Years ago a friend of mine was struggling with the care of a young family, full-time work, and little money. This friend was maxed out when it came to responsibility and barely had a minute to take a breath. I talked to my friend often during those years as she looked for ways to lessen the burden and increase her energy to do what she had to do. She committed herself to being a good wife, mom, family member, neighbor, employee, and person throughout the challenging years and arrived at the other side with much to be proud of and enjoy. She persevered.
During those years, however, someone in her life was always badgering her to do more and take care of more people. She felt tremendous guilt that she could not extend herself to those others who seemingly were lonely and desperate for care. She would tell me about this guilt and how she simply didn't have anything left to give after all she was doing at that time. I knew she was right. I knew her plate was full and affirmed her conclusion.
Looking back and knowing more, however, I realize that those badgering her to do more never really stopped to look at that women's life. Rather than extending a hand to help her out, they added to her burden considerably. Also the lonely people she was asked to help, could have helped her. That would have taken away their loneliness and need and made their life fuller too. My friend felt an unnecessary burden at that time, and should have realized that she was doing the right thing. She never thought to turn the conversation around to say, "Hey, maybe those people can help me out and, in turn, help themselves too."
Sometimes we are truly asked to do the impossible--we are asked to do things that are out of reach and not in our best interests. And while it's important to give when you can and be generous, it's also important not to lose sight of who you are and what you need to do for those you love. Life calls us to be many things, and it's important that we take these calls with good heart and mind so we choose well--so we know what we rightly own and are responsible for. Onward.