Yes, just a piece of bologna.
(By the way, why is that pronounced "buh–lo–nee" and not "bo–log–nuh"?
I just want to know…though in my case, a piece of baloney might be more accurate…just sayin’)
A piece of bologna – firmly sandwiched in between my grown sons and my aging parents.
In fact, there is an actual term called The Sandwich Generation. Truly – looked it up on Wikipedia:
The Sandwich Generation is a generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.
So, that would be me.
My sons are both in their 20's – (how did THAT happen??) – and my folks are 81 and 79. (Sorry, Mom, for divulging that…)
And here's how life is playing out right now.
Sons #1 and #2 have moved out, but they still need Mom from time to time. It seems that those boys who were soooo eager to grow up – ("You're so lucky, Mom. You're a grown-up. You don't have to go to school") – have finally discovered the ugly truth.
Being an adult isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Life just gets more complicated. The issues are more confusing, and the answers aren't as straightforward. The world does its seductive best to steer you away from following Jesus. Money concerns rear their ugly heads – and job security (when jobs can be found) isn't what it used to be.
And then, there's the issue of relationships. We all know how complicated that can be. For anyone – but especially for young men (and women) trying to live godly and faithful lives.
So, my sons need me – for listening, for advice, for counsel, for faith wisdom, for help.
It's a good thing, a blessed thing, when your all-grown-up-adult-children turn to you. When they talk with you, and want to spend time with you. I see so clearly how God is still using me as their mother. And I am grateful for the privilege.
On the other end of the spectrum are my folks.
Who are becoming more and more like children.
They are becoming increasingly more dependent on me. Their lives are getting more complicated, with confusing issues and answers that aren't so straightforward. They are navigating a new journey through old age – and it's a treacherous path. They are sometimes scared, sometimes unsure – often just overwhelmed and daunted.
So, my parents need me – for listening, for advice, for counsel, for faith wisdom, for help.
It's a good thing, a blessed thing, when your aging-childlike-parents turn to you. When they talk with you, and want to spend time with you. I see so clearly how God is still using me as their daughter. And I am grateful for the privilege.
But boy oh boy, this bologna gets tired.
Those bread slices *sandwich* me pretty tight sometimes, and I am weary as of late.
There are times when I'm just at the end of what I can give. When I am unsure of what to say or do. When I don't have the energy to be what they need me to be. When my love doesn't seem like enough.
Does anyone understand?
Last night, I was thinking about this as I drove home from spending some time with my parents. My dad fell a couple of days ago, for the second time in about two months (he's OK – just banged up). I truly hadn't felt like driving down there, but…
…they needed me.
And so I went.
And that is the essence of following another One who knows what it's like to be sandwiched.
Think about it.
Here's Jesus – firmly sandwiched between heaven and earth. Jesus – with the heart of God and of man within Him. An eternal being placed into time. Talking with God, and talking to humans. Capable of hearing angels, yet listening to critics. The Creator of Life, facing death.
Jesus – sandwiched between glory and dust.
Did He grow weary like me?
Oh yes, I'm sure He did. I can almost hear Him pray on the mountain, when He ventured there alone to speak with His Father:
"Father, there are times when I'm just at the end of what I can give. When I am unsure of what to say or do. When I don't have the energy to be what they need me to be. When my love doesn't seem like enough. Help me, Father."
So, why did He make the effort?
Because we needed Him.
Jesus did it out of love. A love that stretched beyond His weariness, and empowered Him with grace. A love that practiced patience, with sometimes difficult and stubborn people. A love that enabled Him to be a servant, when the work of serving was unrewarding. A love that listened and cared and forgave…
A love that stooped to wash the feet of some really dirty disciples.
A Love that died, so that we might reap the benefits.
So, I count it as a privilege that I have been called to be a piece of bologna. Because in some way, I feel like I am sharing in the great mission of sacrificial love that Jesus brought to this world – the love that Jesus brought to me.
I am serving Him by serving others.
And I count that a real joy and blessing.
(Could I just have a little more mayonnaise, please?)
How are you serving God when it's tough to do so?
(Ahhh...enjoying my cup of encouragement at Joan's GRACE CAFE. Won't you join me?)
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"