A post with no title.
May 12, 2010
Warning! Stream of Consciousness blog post:
So, I had a great Mother’s Day. Dave was so great; he arranged for us to hang out with our mothers on the two days preceding Sunday, so the whole day on Sunday could be restful and focused on…MOI! Gotta love that! My girls treated me to all manner of homemade cards, bookmarks, letters, drawings, and lots of hugs and proclamations of love. Really sweet.
So why, two days later, do I feel grumpy and impatient?
There is the obvious answer – sin and selfishness. And I do have the sense of needing to spend some time just resting in God’s tenderness for me, grieving the fact that I’m not in control of the people or circumstances in my life, and generally re-orienting my gaze upward and away from myself.
But there is a less obvious answer, and I want to explore what it is and where it’s coming from.
I derive a lot of satisfaction from being a good mom and wife. I try to keep our household running fairly smoothly, but I also try to inject some joy and thoughtfulness into the minds and hearts of my children. The monotony of laundry, dishes, errands, pet care, kid care, helping with homework, playing boring games with a preschooler, and schlepping kids to various activities gains meaning when I remember that I’m “doing the work He has given me to do, in beauty and truth, and for the common good…”
That little phrase in the Book of Common Prayer has helped me through many a tedious mother-day.
I don’t have huge career ambitions right now. Maybe one day, when my children are up and grown, I’d want to reach outside of the home for my main vocation. But for now, I’m grateful to be a full-time mom and homemaker.
Except for when I’m not.
Speaking of the prayer book, our family has been trying to go through the Catechism at the end to help our children gain a good grasp of Christian doctrine. The first section on Human Nature states that being made in His image means that we are free to make choices: to love, to create, to reason, and to live in harmony with creation and with God. What a list!! The”loving” and “living in harmony” are the things that seem to require most of my attention in my mothering and homemaking. But I sorely feel that the other elements of what it means to be made in His image are clambering for attention.
To create. I LOVE making things. I love doing art projects with the kids, so I have an excuse to make stuff myself. Colors, paints, clay, sidewalk chalks, embroidery, paper crafting. Creative expression feeds my soul. Even creating a good meal satisfies some part in me. (And according to my family, I’ve become a pretty darn good cook!) Musically, I’ve rediscovered that I really love sitting down at the piano and playing songs. My mom bought me a sewing machine for Mother’s Day and I’m so eager to figure out how to make stuff with it. But oh, the messes of creating. There is the reality that me creating = me cleaning up another mess. Or in the case of playing music, it means telling my kids (especially Bridget) to just BACK OFF and let Mommy have one minute to herself. (Whoa, that one is a little fresh. Just today, I spent literally all day with Bridget, playing with her and having fun with her, and she was sulky and resentful when I got a whim after dinner to play “Simple Gifts” on the piano. She kept putting the jar of ladybugs that she’d captured right in front of the music until I finally banished her from the room. She went to the stairs and just watched me with big, reproachful eyes.) Aaarrrggghhhh.
To reason. Another facet of being created in God’s image is to reason. And I hunger for this. I listen to audio books and podcasts to keep my brain from turning to mush as I do all the boring tasks of household management. And thank goodness for Dave, with whom I can have mentally stimulating conversations. And I have some friends that will get deep with me, trying to plumb the depths of some mystery or talk through some ideas. But I feel lonely in my mind, a lot. I long to learn more, read more, discuss more. Just today, I took Bridget to see How To Train Your Dragon. And I enjoyed it. But there was a nerd part of me that thought, “Huh. This movie reminds me of that Postmodern trend to have the “excluded other” become the champion of the story. That the high “virtue” of tolerance shows us that all we used to think is absolutely wrong. That dragons, with the exception of one (the fearsome Red Death) are good and want to be our friends and helpers.” I somehow don’t think Bridget would like that conversation, though. She just wants to recount the fun details of the flying dragons, the funny scenes, etc. I want to talk about this with someone, to compare it to other literature I’ve read, to see if anyone else thinks this is interesting.
This is just one tiny example.
And this is one reason I impulsively signed Dave and I up to attend the Hutchmoot. I read the Rabbit Room blog. I often intend to enter the conversation in the comments section, as soon as I get my thoughts together and sit down to reason out something that makes sense. Usually I just end up being a “lurker.” But this gathering intrigued me. I’ve admired the songs and writing of Andrew Peterson and others that write on the blog for a couple of years. And when I read today that Walter Wangerin was going to be attending, I hesitated no longer. It’s supposed to be a group experience to enrich the life of the mind, to help feed that drive to reason and create. I’m excited and uncertain as to what to expect.
I told you this was going to “stream of consciousness.” I can’t even think of a title for this.