Ben & I had an awesome morning together with great conversation. Soon after eating, he left to drop off packages at the post office. I was crawling under our table picking up things that fell off the table from the kids, and as soon as the door closed behind him, I unconsciously burst into tears. I sat underneath our dining room table and cried an ugly cry for twenty whole minutes. What a sight that was.
So there I was, alone. Under my table. Hysterical. Clearly, I was doing great at life in this moment. You’d think with all the challenges life brings, I’d learn how to avoid situations like this. Maybe you have, I haven’t.
Honestly, I was glad Ben wasn’t there. Not because I was embarrassed or because he would have judged me or anything like that. But I think the weight of my current to-do list was too heavy that I was just too tired and too overwhelmed to try and explain it in words. I was glad he wasn’t there because I didn’t think I could explain it in a way that he would really understand. In this moment, I was alone—physically alone, but also alone in my challenge. Alone knowing even if I were to try and explain it, it wouldn’t fully be grasped or understood, and it definitely would not be felt the way I was feeling it.
And we have these moments, right? When we feel alone. Literally and/or emotionally. And we are certain that no matter our efforts, there’s no way to properly express to anyone what we’re really feeling. Challenges stink, regardless. But feeling by yourself in them is what makes them even more difficult. As I was crying thinking of deadlines I was about to miss and feeling the reality of a positive pregnancy test I took the night before for our third child, my mind was racing. I really can’t do this. Praying, if we could call it that, but mostly yelling at God for twenty minutes straight, demanding to know how.
I started doubting my ability and myself in general. Am I cut out for this? Strong enough? Am I crumbling? What’s life going to look like now? Am I losing myself? Is God really behind all this? Is this God’s path for me—under my table completely weighed down with too many questions about the journey ahead of me? Is His path always going to feel this heavy and lonely?
After venting, I listened. I desperately tried to pay attention to anything that would pop into my head, hoping it was God answering me. And I thought of the man with palsy. But maybe not in the way that you would think.
The man with palsy desperately wanted to get to Jesus to be healed, and we know he does. But he couldn’t get to Christ himself, quite literally. He needed to be carried and physically brought to Him. And what a night he chose!
Jesus was at Peter’s house that day, and apparently it was the place to be, because there were so many people at Peter’s house at this time that they couldn’t all fit inside. There were floods of people even outside sur- rounding it. It was an action-packed night among so many friends that there was little room for movement. Ah, but the man with palsy had a group of choice friends who were so determined for him to get closer to the Savior and receive the comfort he wanted that they carried him in on a stretcher. But when they arrived and still couldn’t get to Christ because of this multitude at the house, they all pulled this man up to the roof of Peter’s house. They then peeled off clay tiles on Peter’s roof to make a hole big enough that a grown man in a stretcher could fit through, and then they lowered him down. How’s that for a visual of love and support from those around you?
Ben came home, and although no longer crying, I was still on the floor with the craziest hair and the reddest eyes and obvious not-quite- dried snot on the sleeve of my sweatshirt. Neither of us said or asked anything. He just . . . crawled under the table next to me. And he rubbed my back. He met me where I was and comforted and lifted me. And then I was reminded of the all too many times when this exact thing has happened. It’s laughable how many times this same thing has happened, maybe not under a table, but him coming to me in my tears. Or how many times it was his sweatshirt that had my snot drying on the sleeve and all the prayers he has said over my challenges. What a cycle.
And then it hit me. Not only did I not need to explain myself, and I wasn’t actually alone, but like the man with Palsy, I got myself a good support system who is determined to see me heal and succeed and move closer to Christ. And perhaps it’s correct he doesn’t know exactly what I’m feeling, but who says that’s a qualifying factor when he, like the man with palsy’s friends, knows where I want to go? Oh, how important it is to have those people there for us when we feel we do not have words to call out for help. Those crippling moments that leave us debilitated in our tracks. Oh, how important it is to seek after and cultivate these determined friendships that will literally lift us up. Even if it feels as though we are dead weight on a stretcher, they carry us. They are determined to see us be healed and succeed and make steps closer to the Savior at those times when we feel we cannot do it ourselves. Do we have people like that in our lives right now? Do adjustments need to be made? Do more efforts need to be made? It is worth the effort.
But sometimes it’s not always like that. I didn’t always have my husband, and there was a long period of time, years and years, I didn’t have any friends at all, let alone close friends. What then? Who then?
And unlike my husband, and unlike those in our lives, no matter how resilient and dedicated they are to us, Jesus actually does know. Exactly and perfectly does He know what we’re going through, and He does know what we’re feeling, without explanation.
He knows all of us because He created all of us.
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