Dear Member of the Sandwich Generation,
Wait, are you a member of the Sandwich Generation? Here’s an excellent explanation of the term Sandwich Generation from Pew Research Center.
“These are adults who have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising at least one child younger than 18 or providing financial support to an adult child.”
Does this describe you? If not you, then it’s pretty likely that you know someone that this describes.
If this is you, then I hope this letter finds you well. I’ve lived your life, and I know it’s not easy. Elderly parents pulling you in one direction while your children pull you in the other. It’s not a new dilemma but one that has been exacerbated by families living far apart, two-income households, and the pressures faced by single parents trying to do it all.
And to make it even more complicated, you may hold three Branch offices, two MBA offices, and teach Sunday School. Our responsibilities seem to pile up on us, making us feel heavily burdened and worn out. Are there days when you’d rather just lay in bed and watch TV? Are you especially tired on Sunday morning?
Staying in bed and distancing ourselves from others isn’t usually a good way to become refocused and find the spiritual and even physical energy we’re lacking. Thankfully, we have resources to help us and sustain us through this phase of our lives. God’s word is the ultimate source of energy.
“The food we eat provides energy that give our bodies fuel to perform all functions from the most basic like breathing to more complicated activities,” says Karen Spaeder for Livestrong. “We need a minimum amount of calories from food to sustain basic metabolic functions and more to carry out physical activities. Your body converts food into energy not only for strenuous physical activity, but also for activities of normal daily living. In the process of changing food into a usable form, the action of chewing begins the digestive process.”
God’s word fuels us spiritually, and just like food, we need a minimum amount to sustain us. When we meditate and think about God’s word, it’s as if we’re chewing on it.
What, you’re too busy you say? You don’t have to consume a “full meal” three times a day. Even snackable portions of scripture will help to replenish your energy. Feast on a psalm or parable while you’re eating that protein bar that will satisfy you until your next meal. You may find other ways to get more spiritual food when you find yourself on the go. Similar to a drive-thru, you could listen to a Christian-themed podcast, scripture on audio, the GMBA YouthCast, or a sermon on YouTube. One of the good things that came out of the pandemic is the plethora of recorded sermons that are available to us.
Just as reading scripture is an important part of your spiritual diet, so is attending church. Not only are we fed by the words from our teachers and ministry, we gain strength just by being with our brothers and sisters. Hearing others’ testimonies enrich us and cause us to remember how God may have helped us during a similar situation.
Matthew 18:20 tells us, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
For me, music is an important part of my spiritual diet. As the Song of Zion says, “Music takes away the pain.” Music settles my mind and rejuvenates me.
Colossians 3:16 sums up the pieces of a healthy spiritual diet: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
For those of you who have either passed this stage of your life or haven’t yet reached it, consider offering to help someone who is. Maybe you can offer to visit their parent(s) and bring them a meal. Along with that, joining the sandwiched person at their child’s baseball or soccer game can go a long way. Not only will you provide adult interaction, but you’re also showing their child that they’re important.
“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” (Romans 12:10)
We’re in this thing called life together. And for those of you who are sandwiched, it’s not always easy, but accept help if it’s offered. It’s okay if you can’t do everything by yourself. Remember…it takes a village.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.