Oh what a view

My pastor told me a story about a man he knew who had been a paratrooper in WWII. Before they dropped into France, the paratroopers were given the chance to pick whatever weapons they wanted, whatever they could carry, from the warehouse. This man, Perry, picked one gun with a spare clip. Most of the other soldiers weighed themselves down with every last thing they could carry, determined to protect and defend themselves. Perry said he knew he could get more from the fallen soldiers, if he needed it, so he just took what he needed right then to survive.

When they dropped to the ground, the ones who had taken lots — as much as they could carry — broke their legs upon impact.

Ever feel like that? Like you’re carrying way more than you can handle?Oh, wait, of course you do — it’s summertime. And lazy summer days in hammocks and sipping tropical drinks poolside seem to exist only in fiction — at least around here.

I’m trying. I’m hyper-organized, filling calendar squares carefully with minute-by-minute breakdowns of time. I’m quick to suggest letting go of anything that is not absolutely necessary and critical. I’m giving myself permission to leave piles of things in corners if I just don’t have time to deal with them. (Mind you, this is nothing new; I’m just finally giving myself permission to let it go.)

My eldest daughter is about to return from a month-long trip to China and is feeling confused about where to go from here — she’s two years into college and not sure what direction she should be going. My middle child just graduated from high school and will be going to college 7.5 hours from home. My dad started chemo and radiation last week for esophageal cancer, and he’s in Florida, so I have limited opportunities (or ways) to help. My husband is in training for a new job he loves, and I’m thrilled about that, but it means that for the next 7 or 8 weeks, nearly all of the day-to-day responsibilities of running a home and family fall exclusively to me.

And although it is so easy to let my worries and fears and helplessness weigh me down, the only positive thing I can say about myself right now is at least I’m not holding on to too much. It’s all there, hovering at the edges of my consciousness. The weight of it is tremendous and not for the faint-of-heart. But if I allowed myself to carry it all around, to try to fix it all or bear the burden for my family, I’d be demolished on impact. Some might say I’m in denial, which is entirely possible — or maybe, for once, I’ve been somewhat successful at turning it all over to God.

It’s not that I don’t care. It’s just that I know I’m not strong enough to let these things consume me. There will be times that I agonize over whether I’ve given my kids all the tools that they need to make wise choices. When I wonder if I’ve done my job well enough as a mom so that they’re prepared to step into the next phases of their lives. When I cry because Dad is so far away and feeling bad and I’m not able to do a darn thing. When I wonder if I can get all of my work done in the bits of time snatched in between driving to camps and doctors’ appointments and packing for the occasional vacation weekend or workshop. When I know my kids want more attention than I’m able to give them and are tired of eating fast food. When I’m too tired to work and all I want to do is lie on the couch and escape into some fictional world.

I know I should pray. But there are times that even that feels too heavy, too hard. All I can do is close my eyes and offer up a wish-thought-prayer. Imagine myself floating down gracefully through the skies. Knowing that God has His hand on me, that He’s lifting the weight of my burdens so that I can soar gracefully rather than crash violently. Trusting that I’m not jumping into a frightening situation. Believing that I’m moving slowly towards the just the place He has in mind for me — not as a soldier facing danger but as a skydiver who’s enjoying the ride.

And trying — tentatively, carefully — to open my eyes and realize that the view from here, from within the center of this journey, is spectacular. Always changing. A view I’d never get to see if I didn’t hand all of my worries to God. If I never left the plane in the first place.

All I have to do is take time to notice. Not be in such a hurry to land. And open my eyes wide.

5 Responses to “Oh what a view”

  1. Kris says:

    I never cease to be amazed at the guiding of God’s hand. I pray that you find peace and rest in the midst of the craziness of life.
    It is so tempting to make sure that we are totally prepared for what ever might be waiting on the path ahead. But, like the WWII soldiers in your story, I cripple myself…usually with worry. When I am preoccupied, whether it be with worry or over-preparing, I miss the opportunity to see God’s hand at work in my present situation.
    When I was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer the second time, a precious friend told me something I shall never forget….
    God is not up in heaven wringing His hands and pacing the floor with worry. He is not panicked. He is not crying out “Oh no! What are we going to do?!?!?!”
    This did not catch HIM by surprise, and He has a plan and a purpose in it. Trust Him and focus on bringing Him glory while He works out His plan in you.
    That changed my entire thought process and helped me tremendously in my journey.
    I totally understand the inability to pray too. Isn’t it wonderful that our Father knows the desires of our heart?
    Father God,
    We come to you now knowing that you have a plan and a purpose in all the crazy things happening in Kelly’s life right now. We know that you are completely trustworthy. We know that you are at work in her life and in the lives of those around her. Even so, there are times when life overwhelms us and we need very much to know that you are with us in the valley. Please make your presence known to her.
    Comfort her father as You work through his doctors to battle his cancer. Guide his doctors and nurses to the most effective, least invasive treatments. Continually place people before him who will encourage him, comfort him, and share your love with him. Be with his caregivers Lord. Give them strength, courage, and patience as you work in him.
    Remind Kelly of your presence Lord. Wrap your arms around her and give her Your peace. Send people to her who will remind her of your love for her. Give her patience as You guide her steps. Work through her as she travels this road so that others will continue to see You in her. Remind her heart of the hope of Heaven. Give her peace in knowing that you have already overcome the world. Let her rest in knowing that the One who watches over her does not sleep.
    We love you and thank you for hearing the cry of our hearts when the words wont come.
    Amen

    • Oh, Kris, THANK YOU. Besides the beauty of knowing God puts people in our lives at just the right times, besides the absolute miracle of intercession and the assurance that He provides people to pray even when we can’t, now I have a new blog to read. I went to yours and love it. Thank you so much for the prayer and for taking time to reach out. Feeling grateful and humble and blessed…

  2. Kris says:

    It is such a joy and privilege to pray for others. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity!

  3. Andrea Rose says:

    Kelly, You are braver than you know,
    My comment will seem surface because I am not brave enough to
    spill to anyone but God, who made and loves all the characters that have to be sorted.

    I too { ‘sky dive} it is Monday, 11:40 as yet I have not had a cup of coffee…someone is ringing my door bell incessantly,so far I’ve heard jingle bells,and take me out to the ball game…I feel really compelled to look, but I am not. I am, protecting myself as best I can,till I can sort priorities…and plan which plan of action to take.I think the ‘weapon’ I choose will be coffee is standard…then another hour strengthening myself.So I sail on the breeze.If I am desperately needed,it cannot be more important than nourishing my soul…with large chunks of nothing,sprinkled with nothing because sometimes ‘something’ is just too much.

Leave a Reply

This website and its content are copyright of Kelly O'Dell Stanley  | © Kelly O'Dell Stanley 2017. All rights reserved.

Site design by 801red

Error: Please enter a valid email address

Error: Invalid email

Error: Please enter your first name

Error: Please enter your last name

Error: Please enter a username

Error: Please enter a password

Error: Please confirm your password

Error: Password and password confirmation do not match