Have you ever felt helpless and useless? I did. Are you in midlife crisis? I was. Is life challenging? It is. Here is my story written more than 6 years ago – the year when I experienced God more than any other at that point in time!
When Satan tempts me to do wrong, I just put my armor on. With the sword and shield of faith, on God’s strength I stand… this is the song I learned in Sunday school.
Awhile ago, I was content and thankful for a bowl of hot soup and the pleasure of brushing my teeth. Two hours later, I am now crying with self-pity – over how helpless, useless I am. Whoa, is this the so-called midlife crisis: menopausal blues in a body of hormonal changes on a ride of emotional ups and downs?
So many things and responsibilities that I need and want to do and help at home or at the office. But here I am, writing away my ‘academic’ 纸上谈兵 ‘theoretical’ papers of thoughts and insights etc.
It’s been 3 weeks since I fell and fractured my right ankle, 2 weeks since the surgery, and more than a week of lying in bed at home – unable to even go to the bathroom on my own.. 3 weeks of feeling helplessly useless, a burden to my family, unable to visit my sick father and guilty of leaving all the responsibility of being a daughter to my one and only sister.
Some friends encouraged me that it’s time for me to take a good rest. Others said for me to spend time doing what I want to do or perhaps write more stuffs for my book. And these are all good. But it’s the real world out there.
I am a wife, a mother and a daughter. I have work to do at home, at the office and my mom just passed away, my father looks for me when he’s well enough to ask for me.
How do I reconcile all these? I know God has a purpose for me in all that has happened in the past few months. He has lessons for me: patience when it’s painful and difficult (body, mind and soul), gratitude and contentment for the little things often taken for granted.
So why am I writing this? I am a burden to my family. My husband and other people had to take on my work at the office. I feel useless here typing away. I am a burden to my children, who have to sleep beside me at night so they can help me answer nature’s call. I am sad and touched to have them be my caregiver on night duty… both thankful and burdened to have them help me bath – put on the trash bag to cover my foot, to help me adjust the shower temp and water flow, to help me hold the water over my head to help wash my hair when already tired from work all day.
What’s the other side of me thinking? Well, it’s alright. It’s time for me to have others take care of me after all the time I’ve taken care of them. This is exactly how a dear friend encouraged and comforted me. So I tell myself, it’s ok. I also woke in the middle of the night to change their diapers. I wiped their butts when they pooped. I took care of them when they were sick. Then conflicting thoughts come: but you’re not yet a senior citizen. Grown adult children take care of their elderly and sickly parents – like what Marian and I are supposed to do with our 92 year old father. My children are busy with their work, their studies, their own lives to lead.
Ooops…. But so with me, I have work, I have my own family now. But I still do what I can to take care of my father. In our Chinoy culture, we are called the sandwich generation. We are sandwiched between taking care of our children and our elderly parents. For those of us who married and have children late, our children are still young. For those whose parents live long, our parents are in their 80’s and 90’s – some are even centenarians! For those who can afford, they have house helps and caregivers. How about those who cannot? They do the best they can with what they are given. For us Christians, God is our help. He enables whom He calls.
So all these negative thoughts and bad events that happen, they are just the devil’s guise to take my eyes off focus from God. I can take them also as God’s instruments to test me so I shall come forth as gold. Is it not what Job hanged on to amidst his sufferings? Even when he did not know the real reason for his sufferings? He firmly believed that his great God has a purpose for that he’s going through – and that is to make him shine like gold – to reflect His glory.
So when Satan tempts me to feel self-pity, to feel useless, I will put on God’s armor –
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph 6:10-17)