A couple weeks ago, Alissa and I journeyed with our 3 kids to Seattle for Thanksgiving. Each year we take this trip to spend time with her family. But this was the first year in which we were officially outnumbered.
Everything started off great. We survived the wait in the airport. The kids were wonderful on the plane. And we worked great as a team.
But then came day 2.
Alissa got sick. And then each kid got sick during the course of the week. (Somehow I avoided it until we got home, and I needed to go back to work.) Combine that with a sad 3-month-old and our 2-year-old waking up 1-2 times each night, and let’s just say we felt more tired when we arrived home than we did before we left.
And that seems to be the running theme for my life right now.
On most nights, our 2-year-old wakes up in the middle of the night, and I work to get him back to sleep. I spend approximately 90 minutes in my car each day for my daily commute. When I arrive home, it’s right around dinner and bed time. So everyone is tired and hungry. And usually someone is crying.
Then there’s bedtime, which we renamed “Wrestlemania” because I typically grapple with both boys to brush their teeth, put on their pajamas, and read a few books while the youngest climbs all over me. (In fact, he’s climbing all over me as I write this.) Add to this the never-ending list of adults chores. Repeat this same scenario 7 days a week (minus the commute on the weekends). And you quickly realize that tired barely covers it.
(And that’s a small fraction of what my wife does on a daily basis.)
I wish I could say I handle this well. I wish I could say that I turn this all over to prayer or calmly utter the phrase, “Serenity now.” But I don’t. Most days I lose my patience. I get frustrated. I get angry.
Then the other day, in one of our rare quiet moments, Alissa shared with me about the infant daughter of a friend of hers who was recently diagnosed with Leukemia. As I reflected upon this, I couldn’t help but think that her parents must be begging for the opportunity to even have a shot at “Wrestlemania” with their daughter.
But they’re not alone.
It seems like each week I find out about a new friend or acquaintance who is battling cancer. And I know several people who have lost loved ones recently. Then, of course, there are those in the midst of dealing with natural disasters, like the fires in southern California or the aftermath of an earthquake.
This certainly puts my “tired” in perspective.
Now, that’s not to say that I should be ashamed for feeling tired. Life is hard right now, and it’s ok to acknowledge that. But it’s also important to remember that there are others who have it worse. And maybe I need to take my “tired” moments and offer it up for them.
So that’s what I’ve been trying to do.
When my infant daughter cries, I try to take a second and offer it up for those who have lost a child and would do anything to hear him/her cry one more time.
When I sit in unending traffic, I try to pray for those who are unemployed and would gladly take my place so they could make ends meet.
When I’m trudging through another round of yard work, I try to offer up those who are simply hoping to keep their homes as they gaze at the fires in the distance.
(I say “try” because I’m not perfect, and sometimes I fail to take advantage of these moments.)
I’m not sure how tired you feel right now. Maybe you’re like me, a parent who’s just trying to keep his/her head above water every day. Maybe you’re a student who’s pulling all-nighters to get ready for final exams. Maybe it’s a busy time at work for you, and you’re putting in long hours.
Whatever your “tired” is, take a moment, breathe, and offer it up in prayer for someone else.
And if you’re in the middle of a major emergency right now…if you’ve lost a loved one, have a child battling cancer, or are dealing with the effects of some kind of natural disaster, take comfort in the fact that there are those of us who are praying for you.
For if there’s one thing I’ve realized, it’s that all prayer is powerful, but the prayers of others are what have really sustained me in my darkest times.
Want to help someone in need?
If you feel so moved to help someone beyond prayer, please consider a donation to “Help Baby Frankie Fight Leukemia” or Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, a charity close to my heart that suffered serious damage after the earthquake in Mexico.