“Red Smith was asked if [writing was] a chore. …’Why, no,’ dead-panned Red. ‘You simply sit down at the typewriter, open your veins, and bleed.'”
Right now, I feel the need to bleed all over this web page…
I screwed up.
Things started pretty well–felt somewhat rested, exercised, had a game plan for the day, got some laundry clean, read “1000 Gifts” while nursing, kept up with the kids. And then somewhere in there, I gave myself permission to slow down. And then I got caught up in feeling good, me me me again, consumer, entertained, self-distracted. And of course when Eric got home it felt like the footsteps of judgment walking through the door.
So here I am, feeling lousy. I’ve tried a few times this evening to hoist myself out of it. Tried to see things back in the perspective of reality. Tried to silence the sneering voice in my head.
I couldn’t even say thank you when my tired-from-work, pulled-in-all-directions, determinedly-hopeful, upwards-and-onwards husband sorted the clean laundry and made sure the kids put their clothes away. I wanted to let him know I knew what he was doing, wanted to acknowledge his service to me, but I couldn’t do it. Saying “thank you” meant staring my own failure in the face and saying, “yes, that was me choosing not to do my job.” It meant admitting, “yes, I am making you do my job as well as yours.” It meant I had rendered myself useless for the day. All I managed to actually say was “Just pretend I don’t exist until tomorrow.”
Wish I didn’t exist until tomorrow. Wish I could erase what I did, or go back and fix it. I mean, part of me knows full well that this wasn’t a failed day and I can hear the voices of people who care about me listing all the reasons I have for not being 100% Martha-Stewart-approved perfect. I have a newborn, I parent four other active kids, I home school, I have time to get a balance back in our lives, I have a lot going on, etc. Of course I know all that. But those are never good enough reasons because I feel, I know, I am capable of much more than this.
But I’ve probably got it all wrong…again.
I’ve probably been trying to do it all on my own, without God’s help, proving that I’m worth something in the world, that I deserve to be here, somehow vindicated by perfectly stacked towels and dinner at 6pm every night and children who aren’t used to my yelling.
I’ve probably missed the point entirely, gotten too focused on myself, gone too far introspectively, flipped the universe inside-out in my head and made it alllll about ME.
Ms. Voskamp had just been telling me this morning, in “1000 Gifts,” about giving thanks when things are not sunny, about joy and pain being received as one.
I’m sitting here this evening wondering, “how do I give thanks when the biggest problem is my own choice to be selfish? How do I thank God for my failures, even the half-baked, mundane, silly ones?”
I can thank God for one thing. I thank God for finite days in my life, days that end, so that when I am sure I’ve botched everything, I’ve at least got a shot at getting it tomorrow (God willing).