Once again I would like to welcome all of you who have recently signed up for my newsletters – of course I would also like to say hello and thank you to those of you who have been following me for years. Years – yes, somehow it has been years since I started this blog.
I’ve decided to write a couple of posts about our recent trip. Our family has joined many homeschool families who take vacations the first two weeks of September – public school has started so families usually aren’t traveling and older folks haven’t started heading for warmer weather yet, so we are able to site see without the usual crowds.
This time I would like to write about the weakest link in our family – which is me.
A Chain is only as Strong as its Weakest Link
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
“9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (KJV)
I’ve never considered myself a weak person, but as I’ve gotten older and acquired some physical problems I find I can no longer keep up so easily with the “younger generation,” which includes the rest of my family.
On a previous vacation I found myself sitting out a major part of our activities because I just couldn’t do them without experiencing a lot of pain. My first reaction was anger – at myself – at my family – at God.
There we were in Washington D.C. – the first time for me, and what I could manage physically was to walk to the lobby of most places and wait – not so patiently – for the rest of my family to explore and enjoy everything. Sometimes they would pick out something they thought I would really like and I would go to see that.
It was frustrating for all of us, but for me it was devastating. Yes, I had let myself go physically. The health issues were beyond my control, but I could do something about how physically fit I was and about my attitude.
So, as we began to discuss this year’s September trip (in January) I realized I would be sitting most of it out again if I didn’t do something about being so out of shape. I found an exercise program I thought I could stick with and began to do it on a regular basis. I really wanted to lose some weight, and that didn’t seem to be happening. But I was getting stronger, and I was having less pain from arthritis. I was even able to stop taking some of my prescription pain medications. That was enough to encourage me to keep going.
So how did I do on this trip? I was still the weakest link, but I was able to do considerably more than I did in Washington DC. In fact, most days I walked 3-5 miles.
I also made my needs known to my family by telling them I thought I would be able to walk longer if we walked a bit slower. I gave up my pride and used a cane and took my pain medications regularly.
Sometimes this frustrated all of us because there was so much to see and so little time to see it. As a family we had to learn to work together – considering what was best for us as a family, rather what was best for us as individuals.
“A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and life is after all a chain.” William James
I still don’t like to think of myself as the weakest link in our family, but I have had to accept that at this point I am, and that in God’s purposes for my family it is right for us to learn to work together. There will always be one member of a family who at one time or another will be the weakest link.
When our children were younger we had to go at their pace, take more rests than we had to when it was just the two of us, carry the appropriate supplies – use backpacks and strollers as needed, even though they would hamper our ability to do certain things.
Since we loved our children these sacrifices were usually easy to make, but I remember our first vacation after our oldest daughter was born. It was not a pretty picture.
My husband’s idea of a vacation at that time was wilderness camping, taking only what you can carry on your back. This just wasn’t going to happen with a two-month-old, so he pared his expectations way back. We would go to a neighboring state, stay in a motel, and do a few things each day between her naps. For him this was the ultimate sacrifice and certainly should have satisfied our newborn daughter – right?
Wrong! Way wrong! We quickly found out that our new little daughter didn’t enjoy riding in a car. In fact she began screaming – yes, screaming – after about five minutes and would continue until we stopped the car, at which point she would fall asleep from exhaustion.
For two days we struggled through this scenario again and again. Weary and frustrated, we headed home after the second day of our week-long vacation.
This particular daughter continued to do this until she was almost two years old. She travels great now, so she must have gotten it all out of her system in those first two years.
At that time in her life she was the weakest link in our family and we had to learn to work around it.
By the time our second daughter was born Emily was enjoying riding in the car and Bekah liked it, so our opportunities opened up a bit and we began venturing out again and being able to do more of the things we enjoyed.
But then our new baby boy was diagnosed with leukemia at 15 months of age and once again we had to learn to deal appropriately with his needs. We couldn’t go anywhere where he would be out of touch with a pediatric oncologist. We wanted to go to the Black Hills, but at that time there wasn’t even one pediatric oncologist in the entire state of South Dakota so that trip had to be postponed.
This quote from Sarah Palin really says a lot:
“Each of us knows that we have an obligation to care for the old, the young, and the sick. We stand strongest when we stand with the weakest among us.”
This verse from John 21: 18 has always been a little difficult for me, but as I find myself growing older I realize that like many before me I will not escape them.
“18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” NIV
I will close with this story about a friend who was dying in hospice. Her family shared that each time she would wake up during those last days she would quickly look around and then say, “Oh, am I still here?” She was a very Godly woman and was looking forward to being with her Savior. I pray that I will grow more and more like her as I approach my last days here on this earth.
Finding Joy in the Journey,
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© 2010 Phyllis Sather
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