One recent Saturday morning, I found myself weeping, sitting in the grass in my yard, just weeping. I was sad, angry and maybe feeling a little sorry for myself. I was mad at myself because I have been neglecting my yardwork over the past couple of years, simply because I haven’t had a lot of time to spare, having to spend the majority of my time with my doctoral studies, and I have had to prioritize. The outside of the house has just come last. But this morning, as I looked around outside at all that I had to do, I felt very overwhelmed.
For most of my adult life, I have had to do pretty much everything alone. Everywhere I have ever lived, the yardwork was my job. I have remodeled every house I have lived in, for the most part, by myself. I have raised my daughter alone, and for the past few years, my niece has been my sole responsibility as well.
Raising kids alone monetarily is one thing (never received child support for Kayt), but the emotional worry and wondering if I am even doing it right, is another. I pay all of my bills alone and I have put myself through college, all 10 years of it. I just finished my doctorate, with nearly a 4.0 GPA. I have worked hard.
Bearing the responsibility of everything in life is pretty lonely. I have often wondered why it has been my charge to do life by myself. I have had broken relationships along the way and have not always made the best choices, and for that, I have many regrets. I want to clarify — I know I have many wonderful friends and the best family in the world, but everyone has their own lives. I don’t expect anyone to babysit me or do things for me. In fact, I prefer to be independent … to a point.
That morning as I wept (sorry, neighbors), I realized that I do my best thinking while I am working alone. Some of my best newspaper columns and essays for class have been born through solitude. While pulling weeds and cutting logs, I pondered again, why have I been chosen to have to do so much alone?
If you know me, you know I am always listening to music, usually praise and worship. Just as I was taking a breath between wiping dirt-stained tears, an old song that I haven’t heard in years came on that caught my attention. It started like this: Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on, let me stand. I am tired, I am weak, I am lone. Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light. Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.
Oh, I just thought I was sobbing before — now I was really a mess. Just that quickly, my sadness turned to joy. Not because I was happy to be alone, but happy because God chose that moment to speak to me. He was telling me that I wasn’t alone at all. He has always been here with me. When I am pulling vines down, He is here. When I am crying over a stupid research paper, He is with me. When I am sweeping the floor because the girls “forgot” to do it, He is right there beside me. Even as I sat in my backyard with a snotty nose caused from my own self-pity, He was sitting right there watching.
If you have ever let your yard go for a little while, you know you have those big vines that grow up through the trees — the vines with the huge thorns. I found myself tangled in those vines and, as usual, my arms got cut up pretty bad.
It was another reminder of the love that Jesus has for me. While I winced as the thorns stuck me, feeling like to the bone, I couldn’t help but to think about what they must have felt like being pressed down on His head.
Yep, I cried again. I cut some of those vines and shaped them into a thorny crown just to remind myself, when I feel like my cuts are deep, they are nothing compared to what He went through — FOR ME!
If you are still reading this, thank you. I know it is long. I feel in my soul that I am not the only person who has ever felt like this. I had someone tell me the other day that they figured that I have it all together and that my life is pretty perfect.
I couldn’t help but laugh, because my life is far from perfect. I am messed up just like everyone else. Sometimes we need to share our vulnerabilities so that we can help someone else. Someone today needs to hear this story about my yardwork.
If it is you, and you find yourself feeling alone, just know that you aren’t. Find solitude and maybe listen to some music. You never know what you may hear.
Dr. Rhonda Smith is a therapist at South Central Behavioral Services in Laurel. She can be reached at 601-426-9614 or go to www.scrmc.com.