Guilt and stress … stress and guilt … whine, whine, whine… Why can’t I just have a normal life like everyone else? Why can’t I just have a weekend where I don’t have to do anything but sit around and read a good book?
However as much as I hate to feel guilty, I also realize that feeling a little guilt can sometimes be a good thing. I know, for me, if I didn’t have those moments of guilt I could easily find myself becoming more and more self-centered all the time. Because isn’t life really all about me? Ew…
Well guilt feelings were certainly starting to come on strong once we had finished mother’s radiation treatments (Mom Has Cancer).
Normal just wasn’t how things were at this point in our lives, and I found myself starting to have pity-parties even more than usual as the days passed and we could all see mother getting weaker and weaker. “I” began whining more and more, because it seemed as though every afternoon/evening “I” needed to be somewhere – and usually “I” had to take Jeffrey with me as Gary was working long hours or traveling. Hmmm, pathetic.
It didn’t help that mother was more complainy than usual (certainly understandable), and that she did her best to make my sister and I feel like we were never doing enough for her. I came across Psalm 69:20 one morning in my Bible study, and unfortunately I totally took it out of context and allowed it to make me sink further into my depressed state:
Reproach [from mother] has broken my heart, and I am so sick. And I looked for sympathy, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none [NASB-words in brackets mine].
Oh, woe is me… I began to feel like one of the women in a romance novel, wondering why no one really cared or sympathized with all that the spoiled rich girl had to endure on a daily basis when her lover suddenly disappeared. Why am I so alone – why doesn’t anyone love me?
Ah, the more you focus on self-pity, the more it seems to beat you up, huh?
However through this fog, the guilt still kept pounding at me. Was I, indeed, spending enough time with mother? After all, she didn’t have much time left to live! I felt even worse when my step-dad Bill (they were basically separated) called me one evening and stated mother was now refusing to leave her apartment and wasn’t eating.
What’s the plan – do you have a nursing home picked out to move her into? he asked. I felt like screaming: Well, what are YOU doing about the situation? Yet I didn’t say it, thankfully…
The fact was, I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing. So I ended up calling mom after getting off the phone with Bill and told her I was going to drop by with a few things for her. I then went to the grocery store and spent about $150 on healthy prepared meals for her to stick in the microwave.
Her reaction when I got there and presented them to her? She was furious! She told me she wasn’t going to eat any of it so I may as well take it home.
I was at the end of my rope by that time, so I told her I needed to go home to have dinner with my family.
But then her whining intensified: You’re not having dinner with me? (But she’d just told me she was refusing to eat!)
NO! I told her as I headed out the door.
Of course then I got home and explained to Gary and Jeffrey what had just happened, and little Jeffrey said I really should’ve stayed with grandma. Even Gary stated that I shouldn’t worry about feeling like I needed to get home – but that I just needed to do what I felt I needed to do.
Of course the real issue? I JUST DIDN’T WANT TO SPEND ANYMORE TIME WITH HER! But that wasn’t God’s heart, was it??? I was a mess…
Yet the Lord, as usual, didn’t leave me alone in my defeated state, and often He would remind me of Bible verses I’d memorized long ago, which helped carry me through the days. Do not be anxious about anything… (Philippians 4:6-7) was one that crept deep into my soul often.
During those moments I would cry out with tears in my eyes: Yes, Lord – I know You’ve got this, and nothing is escaping Your notice. Help me to keep my eyes on You and not me…