I ended 2014 feeling weary and on the verge of a measure of burnout. I work for a ministry and have had the blessing, for the past 18 months, of being the caregiver for my parents, 84 and 87, who live with me. They both show their age in different ways, one primarily physically, and the other increasingly with memory loss. I am single, and my only sibling lives in another state, about 1,500 miles away. It really is an honor to be with my parents in this season of their lives, but it is also a responsibility that can be wearying and challenging. A few days before Christmas, a friend strongly encouraged me to take some time to pull away and spend with God. The holidays are such a busy season, it takes a determined effort to walk the path ‘less traveled’ and seek quiet. Yet, I was desperate. My own resources had been expended and I felt I was drained of any reserves of grace that I had stored. I often felt I simply could not keep up with the demands of life. I was functioning and performing duties, but joy was lacking and my spirit and soul felt withered. My words and tone of voice were getting short and little things that should not have irritated me were triggering anger. I was in sin and a pattern that was just wrong.
So, around the 29th of December, I took the step to care for my soul, and made a reservation at the WCRC. A dear friend came and stayed with my parents. I arrived at the center the afternoon of New Year’s Day for an overnight less-than-24-hours-personal retreat! Though I arrived after the front office was closed, an envelope with my name on it welcomed me at the front door.