The Summer of 2008.
From where I stand right now, I have to say it was very hard for me. Quite frankly, I just want to say it sucked.
It started with me sick in bed with a double ear infection, made worse by a bad reaction to the antibiotics I was given to cure it.
In the spring, my husband (along with about 1,000 others) was laid off from Earthlink. He’s fine now, doing lots of consulting work, but the worry from that spilled over into summer and weighed heavily upon me. I was blessed to witness his fortitude and creativity during the time after the layoff. And the man can network like nobody’s business.
The days of Summer 2008 were long, they were hot, and they loomed ahead of me like haze and humidity over a long road to nowhere. The weekends I once relished at the end of every workweek seemed daunting to me. How many times would I load and unload the dishwasher?
My once beloved pastime of going to the pool (sometimes the only thing that seemed logical on the hottest days) became unappealing. I shuddered to think of putting on a bathing suit, packing up the towels, lotion, cooler, food, snacks, drinks, floaties…
We took a family vacation to the beach, a place I loved so much. But this year it seemed like all we did was drive six hours and pay five figures so I could clean someone else’s house, cook, do laundry, and listen to the kids bicker about what to watch and where to sleep. I could have stayed home and done that for free. And the one day I did venture out on my own for some shopping, I got caught in a torrential down pour. My beloved beach lost its luster. When we pulled into the driveway after a very long week away, I told my husband I’d had my fill of the beach for a long time. I had no desire to go back.
At work sales were down, business was slow, the phone wasn’t ringing, the credit line was nearly maxed. And when the chips were down, I saw the people that were supposed to be supporting me betray me. Who cares for the boss? Who motivates the motivator? Who coaches the coach? I did not know.
I was a mama struggling. My friends and my family seemed far away. I wished I could just drive to my mom’s for a day, or invite my brother over for dinner. I wished for cousins to come over and play with my kids, and for nieces and nephews to hug. I wanted someone to say, “I can see you’re struggling. Let me take the kids for a day while you and Doug do something together, just the two of you.” I wanted someone to invite us over for an afternoon drink or for dinner… to reciprocate an invitation just one time.
I didn’t step foot in my church the whole summer. I was tired of volunteering to help and then being bossed around and shut out. I was tired of not volunteering but assumed to have signed up. I was tired of the business end of the church getting in the way of the worship side of church. I was tired of people only knowing my name when they needed me for something or wanted to call me out in front of others, while at the same time sitting through an entire Sunday School class without anyone saying a word to me unless I spoke first. I was tired of rushing out of the house to be with hypocrites.
The Summer of 2008 was a constant juggling act for me. On one had, there was this pity party. On the other, I constantly reminded myself how good I had it, how the blessings in my life far outweighed the bad things. As the floods raged across my beloved Midwest this summer, I knew that many people were struggling far worse than I. I had much to be thankful for.
I was reminded several this summer about God’s expectation for our life here. He wants us to be happy, but life is not supposed to be easy.
For it has been grated to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him. (Phil 1:29)
Many season of life are challenging. Many of us struggle for days, weeks, months and even years. Often times it’s low level stuff, nothing major. But that constant worry, stress, fear….it can wear a person down.
So that’s why I am writing about The Summer of 2008. I thought some of you might be struggling, too, and I just wanted to say, I understand.
Maybe your hard season is “three kids under five”, or “just got divorced”, or “how am I going to pay next month’s mortgage.” Maybe you dread the upcoming holiday season because it brings sad memories for you. And while everyone is partying and rejoicing and shopping, you are torn apart with grief. I understand.
It’s hard to lean in The Word and agree to suffer when it seems like today might never end or tomorrow might never come. When it seems as if all we want to do is go to bed, yell at someone, or drive away.
The long road to nowhere can be daunting. I know. I understand.
I’m doing much better. Fall has always been a favorite time of year for me. Fall festivals, cooler weather, a more scheduled routine…it’s good. Business has picked up. I will be going to visit my family soon. My boy will be turning 3 in a few months.
If things are hard for you right now, I am sorry.
And, I understand.