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When a Hamburger Makes You Cry

I share a very tender moment today–when a hamburger makes you cry.  I need to begin with a preface: the things I write today are new but not brand new.  The past few months we have been quietly and slowly adjusting to a new place in the multiple sclerosis disease process.  I’ve not been able to write about them as they were fresh.

We have needed time to accept, adjust, and adapt.

When a Hamburger Makes you we need time to accept, adjust, and adapt.

Zine would say there are things he will never accept, but I believe we accept when we process and work through those difficult moments emotionally.

A few months ago we sat at our kitchen table enjoying our dinner of vegetables and chicken.  Zine nor I may never forget the moment that he had to ask for help.

“Can you please cut this chicken up for me?”

A sentence I’m not sure one can ever prepare for.  As moms, we cut plenty of chicken up for our little ones, but never do we expect to cut our husband’s chicken.

I had been watching Zine’s fine motor skills become clumsy.  And on this day for the first time, having the core strength and the fine motor skills were not working in his favor.  I sat at my table and watched my husband struggle, but I have learned never do until he asks or until I offer and he accepts help.  If I try to step in and do, it never goes well.

So I sit at this dinner table painstakingly watching the effort my husband exerts to manage his food.  The moment came, and I heard those “unprepared for” words come tumbling out of his mouth in a frustrated sort of way.  “Can you please cut up my chicken?”  Quietly, without words, I move his plate in front of me and proceed to cut up his chicken.  Then I return his plate in front of him.  What does one say in this situation? Talk about awkward silence!  Wow. [bctt tweet=”Some circumstances do not need words, only love.” username=”kksmith8694″]

These situations have become commonplace as we eat dinner.  We are eating dinner less at the kitchen table because Zine’s core muscles are having a hard time keeping him erect.  He tries to lean over to take a bite and then his body falls toward his plate.

I now prepare dinner, and often think will this be something I have to cut up for Zine.  I have oddly been trying to avoid those foods.  However, my menu is getting skimpy between no gluten and not having to cut meat up.  So that thought process didn’t work.  We need our meat!!

A month ago, it was just Zine, Conner, and I enjoying a hamburger.  It’s rare that it is just us three.  On this August day, I am incredibly grateful it was only the three of us.

This was the day that a hamburger made my husband cry.

People have laughed at me for years.  I order my hamburgers meat, cheese, and mayonnaise.  I don’t like the frills of shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, or slimy sauces.  Plain Jane for me.  Zine, on the other hand, has enjoyed his burgers in a multitude of ways.  Plain Jane would never be words to describe his hamburgers.  The only thing his burgers won’t have is pickles!

This particular August Sunday was no different.  This burger had personality.  I don’t even know all that was on this burger that day.  But I noticed as we began to eat, Zine was struggling.  This hamburger became impossible for him to keep together and get in his mouth.  Despite his best efforts, the burger kept falling apart.  I watched from the corner of my eye as Zine picked up a knife and tried to cut his hamburger.  His attempts left him with what looked to be more like hamburger soup.

My eyes meet his.  Tears began to form in his eyes.  At that moment, my heart broke into a million pieces.  There are no words that describe what it feels like to sit and watch the one you love the most struggle to do something as basic as eating a hamburger.  With his tear-filled, yet, approving eyes, I reach out for his knife and plate.  It takes me a minute, but I begin to reassemble a hamburger and cut it into four pieces.  The only words I could come muster at this moment, I whispered, as I sat his plate back down.

“I’m sorry.”

What else does a wife say to her husband at this moment?  How else is a husband that can’t manage his hamburger in a restaurant to feel other than complete humiliation and shame?  What does a son say as he sits and watches this hamburger fiasco?  Y’all, there are no words.  There is nothing.  Pain. Hurt.  Not in one heart but in three.  A different kind of pain for each of us, nevertheless, pain.  So thankful that my girls missed this restaurant experience.

A week or so later, we were trying to eat pizza, and I imagine you may be able to guess what happened to Zine’s pizza.  One minute there was pizza, and the next minute there were toppings in a heap on his plate and a crust in his hands.  He was unable to manage his pizza.  Wowzers!

Pizza too?

Yes, pizza too.  Not just once but from this day forward, I take his pizza slice, and I cut the first half of the pizza slice up so that he can eat pieces with a fork and then the last half he still manages to eat like pizza.

This is our life these days.  Once again, I share this after we have accepted, adjusted, and adapted.  If there is anything we have learned it is this:

Grieve the losses in life, then do the next thing.

When a Hamburger Makes you are moments that need us to stop and grieve our loss, and then do the next thing.

We can sometimes get caught up in grieving the losses, and that is perfectly acceptable.  Once we grieve though, we are ready to do the next thing.  The next thing, not the next fifty things, simply the next thing.

Unfortunately, I have this problem of letting my mind wander.  Instead of doing the next thing, my mind begins to fill with fear of what ifs.  What if he gets to the point that he can’t feed himself at all?  What if he gets choked on his food?  What if… What if…

Fear invades and overwhelms my grief.

When a Hamburger Makes you invades and overwhelms my grief.

In these moments, I must tell myself, “Practice what you preach.  Take every thought captive.”  All those what if questions, we are not there yet.  We are simply at the very next thing.  The very next thing in this season is cutting up my husband’s food on a regular basis.  That is the very next thing.

Because we are accepting, adjusting, adapting, I share this with you to give you a glimpse of our lives.  I don’t share our experiences for sympathy and comfort; I share so that you see our faith and struggles collide.

When a Hamburger Makes you time when faith and struggles collide.


It doesn’t make us less of a Christian because we struggle.  We haven’t lost our faith.  We aren’t paralyzed and useless because we struggle.  It’s simple, we have encountered a moment that we need to stop and grieve.

[bctt tweet=”In our grieving moments, God is faithful.  ” username=”kksmith8694″]

He swoops right in and ministers to our hearts amidst awkwardness and pain.  He reminds us that His strength is perfect when our strength is gone, and He carries us when we can’t carry on.

His compassion is much bigger than hamburger soup.

His comfort is more powerful than cut up chicken.

And His peace extends past the slice of pizza into the depths of our hearts.

When a Hamburger Makes you strength is made perfect in our weakness.-#MSsucks #multiplesclerosisstruggles #faithandstrugglescollide #hisstrengthisperfect #grievethelossesinlifethenmoveon #dothenextthing #nowords #acceptadjustadapt


Wife of 20+ years. Mom to 3 children. Love sharing my life with weary hearts so that we can know the One who is Good, who is in Control, and Whose strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Beth Edwards

    Pizza- I am wondering if Zine got just crus tplus an inch or two- The rest of you- only pizza middle. You may already be doing this

    1. kksmith8694

      Yes, that’s basically what we are doing!

  2. Sarah Geringer

    Sweet Karen, thank you for sharing so vulnerably. Your family will be in my prayers, friend.

    1. kksmith8694

      Thank you, sweet friend.

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