How you put it into the camera and put a soundtrack to it, and suddenly you appreciate how much it's all worth? You see them anew, see their smiles and hear their chirpy fast-forward mouse voices. You see the baby, smiling sweetly, fresh from his nap. You think, wow, the houses are really cute.
You stop thinking, why does concrete have to hold so much heat? You don't see the kidney-stone/colitis combo your husband has been suffering from for three weeks, or the massive skin infection you're recovering from. You don't see the ant bites, smell the trash burning. You don't see the struggles you have with feeling like you are never quite good enough. As a mom, as a friend, as a wife. Nobody is complaining about being bored, no one is fighting. No one is falling off the three short steps and bashing their head on the bottom one and being rushed to the hospital to get sixteen stitches.
Hmm. This is getting confusing. Let's change pronouns and tenses.
(Leafy fell, yesterday, when I wasn't here. He was just on the front steps, but he slipped or tripped, or something. There was blood everywhere. You could see his precious Leafy skull. And then later, all stitched up and much better, all he could talk about was that now he looks like a Transformer. He's amazing, that kid.)
I guess I am writing this because of the overwhelming love my commenters give me, and the way they affirm our parenting choices. I don't want to be a fraud. It is not all pretty. But it is very blessed, very good, and we are very thankful. We trade some things for others. Clean spaces for wide spaces, well-built houses for houses close together.
I am a typical neurotic basket case. I question myself everyday. I mostly keep it inside, keep it simple, and just continue. Keep calm and carry on, and all that.
I'm starting to think that the ability to accept the love of God is more than just a bonus, it is an essential part of my faith. If I, as a Christian, can't receive love from God, then what can I do? If I am low, dragging my belly on the ground, constantly prostrating myself rather than holding my head in the sun? I only have words, then. But my loud message, the one that I carry, is like a wave beating on the wall of the lie that is constantly vibrating under our ground, under the whole earth, poisoning the air. It causes all the brokenness and pain; the lie: "The Creator does not love you. He does not want you, he doesn't like you."
So my life work is first to practice being loved. He is loving, so I am lovely. I practice this, I bring it into me, I walk farther and farther through the dust of the constant lying, the constant travail and evil of the opposite. Of the names unloved, irredeemable, screw up, simply worthless. It's a good life work, being loved.
Second, to practice love. To see the loved ones all around me and to extend an open hand. To be gracious, to be clear, to sing with ringing tones the very truth that keeps my bones together. We are loved!
I often have a picture or a story that I return to, in meditation. Lately I think about an ashram. I've read many things about ashrams, but one thing is that in an ashram with a human guru, there is so much hope deferred, so much competition for the slightest bit of attention, the slightest glance from the guru. Oh, if he would notice me, oh, maybe if I get close enough, maybe if I prove myself... he passed and again he didn't see me. Maybe if I give more money?
In my picture of the ashram where Jesus lives, the guru (Jesus), has enough attention for every person there. He envelops and fills at once. He gives a gentle reassuring touch on the arm, his eyes are understanding, he sits among a busy crowd and there is always enough.
My heart is filled with thankfulness. I will practice this. Next time I feel like I'm not enough, I will remind myself that I am loved. That there is enough room for all of us.