ex·haus·tion noun \ig-ˈzȯs-chən\
: the state of being extremely tired
: the act of using all of something
However Webster’s defines it, it can’t be put into the words that describe it. Everyone reading this has been there, more than likely more than once in their lifetime, exhausted.
It’s that weariness that sinks into the marrow of your bones, when at the end of a day, you feel those bones might simply splinter into shards and leave you in a heap of nothingness. Today I feel completely exhausted.
When I think of other times in my life that I have felt this bone weary fatigue I think of my early days of raising my two toddlers, 20 months apart. Those were physically tough days, but the joy outweighed the fatigue and too soon those precious little ones are such amazing adults that I stand astonished at the people they have become.
I think of being a single mom of two teenagers. Working, trying hard to make ends meet every month and at the end of each day I felt scared and exhausted.
My mind then jumps years ahead to the not so recent past ,when Steve’s health was failing. I was taking care of the house, finances, and most importantly Steve, who by the end of his life was bedridden, and I exhausted. I pray to never have to be there again.
Today, I’m once again exhausted. My eyes are heavy, my body sore, tired and leaden. Yet, I feel God nudging me to put these feelings into words before I can go to bed tonight. I am trying to be obedient of these feelings, so here I am, and the following is what I feel the need to say before I can sleep.
I left for Midland, Texas Saturday morning (Was that just yesterday? Yes it was.) to go to an engagement party for the most precious couple. It just so happens, I was the one to introduce them to one another as both of their mom's are good friends of mine. Debbie, Sam’s mom, a long time loyal and true friend from Midland and Susan, Jessie’s mom, an incredible and wonderful friend for the last 18+ years.
I drove the distance from San Antonio to Midland Saturday, with a full list of moving "to-do’s" that were to be put in check for a little over 24 hours. The trip while short, was so worth it. I was able to visit with so many friends from my “other” life and I was able to catch up and rehash those years of my 20’s and 30’s. Wow, that seems like a lifetime ago.
I woke early this morning, Sunday, around 5:00 a.m. I willed myself to go back to sleep. I tossed and turned thinking Steve would be so ticked off if he knew I was driving that two-lane highway from Midland to I-10 in the pitch black, but it didn’t work and by 5:45 a.m. I was on the road.
I had my remarkable friends waiting for me when I got home. Once again, as they have continued to be “on point” since Steve became so sick, here they were again. Cindy and Dennis Knocke, Martha and Joe Kruger and Carolyn Madrid (whose wonderful husband Chris left this earth not quite 2 years ago) were waiting for me. Trucks, and SUV’s in tow, the 6 of us loaded up 5 vehicles with boxes labeled “fragile” or “hand carry”. Those extraordinary friends huffed and puffed and hauled each of those heavy boxes away to my new home. There will never be words for what their love and support, and simply being there,time and again means to me.
It was a tough day. As they carried each box out of our home it grew more desolate. I tried to hide my tears but they began to flow like a flood ridden river. My fatigue and my emotions were cascading over the banks of containment. I was a mess.
We unloaded and all sat in my new backyard. Wishing for a beer or glass of cold wine, (I forgot to move the important stuff) we simply sat, inviting my new normal to take root...oh, these are amazing people and I love them all with all my heart.
Lucy Belle and I came back home after this long day, it was only 3:30 p.m. Our home was cavernous. Holes in the wall were all that were left, where prized pieces used to live. The walls echoed of emptiness as my own voice bounced off the now naked walls and hard wood floors that were once covered with well worn rugs.
It was a perfect San Antonio evening, I zapped some left-overs and went to eat dinner on the patio. I sat under a pergola that Steve had built about 12 years ago. Surrounded by trees and bushes that we had planted (is this ripping your heart out?) all I could think of was, “For what?”
It didn’t help that it is February and everything is dead and brown. It didn’t help that I was weary beyond weary and feeling about as pitiful as one could get. Then, I felt that gentle warm stillness settle over me.
I believe with all my heart that God spoke to me in his own very special way. As I sat, I realized that soon all that is now empty will be remade, fresh and new, that where the holes are now so large and looming, they will soon be covered with another’s treasured pieces. Rugs will cover the floors and life will fill the house again as it becomes someone else’s home. Come Spring, our beautiful yard, will again come to life and the bougainvilleas and azaleas will bloom again for someone else to enjoy.
I felt okay. I know that this will be a hard week. I will be leaving a home that Steve and I loved and created and I will be turning a new page. Like everything else, this empty, dead hollow feeling will be filled with our family and friends and new experiences. I also know that Steve’s memory, his voice, his very being will always be with each of us who love him so. It doesn’t matter where we live, but how we live that will pay honor to Steve’s life and his memory. More than anything, I believe that Steve, too, is remade, fresh, new, blooming and enjoying eternity.
So I think that’s it. Now I can go to bed, tomorrow and the week ahead are going to be crazy busy, but I’ll rest once everything has a place of it’s own...even me.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”