Saturday, May 14, 2011
The old adage "there are only so many hours in a day" cannot be more true in my life right now. This weekend, I'm single parenting as Josie is away at a retreat. I love it, it's so fun - and I also can't stop thinking of what has to go from my schedule in order to parent well. I'm guessing this is the dance that Josie does every day, and I can't imagine what it's like for parents who truly are alone.
For instance, I couldn't go run yesterday or today because I can't leave the kids alone. I can't go the gym for the same reason. I have a pile of work things that I need to get to, but they will have to wait until Sunday night probably. These are small things, but things that I want and need to do respectively. But, as this is the example, something has to fall in order to do the greater thing better (which is being a good dad). Even writing this requires that I let my kids fall into a TV stupor for 15 minutes. Just as I typed that Emmy started crying and climbed in my lap.
OK, back for a few thoughts - none of it is inherently bad, but every person in our life, both close and casual has expectations of us and it is impossible to meet them all because finding any kind of balance in life means sacrificing something. We have family expectations, personal expectations, job expectations, spiritual expectations, physical expectations, we have the expectations that we put onto others (which is a whole different deal and thought process). In order to do all of these things well, they have to be thought through and processed, probably daily.
I suck at managing the different parts of my life. I think I'm capable of doing a few well at a time, but not all of them. Is that normal, is that your experience?
This morning I had a Nicaragua meeting in Monument (an hour and half to two hours away depending on traffic and weather) and would have to left the house by 8:30 to get there with the kids (who would run and scream the whole time). This is impossible for me. Literally. So I had to skip, and feel incredibly guilty. Letting people down isn't something I'm used to doing, and I'm not even sure there's a way to do it well.
Most often, the people that get let down are my family, particularly Josie. This is the battle front that I am most interested in tackling going forward. However, that is way easier said than done. I want to be a good husband and a good father, and very often I'm not really. Not because I don't care or I'm too lazy or my intentions are shady. It's actually the opposite of all of those things - but the result is the same, and that's all that matters when it comes down to it.
It really all makes me dwell more and more on Jesus talking about a light yoke. I could go for a kind burden, whatever that even really means. The Message version talks about "the unforced rhythms of grace" a phrase that I find to be one of the most beautiful I've ever read ... I want that rhythm in my life - a natural, smooth, flowing grace that empowers me to be who I am and to pursue God, family, and goals in an easy way. I'm just not sure really what that looks like - and that's not even a bummer statement, I find great opportunity in that fact. I find the chance to be chiseled and shaped instead of guilt-ridden and stressed beyond what I can handle.
So, to really make a difference, I have to be organized for sure - but I also have to be ready to choose the things that get me closer to these goals and not the things that take me further away. It means refining skill in being a husband, parent, youth pastor, friend, etc. And it means giving away the parts of those things that take me down the path of overwhelmed stress and disappointment in myself and others.