Precious Commodities

pexels-photo-280264Time.

I recently was pondering time as a fourth dimmension; the dimension in which the other three take place (this could be why I’m such an awful driver). That quickly escalated to involve the concept of the spiritual. I always find it interesting how an infinite God chooses to insert Himself into the finite constructs of time. Many think of eternity as a very long time. For me however, eternity is the absence of time. The gift of being fully present always. But that is left to be determined.

The reality is (along with me being an awful driver) I have to live in the constructs of time which proves challenging for me. When I was first married we had two small sons and we were broke. My husband worked seventy hours a week and we still qualified for government aid. I cooked with beans most nights because it was the only protien we could afford. At that time, money was our scarcest commodity.

Now I have five children- five highly intelligent, energetic, motivated humans who I am responsible for the general care of for at least another ten years. As I walked out the front door this morning I thought about how children change life. It’s not that I have less time than any other human (obviously) but I sure do have less disposable time. My husband could lose his job leaving us with no money and time would still be my scarest commodity.

I think this is because unlike money, or energy, or support I can do nothing to produce more of it. I can’t save it. I can’t create it. I can’t slow it down or speed it up. It answers to me in no regard whatsoever. In fact, the only thing I can do with time is use it. And what that means is that each minute, in my world, has become much more valuable. Supply and demand baby!

And so I asked myself “Are my values reflected in how I use my time.” or to put it another way “What would an inventory of my activities say about my values?” So, ironically, it’s going to take me some time to answer that question. Which may  be more profitable than determining whether or not mankind has erred in our definition of eternity. Sadly, the answer to either is not likely to improve my driving.

 

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Care and Carrying

This post is dedicated to the two women I met walking home from the school this morning. Thank you so much for your kindness, for stopping to chat about life. You gave me courage that there are still neighbors in this world if we’ll slow down a little. We may not all be strangers after all.

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(The following was written in 2008. Back when there were only two children and all was new in life.)

My husband got his first stitches this week. He crashed his bike on the way to work and decided that his face should break his fall. Thank you Father that he was wearing his helmet and that there were no broken bones. I got him home and cleaned him up but it didn’t take long to see that the large gash on his chin was beyond my skill. So off we went to the doctor. I watched as she numbed the pain and somehow, through a very not-so-pretty process, pulled the jagged edges of skin back together. Seven stitches later my hubby walked out a little less worse for the wear.

 

It’s funny, you never have to tell a mom to care. We care about everything all the time. My husband didn‘t even have to ask me to help him. I got the man some pain pills, sent him to bed and threw myself into a three hour cycle of treating his wounds. Heck, I even made homemade chicken noodle soup when I didn’t even know how to make chicken noodle soup. As a mom I just intrinsically care for the hurts around me.

 

I wish all wounds were as easy to treat as a scrape (even a bad one). As I was lying in bed tonight my mind was racing with all the wounds  I can’t heal; broken relationships, strongholds of fear and pain, stresses, lies, shame, addiction. Every hard situation flashed through my brain (regrettably the Mommy Care trigger doesn‘t flip as easily to the off position as it does the on. In fact, I don‘t know that it has an off position at all). I started to feel overwhelmed and knew I wasn‘t getting back to sleep any time soon.  Finally I resigned that again the gashes were beyond my skill and a trip to the Doctor was in order.   

 

As I prayed my mind raced with thoughts about what role I was to play in all of these things. Have I said too little? Have I said too much? How do I “bear with one another” and also set good boundaries? How am I supposed to help anyone else when I’m already so insufficient to meet the basic needs of my own family? And what am I honestly to do with this burden I feel for my friends and family, who through choice or circumstance have come into a very hard place? As I wrestled with these things I felt Him say “I’m giving it to someone who will give it to me.”

 

Often in our lives, we don’t simply bring our needs to the Father. Too much confusion, too much shame, too much pride and that old cross is just a little too rugged to fall on again. So the Lord puts people in our lives who will take the need for us. When others are bound up and crippled we pick up the need and carry it to Jesus for them. This is what it is to “bear with one another.”

 

Still, for people, and moms in particular, there is the temptation to hang on to those things. Perhaps we feel good helping someone and want to keep it as sort of trophy. Maybe we like to hang on to it because it makes us feel better about our… less-troubled station in life. Even more common, we just get distracted and forget where we were supposed to be heading with it. We sit and we roll it over in our hand or try to pick it apart, see how it works and even try and fix the mess (which is a little like a monkey tying to make sense of a mile long slinky). It doesn’t take too long before the burdens pile up and we fall under the weight.

 

And perhaps this is what I’ve learned most as a mother. That I am a very limited creature. For all my fussing, and all my well-intentioned aid there is very little I can actual do. But my God is limitless and if I truly care, I won’t hang on to all these needs. I will carry them swiftly and continually to my Father and lay them down. Who knows? Maybe while I’m there I might even lay down a few of my own and find some much needed rest for my own soul.

 

-Going back to bed (don’t you people know it’s 5:00 in the morning!)