I am one of those people that is motivated by ideas. I can find inspiration in statistics and vision statements and strategic plans, because they show need, give direction, and take us someplace. I appreciate the movements that exist to renew creation through environmental protection, reduce what is essentially slave labor by raising awareness and expecting people to actually act on their conscience, and that promote parenting as one of the highest callings we will ever have. I like to read books, learn facts, and know not just acceptable ways of doing things, but the very best way. All of that said, life is just too dang much most of the time. I would love to be the perfect environmentalist, but I have no trash system so the plastic diapers get burned outside with everything else. I would love to say no child should have to work, but I see 10 year olds working hard and can’t help but encourage them knowing they are supporting themselves or their families. And parenting…who ever knew that you can NEVER be the perfect parent. There are times when the Ipad is the best babysitter (only babysitter) that we have, and infant Tylenol will calm almost any issue (though mostly teething).
If there is anything I have learned, and that I am still trying to accept, is that life is not a movie, there are no perfect endings…or beginnings…and let’s not get started on the middle. Liz and I are trying, and I feel like we are doing a pretty good job at living life as we have been called to live it, but it is messy. We get tired from helping other people and sometimes take it out on our kids. We get worn out by Derrick’s constant need for reassurance that we will be home when he gets out of school and sometimes take it out on someone who comes by needing help because their family kicked them out, or wants to kick them out, or they wish their family would kick them out (have seriously had all of those happen). We don’t have a great financial plan (don’t tell our parents) and will probably never be able to save up enough to send our kids to whatever college they want, in part because we are paying school fees, medicine, etc. for other people’s children.
Life is messy. I will never be able to do everything I want to do, as well as I want to do it, when I want to do it (usually right now). We are learning the hard way that to give you must take it from somewhere else. To give time for ministry you have to take it from your family. To give time to your family you have to take it from others who need you. To help the environment takes work and sometimes we are just too tired. To be hospitable, caring, loving, helpful, etc. you often have to take some measure of security, comfort, and independence away from yourself and be willing to be uncomfortable, overwhelmed, uncertain. Nothing ever goes according to plan, assuming that I ever knew what the plan was in the first place.
We can only pray that when life is done, we can look back and see how the small, daily pieces of life that we put together can come to create a beautiful puzzle. There are times when I just want have my life together, but the more beautiful times, the more peaceful times come when I am truly able to let go.