These past few weeks have been a challenge–a big one. No need to go into explanations (aka complain!), but I can say a few key words and you might be able to guess some of the sources of stress… Spirit Week at school (with lots of out of the routine activities for my students who may or may not struggle with transitions), CANDY for students, Full Moon, Fatigue, more CANDY for students, and end of grading period assessments in the midst of the previously named list… Add to that some extra responsibilities I’ve brought on myself through little side businesses. I had stretched myself thin big time.
By the end of the week Friday, I was so relieved to finish up at school, even though I knew I still had “miles to go before I sleep”, and then hours to drive early Saturday morning for a time to celebrate my son’s graduation from college (so proud and thankful!) In between the time I left school and left for the coast, I needed to clean and run some errands and pack up some items from the week from another side job gig thing.
I had kept my attitude up and feet moving on Friday even though I kept feeling like all I wanted to do was put my head down and my desk and rest for a minute. There were lots of extra needs that day and I kept telling myself to ‘go the extra mile, Heath… finish strong.” And I tried. I was intentional about jumping in to meet some needs of those around me and kept telling myself to go the extra mile. It was a full day and as I looked at my fit bit, it made me chuckle a bit because usually, I walk an average of 9-10000 steps a day, but at 3:30, I had already logged in over 13,000 steps. Yeah, it was a full day after a long stretch and I had a real feeling of accomplishment and an exhale moment. Phew. Just about done.
But do you know when you give and then you’re asked to give a little more? Or you think your race is run and you realize you have one more lap or two to go? Ugh…that was me on Friday. I’ll spare you the story but the gist of it is that a student of mine had forgotten something and I called to let the parent know. Student upset. Mom shares she can’t come, no transportation. And it’s pouring down rain outside….a cold hard fast rain….We would be out for three weeks, and the student would need what she left.
So…I told myself to go the extra mile. But please do not congratulate me at all because my attitude was absolutely terrible. I was frustrated, mad and just wanted a break because I had a list a mile long to complete before 6 a.m. the next morning. (Son graduating from college on coast, another son flying in from NY, preparation for family staying somewhere that needed linens and towels..) Anyway, I was mad. But I went and had a sweet visit with the parent and counted it as a divine appointment ❤ I ran my errands and was so glad to be home.
But then…then I realized I had to go out again in the cold pouring rain while I had so much other stuff to do. I had to drop something off at a house and even though it wasn’t far, I knew it would take at least 30 minutes. I was frustrated because I selfishly started just wanting someone, anyone, to go the extra mile for me. Pity puts us in the pit. Not a good thing…and it reared its ugly ugly head in me.
I ran the errand and a few more and decided to forget about dinner and just run through the drive through and I even got mad at the employee at McDonald’s, and it so wasn’t about the McDonald’s! I drove home in that cold rain and knew after cleaning I’d have to set up the Christmas tree…and when I tried to pull out the Christmas tree box….the HUGE Christmas tree box, there were boxes blocking the way and the huge box I was trying to maneuver got stuck and I ended up putting it right there, and saying out loud, “I don’t even give a flying flip about these decorations….” (and I promise, I did say ‘flying flip’.)
I tried to grab part of the Christmas tree (yeah, the box was BIG–it houses a tall tree), and I couldn’t get it out so I just jerked and forced it and heard a “SNAP!” One of the wire branches had dislodged and snapped out and fallen down. And it felt like I was the one that snapped, not the tree. Yep. My going the extra mile for others with kindness and good attitude was GONE, GONE, GONE. I moved the parts of the tree one by one to the living room and then saw the contents in the bottom of the box…
…That’s when it happened….kind of a Cindy Lou-Who/Grinch moment. (And I was NOT Cindy Lou Who!) Because I opened the box and saw the decorations and realized that I really do give way more than a flying flip about the decorations… I saw the holly sprig from my mom, the JOY sign from my kids and the star that has been on our tree for years. I saw the tin tree from a dear friend, and I was snapped out of that pit of self-pity and was only filled with gratitude. I was thankful for being snapped back into a good mindset.
Well, long story short, I put up the tree and lights and some ornaments and have the rest ready for the kids to put on the tree. Some extra candles and lights are out and the towels and linens were all washed and travel ready for people coming from all over the Carolinas to celebrate with Chase. I played music and actually even enjoyed setting up the tree.
After it was set up, I remembered a gift that a sweet friend gave me earlier on Thursday. It had been such a whirlwind of 2 days that I hadn’t even opened it yet. But I sat down and took out the contents of the bag. Chocolate chocolate chocolate …and a card that said exactly what I needed to read:
“This is what God asks of you, only this…
To act justly,
To love tenderly,
and To walk humbly with your God.”
I think God knew just what I needed to hear. It was a beautiful reminder to know that we are to ‘walk humbly with your God”…and to know that He is walking with us each step of the way, even when we go the extra mile…we are not alone in it. So thankful that my friend gave me just what I needed (and it was way more than chocolate <3).
Emmanuel, God is with us. He walks with us when we are aware of it. He walks with us where we go. He sees it all…the flying flip moments in the garage and the tears welling up as ornaments are placed on a tree, the huffy breath at the McDonald’s employee and the conversation with a student’s parent after school in the rain. He not only sees it all, He walks with us as we invite Him in. Every mile.
(FitBit Results on Thursday, lol)
Yes, I’m thinking this God of all creation knows a thing or two about going the extra mile…After all, Heaven coming down to earth and walking among us…that’s a huge piece of what Christmas is all about after all. He’s done way more than go the extra mile for me. Thankful for that very much needed reminder, and am also so thankful for those who have gone the extra mile for me, even when I’m not aware of it…
Blessings to You and Yours ~
p.s. To the person working at McDonald’s on Friday night, I’m sorry for being short. I know the domino effect of stress and hope when I passed it on to you that you stopped the chain and ripple effect. Ugh again, sorry.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
~ Joshua 1:9
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”