If you know me at all, you are well aware that I am generous with words and stingy with time. So there has been a lot of stretching lately with The Folks to care for and who require that time I so like to hoard. As for stretching, I invite you to envision me on a medieval rack. Since it's just the two of us here, I will even admit to only you that I do not want to stretch. I want to curl up with a book. I do not want to add two more people, I want to be alone. And I am pretty tired of hearing this from myself, "I'm Sara. SARA. Dean's wife. DEAN. Your son, Dean. DEAN. HIM. He is your son. I am married to Dean. SARA. Never mind."
What I have learned is not to be a martyr. Although how satisfying is it, really, to tell everyone (well, just via Facebook, my blog, in person, through e mails and by word of mouth) how much we have done. How haaaarrrrdd it is. How tiiirrreeeedddd I am. How frrruuuussttttrraaating.
Oh poor poor me. Oh, I forgot, I am not supposed to be a martyr.
People are so lovely, they encourage me and tell me what a good thing we're doing. They shake their heads and tell me they couldn't do it. Ahhh. I am such a....never mind.
See, the thing is that most of us are not really martyrs, we're just human beings who on occasion are called upon to act like such. Very few martyrs have cable.
Here's what I know; I am allowed to take care of myself. You know the old lesson; as the airplane is crashing put on your own oxygen mask? That's the trick. I am constantly discovering new ways to feed my spirit the fuel I need to do what I need to do. And I am only recently learning that it is not allowing myself some special luxury to care for myself and to draw boundaries. It's my responsibility to stay in balance so that I can do correctly whatever it is God instructs me to do. Without wailing about my misfortune or seeking out pats on the back; both of which are irritating when other people do it so might be equally so when I do.
I am taking days off from work to sleep in. I'm going to the library to keep a stack of books at bedside. I'm getting the occasional Starbuck's holiday latte. The Mr. and I are talking about what needs doing and planning to do it all without breaking ourselves into pieces. We are reserving time to pop popcorn and watch DVR. And we keep our dates even when it's just to both be home by 8:00 to relax together.
Sometimes it's being a little bad; my jeans are too tight. This is because I'm falling back on comfort food. I need to stop it but I don't need to hate myself. It's not ok but it's understandable.
Sometimes it's not doing. Not checking my e mail, not writing a blog, not posting on Facebook. Not doing more than needs doing and being smart enough to know the difference.
There are probably thousands of things that refresh and renew me. It's not spiritual or even smart to deny myself those things. It's my responsibility to minister to myself so that I can properly minister to others.
And sometimes, you just have to wear a fabulous hat and eat a scone.