Doors and Windows with Handles for Handling

How many times do I have to hear/think the old line about God never giving you more than you can handle?

In the past week, I’ve had lengthy conversations with two people, and both conversations have led me to sit in my car afterwards and think, “I have no idea how I would handle that. How would I handle that? Could I handle that?”

(I was once able to handle Haydn. I hid from Handel. Five minutes ago those two sentences were VERY funny to me.)

Last night I asked Jeff if he believes that you are never given more than you can handle. He replied, “Anne Frank was given more than she could handle.”

I can handle quite a few things. I can handle cooking meat for my family and I can handle the dry skin on my hands that results from washing them at least fourteen times after handling said meat. What I can’t handle is knowing that whatever I’m cooking won’t be enjoyed by the girls unless it is named Toasted Ravioli or Crazy Bowls or Sloppy Joe or Homemade Pizza Roll. (As a result, I now call EVERYTHING Sloppy Joe. I currently have a pork tenderloin in the oven for tonight’s dinner. When the girls come home from school and ask what’s for dinner, I will say, “Sloppy Joe.” They will cheer and high five one another. Later, when it’s time for them to eat, I will be at the PTO meeting—where I won’t be able to hear their cries of disappointment.) I can handle being the treasurer of PTO and I can handle writing checks and depositing money and keeping track of the checks and the money. What I can’t handle is sitting at a table in front of people every month at the meeting and trying my best to smile, keep my mouth closed, and not fall down. (As a result, I am not “running” for a second term. (I am not running for anything. My life is all about the stroll these days.) Oddly enough, shortly after I announced that I’m going to Jimmy Carter the treasurer position, I was recruited to be on a committee at church. Door. Window. Bonus: I will not be asked to sit at a table in front of people. I will be asked to eat pizza, and I’ve already made it very clear that if anyone tries to sneak a slice of pepperoni onto my lunch, there will be hell to pay. Big crazy table-flipping hell.) I can (normally) handle my freelance stuff along with volunteering at the school and keeping up (mostly) with laundry and playing with the dogs and grocery shopping and (sometimes) wearing eyeliner and baking the occasional chocolate chip banana cake. Ah, but last week I *couldn’t* handle two of my freelance projects and I had to admit that they were beyond my level of experience and I actually cried my eyeliner away about the whole thing and I didn’t do laundry and I made toasted ravioli TWICE just to avoid the whole, “Do I HAVE to eat this?!” gig. (As a result, I’ve eaten way too much of that chocolate chip banana cake. Get this. Last week I hit my “goal” weight at Weight Watchers. I know. This week I’m no longer there. Oh, Chocolate Chip Banana Cake. You were 117 points of hard to handle craziness. The good news? I’ve accepted a new freelance project. Please know that I know how lucky I am.) This paragraph keeps on going and going, doesn’t it?

For Jeff, Bruce Springsteen released his new album today. For me, Andrew Bird released his new album today. For the girls, Big Time Rush released their new EP today. Television off. Music on. The towels are in the washer.

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15 thoughts on “Doors and Windows with Handles for Handling”

  1. You would be amazed at what you really can handle.

    Sometimes, life is SO much harder than I would have ever imagined it would be. There are times when I question why, but those times are much fewer as I try to practice acceptance.

    I don’t use that line any longer, I use the song, “Strong Enough”, by Matthew West.

  2. It’s been a few years since I’ve thought about it, but the concept of grace is an amazing one. I remember I was doing a bible study (the kind with a workbook and listen along CDs) and in it they talked about a woman who lost a child. I don’t remember the circumstances of her story, but that alone is enough to make a person buckle. Everyone kept telling her how brave she was, and how they didn’t know how she was handling everything, how they could never do it. Her reply was that yes, right now, you couldn’t handle it all because you haven’t been given the grace that would be required to do so, that God would and will give you the grace if/when necessary.

    A few months later all of the dominoes in my own life began to fall, and somehow I survived. Things got as bad as I can imagine things ever possibly getting, and I got through it, a fact I attribute to the grace of God. He gave me strength to keep putting one foot in front of another, and so I did. People are resilient and capable of so much more than we can even fathom.

  3. I’m afraid. Very afraid. I too have been hearing the phrase “God won’t give you more than you can handle” going through my head over and over recently but as this baby in my belly becomes more and more evident and my house seems to get smaller and smaller, and my daughter came home with a louse on Thursday (thanks teachers for sending home a note: there is a child in your daughter’s class with headlice) and as my laundry mountain seems to be growing, I don’t feel as though I can handle it. Not all of it. Not me. Will I be able to manage a 4th kid? Am I crazy? Everyone around says I am (which doesn’t help any) and I just feel helpless and hopeless and too tired to do anything about it. So glad to be out of the 1st trimester soon, maybe I’ll get energy again soon.

    So, other than allllll that, um, today is Chocolate Tuesday, so we will be fine. And it’s the OREO cookie’s 100th birthday. All is well with the world. Have an Oreo–there’s one on my desk for you! That and a glass of milk for dunking can make anything handle-able, right? (I hope Oreo’s aren’t just a Canadian thing and you know what I’m talking about).

  4. Know, as always, that I am feeling your pain and I empathize. And that I am ignoring the laundry. (Wait? The baby needs a new bib? Why don’t we just have his big brother teach him to use his sleeve?)

    A few years ago lots of things sort of fell apart at work, and my son, then 10 mos, got the flu, then was in the hospital for dehydration and while there got pneumonia. And my friend told me about how God doesn’t give you more than you can handle, and I told her that I didn’t believe in God. Then she said, “yeah. You know how people say ‘when you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on’? I think that’s crap. When you’re at the end of your rope, let go. There’s always another rope.”

    So, that’s what I do. And by admitting you were over your head, you did too. And a few nights of toasty ravioli (for yours) or chicken nuggets (for mine) isn’t going to do any long term damage.

  5. My husband and I often say we are clearly recognized by the universe as lightweights, because nothing that bad has happened to us.

    Good for you for saying no things.

    Andrew Bird strongly resembles my husband 20 years ago. I love seeing the Dr. Strings clip in NickJr.

    I love your blog!

  6. Hey, FOUL! I was having a great ol’ time sitting here procrastinating and reading blogs and being lazy and you had to go and remind me I have towels in the washer. And now I feel compelled to get up and DO something already. Like put them in the dryer, at least. I would say it’s just a fluky coincidence but I don’t believe in coincidence. (Well, yes I do – sometimes – but I guess I also gotta believe in not ignoring that my attention has been pointed to the fact that I am being so incredibly lazy right now and that I should really just get up and do it already.) Have a good afternoon!

  7. My husband is in Africa. He has been for almost a month now. Our sixth court date was just cancelled and with it our hopes of having our son home any time within the next month. I had to put my five year old son in a vehicle with a stranger and let them take him away from me once, I will never do it again. That might mean moving to Africa.

    For the record – I believe that whole won’t give you more than you can handle thing is bull. I cannot handle this. I cannot handle the three little ones at home who don’t understand why we had to leave their brother and don’t understand why Daddy isn’t home. I can’t handle knowing my husband is living in a different day from me right now and will be for the foreseeable future.

    But I don’t have to handle it. That’s why we have a support system and people who can hold us up when we are too weary to do anything more than cry. I cannot handle any of this but my tribe can and they are and so we will survive.

    Anne Frank just got a really shit deal.

  8. We’ve got into our heads that if we are not doing EVERYTHING we are not enough. Those things you say you can’t handle, are things you can’t handle today. Maybe later on down the line they’re all things that you will be able to handle. You are enough, just the way you are.

    Also, no one said that you have to sit up there and smile. You just have to sit up there. Smiling is only an option and only done if you feel like it. Plus, it’s PTA. Who the f*&@k wants to smile at a PTA meeting any way?

  9. I don’t buy the “not more than you can handle” platitude. It is one of those cliches that only makes the one saying it feel better, but not the one suffering. Like “it’s for the best” or “everything happens for a reason”, in the long run maybe those feel true but they don’t help while the suffering is ongoing. I am with Kait, I think the only way we get through the terrible times (and as Anne Frank illustrates, we don’t always get through terrible times) is with help. Support and compassion and trying to survive together.

  10. I think that we have an amazing capacity. However, I freely admit that I am a big ‘ole wuss and I do not wish to test that capacity. I fall in line with Sara and Kait.

  11. I’m with Mr Pudding…he is obviously a deep and meaningful good person…as for the Pudding children…”let them eat cake” or better still “let them cook dinner” …could be interesting??

  12. People just say that to make other people feel better..kinda like rain on your wedding day is good luck….that’s a load of crap. Okay, that’s that, then. I hope your schedule gets lighter so you can finish what you need to. Remember, you are a full time mom first and foremost and it seems like you are an amazing one at that…all the rest is just extra blah, blah.

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