She finally slipped off to sleep at 5:45, that feverish little one who would be comforted with nothing but me. I lie awake, listening to her labored breathing and feeling every moment of that sleepless night with every fiber of my being.
There comes a time in everyone's life when they experience frailty. Perhaps due to pregnancy and birth I've glimpsed it more than someone my age might, but I'm thinking on it more and more as the days go by. As I sit in a doctor's office and ask could there be a reason for this exhaustion? As I read the results of the blood tests and swallow hard with the realization that this might just be my new normal. There's nothing "wrong" with me, my doctor explains. I'm just a tired, overworked Mama, burning the candle at both ends. It turns out, there's nothing he can do for me. Frailty. A part of life.
I'm sipping morning coffee on the couch, feet tucked up under me, hands snaking around the radiant warmth of the biggest mug I own. A morning ritual of grasping for straws. Maybe if I wake a bit earlier, caffeinate a bit more...maybe then? Get a nap, do some yoga, something? I find rest where I can, although it never seems to be enough, just a drop in the bucket of my greedy human need.
December comes around this year and for the first time I can remember, I regard it indifferently. Without stress, yes, but without anticipation, too. I order Advent candles on amazon, pick up gold coins at the grocery store and scan the Christmas wish lists the kids stick to the fridge. I am out of energy. If Christmas is going to require anything more of me, well, it will be sorely disappointed. I'm just one a person. A little, tired person. A plaintive prayer. I'm doing all I can do. One little human life. The anti-superwoman.
God knows a little something about frailty. When I remember, I can feel the tension I am carrying around release a little bit. Frailty is a part of life and He put it on when He came for us. To enter fully into humanity is to enter fully into helplessness, poverty of body and soul. God did that to give us something better. Redemption for the least of these by becoming one first, and pouring the richness of who He is into every one of us.
The kids start to wake up and I know today will be intense and long, loud and difficult, that I will not, never, be able to do it all, be everything I want to be. But every act of service is a prayer and every sacrifice counted. God knows frailty. He understands and extends bountiful grace to cover every part of me. The weak and the strong, the stubborn, the brave, the fearful, the exhausted. He knows, feels and holds all of my frailty. And it is enough.
Littles are shouting breakfast orders and I'm so, so tired. But so full, happy and blessed with this common, simple, fragile, rich life.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9
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