Archive | July 2012

Perspective

My sweet little Katie just cut a new tooth today, giving her a total of three, and causing her to cry incessantly at naptime and need her mommy more than she usually does. This hasn’t made our nights easy (or restful), and I can be a really useless monster when I’m pregnant and sleep-deprived (heck, just when I’m sleep-deprived), which doesn’t make for a very happy day around here. To add to the exhausted grumpiness, every struggle I encounter in my daily work is framed in a “how the heck am I going to do this with THREE kids?!” freak out that taints my ability to see clearly. Unfortunately, when I’m pregnant, I feel like time stands still, and all I’m doing is waiting for life to drastically change–again. But life does go on; I merely am not fully present for it because my misaligned mindset paints my entire perspective and ability (or inability) to function properly. Not fair to my kids. If I step away from it all and try to look at it objectively, it’s easy to see that I just need to get over myself.

When Ellie was Katie’s age, we weren’t dealing with teething. Or if we were, we had no idea because we had bigger problems. After two GI doctors in two cities and countless tests and images taken of her belly, we never got a clear diagnosis for what was wrong with Ellie. I’ll take losing a little sleep due to teething over a mysterious digestive problem any day of the week. My healthy child who just needs a little Advil and some extra hugs is well worth the trouble.

After the girls were in bed tonight, I really wanted some cheesecake, so I went to Kroger to get some. On my way in, I walked past a dad and his daughter who wore some fuzzy comfy pajamas as they walked out of the store. As I tried to avoid running into the girl, she deliberately stepped in front of me and gave me a hug. I was surprised, to say the least. She held me around my waist and pressed her head against my belly. At first, I wondered what was going on and whether the dad would pry her off of me, then I just decided to hug her back and wait for her dad to do something. He calmly told her that now wasn’t the time for hugs, as if this were a common occurrence, and, realizing that this little girl has a story much bigger than merely wearing comfy pajamas to the grocery store, I waited for her to listen to her dad and let go, as I told the embarrassed man “it’s ok.”

It’s ok. Maybe it’s not ok for him. Maybe this girl has some mental illness or disability. Maybe she doesn’t have a mother and needed a hug. Maybe both. My heart felt sorrow for her and her dad. After saying a quick silent prayer for them, I continued on my quest for cheesecake, but I couldn’t help thinking about them. Is life hard? Or is it just life? Life that one must adjust to, move on, and live. My life isn’t nearly as difficult as I imagine this man’s life to be. I do believe that God only gives us what we can handle, but then what does that say of me? I am weak. I cannot handle very much at all! I know that through all of this, He is refining me. But gosh, why do I have to go kicking and screaming through it all? I just need to stop. And let myself be hugged, maybe even smothered by all of this. I will come out of it in better shape than I went in.

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Sacrifice

I am not good at sacrificing. Maybe no one is "good" at it (sacrifice is sacrifice because you give up something important), but I just feel particularly resistant to giving up this part of my life. I don't totally know why. Thursday I had a doctor's appointment. The baby is growing right on track, and I saw the little heartbeat on the screen. But as I looked at the image, I didn't feel the wonder and amazement and love that I felt for my first two babies. Instead, I felt disconnected, like I was stuck in a surreal world where nothing made sense. Seeing that image made it seem even less real. And it breaks my heart that I can't accept that I am indeed pregnant and will have a third child early next year. Why can't I wrap my heart around it? My head understands that I'm pregnant. My body sure does too; I'm going through the motions, taking care of my body,  feeling the physical symptoms, but my heart just isn't in it. I've prayed for God to open my heart to this new life, to help me accept my irrevocable reality. Silence. God has left the building. Maybe not entirely, since He left me a few people to love me, listen to me, and help me... even to teach me a thing or two about sacrifice. Maybe I'm too busy throwing a screaming tantrum to listen to everything He's saying. 


I have a friend who just recently donated a kidney to her dad. A kidney. A living organ. A literal piece of herself. If she had any doubt or inner struggle about whether or not to do it, she never showed an ounce of it. Donate her kidney? Sure! No problem! That’s sacrifice. And she made it look so easy. There are things in her life she had to give up because of this. Like martial arts. And salty food. Not to mention undergoing major, painful surgery and giving up her summer for it. She did so unflinchingly. Even cheerfully. This summer, my friend donated a kidney. What did I do? I whined about being pregnant.

I knitted her a kidney… she (and her dad) loved it!

Our old parish priest once said a phrase in a homily that has really stuck with us (so much that a friend even gave us a garden stone with the words written on it): “Where there is true love, sacrifice is easy.” Sacrifice has been on my mind a lot lately, ever since I realized that it does not come easily to me. See, it goes beyond being unable to wrap my heart around this pregnancy. It’s that I’m selfish. Sometimes for the right reasons but other times because I like to be comfortable, I’m set in my ways, and because, well, I’m just selfish. Yet my beliefs, my morality, and my chosen method of family planning all require a certain degree of sacrifice on an almost daily basis, coupled with a big helping of Trust in God. Not exactly compatible with selfishness. Or my tendency to be impulsive… Or my need to control certain things. You know, like my future plans that make God laugh. I had this idea of what my life would be like, and up until now, it was going just as I had envisioned. Cue the crying spoiled child. So it’s taking me some time to adjust. But I will. I know this plan of God’s will be even better than what I planned for myself. Now if I could just feel what I know too…

Like the words on this stone, my ability to sacrifice has faded… time to find it again.