There once was a teacher. Handing a small stone to his student he asked “Is this stone heavy?”
“No the boy replied.”
The teacher smiled and then said “Now boy hold it out at arms length until I tell you to do otherwise.”
Within minutes the boy understood the lesson.
I hate the five o’clock hour. I call it meltdown hour in my house because everyone loses their pea-pickin’ minds. We’ve eaten some sort of food every night for, at least, the last nine and a half years. Still I have not developed a good family dinner routine. Tonight was no different. Complete and total chaos.
Like any decent housewife I tried to turn the chaos into a fight with my husband. Looking out over the wreckage that was the dinner table I laid out my concerns regarding our evening eating habits. “You can keep those expectations if you want but it means trying to pull six other people up to them and five of those people are still very small.”
This may or may not have come on the heels of my oldest tearfully confiding, “Mom, sometimes I just feel like nothing I do is good enough.” (I had just given him a death glare) Ouch! Message received. Well, message received now… Now that I’m in mommy timeout and not ready to throw an entire pan of taco meat at someone.
Ugh! I know this! Unrealistic expectations kill relationships. That is bad. Don’t do it. But it’s hard to let go of expectation. And it’s even harder to keep letting go. It’s not enough to do it once. I have to do it again, and again, and again.
I have dreams. And since middle of the road really isn’t compatible with my personality type most of them are big verging on grandiose. In my defense, God is a big God, the universe is a big place and there are opportunities everywhere you look. So why not? Why not dream big? Some of my dreams I’ve been carrying for decades now. Others for years. Some of them are clearly given words I’ve received. Others are stubborn hopes that I maintain.
But the dreams have had to lie dormant. It is not the season for them yet. And sometimes it starts to feel like it never will be. Like I’m being duped my a mirage that’s ever on the horizon. Maybe I just made it all up anyway. Maybe I should just let it go. Then faith rises up. No! There are some things you know in your gut. Some things you can taste. So I dust off my dreams and recommit myself to the work that has to be done in the meantime. I pray and I hold on.
But doubt is a persistent suitor and the challenge isn’t holding on. It’s holding on again, and again, and again.
This hasn’t been my favorite year. There have been some good things but there has been a lot of conflict. And a lot of wrong responses to conflict. Which inevitably means a lot of pain. Some of it I’ve caused and some of it I haven’t. Some of it was avoidable and some of it was not. At the end of the day it all hurt. Really hurt. And to get unhurt means going to the Healer.
The only problem is to come to the Healer is to come to His cross. It means being willing to trade the pride of pain for the humility of healing. To be still when my heart is raging. To listen when I want to speak. To choose understanding over justification. To forgive when I’d rather forsake.
It is one thing to surrender your soul once. But victory is found in embracing that cross again and again and again.
There is a strength of soul; a fortitude of spirit, which is not formed in surpassing one great trial. But rather in enduring the the small ones for a very long time.