In a way, my life has been a quest to find someone else to take care of me. I think that my whole desire for marriage was wrapped up in wanting someone to take care of maintaining my car and doing my taxes. It isn’t that I am unwilling to contribute anything to the equation, it’s just that there are certain things that I hate doing and I want someone else to do them for me. I am perfectly willing to cook, I am happy to be responsible for balancing the checkbook. I like to plant flowers and watch them grow. I don’t want to change the oil in the car. I don’t want to deal with strangers about the septic tank. I don’t want to sweep the daddy long legs off the porch or spray bug spray around the house. I don’t want to mow the lawn or weed eat. I continue to put off spraying out the garbage can until next week. I am pretty sure the line is drawn between what I feel competent at and what makes me feel like a blooming idiot.
In the past two years a lot of things have made me feel like an idiot. On any given day I have moments when I want to go lie in a fetal position in my bed and let someone else take care of things for me. My heart has rebelled at the decisions I have had to make and the unpleasant jobs I have had to undertake. Strokeman used to tell me how thankful he was that he could just go to work and know that I was taking care of things here at home. As my life post stroke has developed, I am finding that there was much that he took care of I had no idea even needed to be done. For instance, the other day I opened the front door to find leaves piled up to above my knees the whole length of the front porch and bordering flowerbeds. My first thought was how strange it was that this had never happened in the 10 years we had lived here. Then it occurred to me that it had probably happened every year, but I had never been the one responsible for it before. I didn’t even know where to begin.
The other part of having to take care of all these things is that I am ultimately responsible for their success or failure. Some things I manage ok, and get a sense of having accomplished something amazing and wonderful. Other things take several failed and frustrating attempts and seem to confirm my standing as an incompetent boob. Strokeman has a way of acting very patient while still managing to communicate his disappointment in my failures. I find myself pining away for someone to take care of all this for me. I go from wanting a butler, to a valet for Strokeman, to a personal assistant. In reality what I want is a fully functioning husband. There is a reason why there are two oxen yoked together – it makes it easier on both of them.
I do have people who help me, my designated deacon asked just the other day what needed to be done around here. But I am mindful that the men who have come to help me on occasion are not my husband and they are all responsible for their own homes and jobs. And there is the issue of having to be grateful for volunteer help even when they don’t do things the way you want them done.
The truth is that when Strokeman was “fully functional” he didn’t always do things the way I wanted them to be done either. In fact, we had a going feud about him laying tools in my flower beds or mowing down my wildflowers before they had a chance to reseed. And as you can probably guess, I didn’t always handle things the way he wanted either. Even the best of marriages are between two flawed individuals. We can’t really depend on each other to always be there the way we would like. We can’t always expect that our spouses have the ability to make everything better.
On a good day, I can remember that I do have Someone who takes care of me. It’s the same Someone who has taken care of me every day of my life. He formed my inward parts while I was still in my mother’s womb. He numbered my days before one of them came to be. He knows my sitting down and my standing up, He knows the words on my tongue before I say them. And His thoughts of me are precious. All of these things are promised to me in Psalm 139. I am also told that He will never leave me nor forsake me, and that He supplies all my needs. Psalm 23 is a beautiful reminder of how I have no want that is not supplied by my Shepherd. It begs the question why I would ever look for a man to take care of me. Why put my confidence in man or trust in princes (Ps 118:8,9) when I have the King of the Universe watching over me? So the trick is to trust that God will help me to accomplish what I need to, and will send help when I can’t do it my self. If I fail, I know that He does not, and He will not leave me hanging. I am not ultimately responsible, and I don’t have to be competent at everything. All that is required of me is to trust in God, and do the next thing. So I pray at the beginning of the day that God will help me to accomplish what I need to accomplish and that He will help me to trust Him with that I fail to do. And at the end of the day, I lay it all to rest at His feet, knowing that tomorrow the sun will rise and I will get a chance to start over…whether I want it or not!