pulled – verb | \ˈpu̇ld also ˈpəld\
: to hold onto and move (someone or something) in a particular direction and especially toward yourself
: to remove (something) by gripping it and using force
: to cause (something you are holding or something that is attached to you) to move with you as you go in a particular direction
On Thursday, I took a mid-day break from work, pulled on my boots and coat, and walked 15 minutes to the pharmacy to drop off a prescription and then to Flavors Coffee Shop where I picked up wraps for lunch for Steve and me.
I didn’t have the time, really, to do errands at such a leisurely pace. But with all that’s going on in our lives lately, I haven’t had much time for exercise or fresh air, either. I knew both would do me good.
The snow-covered sidewalks posed no threat to my new sturdy North Face boots, except in the few spots where residents had actually shoveled and the freezing and thawing had created slippery ice patches. I tiptoed over those sections, knowing two adults with orthopedic injuries in our house would be at least one too many.
The change of scenery and letting the “stink blow off me,” as my Mamaw Ruby used to say, felt exhilarating and refreshing, but by the time I got back, and we ate those wraps and finished our second round of physical therapy exercises for Steve’s knee rehab, my break had lasted almost two hours and I was more behind than ever.
That’s what this season of extra activity and extra responsibility has meant for me: a constant pull in too many directions. I try to get a little extra sleep then I don’t get the laundry done. I drive the 90-minute round trip to watch our middle son play basketball then I’m not here to help Steve with his last round of therapy. I barely get any exercise, but to do so means I cut in on my writing time. And I am pulled, pulled, pulled.
And that doesn’t even take into account my extended family and friends who normally count on me to help them, check in on them, and actually be a friend. Those ties have become so flimsy I can barely even feel the pull in those directions any more.
Of course, then I consider all the people whose lives are pulled harder and in more ways than my own. People who would give anything to have a husband to take care of or a husband who appreciates being taken care of. My work-at-home situation, while sometimes a frustration and a source of loneliness, means I am here to help my husband, here when the boys leave and get home from school, here to make calls and run errands throughout the day so that our lives can keep going. And I my own health is good now, a reality not everyone shares and one I never take for granted.
The comparisons create a pull of their own if I’m not careful, though, a pull to do more, to do better, to feel better when I’m not quite there yet. With quiet piano music streaming through my earbuds and a little time to get a few things done right now, I have a strong sense that my current situation will not undo me. Not ultimately. But when it’s 5:25 p.m. and dinner’s not ready and I’m not sure I’ve even made enough and I have to leave for the 6 o’clock basketball game that’s 45-minutes away and we’re about out of towels and I finished my work day again without making a big enough dent in my to-do list, the comparisons don’t really help all that much. And before I can move on, I need to acknowledge that regardless of what others are dealing with, I have to face what’s before me, and it feels hard.
People often say that God won’t give us more than we can bear. Maybe it’s just semantics, but I’m not sure the Bible actually says that. Instead, the Bible talks about how Jesus and our faith in him enables us to do far more than we ever imagined we could bear — to do the impossible, even. I usually like to think of impossible as some glorious goal, some God-sized project that’s bigger than I could even dream up on my own. That kind of impossible feels energizing and inspiring; it leaves us with testimonies about how “it was all God not us.”
But sometimes impossible is just getting through the day, doing all the small things of life that add up to a giant burden when there’s more of them than hours to get them done. That kind of impossible feels pretty uninspiring, if we’re honest. That kind of the impossible is the kind we don’t even want to do.
Here’s what I am learning: we don’t get to choose our impossible. Sometimes we get the God-sized dreams and sometimes we get the very human-sized burdens. But in every case, we get to see how Jesus will make the impossible possible. I need to see that about now.
And if it takes a little pull to get me there, I’m sure it will be worth it.
What’s YOUR word of the week? Drop it into the comments section, or share it on this week’s Facebook post. If you post about your word on your blog, please slip the link into a comment below so I can stop by and join you.