Over the past two weeks I have sat down and begun about eight different posts. I’ve tried writing on the fly, in a restaurant, coffee shop, and my home. I’ve written outside with the chirping and gentle hum of summer singing “So Long, Farewell” while Fall woos me to thicker sweaters, pumpkin spice yarn, and a cup of hot tea. After repeated attempts with nothing salvageable I came to the conclusion that I was experiencing writer’s block. That is, until 4 am this morning. After our youngest daughter cried out, I was unable to fall back asleep, and it was then it hit me: I was talking about everything and nothing but avoiding sharing the parts of life that aren’t shiny and bright. Of all the things this place and space has been or will be, I hope that something it always rests on is the bravery to be authentically raw and delightfully honest. I am not experiencing writer’s block. I am wanting you to think I am doing better than I am.
We have started school and for our family that means we have our oldest adjusting to middle school, our youngest adjusting to full day kindergarten and our middle child adjusting to not being able to wear PJs for 97% of her day. I’m adjusting to having a bit more time that could be super-productive and yet remembering that this is often where I misplace my worth. The still, small voice reminds me that the people in my life who are most content and joyful are not the busiest, most accomplished, or most wealthy, but are the most able to sit with themselves and be okay in that space without scrolling through pictures of others’ lives and adventures, starting a new project, or checking in on a friend. These can be valuable and even at times noble tasks, but I find when I am least able to sit still I am least able to be who I was made to be. Who has time to be who they were made to be when there are tasks to complete and other people to serve?
Lately, Hazel and I have enjoyed puzzles with more pieces. She’s always been eerily good at puzzles, making me wonder if she would ace that tests they give the kids in that show of yore ‘Alias’ to determine if the kids should train to be elite spies. Working on a large puzzle is a good opportunity for us to sit and catch up, and she is more likely to show her heart and where her mind is if we are engaged in a fun activity together that will take longer than needed for her to dive into the deeper parts of herself. Hazel is excellent at searching the pieces for one that seems to be the right shape. She’ll scan the table only with her eyes for a prolonged period of time before selecting a few she thinks might be close and then holding them to the space, turning and examining from all angles until she finds the one made for that spot. I wish I had Hazel’s patience and intentionality when piecing together the pieces of my life. Instead, I often fall prey to the tyranny of the urgent and greasing the squeaky wheel instead of being intentional to return to what I can uniquely offer those around me and sitting in the beauty of who I have been made to be.
For years I have looked at the proverbial puzzle and panicked. The puzzle isn’t finished and I fear that might be a reflection of my ability to cope with life and do a good job at all the things. So I scan quickly and grab a piece. With enough sleep and perhaps 1-7 minutes by myself that day I may even have the energy and brain space to turn it a bit so I get it near the closest fit, but then I jam that piece with effort, activity, and things- all the many busy things that may have someone say, “well, well, look at you!” For more years than I feel comfortable sharing I have been jamming myself into the shape that I believe others have expected me to be and so it makes sense that I am a bit bruised and a great amount terrified that I will be discovered not to actually fit the mold that is expected. I am left like Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride, not knowing how I like my eggs because I have always just asked for the same type that the person I was with was having.
I am a stay-at-home mom, pastor’s wife, and blogger/speaker. For this combination of roles I picture a woman who is meticulous with her appearance, her children’s behavior and enrichment, and who champions her hubby’s calling, all the while having a refreshingly exciting new twist and look at life. But here’s the thing: I have always been a tomboy with super quirky style and my kids are a refreshingly delightful mess. Instead of resting in the beauty of who I have been made to be, I’ve been trying to fit what I’ve pictured to be the mold. And I cannot and will not have a new twist on life by doing the same thing I have always done.
The thing my mother most consistently told me in her parenting was that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing repeatedly while expecting a different result. I have been trying to jam myself into the beautiful, humble, patient and always-loving lady that handles all the things with grace and joy and gets all the things done so all the people thrive. But in my attempts to meet all the needs around me I have lost the ability to find the right space for my piece of the puzzle. We were all made to fit together uniquely and to add our special nooks and crannies to the spaces surrounding us to reveal a greater whole. We don’t get to see the beautiful picture that has been meticulously labored over as a whole if we keep jamming our piece into the spaces that are open, instead of the spaces that we were intended to rest. And there simply is no rest for the puzzle piece that can’t sit and wait for the puzzle to progress and reveal the spot that uniquely calls for all of it’s sharp and rounded edges.