Every day I do a thousand things over and over and many of them undo themselves faster than I can turn around. As a mother of three almost nothing is easy, and there is no such thing as a "quick errand." Unless of course I happen to be going by myself, which happens about as often as the solar eclipse. While these trips with my children may not be quick, I have pretty much mastered the art of child wrangling while running whatever errands I may have to do. With one child in the Ergo baby carrier, another often on my shoulders and the third held tightly by the hand I am quite the site to behold.
To some I may look like a three ring circus (believe me, I do get those looks a lot) but to many women (and some men) I am just another mom in the same position they're in, or in a position they have been in in the past. Hungry children, but groceries to buy. Tired babies, and packages to send, etc. Even with all these skills however, even the greatest of mothers loses it at times. Sometimes it is just. too. much. My needs are often pretty obvious to those around me, screaming children or arm loads of groceries and a child yelling they have to go to the bathroom are hard to miss. I often find compassionate people willing to help me, especially those who have been there before. They offer to load groceries, take my cart back for me, let me go ahead in line, or even just offer a sympathetic gaze as my child loses it. (Hypothetically speaking of course, since my children are of course angels.) Whether or not I accept these acts of kindness (I usually do) they are greatly appreciated. Knowing someone is standing in the gap, caring and reaching out, especially when they don't even know me, is huge. It encourages me and gives me strength when I need it most.
A while back while watching another parent struggle with their load of children/groceries/etc. I remember thinking "I have my arms too full to help now, but I hope that when I am out of this stage of life I will look for these situations and offer a helping hand." I see these situations often, and am aware of them more than many people because I can so easily relate. But here's the thing, this is not the first time I have struggled. (Shocker!) When I was a single person living in Switzerland I struggled to make friends, to learn the language, and to be known by the people around me. I told myself, when I get home I will look for people in those situations and will reach out to them. When I returned to the states and moved into an apartment with a friend while working as a nanny I had lots of friends around me, but I struggled to pay the bills or to have extra money to go get coffee with friends. I also struggled with loneliness at times and lack of vision for my life, but I tried to help out others in my own situation. I would get up early to meet with a friend going through a hard time or buy a special "just because" gift to someone feeling low.
Before all of this I struggled in high school as well. I struggled to keep up with my homework, social life, and work. I was so busy that sometimes I longed for someone to just come and force me to slowdown and enjoy an afternoon laying in a hammock or maybe go for a drive to the beach.
love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27" but I will also be touching the lives of those around me, and in turn my own. Sometimes the things we struggle with aren't obvious, people don't like to talk about their weaknesses, neither do I. They make us vulnerable and that can be uncomfortable, but by opening ourselves up and being vulnerable, letting others help us as well as helping others there is healing and there is life. It is a good thing to have those you can trust in your life, and being someone people can trust is a good place to start.