Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Building the Interior

As moms, we spend so much time rushing around, cleaning up, fetching what our offspring asks for, cooking, prepping, washing, organizing and planning, all the while being asked approximately 4,892 questions every single day. Peace and quiet are hard commodities to come by. We have very little time for ourselves, and therefore we do what must be done, but the deeper things of life are always pushed to the back burner (along with the pot of food we are currently burning).

Yesterday was Ava's golf lesson, and Jason came home early to take her to it. Suddenly William decided he wanted to go too. Jason wanted to hit a bucket of balls while he waited and wasn't planning to take William, but he rolled nicely with the change of plans and suddenly I had a little over an hour to myself to prepare dinner. I found an old Michael English CD that I hadn't listened to in a long time, popped it into my computer and made an impromptu rice pudding for dessert.

I'm slowly working through my fears about our upcoming anniversary trip. As Kurtis pointed out in a comment the other day on my post about storms, we all have different fears. The idea of leaving your kids and going to San Francisco for four days of leisure might seem like an insane fear to most people, but I fear change, and distance, and virtually anything that pushes me from my comfortable life and into something foreign.

I stirred my rice pudding on the stove and really listened to the words on the album, and suddenly I was in tears, moved beyond words and struck by the realization that I must push myself, or I'll never grow. My temptation is to stay safe, all of the time, and never willingly go outside of my structured life. I desperately want a break from my kids, but somewhere deep inside, I feel a need to spread my wings around them and keep them near to me. I don't like to face the hard truth that I cannot actually protect them. That is God's job.

My life is not my own. I have willingly offered it to God, and if I trust him to love me and be good at his core, I must unclench my fist around my own life, the lives of my loved ones, and all that I own. I know that holding loosely is the key to joy and contentment in this life. I believe it as an idea, but wherever that idea rubs against reality it becomes harder to practice. I feel more in control when I'm in my own house, working through the regular system of my days, but when all of that changes, I must let go, and experience what God has to teach me.

It's hard to build your inner life when there is noise and chaos on a daily basis. I desperately needed that hour yesterday to slow down, listen to my fears and address them. Instantly I felt calmer and better, making the slow transition from believing that change is good for me, to knowing it and embracing it. Making myself do what isn't comfortable for me is critical to creating a strong interior life. I must grow and change. I do not want to stay safe forever, as there is no growing edge in staying the same.

Pushing against my fear is the only way through it. I can't circumvent the process. I have to walk the road that terrifies me, and prove to myself that I can do it. I can leave my kids and have them stay safe. I can board an airplane, and be calm, and arrive at my destination, prepared to embrace adventure and spend time with my husband as myself, not as a mom. I can return home refreshed and restored. It is not selfish to take time for myself and for my marriage. It benefits everyone in the end, it's just the lead-up that I find challenging. I need this reminder that I am not in control, and that is as it should be.

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