Sunday, February 28, 2016

life giving


The cursor blinks in the top corner of this blank screen taunting me like the dripping of water, like the ticking of a clock that mocks me with each second spent since seconds are hard to come by these days.  And when a second does come, I'm paralyzed by indecision.  Do I clean the kitchen, fold the laundry, swap out kids clothes for new sizes for the millionth time, paint that window trim, organize our bathroom closet, read a book, rest, write?  Whatever I do seems the wrong thing.  If I rest, I'm kicking myself for not being productive.  If I try to be productive, I'm kicking myself for not fueling my soul.

These seconds came because my husband took the kids out of the house for a few hours.  He knew that if he didn't, he would have a mess of a wife for the next week.   I'm an introvert, and I desperately need alone time to recharge, and quite simply to be a functioning human being who isn't a basket case day in and day out.

We have a 6 year old, 3 year old, and 4 month old (at the time of this writing).   I don't sail into motherhood gracefully.  Rather, I crash land with each new birth.  I used to beat myself up about this, but now I just accept it.  I know that I will go to dark places, that I will take more time than most to bond with my kids, that I need time to myself away from my kids, even that brand new baby.

On the whole, our life is beautiful.  Three amazing kids, a home of our very own, great community of friends and family.   But I have often felt like I'm drowning, like someone is standing over me, holding me down with a hand on top of my head as I thrash and flail against them.  I have felt so defeated as the house is messy again, my son screams in my face, my daughter runs to her room and slams the door, the baby has trouble nursing, there's dinner to cook again and clean up again, diapers to change, lunches to make, toilets to scrub, parenting books to read.  What is urgent overshadowing what is important.

Yes, this is holy work, this raising of tiny humans, but I don't know how to balance the monotony with the chaos of this task.  I don't want this mundane hand on the top of my head.  I haven't learned yet to find beauty in the simple rhythms or to understand that sometimes it's these ordinary moments that make life extraordinary.  I'm working on it.

And so, I seek.  I write.  I make a list of what brings me joy...what is life-giving to me:




And I write down what is life-sucking:



And then I stared at them...hard...and what should have been blatantly obvious suddenly became so.  Almost EVERYTHING I'm doing, the things that make up most of my days, are on the life-sucking list. Hardly anything I'm doing is on the life-giving list.  Somewhere along the way, I got lost in my own life.

I normally pride myself in my strength and being able to handle any challenge, but sometimes that self-sufficiency becomes a crutch not that holds me up, but that slows me down and makes me limp.  I'm learning to ask for help and to say specifically what I need.   I'm learning to think about what brings me joy and pursue those things even if in the margins.  Hence, this blog that is stumbling along.

So, I ask you.  What brings you joy?  What makes you come alive?  What is life-giving to you?

Whatever you must do...do that.

If you'll humor me, write what is life-giving to you in the comments here.  I dare you.
















13 comments:

  1. Life-giving to me - Each and every day, Fannie's love and smile, my ukulele and guitar (despite I am not that a good player), - Merrill

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  2. Photography! Like...the slow kind where I can take my time with a shot and not have crying children pull me along and not get the capture I wanted. Where I use my heavy camera, because I'm not also carrying a diaper bag, baby, and lunch for everyone.
    Sigh. That is life-giving to me.

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    1. I can so see this for you. Maybe a photography session in your near future while Jon watches the kiddos? I bet there's a lot of great captures in Singapore!!

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  3. Prayer, sunshine, warm weather, a blue sky with white puffy clouds, green grass, horses, giggling happy children, children working together as a happy team, one on one time with my kids, productivity, clean house, simple life, slow life, broken in jeans, driving off road, QT with my better half, financial stability

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    Replies
    1. Love these. I can so see these in you. Thanks for sharing and for being so supportive here.

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  4. Taking a deep breath...moving my body....having an amazing conversation...hearing something inspiring on NPR...woods...water...knowing you have made a difference...beautiful things. Life giving.
    Reading your blog and the immense power of relatability. :)
    Emily

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    1. Love this, Emily. Your encouragement means so much!

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  5. Amy just last month I started this practice in my journal of noticing when something stirs me and gives me life. It's so important to know what those are. Some from my list are chopping vegetables, watching someone's hands make beautiful food, singing songs loudly with some of my favorite friends, teaching a crowd of people about something I love and feeling them respond. Speaking words of truth about who someone is to them.

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    1. What a great idea, Kelley. I agree...so easy to go through life on autopilot and not really notice those things and the stirrings in our spirits. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  6. Beautiful, thank you. What is life giving to me is slowing down and doing a little yoga (even just 5 min) and art, creating something beautiful and singing (haven't sung in church since I was preggo but I get to this weekend!).

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    1. I had no idea you were a singer! How did it go this weekend? Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here.

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  7. Great idea! Here are some of mine: working out when there's someone else to boss around, eating out at a new restaurant with just Jeff and ordering a lot of food :), being alone in my car, happy hour in the backyard with the sun on my face and a friend by my side- kids playing peacefully together!

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