“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but to the interests of others.” ~Philippians 2:3-4
The past few weeks have been crazy for me. My roommate’s main aide was hit by a bus almost exactly two weeks ago. Since then, I have been at his house almost every day, sitting with him while his wife ran errands or got work done. He is still having intense dizzy spells and still can’t walk unassisted, so it’s best not to leave him by himself. So I’ve been helping him out.
In his absence, my roommate called up a former aide of his (we’ll call him by his initial, “R”) to come back and work the shifts that G (the one who got hit by the bus) was working. R agreed, saying money was tight and he needed all the work possible. What a blessing!
But once he started, R was constantly late, leaving my roommate stranded in bed or at work for long periods of time (he works 10-hour days as it is). He left a mess everywhere he went. He was resentful of the fact that my roommate’s condition had deteriorated a bit and he needed more help with things than he did before. So after about a week and a half of this, my roommate sat him down and talked about whether this would work in the long run, and his need for R to be responsible. R got really upset and pitched a fit, insulting both me and the previous aide to get the attention off of himself. He even had to step out for a bit and cool off once they got back to the house. However, the next morning, a Sunday morning, R came in 20 minutes early. What a blessing!
But later that day, as I was getting ready to go to a new church, I got a text from R. He wouldn’t be able to go pick up my roommate from work, but would be able to meet us at the house and help him shower, etc. Fine. No church for me, unfortunately, but fine. So I picked up my roommate, brought him home and fed him dinner, and then we waited for R to come by. And we waited. And waited. Now it’s Wednesday, and we still haven’t heard from the guy. He was paid in advance, and had borrowed a few things from us that will probably never be returned. Without a stable aide situation, many of these duties now fall to me (he has an aide who normally comes two nights per week who has been stopping by on his way to and from work to do the lifting – I’m not physically strong enough to lift a grown man. The other 5 nights and all 7 mornings were G’s, and now supposed to be R’s, responsibility).
So, between taking over for our now non-existent aide, going into Manhattan and back out to queens twice per day, helping out G, trying to track down R, facilitating the hire of a new aide, while still trying to keep things running here at home, suffice to say I have had a crazy few weeks! Not to mention some very short nights! I never thought that I would consider my unemployment to be a blessing. But honestly, between the extra duties and the construction on my subway line, if I had an actual job I needed to report to I’m not sure where that would leave us. I’d probably have to either quit or take early vacation time. Just extra proof that God’s timing is perfect and He really does have a plan! How amazing is He?!?
Through all this, I have to keep calm and present a fairly happy face. I am the one constant that my roommate still has. G has been in agony, depressed, and despondent, and his injuries have taken a toll on my roommate too – besides his own parents (one deceased and one now in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s), G was probably the one person in his life who would voluntarily go above and beyond for him without asking for something in return. The loss of his presence in this house has been profound. So it is up to me to keep everybody’s spirits up.
I may or may not have helped the situation by telling G that he walked like a zombie and all he needed was some grotesque makeup and he could be on the TV show The Walking Dead. Don’t worry, he laughed.
Anyway, despite my efforts to be a cheerful giver (and a stand-in television casting director), I have been a bit stressed. I prefer being busy to having too much free time, but it is a lot of increased demand on such short notice. And I’ve really only been getting about 4-5 hours of sleep per night. I’m stressed and I’m tired! But then I remember Rebekah at the well, the namesake of this blog, doing all this extra labor for a stranger, who she only came across because she was doing her father’s business, and my spirit seems to come full circle. I read this verse, and let God in to do the work in my heart. This whole situation has been a true lesson in what’s important in life, in how temporary and precious it all is. It’s been a lesson in giving to others beyond what I would have rationed out to them. It’s been a lesson in humility and having the heart of a true servant. I have less time to spend with God than before, but the growth in my heart has been profound. I knew already that I was called to serve God – now I’m just getting a broader idea than ever of what servanthood means.
And that is definitely something to praise God for!