Hi, there! Grab a cuppa something and get comfy. And before you start guessing, this is not about Jethro of ‘The Beverly Hillbillies” TV show, lol. Jethro was actually the father-in-law of Moses. It’s recorded in Exodus chapters 2-4, and again in 18. In chapter 2, he might be called “Reuel”, but I promise it’s the same guy. I gotta tell you that this post hit home a little closer than some might. See, I’m out of the country right now. Seriously. I’m on the trip of a lifetime to the Holy Land. I also had surgery about a month ago, and am pretty restricted. You can definitely pray for all of us on the trip – we left Houston on the 7th and come back on the 17th. 🙂
Some new friends here with me have told me in no uncertain terms that my entire job on this trip is to: ASK FOR HELP!!! I hear Israeli healthcare is really good, but we don’t want to find out that way. I spent several days test-packing to be sure my wheeled duffel bag for a 10 day trip wasn’t over 18 pounds. Everything I need is in one international carry on bag. It can be done, but vanity and fashion go out the window. Two sets of clothes that can easily be hand washed in a sink and drip dried overnight. Mini versions of everything – toiletries, Bible, journal, etc. (Who knew that those tiny little squeeze bottles of hand sanitizer make the best travel toiletry bottles?) No makeup, just lots of sunscreen, and only my phone for electronics. No computer, blow dryer or i-pod, let alone the kitchen sink! The ladies assured me ‘kitchen sinks’ are readily available in the Holy Land, lol.
So what does that have to do with Jethro and Moses? Moses was trying to corral all Israel by himself, with only the Lord’s help. If you’ve ever been a field trip chaperone to a bunch of unruly, needy kids, you get the picture. Moses was trying to be the wisdom for everyone. He was trying to carry His ‘God given obligation and responsibility’, but he was working himself to a frazzle – long days, short nights, no rest. Then Jethro comes for a visit. He spends a day just taking it all in, and mulling it over before he says anything.
In Ex 18:17, he begins. “What you are doing is not wise,” “You will surely wear yourself out, both you and these people with you. The task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.” He proceeds to tell Moses to teach the people, and raise up men under him who can handle the smaller things. Basically, he told Moses to ask for help and then accept the help that was given.
How often do we try to do everything on our own? From hauling luggage, to handling our job, to simply keeping up with a house and family, sometimes it’s too much for us. Sometimes no matter how good we are, or how strong we are, we need help. I think this is especially true when we have a loved one who needs much care due to illness or aging. Chronic illness affects far more than just the immediate patient. It puts a strain on entire families, entire business enterprises sometimes, maybe even affects a community. The aging process with its frequently attendant dementia or health issues can tear families apart, or destroy those who are the most dedicated caregivers.
No matter how much we may love those people, we can’t always handle it all. God knows that. Sometimes we just need some caring for. There is absolutely no shame, no failure, and no guilt over needing help. We’re only human, and life can be quite difficult. People are built for community. We are built to help and be helped. To be strong sometimes, but to let the others be strong sometimes, too.
Sometimes we have unrealistic expectations of ourselves. We think we can be everything to everyone and be everywhere at one time. We can’t. “No nursing facility for my dad, thank you! I got this!” Or “I don’t want to bother them with this, they have enough already…” Once, I had to call a friend at 6am for a ride to the doc’s office, and we thought to the hospital after that. The worst case scenario did not materialize, but I still had to call her at 6am. I had to ask for help. Do you know what she said? “I’m honored that you would call me.” Read that again. She wasn’t bothered or perturbed, she was glad she could do something to help out. I suspect most folks are that way. Wouldn’t you be, if you were in her shoes?
So, if you’re trying to do it all by yourself, sit down. Take a deep breath. Relax. Now pick up the phone and call someone for help. Call a friend, a family member, a pastor or priest. Take care of yourself so you can continue to care for someone else!