Okay, I admit it. Sometimes I get tired of being "the one" in charge. I get tired of never really having a day off because if I'm not working at work, I'm "working" being solo Mommy, which is often harder. This week is vacation week for me, and so I took my youngest 2 children to Great Wolf Lodge for the last couple days while eldest child is having special time with her grandparents for a few days. It was great fun, but still, I was the only adult. And today, even though I'm still "on vacation" I wrote a sermon (because we have a service tonight that I'm still leading), started dealing with trying to get our church web-site back up, answered several hundred email (okay, I admit it wasn't that many, but it sure felt like it was!!) and attended to some house projects that were a lot of work but desperately needed my attention. I paid bills. I ordered books. I tried to get help dealing with the horrible smell that is now emanating from my fire-place and which undoubtedly belongs to a demised animal that will cost me a great deal of money to have removed. I wrote in my journal, worked on my book a bit, and generally have felt this great pressure today to get so much more done than I have. I've been on my own now for a year and 2 1/2 months (not that I'm counting), the lone adult holding it all together - work, kids (including one with special needs), household. I take care of a lot of people - my kids, mostly, but also people in need of pastoral care, extended family members, etc, and sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I get lonely. Sometimes I feel the pressure of the thousand and one things that have to happen every day in order for my small world to function. I have a team of support folk who are wonderful. But when things are too crazy and busy, I don't reach out to them because it feels like there isn't time - isn't time to take care of me - which leads to further exhaustion.
It's more than that, though. It's more than just the "what needs to be done". It is also my own inner voices, which are highly demanding, which lead to a tiring day. Those are the voices that say that raising three kids (again, including an extremely challenging special needs boy), trying to support with time and money an incarcerated ex-spouse, working a full time job as pastor plus another job as church musician, doing laundry, keeping the house clean, working on my book, reaching out to friends, praying and praying and praying - that somehow all of this is not enough. And that I'm not doing all of it well enough. But it is also the "image" of pastor that I often feel I have to present. I feel that I have to be the one holding it all together. I feel that I have to be strong and faithful and confident. I have to be quick to forgive, quicker to apologize, and never make a mistake that actually makes a real difference to anyone. I need to have vision and to be the one to show those around me where God is present in each and every moment. I have to put aside my own ego and my own pains and griefs and be present with others in their situations. I have to be perfect - according to the Book of Barbara. And I can't do it. So I get tired. Tired of the voices inside that tell me I'm not enough. Tired of the attempts to write meaningful words that tell stories without hurting anyone or revealing anything about others in the process. Tired of the same old memories and thoughts and self-corrections running through my head. Tired of ....well, just tired.
So, for today, I decide to own that. To name it for myself and for other people. Sometimes I get tired. We all get tired. Some days we get lonely. We all get lonely. And it is human and it is okay and it is acceptable to not be perfect and to not be always upbeat and to have days where we are just...tired.
God is still there with us, even in the tired. What does God have to say to me today in my place of tired? God says, "you are enough." "Being imperfect is still enough because I love you no matter what." "You are loved." "What is most important is this moment, living now, even if that means you don't get everything 'done'." "What is most important is the people around you, not the projects." "You don't have time to NOT reach out to those who love you." "You don't have time or energy to NOT take care of yourself." "It's okay." "You are okay." "Tired is okay." "And I am still here with you, even in that, even in that."
So my word to all of you today is the same. It's okay to have down days. And God is with you in those as well. Thanks be to God. (and thanks for listening to my 'whine').