Everything felt disconnected. I was in Atlanta, helping a son move into a new apartment and orienting myself to new highways, new street names, new directions (Which way is east? Which way is south? Where is the nearest Goodwill Store? The nearest home-goods store?) and without Internet connection. I had spent two days before our 13-hour trip through Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, then down into Georgia, packing up computers, clothes, files and essentials so David and I could drive Randall’s jeep down to the extended stay hotel where we would rendezvous and stay for a while in order to come up with a strategy as far as finding him a permanent place to live.
Randall had driven with his share of the household belongings from Phoenix through Indianapolis, where he dropped a daughter and her belongings off at a new apartment (she has graduated from college, was starting a new job in a large accounting firm and planning a December wedding), then proceeded onto Atlanta where he found a storage locker and Penske moving employees to unload the 26-foot van until he located a permanent place to live in this new city. While driving, Randall measured his stress levels on a Web site and discovered he was experiencing stress from everything but going to jail.
David helped us find an apartment—about five minutes from Randall’s new job—then he flew back to Chicago while I stayed on to help our son get settled. This required visiting models in a new apartment compound, choosing one with a back view of wooded land, gathering papers and documents, setting up appointments when my son could leave his place of employment, signing the papers, arranging for another moving van, hiring a crew, moving in and spending a week and a half getting halfway settled.
Needless to say, I was tired in every bone in my body. My knees ached when I bent or climbed the foot-ladder. Sleeping on the floor on a very thin air mattress may be OK for a few nights, but for a week and a half, it is a trial on a 72-year-old.
I noticed that I was getting emails from members of the memoir teleconference class I’d been teaching twice a month since March. I remember explicitly explaining that the original plan of having our son take the two scheduled sessions of September to teach us about Internet marketing—blogging, Facebook posting, self-publishing and digital publishing—would have to be postponed due to his move. I made a note to send a reminder email to each member. I even composed it in my head. I just forgot to write it out before I left with a loaded Jeep headed south. Thinking about something is not enough, I realized. I had forgotten to send an actual email.
I don’t know if the symptoms I’m experiencing are the result of too much stress, or if they are the results of being really, really fatigued, but I’ve noticed a tendency to think something through, then I find myself asking, “Did I actually do that? Or did I just think about doing that?”
Yesterday, having returned from Atlanta last Thursday, five days ago, I lost my wallet, found it; then I lost my cell phone and discovered I had left it in a friend’s car. I couldn’t find my purse. David was at home during all these hunt-and-seek ventures and extended a non-judgmental hand during the frantic searches. He actually found the wallet tucked away in a cubby in our new car. “This is a perfectly logical place to put your wallet,” he explained, attempting to be soothing. “No one could possibly see it from the street.” Such a nice man.
This morning, however, he rolled over in bed and his first words were, “Lost anything yet today?” I assured him I had not, yet within the hour, while talking with my daughter on the phone, I realized my wedding ring was missing (I never take off my wedding ring!). Just to be safe, I checked the little bowl I keep on my dresser that holds jewelry I’ve removed or might be wearing the next day. Sure enough, the little gold band caught the light along with various earrings and bracelets.
OK. I get it. My mind is tired. I’ve carried too much of our son’s sorrow and distress, his panic and anxiety. I’ve made his hyper adrenalin function my own. Trying to be calm and sensible, working hard to find and name God’s intervention in every day, I’ve either permanently killed off some essential brain cells, or I am really, really, really tired myself. My adrenals are in a state of fatigue.
It is not enough to think about something. I’m going to have to make lists of everything, keep the list with me, and check them off when I complete tasks. Naps in the afternoon will help. Going to bed early. Aids to make sure I log seven to eight hours of sleep at night. Laughter. Exercise. Fresh vegetables and fruit.
Members of my memoir class were most understanding. One woman wrote, “Oh, it was so good to know that I’m not the only person who thinks I’ve done something when I’ve only thought about it. And someone even younger than myself.” She’s 78. How gracious the disabled are toward those exemplifying similar disabilities. The axiom remains, however: Thinking about something is not enough. It is not the same as doing.
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.