This weekend my husband and I had a come to Jesus talk. Here in Texas come to Jesus is synonymous with getting down to the real stuff…confessing and purposing. It all started with my daughter Elinor. I was on the computer writing a post for this blog. Slade was cleaning the kitchen, and in walks Whirlwind (that is what we like to call our little buzz saw). She asked me to come outside and swing her, all of her sisters had refused. It was a gorgeous day, plenty of sunshine and just the right temperature. Well, I told her no. Slade kept right on cleaning. And she left dejected, tears in her eyes.
Now, I am not the mother that always says “yes.” I do not always play with my kids when they ask. So, it was not the “no” in particular that bothered me. It is a pile of nos, a big lazy pile of not nows, and in a minutes and not tonights and maybe laters that got the conversation started, the one where my husband and I vowed together to do better, to give it a little more gas. We both feel the overwhelming demands of five children, and their needs are always before us, always stretching us.
No matter your circumstance, you have a great opportunity for holiness. That’s what I heard a priest say once. That little sentence is stuck in my head like a bad song. I play it over and over.
My circumstance is always about my salvation. If I saw that I am in need, just as much as those I am called to serve, well maybe I could get this whole upside-down mothering thing.
So this morning instead of feeling like I had to get out of bed super early and pray, I just said my prayers in the dark while Sam nursed. Instead of scheduling and going about in a tizzy, maybe I can manage today with just doing the next thing, what my husband calls living organically. (He intervened last night as I attempted a written schedule. His words, “Honey, it won’t work. Just get up and hit it, live organically. Don’t waste your time.”) He’s right. I have tried micromanagement a thousand times…it always ends the same. Isn’t that the definition of insanity…trying the same thing over and over again expecting different results?
And so today I am just reflecting, and just hitting it.
The bulk of my emotional energy as a mother is spent on prioritizing and then making decisions. It is a hard task to juggle the needs of a family. And that does not even include outside relationships with extended family and friends. I can feel my heart as I choose one thing over the other, or say no to something important so I can say yes to something that I deem is more important. Sometimes the decisions I make are extremely difficult, decisions that from the outside may look small or insignificant, like who gets to go to the store with me, or if we go to see grandparents for the weekend or stay home and rest, or if I serve beans or fish for supper. You see, behind these decisions is a driving force, something that speaks of what I think makes a good life. It is the good life that I am in pursuit of, that I hope I am living. And so I push hard to get some things done.
And sometimes my choices cause disappointment, and I have to let those around me adjust. This is the hard part. And when I fail at the good life, I have to live with the regret. I find that a large part of the mother experience is learning to work through regret, and growing through guilt.
Evidently I believe that swinging my Whirlwind in her swing under a big Oak tree on a warm sunny day is the good life. Otherwise why would I feel regret at missing that moment? This weekend’s conversation was all about the good life, what my husband and I think makes a good life, and examining if are living the good life.
We chose it…this good life. It was all a choice. It is still a choice…one determined and purposeful choice at a time.
Just for Fun!I found a few quotes on BrainyQuote that I thought were fun. Read through them and pick which one you most identify with. Just for fun I will give my guess at what your choice says about you.
A. Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued. Socrates.
B. The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Bertrand Russell
C. Thank you, God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough.Garrison Keillor
D. I have a very good life, so I have nothing to complain about. Sometimes, I just have existential angst. Meg Ryan
If you Chose…
A. You are a very principled person. You make decisions based primarily on what your principles dictate. Some may call you a “black and white” person. This makes you very dutiful and responsible. You are very comfortable with leadership, and you are highly respected. You are a go to kind of person.
B. You are a very sensitive soul, feeling you way around this earth. You are kind and introspective. You enjoy quiet contemplation and making decisions based on what feels right to you. Some may describe you as an “old soul.” You make a very good friend, but tend to crave solitude.
C. You are a burden bearer. Your decisions are made based on what you think will make those around you happy. This is not a weakness, just the way you interact with your world. You are a very hard worker, and people rely on your expertise. Your perception of yourself never matches the compliments you receive. People often call you a good person.
D. You are quirky. You see the world differently than most of your peers and this causes you to be misunderstood in many cases. You make decisions based on your own beliefs, and are not easily swayed. Some may call you an eccentric, and you poses a kind of earthy wisdom. You are free-spirited and love to try new things.
Did I get it right? If not, it was fun anyway.
I like to study people. Which one do you think I chose?