Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Guaranteed Grace of Sacrifice

I feel myself beached. My little sailboat of a soul happened upon an island this past month or so.  This island bears a banner: Rest Here! It also has a tiki bar with free alcoholic beverages and there's always an available lounger (equipped with umbrella) for me to stare out at those rocky waters I've just escaped and dig my feet into wet sand where little waves rise and sink, tickling my toes.  Never mind in real life this sort of leisure is packaged in a childless trip to Mister Hotshine where I say "yeah, yeah, okay, sounds good, no I don't think I'll get that today" to the service worker and go right back to laughing at Erma Bombeck with complete disregard for the stoic gentleman to my left.

Two years ago I feverishly applied for my dream job and felt great heartache in between letting go of my teaching post of five years (which had become an enormous comfort) and starting the position I had secured. Then, I threw myself into my new job and found myself up to my eyeballs in humility because it was quite the transition. Just as I was finding my bearing that first year, I found out about the twins and made the decision with my husband it was time to go home and stay there for a bit to play day care provider, etc, etc. 

Having twins was the job which was given to me amidst all this and without my written request, but even if that doesn't count in your book, in the past 18 months I've acclimated to two new and significantly different jobs: a high school English teacher in an inner city school and a stay-at-home-mom with three boys at her feet typically begging for more food.

I've been thinking of what I've gleaned through the hard work of taking on new challenges. Last week, I pulled out an index card and penned my rookie mistakes, then went about the house tidying up and running memories through me of the tears, the grit, the plans quickly tossed, and the kids who all but laughed in my face. Mostly, I smiled about how there were days I thought I was going to finally resort to hating my life. 

And now here's this Lenten season where we will ourselves into the hardship rather than wait for it. When we tie up our intentions with a wee bit of suffering, we wonder if there really is much of anything to reap from turning off the t.v. for a month, skipping dessert, or talking in kind tones to our children rather than yell scream. And what more of placing more fears at the feet of Jesus and more blessings at the feet of those more needy than ourselves?

I'm happy to look back and see things have turned out quite well so far. My sons seem happy, I'm delighted to be at home, and my husband's stamp of approval is tentative which I can only respect him for considering the enduring state of the laundry. I consider this a wild success. Maybe my expectations are low. You go have yourself some twins. Oh shoot, I can't go saying things like that. Even my sister has twins on the way. 

Anyway, life goes on. People can either jump into the hard or find themselves there, but either way, if determined enough, they'll find a way. I've found my way to all kinds of things. Some success. Lots of joy. New skills. And a monthly Amazon subscription to strong coffee! 

Okay, kids. Time for mommy to slip into the bedroom and ignore things for 5 minutes.

But, and that's a BIG but, I wouldn't have made it this far (to the beach with a daiquiri sparkling under the sun) if I hadn't given up some of myself. 

Some of my ideals. Some of my self-righteousness. Some of my sleep. Some of my free time. Some of my fears. Some of my plans. Some of my waist line. Some of my pride. Some of my answers. Some of my map. Some of my absolutes. Some of my failings.  And lots of my money.

Two years ago I started that new teaching job thinking I knew a lot about a lot to do with teaching. And then I was stripped of a great deal of that.

About a year later I started that thing where you just hang out with your kids all day while running back and forth from room to room to read books, change laundry, load dishes, shred unwanted credit card offers, and re-binkie babies. I thought I knew a lot about how to be the best new mommy with the invisible SAHM label. And then I was stripped of a great deal of that. 

And here I lounge on the beach and smile at those waves thinking about how little I knew. It was a fun ride even when I was scared shirtless I was going to drown out there with no one to rescue me, no one to bring me home, and no one to write up an obituary about all my selfless causes. 

A difficult two years seem behind me, and I just confessed to Paul last night: I've never been happier in my life. Maybe even by a landslide. To let loose and find I may not be as fabulous or all-knowing as I thought--it's wonderful, it's exciting, and it's freeing. 

I wish you the best with your Lenten resolves. Throwing yourself into the difficult is a courageous feat. Don't be surprised if the hard leaves a hole, a space, an island--and joy rushes in at your side to deliver you a daiquiri! (Or that book you put on hold at the library. I can't exactly make any promises.)


  1. What a great post ... thank you, from a fellow twin-mama! :)

  2. If you think you've never been happier in your life just wait as the love grows and grows each day and your children get bigger and IS bittersweet (littles growing up), however everyday gets more and more FUN! :) - Fellow twin mama here as well!