Husbeast made an astute observation about our current situation the other week, and I cannot stop thinking about it. He said “it’s ok to say no, if for no other reason than the fact that we are so empty right now and have nothing to give.”
Empty energy reserves.
Empty emotional caches.
It’s a hard place for me to be, in particular, since I have always been a giver. I give of my time and talents and energy and service when and wherever possible. I was voted “Most Involved” in my senior superlatives, and one of the ways I show love to friends and family is through Acts of Service. I give so much of my time and energy that sometimes I will accidentally put Husbeast or my family at a disadvantage and short-change my time and energy that should be theirs. It’s a trait I’m both proud and ashamed of, and now I’m in a place where I can truly evaluate my proclivity to always say “yes”. I know I needed to learn how to say “no” more often, and my hand has been forced. If it’s not a “hell yes” right now, I have to pass.
This means we aren’t volunteering at church in the children’s ministry right now. I stepped back from community involvement for my vet clinic. I’m not involved with mentoring Christian Veterinary Fellowship students this season. We aren’t going to every t-ball game or hang out or dinner that we are invited to attend. Church can even be hard, because there are so many well-meaning people that want to give hugs or ask for updates, and honestly I just can’t put forth the smiles and effort required to make it through without crying. It means we don’t have a lot going on in the evenings or weekends, and that’s ok. Social events are draining of my energy, and I already have super low reserves right now, so I’m more of a homebody these days. We’ve been listening to a lot of sermons on podcasts, cooking more meals together, having lots of family movie nights and extra snuggle sessions, and taking care of our battered little hearts.
It also means that we are more open to other people filling us up. It’s been so humbling to have nothing to offer, and yet so many people have brought things for us to receive. Our small group all pitched in and got us massages. One sweet friend made some buckeyes and put them on our counter before we came home one day. (Side note, the way to our hearts is peanut butter and chocolate.) Several friends have sent flowers, and, by God’s perfect timing, each new delivery came right as the previous bouquet was dying or the plant was done flowering, so we had almost non-stop living beauty in the house for 2 months. Another dear friend made an Easter advent basket, with a wrapped gift every day for the 3 weeks leading up to Easter. Countless people have offered to watch Punkadoodle so we can have a date night. Soul Sister coordinated a meal delivery service for us, and a bunch of friends contributed so that I didn’t have to think about meals for a while. Punkadoodle has been showered in fun balloons, yummy treats, and lots of sweet little sursies that make her feel loved and happy. A talented friend is going to photograph us this summer, which is so so so appreciated as we haven’t had disposable income to take photos in a while! Helpful books have been delivered and accompanied with heartfelt letters. A few of my Bandana Besties all pitched in to help me buy a ticket to visit Scotland with them this summer for a wedding reception. Heaps of grace and love have been given, and so many hugs and notes and gifts and words of encouragement. Slowly and sweetly filling us up. Humbling us and indebting us with gratitude.
This season is hard, and the emptiness and silence can be oppressive and consuming at times. The lack of energy and emotional stores has resulted in a lot of exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy, but taking a step back for self care and letting our loved ones fill us up has blessed us more than we ever imagined. Thank you to everyone praying for us, thinking about us, and reaching out to us. Thank you for understanding our need to say “no” right now, and know that we hope to be able to say “yes” again one day soon!
We are still pursuing adoption, although the silence from our agency has been another way for us to sit back and rest. We are still praying for God’s will and for His plan to be made known- whether that is to stay the course with our agency or shift gears to another path. We are still healing from all the loss, and will be for a while, but we know that holding our child in our arms will be one way Jehovah Rapha heals our wounded hearts. We are still mourning Papa Joe, and while we didn’t ever think our prayers to help provide for an orphan would shift into helping comfort a widow, the prayers are similar and the losses are equally worthy of love and comfort. We thank y’all for joining us in our prayers.
Silence like a cancer grows/ hear my words that I might teach you/ take my arms that I might reach you/ But my words, like silent raindrops fell/ and echoed in the wells of silence – Simon and Garfunkel
Grace and Peace,