Thinking with a friend today about how we are free to make choices. We were talking specifically about having more kids. And the longings on both sides of that question. But the concept is clear. We are free, we are made free and we can say yes or no. And saying yes to one thing means saying no to other things. And saying no to one thing means saying yes to other things. Seems black and white. But add some grace in there and maybe its something different altogether….
I think about how to do this work-mom balance. How to do life once I’ve said “Yes” – a big, wholehearted “Yes” to doing work I love to do. Safe to say I don’t have it figured out. I still spend a good couple of hours in quality time with those babies of mine each day. They are thriving and happy kids but I do worry about the tv time. And the quick dinners. I am squeezing in a lot of work late at night or early in the morning. I forget things all the time. I forgot to pick my kid up from school once. I forgot to take my kids to the dentist when I made the appt. THAT MORNING! I bailed on an interfaith dinner last week that was important to me because my kids were in no condition to come with me and we couldn’t find an alternative care plan in time….and I was surprised at how hard and disheartening and like failure that felt. My brain is often preoccupied with what I should be doing next, it feels full when someone talks while I’m trying to process something. And the house is closer to a garbage pile decorated with a slime-pocked carpet than a home—well, at least the home I envision smart, capable, fun, brilliant people have. Also….there’s rabbits…..
Yes and no. Yes to calling and yes to my beloveds. No to uncluttered entryways…. Its not undoable, this work/mom thing. But it probably won’t feel clear and without big waves – not for awhile anyways. I read this just now in the introduction to Colossians Remixed by Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmat who happen to be scholars, pastors, married to each other and parents. And the thing with the New Testament’s vision of life – new life – is that it is done together. Everything we know about becoming God’s, becoming more our self’s and becoming each other’s happens with those right in front of us. All we know about God will blossom in community – grown in soil, tilled and fertilized but the harvest comes within community. And they mentioned how they wrote this book together, over many years, WITHIN their family life – within the first community of intimate living.
“Our three children did not have to “suffer through” the writing of this book. If they did then the book would in fact lack credibility. We did not “sacrifice” family life through long absences while researching and writing. So we offer the kids no apologies. Rather we thank them for grounding our lives in the important things like learning and housekeeping, playing and growing up, stories and nighttime prayers, tears and laughter.”
My calling only makes sense within the confines of this family, worked out with generosity and honesty and trembling and forgiveness and patience. Worked out while their lives are rooting more each day in beautiful and hard things.
And that to me is the truth and the “Yes” of this year and this life going forward. Yes to figuring out how to live this vision of wholeness, reconciliation, and grace IN THIS FAMILY, WITH THESE BABIES, AND THAT MAN WHO IS, AS WE SPEAK, WRESTLING THEM WHILE THEY SHOULD BE BRUSHING THEIR TEETH. I love them all and all this is for nothing if the truth of restored living does not bear fruit in the growing with, the playing with, the listening to, the story-telling back and forth that shapes it all.
Not sure if any of that made sense. But tonight, this has helped ground my overwhelmed heart. In the context of community, this community, will I know this calling fully. Its not either/or. Its not family or vocation. But Both/And/This-sometimes-yes/that-sometimes-No. Its slower but rooted and that is good.
And so now its off to break up the wrestling and read some Captain Underpants, do the dishes and think about good good news.