My oldest daughter looked at me from the pool and said, "Come on Mom, join in the fun!" I was sitting in my chair waiting for my sunscreen to soak in. That is what I always say when I am wanting to lay in my chair and just soak up some rays like the old days. But, I was persuaded and got in that cold, newly chemically treated pool. It was fun.
I do miss me some fun, but less these days than before. I used to find myself getting so caught up in having everything a certain way, that I was missing out on relationship - and sanity. Jesus said to a couple of gals once (one who was busy and resentful and the other who was sitting around enthralled in relationship) that ONLY ONE THING WAS NEEDED and the one who chose relationship was right. Oh, to be able to discern what that ONE right thing is in any given moment. But, I think the answer is almost always...relationship. I had to sacrifice a lot to live this one out. Well, it seemed like a lot in the beginning, but now it seems like nothing at all.
My house is MUCH less orderly and clean than my previous self would have stood for. My car is a freaking nightmare. I don't get a shower as often as I think is probably socially acceptable. I don't wear makeup much - that requires looking into a mirror and there is NO TIME for crap like that around my house.
Did I mention I have three kids? Three blessings. Three precious little tools who God is using to scrape out, bit by bit, those plaques of selfishness and pride that have been adhered to my heart since I was made. From the outside it looks like I am giving up physique (that may be true), career, money, "self".... but really I AM GAINING.
It's true. I am becoming what none of those things could accomplish in me. And I know that because I know who I was before I received the reward of kids and running a home full time. Academics and medicine (I am a doctor by trade and by debt) really kept me running at a pace that did not allow for much introspection. Maybe I subconsciously chose it for that reason. It also served to distinguish me from being "just another one of those" and to provide a setting for nearly constant verbal praise. I can see now that residing in that world, for me, was not going to rid me anytime soon of my addiction to stature and approval.
Don't I make motherhood sound appealing?
Well, it has been for me but in no way that I would have thought. Becoming patient, it seems, requires a patience testing reality. And, I got that. Check. Getting over myself requires, it turns out, a job of relentless, seemingly menial tasks that get little to no recognition from "the world" (not my family or husband, they praise me often).
I love the truth, you should know that about me from the start. I like to hear it. I like to learn it and incorporate it into my life. I like that it can be known. I like that it is not relative. I like that it does not change. I totally love the Truth.
And in the situation of being a mother, I find the truth is this: becoming the person God has in mind for me to be will happen in relationship, probably challenging and time consuming relationship. Probably in relationship settings that make me want to run for the hills. Probably in relationships with people who cannot be fooled into thinking I am smart, witty, perfect or any other thing I might like to project.
So to submit to this process I had to stop doing what I always did so I could become something more than what I was. I had to join in the fun of life, in all it's different forms, and put off the stuff of life that did not really meaningfully contribute to that metamorphosis. I had to stop doing and start being. Being engaged, being present, being less about what I have to say and want to do and more about what I can hear and enable.
I can sit out in the sun and get a nice tan alone, or I can jump in and join the fun and look all kinds of awesome on the inside.