Monday, November 28, 2011

Be Aware

My son and I were returning to the ship after a long day at the beach in Grand cayman. As we are sitting aboard the tender, on our 15 minute trip from shore to the boat my son falls asleep. Not just an ordinary mid day nap. No this is the "might as well be dead because no matter what you do I'm laying here... unresponsive" kind of sleep. It wasn't until we arrived along side the ship to embark that I realized the dilemma I now faced. As the boat is violently rocking side to side I debate it my mind how to carry my 34 pound son who is nothing more than deadweight. How am I realistically going to carry him, my purse, beach bag and shopping bag safely out of the boat, up the stairs and over onto our ship without either of us crashing or falling as the boat thrashes side to side? I look around and think to myself,  "I'll wait until it's just about our turn and as I pick him up, juggling his flailing body amongst the bags, someone will notice and offer to help." So as our turn arrived I shuffled him and the bags around, grasping to anything I could reach along the sides of the boat, to keep steady through the waves. 

Now earlier in the day a woman aboard my trip had complimented me on how brave I was for traveling on my own with a 3 year old. I told her that in the past year ive learned to be brave. You either get brave and attempt things on your own or you sit home and miss out. I've decided life isn't gonna stop for my son and I just because it stopped for Jonathan. So challenging, difficult, or even scary at times we are going to enjoy life!  And we did!  We enjoyed a beautiful day at the beach together. 

I've also learned that being a single mom is not in any way easy. Sometimes you can handle all it brings. Othertimes it can be completely overwhelming. I've lost all sense of "superwoman" pride. I don't have to be able to do it all and my own and thats okay. There are going to be times that I need help. It's not a reflection of me. And accepting help when I need is not a sign of weakness as I used to feel. It's a sign of strength. It takes a strong woman to realize her limits and accept the blessings God sends along the way. He didn't create a superwoman. He created a mother to be part of a team, and my design didn't change just because I became widowed. I still need to be part of a team to raise this boy. That hasn't changed, however my "team" has. 

Today I was counting on the kindness of strangers to be my teammate. And I was left dissapointed and frustrated. I stepped cautiously across the ship, my son sagging lower and lower with each step. Eventually I reached the top of the steps unassisted and extremely afraid. Carrying myself across the bridge to the ship without falling would have been an amazing feat. Could no one on board the tender have noticed my struggling and that I was alone? I suppose for a small number that may have been true. But what about the rest? Were they too consumed in their lives to want to interfere?  Perhaps they didn't want to be bothered?  Whatever their reason I was extremely disappointed in my fellow cruisers. Not one person offered to help. That is until I made it over the bridge, through security and baggage scanning. When I arrived in the elevator to head to my room a very young couple in their twenties offered assistance. Which I gladly accepted, although I had already made it through the obstacle course that was the ship re-entry, and was in the home stretch. [I should mention that I did ask for assistance from the crew to cross from the tender to the ship because I was afraid I'd drop him. And the ship staff assisted myself and my son across.]

So what's my point in sharing this story?  It is not meant as a complaint or a way to vent my frustration with the world. Rather it is meant to be a thermometer for us, myself included. Let's not be so consumed with our own life that we miss the opportunities in front of us each and everyday to be Jesus to the world. Open our eyes. Look around. Do u see a single mom in need, balancing a sleeping child and shopping bags?  Offer to help, for likely she is hoping someone will notice her and come to her rescue. Perhaps it's the widow who doesn't now how to prepare her house for winter and needs a helping hand. Maybe it's an older woman at your church who is lonely and longs for an invitation to dinner. Let's open our eyes. Let's be the blessing God sends to those in need. Lets be Jesus to the world! 


  1. Jennifer, thank you for making this point. Even an older widow whose children are all grown needs help at some point - even when she's trying her very hardest to be completely and totally independent of others.


  2. Candy, you are so welcome. We all need help. That's why God called us the "BODY" of Christ. I pray that those around you will rise up and offer help to you.