, you and I, and see what we can help carry for those around us.
I guarantee you, there are battles being waged all around you that you will never see from the outside. Don’t wait; palm up, reach it out. You do not have to win their battle, just help lighten the load; commit to pray for someone (and then really do it), send a meal, invite someone over for a meal, drop a card in the mail, pick up a friend’s grocery list and debit card and do the shopping for them… there are endless ways to make a dent, to help fuel hope, and to help someone who is struggling feel less alone. And someday when you shuffle in feeling ragged, those people you have invested in will be right there ready to infuse that love right back into you.
What holds you back from reaching out? Who comes to your mind that you can extend a hand to this week?