Lean on me

It’s been an overwhelming couple of days, just thinking about what’s to come and what needs to be done. I’ve passed the psychological milestone of 35 weeks in this pregnancy (that’s when Isabelle was born) so I feel like I’m in waiting mode — that any day, our second child could enter our lives.

On top of getting things ready for the baby and the seemingly endless string of doctors’ appointments that go with it, we’ve had additional basic life issues to deal with this week like paperwork for benefits renewal, car inspection and trying to find somewhere, anywhere still offering flu shots. Add those to the daily grind of school, work, housework, child care and it’s no wonder the floodgates opened tonight and I found myself a blubbering mess of tears as a friend and I met for our weekly chat. Yet when she left, life suddenly didn’t seem so overwhelming and just voicing the struggles diminished them somewhat.
The same thing happened yesterday when I was frazzled and frustrated — the ladies of the Bible study I attend threw me a baby shower of sorts, complete with cupcakes, ice cream, baby-themed plates and a generous offer of meals for our family after the baby is born.
Both instances brought to mind a passage from Ecclesiastes. “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” (4:9-10, NASB)
Phil and I have and continue to be lifted up by our families — both biological and spiritual — in ways we can never repay. At times, it’s hard to accept so much help when you feel you have nothing to give back, but we’re learning firsthand the principle of passing on to someone else what’s been done for you. Pay it forward, if you will. We’re racking up quite an account for someone or several people in the future, which is indeed a blessing now and to come.
I think it’s safe to say the hardest thing we’ve had to do so far in our married life is leave our hometown, family and friends to move to a state where we knew less than a handful of people. We knew when we got married that it would be that way. So, for our exit song at our reception, we asked that the DJ play “Lean on Me” and that all of our family and friends join us for a sort of group hug/dance. It’s a song that Phil’s camp “kids” made meaningful to a group of Bible campers, but that’s not the main reason we chose the song. Its words hit us where we live, then and now. It really has the same message as the Bible passage quoted above: We need other people to survive in this world, but we can’t get help if we don’t tell people we need it and what a sad state to be in: needing help but having no friends.
Two hours ago, and most of yesterday, I was too stressed to even know where to begin counting my blessings. Now, although it’s somewhat cliche, I can say that I’m too blessed to be stressed. Life’s circumstances and responsibilities haven’t gone away, but I’ve got a better perspective on them, and I’m reminded that I’m not walking through them alone. I just have to be willing to make them known, even if it means crying a mess of tears in the presence of a friend.
Whatever circumstances you find yourself in as you read this, I pray that you have a good friend who can walk with you and lift you up. Life really is better together.
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