Monday, February 6, 2012

You Are Cordially Invited

Most days, I’m deeply aware of the benefits of our lifestyle.  Schooling at home gives us tremendous flexibility to take advantage of a myriad of rich experiences.  Books read aloud routinely become family friends, and recess often takes the form of digging in the creek or building forts outside.  Fidgety boys take basketball breaks when needed, and my crafty girl creates throughout the day.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Usually.

Several weeks ago, I hastily became quite knowledgeable about the admission procedures and tuition for the private schools in our area.   I also paid particular attention to the big yellow bus schedule, and took note that there were plenty of available seats.  My mind began to construct a new schedule for myself – one that included long runs and a home with preordained periods of quiet.  Yes, it was one of those weeks.  And my commentary has nothing to do with school choice.  It has everything to do with the motivation behind all of my, well all of our, choices.

I don’t want to be selfish.  I don’t want to become angry with my kids, short-tempered with my husband, or aloof with my friends.  I want to be more.  I want to be patient, kind, and other-centered.  But last week, I wasn’t having much luck.  And rather than deal with the mounting evidence that I was the problem, I found myself wanting to sweep it under the carpet.  Or more accurately, put it on the bus and send it away.

Voices were competing for my attention and energy.  There were the high-pitched needs of the children, the muted desires of my husband, and the emphatically heated debate between self-justification and self-contempt that raged inside of me.  But somewhere in the midst of the mental and emotional chaos, I heard that still small voice.

I’m inviting you to more.

When your children’s needs outweigh your capacity to give,
I’m inviting you to grow in dependence.

When your tired husband returns from a trip, and you want his help more than you want him,
I’m inviting you to grow in selflessness.

When you’ve been treated unfairly and want to retaliate (or withdraw),
I’m inviting you to grow in kindness.

When customer service eats up half your day then drops your call,
the guy selling pine needles interrupts dinner, 
and the dog ruins the living room rug (again),
I’m inviting you to grow in patience.

When a friend disappoints out of her own insecurities or fears,
I’m inviting you to grow in faithfulness.

When there are mounting bills, 
piles of laundry, 
sick children and weary hearts,
I’m inviting you to grow in joy.

When  you're heartbroken, and even angry, that life doesn’t look like you had hoped,
I’m inviting you to grow in peace.

And lastly…

When you realize that the problem isn’t your needy kiddos (or schooling choice),
Or your husband,
Or your friends,
Or your life situation,
Or those annoying people who interrupt your day,

It’s your own selfish heart,

But I’m not condemning you…
I’m inviting you to grow in love.


Katherine Boniface said...

Julie thanks so much for posting this, it was exactly what I needed to hear!

Jenni T said...

Thank you so much for sharing this message. It is truly an inspiration to others, as I am sure that we are not the only ones who have felt overwhelmed or discouraged and have eye-balled that yellow school bus and thought ... for just a short second ... that it might bring us some relief. But at the end of the day, I wouldn't have it any other way! I love spending my days with my angel. <3

Cathi Duggan said...

AMEN! And add to that the issues of living cross culturally, and well, I needed to hear this today too!