At the heart of it

Some days are just hard. Some weeks can be trying. I currently find myself in that perfect storm of big life questions and mundane daily tasks.

Today seemed especially off for me. It didn’t even feel like I was down. I really just felt that I was missing. I was a shell of myself today. There is a lot on my mind and the to do list fills a notebook. There are some mountains that seem possible to climb. Today, I stayed at the bottom and just gazed up.

As I write this I understand that hundreds of thousands of people have real trouble and problems they are facing. Where to sleep, what to eat, how to find loved ones, where can they find clean water, looking for jobs, trying to pay bills, fight disease. I fully comprehend that my bad day in no way compares. However, this is my world. This is my life, and it felt overwhelming to me today. Overwhelming in a way that paralyzed me and kept me from making any progress in my life.

I couldn’t get out of my head today. Questions just kept swirling around. Then after behaving in a way that is intolerable, the guilt would set in. I choose almost everything over my kids today. I understand that all parents have bad days. Whole days where they are not who their kids need to them to be. That was me. All day today. I don’t say this out loud to debate the issue. You weren’t here. I was.

[My kids are really ungrateful lately, I must not be teaching thankfulness. Most of the time we as humans don’t learn by study, but by example. My children aren’t learning thankfulness from me. They are whining. Am I whining a lot? How do I get my kids to see God in their every day life? Why won’t they share? How do I get them to think of other peoples needs before their own? Should they get a consequence for not shutting the door for the 100th time today? Did I give them vegetables to eat today? How can I help make more money for our family? I haven’t emailed important information to people, I am letting them down. I hate that I just yelled at my kid for no reason because I’m cranky. How are they going to understand God’s love when I’m not showing them/teaching them/exampling it to them? I have to pay the bills, the bathroom is a disaster, the lack of cleaning is out of hand, etc, etc, etc.]

These and other things were continually rumbling around in my brain and heart today. I struggled a lot with my parenting, how I live my life, the balance of work and family and friends. I fought a lot against nature vs. nurture taking much of my children’s behavior as my fault. I struggled all day with my virtue as a person and my reflection as a Christian.

So, I just laid down on my bedroom floor. I wasn’t doing anything. Just laying there. I didn’t know what else to do. I had exhausted my chocolate intake and I had secretly watched two movies on my laptop today pretending to work. My soul felt missing today, so I laid down.

Then my 10 month old daughter came into the room. She came in, bent over and gave me a kiss. She then gave me her legendary little love bonk on the head. After loving me in this way, she knelt down and laid her head on my chest saying, “mamammamama”. She would look up and give me a kiss and then hug once again. My oldest saw the attention I was getting and wanted to get in on the party. He also then came in, laid down right beside me and proceeded to hug and kiss me. It was kind of a lovefest.

Go back with me one evening where I challenged my middle son to think about where he saw God working that day. I realize I don’t often ask that question even to myself and now I am requiring him to think about it. In doing so, I force myself to open my own eyes and see where God is in my day.

My children came to me where I was at today. Lying on the floor like a crazy person. I had given up and just laid down. They came to me and showed me love. Unconditional. I surly didn’t deserve it today, and yet they showed me love.

Little by little my soul started to feel alive again.

This moment with my children allowed me to see God still with me even when I am a shell of a person. It also reminded me that the celebration of Easter is right around the corner. God meeting us where we are at, and covering us with his love.

Tomorrow is going to be a better day. God is already there, and he has already forgiven me for today. So have my children.