Making a Convivial Home
- My Journey (2009)
And I crumbled. The repetitive, never-ending, never-finished nature of my work bore down upon me and made me want to give up on it all. I wanted to know, I needed to know, whether any of it was worth my time at all. Somehow, it became an either/or question. Either it is worthwhile or it is not. And I didn’t know which it was.
I have lived all my life alongside small children, and I am quite accomplished at ignoring them and feeling too often like they are nuisances who really should just leave me alone already.
Sometimes “purposeful” and “intentional” can turn into “taking oneself too seriously.”
I am living the life I always wanted.
I no longer had a sense of humor with my children. I was in “get through the day” mode, and I was seeing them as little packages of responsibilities and duties rather than little individuals. I was not having fun.
Affliction will come, sooner or later, and what will it show? If how I respond then will be simply a magnification of how I respond now to minor irritations and inconveniences, then I doubt I’ll be a sweet old lady.
Closeness, such as between husband and wife, does not negate these scriptural commands in the slightest, even though we are tempted to treat those we love worse than we do total strangers. Somehow, we think it’s more “real” and “authentic” to let things rip with those who are obligated to put up with us.
There is no newbie astonishment, no convert zeal for me. No, I have lived with a toddler in the house my entire life, from the time I was a toddler until now, only excepting my 9 months in the dorm and the first 2 years of our marriage. I love little kids, and I can’t really conceive of not having one around, but I am reliably informed that it does happen, sooner or later. I have also found my oldest-sister perspective often clouding my mothering perspective. My habitual response is often that children’s exhuberance is grating and annoying, that children pester, pester and should really leave me alone already. Perhaps, finally, eight years into this gig, my perspective and attitude is shifting into a truly maternal mode.
I feel that I don’t have the energy to take that dare, but perhaps that is precisely the point. It brings me to a place where I can’t do without God’s grace. It requires patience, steadfastness, unselfishness, and self-control that I can’t gin up, even with a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine). But those are precisely the qualities the Holy Spirit is here to give. And if I am drawing on His strength rather than my own, how much better a grace will my children see, know, and learn?
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