Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Unstructured Thoughts About Life

I have been much out of the blog habit lately. Obviously.

It is marketing suicide, but my blog is really not very much about hawking my wares
but more about the life behind making things. When I first started the blog, it was the story of starting Vintage, leaving our life in Michigan behind to start our lives over from scratch. That was a good start to an interesting story.

We started the church and it is doing well. We finally bought a house. We've resolved a lot of the issues that were a big deal back then...with the exception of selling the house there, of course. That is still an albatross around our necks. Small rent checks come in, big mortgage payments go out, the house is falling down up there and I periodically lie awake and stare at the ceiling and wonder what will ever happen with the darn thing.

A lot of things have converged in the same six months or so that have me wondering if this is the sequel to my story. So far, it is still be dreamed up. This much I know about the plot...my kids are all in school now but parenting them is still the biggest source of my feeling like I'm doing brain-surgery blindfolded. My marriage is still my best work, but I do need to dust it more to keep it really glossy. I love working as much as ever, but I also have come to live a Sabbath each week that is the most honest act of worship I've got.

With the dawn of the new year, the new decade, in a new house, in a new phase of life I feel like I'm trying to make a list on paper with no lines. It is making me nuts. Some people love paper with no lines...my husband is one of those people. You might as well drop me in the middle of the ocean.

Fortunately, Robb teaches about the core teachings of Vintage every January, which gives me something to lash myself to. And I've been reading Don Miller's new book, "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" which is all about living a good story. The Story is one of the core teachings at Vintage, and one of the things that I have felt and loved deeply for as long as I can remember, so Miller's book is finding me at a very sticky time.

He writes about the blandness of our lives, how we spend our lives trying to be comfortable and sheltered from everything that scares us, but then we expect those lives to feel meaningful. "Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who works his whole life for a Volvo." My life is characterized by a lot of that crouching down and being overwhelmed by a broken washing machine. I hate it. I hate the way I treated my kids all day yesterday because I felt like if I could get the house clean, I could brandish some control over the world. All I did was drive them and myself crazy.

I know that life will always be tossing me something...that there is no such thing as standing still. And yet, I live a lot of my life acting like I can somehow freeze-frame it. I act like it won't change. That if i just reach this one place, I will stop feeling like I have to push on the floorboard of the passenger seat to make this car go faster. When my daughter's tenth birthday rushed past me like a bullet by my ear, I may have finally realized that it won't happen. I have to figure out how to live a life that is pliable enough to keep moving. Not a script to live out, but some lines on the paper.

So these are my lines...these are the thin blue lines I chose to write my story on.

and the Story of life as a human... creation, fall, redemption and the Kingdom, or happily ever after.

Those four words have so much to unpack, I could never write them out here in my studio on a day that I need to go to the grocery store and get bread and toothpaste. But they work for me. I think they provide something to guide my wild thoughts and reform my interactions with my kids.

I just can't help thinking that God never intended for me to walk around my whole life wondering if I'm doing this right, if I've done enough for my kids, if I'm wasting my time...navel gazing. I think He wants me to do something with conviction.

Last week, I had a clear vision of it. I embraced interactions with people knowing that they are my community and should be important to me. I donated to Haiti and knew that I could do it because of the work I had done to earn that money. I listened to a podcast about human trafficking that propelled me to order coffee for our church that donates to fight this horrible thing. I counseled. I contributed to meetings. I took part in a baby shower. I fought off the temptation to believe that I was too small to make any difference.

I was exhausted by the end of the week.

Monday caught me by surprise with kids home from school, a broken washing machine, a dog with incontinence, gray skies, and no sense of what I was doing. Fear was driving me like a bus with a bomb on it. By the time I should have been making dinner, I was wandering around the house, trying to find my ear-phones, with the singular belief that if I could just find them, I could get the thin layer of grime off the house, so that I could cook something, so that we could eat, so that we could send the kids to bed, so that I become a vegetable in front of the tv. Triumphant, huh?

I apologized to each of the kids while tucking them in.

Vin is wearing the same clothes he wore yesterday.

I'm up and dressed and going to the grocery store. I am going to try again to write this day on the lines that make sense to me. And I am trying to believe, like I wrote on my notebook during Sunday morning, "I want more than a Volvo."


Susie said...

keep on keepin on...you are doing a great job!

Anonymous said...

I often read your blog, but have never left a comment before. I enjoy your honesty and the fact that you put things out in the public that I never would. Your statement "...because I felt like if I could get the house clean, I could brandish some control over the world," I fully empathise with. When I'm feeling like I can't get a handle on things, cleaning works. It works because it brings things back to basics, back to a place where I can say to myself, "I can start from here. I have my bearings now."

Sara said...

well said...I think at this stage of my life I find myself wondering a lot "will i ever really make a difference?" Between cleaning, cooking, arranging a nursery schedule, teaching 2 and 3yr olds, changing diapers, carring a 2nd child I often look at things and say "okay and this makes a difference for the kingdom how?" And then I have days where I remember that Jesus was in the Investing in People business and I'm filled with a sense of satisfaction and peace knowing that I'm doing exactly what he has called me to do. But those days are so few and far in between sometimes.

Life with Kaishon said...

Sometimes I feel like that too.
So often lately.
Like I just want to throw in the towel.
Kaishon wore his pajamas all day on Monday. He wore them outside to play. He wore them to the grocery store with me. And then he wore them to sleep on Monday night. I feel like the worst mom.

jess said...

I do that too - put a few words at the top and let the rest of the world, the rest of my roles, the rest of my goals - all as SUB categories. I'm working a temp job this week to help pay for disgusting property taxes on a house that is sucking the life out of me. BUT - I'm so glad to have work, and thankful I can work this little job and pay the taxes. And thankful for bloggy friends who can encourage me like you do. :)

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