I am strong--or at least I think I am. Sometimes in my decorating, I function more like a mover than a decorator. (I could give Two Men and a Truck a run for their money and become One Decorator on a Mission.) I so want the results now that I have figured out how to move grand pianos, wall units, and bookcases--sometimes by myself--if no one is there to help! Sofas, chairs and tables are cake. It actually gets funny if men happen to be around and I walk by carrying a big upholstered chair or a four foot mirror. They always say, "Here, let me help you", or "I'll get that"--which I appreciate but am so used to doing it myself, I don't think twice about asking for help even when it is right there. I load the van/car with things until there is not one ounce of room for as little as a Hershey's kiss! Then unload it and do it again. People actually stop and ask questions as they go by--"Tell me you're a decorator!" "How do you carry all that stuff?" I have gotten quite good at packing a vehicle to capacity. I lack an "Anthony" to do all the carrying in my "designing women" moments.
I am not as strong in the gym as I would like to be, nor do I go often enough to make progress. Those once/twice a month workouts do not seem to do a thing! Nonetheless, I am surprisingly strong.
So why and how can I be so weak to carry certain things? Things as simple as nick-knacks or as simple as a stack of sheets and a bedspread set? What about something as tiny as a box of old necklaces? This week, I have been moving my mom out of her 3-room apartment. She has been happily living in what I call a college dorm for retired women. They are so funny. However, unloading it and closing it up has not been easy or fun.
I remember carrying all those things in with enthusiasm and excitement, unloading bags from my shopping trips (even if it was at flea markets and garage sales) to bring her goodies to make her place prettier. It was so fun to bring them in, put it all together and see her enjoy it. I never noticed those bags being nearly as heavy coming in, but I really notice their weight going out! The same bedding going out is so heavy that it makes me cry. The same shoes on the journey up the elevators were not nearly as heavy as putting them two steps out into the hall. Necklaces carrying years of memories put into boxes for someone to construct new necklaces from seem heavier than grand pianos. Strange isn't it?
I have felt so weak these last few days. I have hated it! I’m almost too weak to even begin. I have questioned myself, "Am I getting sick? Do you suppose I am just getting old? Wonder what the early symptoms of cancer are, I am so tired; hope I do not have the beginnings of some disease. I think I will sleep a little longer. 6:45 sounds a lot better than 4:30". Between meetings, decorating, and grandbabies I found every reason not to get started, but finally the time had come that I had no choice...
Clearing out her apartment was upon me. You have never heard such moaning! My mom? No, me! It was like looking at a cow grazing and knowing you had to make it into steak. Where do I begin? Where do I put it? How do I get started? I think it was more like a pet cow--I felt way too attached. So miserable. I didn't let mom come to see it--I could not have dealt with two of us--I had my hands full with just me! Why? What was such a big deal? I don't know exactly, I am still processing it. I didn't do this moaning so much aloud as I did inside. I think that was half the battle--to do what you do not want to do-- and still be nice about it. Such effort! I was on the very edge or precipice of falling off into an ocean of tears and it was as if only a thin rope held me, and it was a rope of anger. It was digging in and squeezing too tight. I kept trying to adjust it, loosen it, undo it, or take it off. I did not want it. I don't know exactly what it was, but I was trying my best to be nice about it and know that God is only good and that somehow this will make sense in time to come. I needed faith for what could not be seen, but in Whom I have seen time and again in the past.
My heart found strength just in time when I read Isaiah 46:1 "...the things that you carry are burdensome". I had to blink my eyes and reread it "...the things you carry are burdensome, a load for the weary beast." God had my full attention; it was as if He had seen where I had been! He had been watching. Yes, this is too heavy! How could it weigh so much and be so small? How does it exhaust me when I can literally work for hours and hours until someone has to stop me because I could go all day and still keep going? How can 9 hours seem like 90 days and three rooms feel like three floors?
"...The things that you carry are burdensome, a load for the weary beast... listen to me... you who have been borne by Me from birth and have been carried from the womb; even to your old age I will be the same, and even in your graying years I will bear you! I have done it and I will carry you." Isaiah 46: 1, 3-4
Whew! What a game changer, brain changer! He has been carrying me and will continue to carry me--but the things that I carry were never meant for me to carry! They are too heavy and He knows it! He is there! He is watching me carry this upholstered chair and is saying, "Hey, do you want some help?" I walk on by with tears in my eyes wishing someone else were there to carry it. I am unaware of His offer, of His mighty arms of rescue, and of Who is carrying whom. As I carry the little knick-knacks and realize this is the end of life--knick-knacks out in the hall for someone else to take--I realize why it is so sad. Is this what it all comes down to? Do your kids have to go through your stuff and find someone who wants it or will haul it off? There are so many things now out dated, wrong colors, worn out, or a difference in style. That scenario would be sad. That is what it can be for some.
As I read further, I noticed this chapter is actually talking about carrying idols. Verse 1: "Bel has bowed down, Nebo stooped over; their images are consigned to the beasts and the cattle. The things that you carry are burdensome - a load for the weary beast. They are stooped over, they have bowed down together; they could not rescue the burden, but have themselves gone into captivity. Listen to Me, ... you have been borne by Me from birth and have been carried from the womb; even to your old age I will be the same and even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it and I will carry you; and I will bear you and I will deliver you. To whom would you liken Me, and compare Me, that I would be alike?" These idols cannot do a thing! They can't carry you--they cannot even carry themselves! They are bent over and have to be carried.
We become like what we worship. (Psalms 115:4-8 Check it out!) If we are living for things - just pretty houses for pretty house sake, collecting things or jewelry - - kids, mates or jobs can all become idols--even church or school all can become idols. They will stoop and fall; they cannot rescue you when you need it, cannot hear you when you call, will not deliver you. Are you carrying things that God never meant for you to carry? Are you seeing the idols stoop and fail? Good! Then you are ready to be carried and know God for who He really is. I am feeling His strength today; His arms are strong. What a good place to be! I am much closer to His heart and I hear His voice much louder. Come on up--there is room for you too!
And Bonnie, thanks for the help!