Monday, November 19, 2007

Giving Thanks...

Sidney's class is putting on a little Thanksgiving play this week, so we spent some time practicing her lines as a historian this weekend. The play closes with the well-informed historian reminding us that the pilgrims and Indians who spent that first Thanksgiving together didn't always get along. In fact, the pilgrims and Indians had a great deal of trouble between them. But, that didn't stop them from sitting down at table that first Thanksgiving and sharing a common bond of living off the land. It didn't stop the Indians from showing those pilgrims how to hunt, farm, and survive.
My favorite historian reminded me that the American Thanksgiving is an opportunity for families to gather together in love and give thanks for the blessings we have, regardless of the fact that sometimes we may not get along very well. We gather to share thanks about the homes that always need cleaning, the clothes that always need washing, the kids that always need bathing. We gather to be thankful that we've been given the chance to share these little problems with even bigger blessings. And for that, I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Blessings incognito...

As a senior in high school, I can remember praying relentlessly that my parents would win the lottery so I could go to a great college in preparation for a great law school. I figured it was the least He could do for me after I did mostly everything I should with my time in high school. I went here and was formed in ways I didn't even know I needed to be formed. While at Franciscan, I gently reminded God that I still wanted to be able to to go to an amazing law school. I begged him to help me find a way to get there, despite being at a "second-rate" university. In my second semester, I met Matt, who eventually peeled me out of the armpit of America and planted me in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ok...not bad...University of Michigan was definitely in the top tier and within perfect commuting distance from our little apartment.
But the question didn't become, "Can I get accepted to UofM"--it became "what will we do with our adorable precious baby girl while I'm ferociously studying the intricacies of the American legal system." Hmm...
The story goes on, but the point is the same...we were looking for all the right things in all the wrong places. And as each goal became more and more farfetched, I was becoming more and more unhappy with the way things were turning out. Sure, I loved my baby girl, and I was definitely enjoying being married to my best friend. But outside of those two important things, I was lonely, depressed and really unsatisfied. I wasn't a good stay at home mom--I had no idea how to do most things related to babycare (but I had lots of books and of course the internet to guide me) and I definitely was a rookie at being a housewife. Heck, I couldn't even cook a meal! My best friends were spread out across the US, enjoying their 20s single or at least without kids, while I was consumed with poop, tears (some my own) and baby barf. And no one who was interested in hearing about it.
There was always something else I "needed" that I could have...a house, a sibling for Sidney, a law degree, a better job, less student loans, a night out on the town, my girlfriends...blah blah blah.
It's taken me seven years to make a half-circle to where I am today. And the funny thing--I have the same best friend for a husband, the same daughter along with her new little sister (yes, more poop, tears, and baby barf), more student loans, and those same best girlfriends are still spread out in every state except the one I live in. In fact, nothing major has changed except me. I learned that life is about a lot of common sense, putting others before myself, and trying really hard to live in the present.

I learned that worry is disobedience to God, faith is only as strong as the abandonment we practice. I discovered that it's not my job to do it all, that there will be failures and difficult moments in life. There will be people who let us down. There will be evil. It's nothing I can control. Worry only impacts me, not the situation.

So now I pay close attention to my blessings, address the burdens the best I can, and seek prayers when I can't. I try to do everything as if it all depends on me, but leave the results to the One on whom everything actually depends.