I was sitting next to Mum this afternoon, and she was sound asleep. Not just dozing, but sleeping deeply, so deeply I could not rouse her.
You know how sometimes your thoughts run away from you, and you start to think the worst? That’s what happened to me. When Mum was in this deep sleep, I started wondering whether there was something wrong, and whether Mum was unravelling quicker than we thought, and whether this was how it was going to be, and how would Dad manage it all. And just for a moment I was lost in one disturbing thought: “has it all just come to this? Isn’t it all a bit of a waste?”
It was only a moment, but I had used the word. Or thought it. And it was the word “waste” that bothered me. I have to say, I’m not proud about the fact that this word entered my head. But just for a moment it was my reality.
It shouldn’t be. Because even though Mum is not well, and she’s going through some enormous changes, ‘waste’ is a word that should never enter the picture.
Shirley Anne Groenenboom is a great mother and a faithful wife. Along with husband Cor she raised four healthy and exceptionally well adjusted children. This she did in circumstances that were far from ideal.
Mum and daughter Jenny, on the step of the family home in Portland, NSW
There were plenty of people doing it way tougher than our family, there always are, and always will be. That does not invalidate any of the challenges Mum and Dad faced in the 50s and 60s. Mum was a teacher, and worked incredibly long hours. She was always up early marking work, and always up late preparing for the next day. I don’t know how she sustained that.
If you know a full time teacher who has a great social life, and watches TV or engages in leisure pursuits every night, you need to know they are not pulling their weight
For this reason I have never been able to understand people who think teachers have it easy. I am the son of a teacher, my sister is a teacher, and I am married to a teacher. And I can tell you: they work incredibly hard. They are worth every cent they are paid, and they fully deserve every day of leave they receive. Probably more. If you know a full time teacher who has a great social life, and watches TV or engages in leisure pursuits every night, you need to know they are not pulling their weight. Just saying.
Mum, graduating from Bathurst High School
Over the years, Mum has taught people who are now fine builders in Brisbane. She has taught people who are now great pastors in good churches. She has worked and served in church communities. She has written stories for children in a church magazine. She has been a great friend for people going through tough times. She has built a legacy of warm friendship, passionate following of Jesus, and high standards of education. With husband Cor she has raised four children to follow Jesus and who seek to make a real difference in his world. The good you do is never wasted. Not ever.
One day, assuming we do not meet with accident or illness, we will all grow old. The events of the last few days tell me that process can be debilitating and confronting. I don’t think it’s overstating things to say it that way. But the things you do to make a difference in the lives of others are never wasted. They can be normal, everyday things. Just doing your job. Just teaching the class. Just trying to connect with someone who does not want to cooperate. And guess what? You can be frustrated, irritated, angered, and feel like knocking some heads together. But the good you do is never wasted, no matter how hard it gets.
And why? Because it matters to God and he works through it all. Check out Isaiah 55:8-11.
Q: have you ever felt like giving up? Ever thought what you were doing was a waste? How did you deal with that Leave a comment and let us know…
Grace and peace: Dave
yes sometimes I feel it is or what I’ve done is all a bit of a waste. I have cared for my wife for 12 years after she had a debilitating stroke and fussed over my son for 30 years who has an intellectual disability and developed a mental illness. Yet today my wife does not appreciate my care and my son has become aggressive towards me. So have I wasted my life??
I was moved to read what you have written. Very sad to hear how things have developed for you and the family. I have a few thoughts that may be helpful, but I think rather than write a reply I’ll write a follow up post later today.
Thanks for contributing,
I feel like giving up my job a lot of the time. Even tonight when i’ve been assaulted by my client, haven’t slept in days and feel like I’ve been tackling the same issue of bedtime routine for months now with no resolve. I’ve tried all sorts of approaches and worked hard to build a healthy attachment with this young person. Still I see the same pain, rejection and frustration being outworked through various behaviors…. It makes me think.. Am I really making a difference to this child? Are they going to function socially later in life? Will they be able to co-regulate if we keep trying… Or is the trauma so complex that this child will continue to face these demons daily? I feel helpless… But what keeps me going is my calling.. the fact that I know that I know that this is what I was born to do… Those little glimmers of hope that I see every so often.. I live for those moments… I guess it’s like the starfish… I can’t save them all but if it mattered to “that one” its all worth it!
Check my response to Frank (above). I think I’ll write a follow up post later today.
Praying God will give you both strength, rest and discernment to face your situation.
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