Years ago I had a pressure cooker, I but never felt comfortable using it because you have to be careful opening it. I didn’t want to have it explode.
This past Sunday, my pastor shared that if we didn’t shed tears, the tears would build up inside of us like a pressure cooker. That statement hit me hard because I knew I was on emotional overload. My mom had been hospitalized for a little over three weeks, my brother was recuperating from knee surgery, my sister and I had bronchitis while our mom was hospitalized and couldn’t visit her, my childhood friend was in and out of the hospital and nursing homes fighting a serious illness (with bronchitis I couldn’t visit her either), another long-time friend was grieving the death of her brother, I served on a jury that was emotionally exhausting, and my first cousin was in intensive care following a major surgery. There was other stuff happening, but need I say more?
I felt as if at any moment I was going to explode. The Friday evening before the pastor’s sermon, I thought I was going to have my moment. I waited for my husband to come home from exercising. When he arrived, I shared the latest thing that was sending me over the edge, but five minutes later, I could tell he wasn’t picking up on my emotional state. I stuffed my feelings back inside. Saturday morning, I tried to tell him how I felt, but I didn’t let on that I was about to crack. We spent the day doing housework and then retreated to the “man lounge” for him, family room for me.
On Sunday, as my Hubby was leaving for church he asks me if I was going to church. I asked him why did he ask me that? His response “with all you have going on, I thought you might be staying home.” Hmmm, so he was picking up on my emotional state, BUT, he hadn’t discerned how fragile I was. I told him I was coming and would see him there.
I sat through the Sunday service fighting back tears. I stood at the altar for the closing prayer holding my husband’s hand fighting back tears. After service, I quickly went to my car, called my mom, and asked her if she needs anything. She said no, she was fine. I said ok, I’ll see you tomorrow. As I left the church parking lot, tears flowed down my face; the feeling that I was going to explode engulfed me. While driving home, the Spirit began speaking to me. “You’re blessed to have your mom. You should go to her. You can cry on her shoulder.” I turned my car around and headed toward my mom’s apartment. I made a pit stop to get her a sandwich because although she said she had something to eat, I wasn’t sure if she was being completely truthful with me. She had only been home from the hospital for a little over a week, and I knew she didn’t want to be a burden. I also know she likes Arby’s fish sandwiches!
When I got to my mom’s, she didn’t quite seem herself so I thought, “Nope, you can’t unload on her.” I got up from her couch and sat across from her at her kitchen counter. After a minute or so, she looked at me and said “What’s wrong?” I started to say “nothing” and she pressed me to open up. I began sobbing uncontrollably. I told her all the stuff I had bottled up inside me, how concerned I was for my childhood friend and my cousin, how sad I was for what some folks are going through, my distress about the jury situation. I cried, opened up some more, and cried some more. My mama hugged me, told me she knew something was wrong. I can’t explain how good it felt to unload, how glad I was that God has spared my mother’s life and that her mother’s intuition was still intact. I didn’t want to burden my mama, but as a mother, I want my children to come and cry on my shoulder at any time if that will help lighten their load. I learned this past Sunday that I was shortchanging my mama’s need to feel needed. My mama is a walking miracle who questions why the Lord is keeping her here. I told her the Lord is keeping her here because He knew I needed her (for such a time as this). Both my sisters had also spoken to Mama over the weekend about some things going on in their lives. When the Lord determines that Mama has fulfilled His purpose for her life, then He’ll call her home. Until then, I won’t shortchange her again.
I’m glad I had my meltdown; it provided a life lesson. None of the situations that burdened me have changed, but I’m better. God gave us tears as a way to release the tension, stress, and emotional baggage that we carry. Jesus wept. Joy came in the morning!