Day: October 9, 2011

A Greenhouse Realization

Four kids steered through pre-church preparations, two kids helped to weather emotional upsets, dishes, Sunday dinner, and Family Home Evening preparations were all done. I’d earned some quiet space. I thought that the me-of-now should get to do something she wanted. So I gathered my journal and scriptures to retreat to my room. I also carried with me a printed article that I’d read on the internet that morning. I’d skim read it in the last moments before the pre-church rush. Something in it called to me, so I printed it for a more in depth reading. Or perhaps for clipping and taping into my River Journal. The events of the day had left no time for pondering until that moment.

The article told the story of a woman who had an invigorating, well-paying, and rewarding job. Yet one evening she discovered herself crying without knowing why. Something about her job did not fill her soul. She realized her life did not give her chances to nurture. I could see why the story resonated for me. I too have cried and then had to puzzle out why. I began to write a journal entry to puzzle out how her experience was different than mine. I started the sentence “I nurture all the time” but stopped halfway through, suddenly not sure that the sentence was true. I spend all day most days creating a family structure optimized for the growth of everyone inside it. Yet building a greenhouse is not the same as tending and fertilizing the plants within it.

There in my room, away from my family I realized that at any free moment my first thought was to retreat, to spend time alone. All day I maintained the structure of the greenhouse and then fled from it rather than relishing the atmosphere inside. As I scratched away with my pen, my four children were downstairs engaged in reading, drawing, and playing. I put my pen down and grabbed a deck of cards. At least I could sit in the same room with them playing solitaire. I could be part of the quiet togetherness that they were having. Within moments of the first card shuffle, Kiki offered to show me a different game. She and I played several rounds together while the other kids played their own games. We laughed a lot. I once dreamed of the time when I could play cards with my kids without having to adapt for young players. I almost missed out on it.

I need to remember that the point of the green house is the flowers.

Pulling Myself Forward

Sharks must keep moving or they will die. I am not a shark, and yet I hardly ever stop. It used to be that my days filled with things were driven by fear. I kept moving because I was afraid of the consequences if I slowed down. This fall I’ve put a lot of thought into identifying the sources of those fears and attempting to disconnect them. It is working. I am much less afraid. Yet I am just as busy as I was before. Instead of spending my energy fleeing, I spend my energy pulling myself toward things I imagine. My free minutes are spent upon projects which inch me closer to things that I want. I organize the house so that the next-week me will have a nicer place to live. I pick grapes and turn them into jelly so that the winter me will have no guilt about letting them rot and she’ll also have amazing jelly to spread on her toast. I do lots of things for other people as well, but in order to not feel put-upon I have been focusing much upon the benefits I get from the things that I do. I like it when my family is fed, wearing clean clothes, and has their homework done. This being pulled through my days by future desires is much more pleasant than being propelled by fears. However I still need to find ways that the me-of-now gets a turn instead of always being spent doing things for the me-of-the-future. So, further adjustments are necessary, but these are so much smaller. It is nice to be in the tinkering phase of family routine rather than in the midst of major overhaul.