Running on Empty

Did you ever feel like you were running on empty??? I kind of hit the wall today.  A lot has happened in the last 12 days.   I think we have all been running on adrenaline.   And today we ran out.  Or at least I ran out.  I can not speak for anyone else.   But I know that I did.

We celebrated my father in law’s life yesterday and it was wonderful.  We had a great turnout for a great man.   My husband did a wonderful job at giving a tribute to his beloved father.  Our minister did a marvelous job of commemorating a life of a man who he really did not have a close relationship with but he was able to piece together from our stories what kind of man he was.   That, in itself, is a gift.  Thank you to Pastor Bryan Bucher for his words.   I had asked that he use part of 2 Corinthians 5 in his sermon and he chose to read it from The Message  which I loved.

1-5For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.

6-8That’s why we live with such good cheer. You won’t see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don’t get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going. Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we’ll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming.

9-10But neither exile nor homecoming is the main thing. Cheerfully pleasing God is the main thing, and that’s what we aim to do, regardless of our conditions. Sooner or later we’ll all have to face God, regardless of our conditions. We will appear before Christ and take what’s coming to us as a result of our actions, either good or bad.

11-14That keeps us vigilant, you can be sure. It’s no light thing to know that we’ll all one day stand in that place of Judgment. That’s why we work urgently with everyone we meet to get them ready to face God. God alone knows how well we do this, but I hope you realize how much and deeply we care. We’re not saying this to make ourselves look good to you. We just thought it would make you feel good, proud even, that we’re on your side and not just nice to your face as so many people are. If I acted crazy, I did it for God; if I acted overly serious, I did it for you. Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do.

Are those not wonderful words???  I loved being able to think of Dad as moving his tent to heaven.   A pretty good analogy for a fisherman.   He moved his tent, set his hook and dropped the line and he is happily fishing in the wonderful waters of heaven where all I would imagine the only catch would be the record winner!

So now the service is over and the reality sinks in.  We no longer will come into the house and see him on the couch.  I no longer will hear the Hospice nurse Karen say “Cinderella, can you get me a towel?  Can you get me a basin?”   We have shifted gears.  Now our main concern is ensuring that our sweet Carlton is taken care of.  It is not going to be easy.   I know that.  I am used to my own way of doing things.  I am used to white whites and blue blues and that is a story in itself.  My laundry is off limits to Carl now…..enough said.

I am in a new season of my life.   I hope that I can adjust.  I hope that I can change like the seasons and be able to do what is ahead of me.  I am sure there will be some blogs coming on this.  It is my way of working things out—this writing thing kind of helps.  Bear with me.   I am working on no longer running on empty.


  1. Beth Ann – they are beautiful words… hang in there… it is so hard… I know how you feel about running on empty… i am there with you…. but like youto, also trying to “fill up”

  2. Thank you, Hilary!!! I think there are a lot of folks who run on empty a good portion of their life!!! At least today I feel like I can catch my breath. Hope you can, too!

  3. I ran on that empty for the three years that my mother lived with us; caring for her and battling with her dementia was overwhelming. The day she passed away, here in our home, my husband turned to me and said “you’re free now”…and I just looked at him with a blank look on my face.

    Certainly the exhaustive hours of being a caregiver were over for me but one doesn’t pack up the remnants of someone’s life and move on…overnight. Relief comes from the end of another persons suffering and, gradually, that moment of finally catching your breath happens. It’s been five years for me and…I’m still running on half-empty.

    Beautiful post, Beth Ann.

    • Wow—three years is a long time. What a wonderful gift you gave your mother! I can not even begin to imagine . I am sure that you were such a blessing to her even if she could not express it. I think that our journey will be much easier than yours was and I am taking it one day at a time. We will never forget and we hope that all we do will honor the memory of one we loved. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  4. Beth Ann, those are beautiful words, beautiful prayers… I’m so sure that your father in law look down with a big smile. My neighbor just pass away few weeks ago and there’s a passage that is beautiful and I will quote it here for you : “Ah.. the beauty of metaphor. Life upon this earth is but for a brief time. Our spirits will find eternal peace in the kingdon prepared for us before time began. – Brother John – Morning Whisper.”

  5. That is indeed good words. Your father in law would be happy to hear those words.

    I don’t really understand the meaning of running on empty…whatever it means, I know you are strong enough to overcome this grief

  6. Comforting words, Beth Ann. I also liked the tent simile. Adapting to a new normal, running on empty is the sign you’ve reached the bottom of the hill and are ready to start that upward motion again. I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121 Keep looking up!

  7. I loved the tent simile, too!!! Made me smile when he started reading that at the service. And I will remember to keep looking up! Thank you!!!

  8. It’s tough to witch gears sometimes and enter a new phase but with God’s help, he gives us strength that we need for each day. Taking things a day at a time worked for me. Sometimes life can be so overwhelming. I remember I had a “long-term” to do list with everything I needed to do so I didn’t have it all on my mind all the time and then from that chose what things I could do that day. It helped me focus, be productive, and feel better about things. Writing also helped me–that’s why I wrote “My Funny Dad, Harry” in memory of my dad.

    • We all have ways to get through difficult times and I guess you just have to figure out what works for you, right? You, obviously, were able to find some creative avenues. That is a blessing. Our to do list is growing by leaps and bounds and I think we just have to keep it in perspective. One day at a time!!! Thanks, Karen.

  9. Christine M. Grote says:

    I know it probably wasn’t funny at the time, but your laundry comment made me laugh.

    I lived my whole life wondering if I would have to take care of my sister someday.

    You will rise to the occasion.

    • I am glad my laundry comment made you laugh….it was supposed to. And you are right—at that moment it was not very funny at all since I had already told him to keep his mitts off!!! I am learning that repetition is the key! 🙂

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