Do you ever feel so rushed that you don’t know if you can get everything done today that MUST absolutely be done? I’ve managed to slow down a little lately, but I’ve been reading posts from friends who have the “but-first” syndrome. And I get it. So does this little stray kitten, Prancy, who had been left outside to wander alone, untouched by a vet, where she became “with child” far too young. Like us, with our avalanche of duties, she wasn’t prepared.
For instance, you’ve got a whole novel to finish by the end of the month, but first you have another rewrite due tomorrow, but first you have to feed and clothe your family, and then the music minister asks you to prepare a song to sing next Sunday morning, and then…well, let me just say I ‘m glad that isn’t the case for me right now because I’d be running through the Nebraska Sand Hills yelling, “Take me away!”
I know we all realize we take too much on ourselves from time to time–or some of us all the time–and we find our lives a little upside-down, sort of like young Prancy.
The wise people I know are willing to ask for help. I have friends who know to ask online for prayer when they’re struggling. Those who ask already know the prayers will be there for them, and those who receive that request know to pray right then. Those prayers are powerful. I have other friends who have been wise enough to ask for an extension on their manuscripts, or even ask certain friends for help with their manuscripts. Yes, all their other writing friends are usually busy with their own work, but we do get together to brainstorm and help each other out. I find that energizes me.
Simply allowing others to help carry the load can make all the difference. Sure, as a writer, you still have to write your own story, but friends can help with other things, such as encouraging, working with you, cooking for you or bringing food to the airport when you’re traveling on a tight schedule and won’t have time for dinner. I have a friend who is doing that very soon. How wonderful it is to have friends.
In the ongoing saga of the kittens, Prancy and her four kittens nearly died because she was too young to feed them as often as they needed to be fed. We saw her going down far too quickly, the kittens had no milk and were always crying, so I rushed to the local farm store and bought cat milk replacement. I ended up giving that milk to Prancy to drink. She now drinks three bowls every day. Though she’s emaciated, she now has the energy to get out of their playpen and walk around the garage with me, even into the house. The kittens are thriving and are very happy to see us when we visit.
I can’t end without urging you to pay it forward. Taking care of a stray cat in trouble was the right thing for us to do. You might see someone struggling, and yes, a few words of encouragement might be all they need. Prancy needed more. It’s a hardship on us, but it’s also a blessing. You might find that if God points out a struggling person–friend or acquaintance–who is typically a hard-working, strong person, but might be at a standstill for some reason. I have a very dear friend who lost her husband recently. They were married over sixty years. I’m more than a day’s drive away from her and all I can do right now is keep in touch and make sure to encourage and show her my love. I can only pray that someone nearby will pull her out of the house and help her with her grief.
Maybe there’s someone who is a new widower or widow who is suddenly lost without a spouse. You can reach out in a physical way and be there for them. Actually offer to do laundry or help freeze all the food neighbors and friends brought, or just get that friend out of the house for a day so the grief doesn’t become too heavy.
I’ve found that the rewards of paying it forward–even anonymously at times–are great. I’ve been rewarded for the slightest kindness I’ve shown. But I don’t do it for the rewards. They’re just an side-effect.
Here’s hoping God directs you to someone soon who could use your help–or if you’re in need of help, here’s hoping God directs someone to your side to share the burden. It’s all about sharing God’s love.