Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's not what you do


{From HT}

A lot of times, it feels like someone is picking on us. All of the awful things just come tumbling down at once like an avalanche and we feel all sorts of miserable. We wish for another life. We hope that things will turn out like we dreamed. Or, we daydream about what it might be like to have another life, a different version of our current reality. One where everything is perfect. Where we have the opportunities to enjoy the things we don't have time for now. A moment to drink in all of the things we take for granted in this life. In that other world, the perfect one, maybe we could get it right if given just a small opportunity. We'd savor all the things we don't have, drink in the joy and know what it feels like to be perfectly, simply, happy.

I'm just as guilty as you are. I wonder what it would be like to have a child, one that has my husband's blue eyes, my crazy blond hair and a serious attitude problem. {I'm pretty sure I sat behind her in church on Sunday.} I dream of what it might be like to be pregnant. I'm curious what it's like to plan for children. I'd love to know what it feels like to see a positive pregnancy test on the bathroom counter instead of throwing hundreds of dollars away on tests that all say the same thing: NOT PREGNANT. Or, to be surprised by a plus sign when I wasn't planning for one. A 'happy accident,' if you will.

It's in those little moments, the ones where we secretly wish for another life, that we begin to realize there are things that are meant to be and there are things that are not meant to be. It seems a bit savage to think that we aren't meant to have a dream, a beautiful blessing, or that we'll never know a certain joy, but it is true. Maybe the the thing that is meant to be is that your dream isn't meant to be.

My mother sent me an e-mail last month. She said she felt compelled to go to church one day after dropping her students off at gym class (she is a teacher at a Catholic elementary school). The priest saying mass said something that struck her: He said, "It's not what you do; it's what God is doing through you that's important." Awful things happen to us, but they happen for a reason: that's why Susan G. Komen got breast cancer, why every other person in this world who was dealt a poor hand received the worst cards in the deck. You can't get pissed off at God for your troubles when you see what good comes of your having them.

And you can't wish your current life away, wishing for a different life instead of this one. Things could always be easier, better, simpler. But they're not. And they're not for a reason. For me, I don't know the reason. You probably don't either. I haven't realized the good in my troubles just yet. But I know one thing for sure: I can only realize the good of this situation with two feet firmly planted in this life, not grasping for the one I wish I had. Maybe we're meant to save a child from a terrible life. Perhaps I'm meant to remind you to treasure the moments and blessings you sometimes take for granted because they came easily to you. Or maybe we aren't meant to have children at all. I just don't know where this path leads.

More than anything, I find myself yearning for the good that I see in things that others might see as awful. The thing about being dealt (what you perceive is) a poor hand, is that you feel this compelling force, urging you to find the positive, good things in the potential misery. It's as though I can avoid the emptiness by feeling its joy and realizing it's a blessing, not a curse.

So, I listen closely to the quiet in my home and think of how loud it would be with children. I am thankful for the peace. And I sleep soundly through the night because there isn't a screaming baby to keep me awake. I find joy in being well-rested. I leave the house alone to easily run errands for hours on end. I treasure the time alone. I leave sharp things on the coffee table. I don't feel guilty for it. I take long vacations and naps. We spend money that doesn't have to go to a child's care. I lay on the couch whenever I feel like it. I take a shower whenever I feel like it. I go on bike rides with my husband. I admire my flat stomach in the mirror. I listen to everyone complain about their children, their bodies, their lives. They are inconvenienced, tired and annoyed. I used to wait patiently for the follow-up. You know, the part where they say, "But's it's all worth it. I wouldn't trade my life before children for this one." Most of the time, it never comes. Perhaps those who feel that way never speak of the joy that resides amongst the chaos because it's easily forgotten. I just don't know.

It is in those moments, where I listen to the quiet that reverberates throughout my home, that I realize there is joy to be found in every moment life has to offer us. I know that the potential decisions that plague my brain don't have to be made this instant. I realize that sometimes the moment you think you have it all figured out, life serves you a palette cleanser before the next course of the meal. The choas is actually happening in concert, by the book and according to the plan. Waiting for the moment it can peek through the clouds and work through you.

2 comments:

Kerry McCullough said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kerry McCullough said...

I am happy to be the first to tell you that it has all been worth it for me. However it works out for you guys, I'm sure it will be for the best- but it made me sad to hear that most parents you have met have felt inconvenienced and lost their zest for life. I don't think it's like that for everyone :)

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