Wednesday, January 31, 2007

How are you doing?

That's a question I'm posing as this is the last day of January, and I think a good day to reflect on any New Year's resolutions, or in my case, my 'quest for personal enrichment' for 2007. How is it going?
You will thank me for NOT posting yesterday. I was crabby. For most of the day. It could be that the kids had a snow-delay and so the day was all mixed up to begin with, or the fact that Bella, Wyndham and Ava couldn't get along with anything or anyone from the hours of 10am and 7 pm. Or maybe that I was thinking too much about my desire to live my life more sacrificially, and I just wasn't 'feeling it' yesterday. Which created inner conflict.
I know. It's sounds a little bit deep, and it probably is a heavy topic for someone like me- a simple stay-at-home Mom. But that's part of my struggle.
Sometimes I feel like I am trying too hard to reach outside the circle of 'me' in which I live, and then other times I feel like there is so much more I could be doing- if I could just channel myself and my energies differently. That's my struggle.
Some of this stems from the number of times this desire to 'do more' has come at me in various ways over the past couple of weeks- through conversations with others, church sermons, daily quiet time, and even through some emails. I have become much more aware of other people and sensative to the ongoing needs of people less fortunate than me mostly out of the experiences of my own tragedy.
In one sense I had to look at other people who had it 'worse than me' in order that I could feel some hope and not get bogged down with depression, sadness, bitterness and the reality that life is so unfair. Seeing the 'goodness' in my life in contrast to someone else's unfortunate circumstances helped me to 'keep my own chin up' more than I would have without this perspective.
On the other hand, seeing the rough road others have had to travel made me more keenly aware of how blessed I was...and am. I spent an evening in the Flint ER while my family was hospitalized one Friday evening at Hurley Medical Center (which is an inner-city trauma center), and my eyes were opened to a whole world of hurting people. I sat in a wheelchair with my mom at my side and we shed tears- not just for the pain we were experiencing with the death of Teagan and the other injuries my family had, but for the lives that seemed to be being 'wasted' by the other patients and visitors in the waiting room. One after another, we watched people say the most hurtful words to the people they were waiting alongside. We watched parents dump money into snack machines for junk food, while their babies drank what looked like 'dirty juice' in their bottles. We witnessed one gun-shot wound victim after another get rushed through the ER doors- and their foul-mouthed friends followed along behind them- each blaming the other for what had happened to get them to this point. It was sad- to say the least.
At one point in the night, I was so overwhelmed with hurt for the people I was watching that I asked my mom if I should just blurt out, "Who here just wants a hug?". I was so sad seeing the hopelessness and despair in these people's lives, and all I could think of was that this was 'normal' for them. This was how their lives were lived. And I'm not just saying that- but some of them were talking about how last week this is who they came to visit after a fight and gunshots broke out. Or they joked about who would be the next one on the gurney. It was so matter of fact. And those babies who were drinking dirty juice in their bottles, had no idea that that wasn't what they should be drinking- that they deserved something better like warm milk. I glimpsed their future and it was sad to me. This life would just continue to cycle for them, and then their kids and their kids, and the horrible language and violence and destructive habits- they would just be a part of life.
That night in the ER definitely opened my eyes to the realities and hurts of the world in which we live. It wasn't just a show on tv, or a news segment. It was real, and it had a smell and sights and sounds that I don't think I'll ever forget. It gnawed at my stomach for days and weeks, and sometimes it still does. It makes me feel like I have been called to do something about it personally. That is why I struggle deep down at times, wondering what it is that I can do on my own powers.
So, maybe it's a bit heavy. But it's my own personal turmoil and I know that I have been blessed more than I ever deserve to be in my life. I didn't choose my loving family and warm home and homebaked after-school snacks and clean clothes and great education and all the other blessings that just happened to come my way in life. But because of all this goodness, I have been feeling more and more that I can give some of it away. Whether it is my money, my time, my talents, my material much that I can give away, and I will still have more than I need.
All that to say, I am working on my issues. I know that I won't see a resolution in a simple, tangible way, but I do continue to try to be aware of needs, and of ways that I can give of myself. It's an ongoing challenge, and one that I don't think will ever end. But at least I am in position to do something. Even if it seems small. I am learning that one little thing might be all I am asked to do in any particular situation. But that one thing might lead to greater change down the road. And the truth is, no matter what I do or give or sacrifice, it really is for something bigger than me. I keep reminding myself of that fact- sacrifice might feel like it's about me...but it's really about something more than I can ever be.


Becky said...


You reach outside the circle of "you" every day that you post a blog entry. Thank you for sharing.

melissa Adak said...


You are like an echo of what goes through me every day. I too am a stay at home executive that feels compelled to do more. I am blessed with SO much and I sit in it every day wishing to find my niche.

Thanks for your honesty. Well said!

Anonymous said...

i certainly think i will struggle with much that you have described when i become a mom. i won't be a mamma until i am in my early to mid-30's . . . which means i will be leaving behind a decade of time where i have worked with the kinds of people and situations you are describing. and it won't be something i will be able to do for quite a while once we have a child.

i really appreciate you sharing the nitty.gritty."unresolved" here today. there is something refreshing about saying and hearing: "this is hard . . . and there is not a way to make it feel better or an honest way to look on the bright side."

and finally, just something that you might find interesting . . . denver (where i live) has an amazing mayor who loves the city and he is starting a 10 year effort to end chronic homelessness in denver (something that is primarily impacting women and children in our city). i think it is a huge goal but doable!

thank you.

betsy said...

Yeah, I would echo Becky - you reach outside your circle every day with your blog and those who stumble across it find themselves doubting they'd handle the death of a child as well and as honestly...wherever you are, you're all there, and that's what it means to reach outside yourself. Some of the most networked, busy, people-oriented Christians in the marketplace could stand just one ounce of your saltiness.

Rebecca said...

You touch so many more lives than you realize, I'm sure. I am so grateful that you share yourself honestly with all of us. I feel like I could have written your entry today--ever since I had children 3 years ago it has been a struggle to find a whole identity. To feel like I am part of the big that is out there and not just the silly, crazy, little of my every day. I guess all the little is part of what makes the big. You are challenging and encouraging and making people think. One person at a time. Sounds like making a difference to me. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I read this post a few hours ago and had to come back once my thoughts were more in order. You read my mind.
I often cry out to God; I want to be these children's mother, but I also want to be more than just that. Use me Lord, but don't make me do anything too uncomfortable.
It's like I want to go out and reach the world for Christ, but I'd like to stay in my comfortable suburban life too. So I'm trying to find a balance. Starting a bible study with the moms at our public school, making meals for people who have a child who is critically ill etc.
My hats off to you for saying what is on so many of our hearts with such gusto and grace.
Jill from Omaha

Anonymous said...

Very well said.

Camille Fargo said...

Me, me, me... I want a hug. Thanks for your totally inspiring words.