Friday, January 16, 2015

Life on the Back Burner

Yes it is a New Year. Another year, 2014, and another one gone and another one gone and another one bites the dust. Glad to see 2014 go. It was one hell of a year with many twists and turns. Times of trial and testings. A few exciting events to help. I can recognize many times when God's hand was at work.

There were many mornings of wondering what the future holds. Mornings of tearful prayers fuelled by frustration. The Bible says, "The Lord disciplines those He loves." Was 2014 a year of discipline?  I believe yes, in some ways God was teaching many things, and changing me in the process. In some ways, it has been a year of sacrificing my own wants and desires. It can be a difficult time in life to enter. For me it was bringing mother home to live with us. It changed the dynamics of our lives in many ways. For others it may be different types of priorities and sacrifices.  It is human nature to want to have freedom and control of our lives. I always thought that freedom meant - being able to do what ever I wanted to do.  If I want to go weed in the garden, write a book, go shopping, have coffee with my bff or whatever I want to do, when I want to do it, I can. This year, I felt I could not do many of the things I wanted to do.

Many women are good at juggling the many aspects of their lives. It seems that when I was younger and my children were at home, I could do that without feeling much stress. Now that I am older, and going through the reversal of puberty, I can't seem to juggle as many things. Or maybe I'm juggling more. I can't really figure it out, but over the past year I have felt stressed, overwhelmed and at times like I was losing my mind with not being able to cook six pots on a four burner stove. Are some of those feelings symptoms of menopause thrown into the mix? It has been a year of disconnect with all my close relationships except one. That relationship with my mother (Mum). The constant flower in my entire life.  

I realized about a year ago that my mother won't be here forever and our precious relationship could come to an end any time. Only The Lord knows. I could not be here tomorrow. I know life can change on a dime when we least expect it. I was fearing that one day I would get that dreaded call? Many times throughout my life of ups and downs, my Mum has always been one of the few who always cared about how I was doing, she sincerely wanted me to be a part of her life. All the years of my life I have depended on her to help me through all the storms of life. Over the last few years the tides have turned. As she gets older, she has depended on me more and more. I'm thankful for my family who also help our mother.

We share a wonderful mother and daughter relationship. I have always known she loves me and that I love her whole heartily.  I tend to love deep those in my circle.  When my  circle gets broken, I get broken.  Mum has always been there for me to cry on her shoulder; always there with her wise advice. Sometimes that advice has been hard to receive, even though she is almost always right. Over the past few years it has become my turn to be there for my mother to care for her, love her, listen to her. This year even more so with her failing health.

God has been with us. My mother and I share a main ingredient and that is our faith in Jesus Christ. There have been many times of prayer, especially over this past year. I recognize God's hand at work in me and in my mother. I see Him preparing us for whatever the future holds. He is lighting our path along the journey.

I reflect on 2014. I know that many of my needs were put on the back burner. We all go through different stages in life. Our lives are like a stove with four burners and there are usually four pots boiling. There are many needs to care for, people to see, places to go and things to do. It is hard to watch all the burners. I know this because I constantly let the pots come to a boil and overflow all over the stove. We try and make the perfect meal in life. Individually, we try to fit into the pots of those relationships closest to us. So often because of the busyness in everyone's lives these days, sometimes we get placed in the pot that gets put on the back burner and left there to simmer. That is the pot that is often forgotten. The water comes to a slow boil and eventually just boils dry. So, my conclusion as I enter a New Year is that I feel like that dry pot melted to the back burner. I've spent years trying to keep the pots topped up with enough water and nutritious food. Sometimes the pot boils dry. Just ask my husband how many times I've burnt rice.

Just the other day, I put a pot of water on the stove.  I was going to cook some pasta in it. I turned up the temperature and the water came to boil, and it boiled and boiled until it was dry. I got busy doing something else and totally forgot about the pot of water boiling. For a moment, I even forgot what I was boiling the water to cook.

The slow boil which evaporates over time and there is nothing left in the pot. Relationships can be like pots too. The relationships/friendships drift apart like vapour. Usually it is the one who feels like the back burner pot who is left with that lost feeling of neglect. In the end result, it is easy to stay melted to the stovetop. Easy to become a recluse. Stop cooking. Give up. Keep the pots shiny and new sitting in the cupboard. Stay unscathed. That way, one does not have to feel the pain of neglect one more time.

On the flip side, now my Mum has chosen to live in a convalescent/ nursing home with many others who have aged. That is not easy to watch either. It would seem to be another stage in life. Once elderly people go to live in these homes, many of them tend to be put on the back burner by their family and friends. Many don't get visitors. I see this every time I go visit my mother. Some families put them in the home like they are a pot.  Then they get busy with their lives again and don't visit. I'm happy to see my Mother having visitors.

 Sadly in this world, often people are treated like they are recyclable. Throw out the burnt pots and replace them with the new pots. We live in a recycle society. Many times, I've gone through the recycle box too. When that happens, it tends to leave a person feeling insignificant.  It feels like being a pot on the back burner.

I don't know what I would do being an empty pot if I didn't have my faith in The Lord Jesus Christ. He is the pot maker and the one who fills our clay pots with living water. Many people struggle with similar challenges. Whether we have faith or not, sometimes we don't feel strong or joyful. I don't believe that we can always maintain human strength with the power of positive thinking. God knows when we are weak and all about our struggle. He can make us strong. We don't have to pretend. We can't live a life in pretence. We live life in truth.  Yes, we can make better choices on a daily basis. We have free will to choose right or wrong. I believe that relationship with Jesus is one pot that will never run dry. When I feel the water in my pot starting to evaporate by life's struggles, I cry out to God - Fill my pot Lord. I lift you up Lord. God gives great cooking lessons.

Going forward into another year, I think I'll do less cooking and more eating out. Hopefully, the spills will become less and the pots will remain sparkling and clean and full. I'll leave the cooking to the Super Chef.

To update Post - My mother passed away that following year. I am grateful for the time on earth we shared.