I have a confession to make. I don’t always act my age. In fact, I can be downright childish. It’s pitiful, I know, and I’ve had to confess my sin to the Lord. I’m just grateful he forgives stupidity.
If I’ve piqued your curiosity to know what brought on this confession, I’ll tell you—my children. You see, I’m a grown woman, who’s been a widow for several years, and like most changes in life, it’s an adjustment. The same thing goes for becoming a mother-in-law, since both my sons have now married, and I might as well throw in the empty-nest thing too.
So, here I am, still working, being an adult in this life, but more on my own than the previous fifty-plus years. I’ll say it again—it takes some getting used to.
Holidays are especially hard events to maneuver in this new reality. You don’t want to impose on your children (I vividly remember my mother talking about that), nor do you want to nag. So, I take the more laid-back approach and figure they’ll let me know their plans and what they want us to all do together for any special occasion. We’re family, after all, right?
Did I mention I have boys?
Apparently, my strategy doesn’t work on them because sometimes I can only find out what they’re planning by asking. This was the case at one 4th of July holiday prior to the marriage of my youngest.
How did I respond to their plans that didn’t include me? “Oh, okay, that sounds like fun.” At least that’s what I said verbally. Inwardly, I’m thinking, “but what about me?” Hear the self-pity in that? No? Let me say it again. “But what about ME?”
As I wallowed in a growing sense of abandonment, I got a text from a dear girlfriend. “What are you doing for the 4th?”
“Want to go to a movie?”
That was my first step toward knowing I was still loved by somebody. Yet, as the holiday neared, I wondered about the rest of my family. I DO have family within a ten-mile radius. Surely, they would ask me to do something with them. (Remember the pitiful tone of the earlier thought).
No, nothing…the wallowing continued.
I tried to take it all in stride, lollygagging in bed until the ungodly hour of 9 a.m. on day of said holiday. I met my friend, my holiday-savior at the theater for the morning matinee. Sat down with my LARGE bucket of popcorn to eat completely on my own, and prepared to silence my phone, when I saw a text.
It was from my sister. “Hey, if you want to come over and swim, we’ll be here all day. Getting KFC for dinner.”
SHE REMEMBERED ME! I quickly wrote back, letting her know I was happy to come, since my children forgot me. (Still not giving up on my pitiful state of being).
After the movie, I grabbed a hamburger, and yes, that was after eating the entire popcorn bucket, and went to my sister’s, where I spent a wonderful day watching her grandchildren play in the pool. I even played badminton and dominoes with them. They warmed my heart with smiles and hugs. I ate KFC and topped off the evening with a homemade, frosted brownie, hugged my sister and went home unable to breathe from all the food I ate.
My youngest got home while I had my feet propped up trying to digest with green tea. He shared a bit about their day and then went to bed, because he was understandably tired.
Thankful for a good day, I went to bed with a miserably full stomach and slept a fretful sleep. Then I woke up to a day off from work and enjoyed a more leisurely quiet time with the Lord. My stomach was feeling better, but my conscience wasn’t. The Holy Spirit whacked me over the head.
“Have you grown up, Carol? What was that all about this week?”
He got me—right where it hurt—me.
Confession is good for the soul, and I poured out my heart to the Lord, thankful that he loves me despite myself, teaching me that I have so much for which to be grateful. I was reminded that I’m blessed with two wonderful boys, who love their mother more than I deserve, and I even got a daughter in the deal as well, who makes my son so happy.
I thought back to my parents and holidays long past, remembering that I was off doing “my own thing” on more than one occasion, not even counting the twenty-two years of holidays I missed by living overseas. I had nothing to feel pitiful about. I’m blessed beyond words, with good friends, wonderful family, and a God who is especially patient with me.
So, sins confessed, I was much more relaxed and at peace. The only regret I couldn’t do anything about was the food—but oh, that brownie was so good.
Feeling a little down? Check the self-pity-o-meter. It could be that a confession is in order.
Grace and Peace.
*This post was originally posted in 2019 at lifeinexile.net