I recently read this article and this quote popped out at me:
For those of us who feel that time is our scarcest resource, often this requires slowing ourselves down sufficiently to be present to the person. It means that we view individuals as human beings rather than as embodied needs or interruptions.
The first thing that I thought of while reading this was a question someone posed a while back, in regards to parenting. We were talking about our time and money and how sometimes our time is more valuable than money (meaning we have more money for certain things than time). As the conversation continued, I mentioned that I couldn’t understand people who hire out nannies to do all the ‘yuck’ jobs in parenting (like changing diapers), but they reserve the fun stuff for themselves. Then, in a moment of profundity, my friend asked, “Well if you had the money to pay for a nanny, would you have them do those undesirables?”
Instantly, I thought, “Of course I wouldn’t! It stands against everything I believe in as a parent.” But, as I thought about it more, I began to wonder if I really would hire out for the ‘yuck’ jobs in parenting. And the more I thought about it, I didn’t know what I would do. I found myself shocked that I would actually consider hiring out certain motherly duties, because they are “embodied needs or interruptions.” I can understand if this might shock some of you, because you might find tremendous joy in being a mother and all it has to offer. But am I wrong for not finding it to be the most joyful of tasks given to me? It’s not that I don’t like or even love being a mom to my wonderful girls, but there are times (say when you’re dealing with the fourth temper tantrum, while the baby is whining to be picked up, and all you want is for once to drink a hot cup of coffee) when I want something more and can see my children as hindrances to my journey.
It’s in those moments when my mind, heart, & ideals run a muck. Because it’s not as if I dream of horrible things. In fact, they’re quite wholesome & good (i.e. creating hospitable arenas within my life and others, helping others find who they are created to be, bake & cook to bring vitality in community); however, it’s when I let these intrude upon my current post. Or better yet, I think it’s when I try to find contentment, satisfaction, or joy outside of the mundane. You know, when we think the “BIG” things or the “Spiritual” things are in the signs, wonders & miracles, but we neglect to see (or I neglect to see) that they often happen in the everyday occurrences of life.
It’s in the small things like: changing my baby’s diaper, teaching my 2 year old how to stay calm in the midst of adversity, or making my family supper, which is more hospitable, more caring, more loving…more of where God is wanting me to dwell at this moment in time. I have to refocus my mind, heart, and ideas to conform to “where am I right now” and “how does God dwell in the midst of it?” I have to ask myself if I can see the bigger picture in the “yuck jobs” or am I expecting God to really move in the bigger moments in my life. Do I see my children as inconveniences to me, which in turn is anything but hospitable?
I am realizing more and more that being hospitable cannot be measured, which makes it very ambiguous and uncomfortable. I guess that’s why efficiency has to be taken out of the equation, because relationships are never “done” so to speak. I cannot simply do X, Y, & Z and expect completion. It’s a constant work in progress, which is definitely true about mothering. Therefore, when I begin to think my family is interfering with my dream, I think I have to ask myself, “Does God only work in the sacred, rare moments, or does he work holistically in the journey?”