I try to catch my breath.
This feeling I can’t shake. This trying, trying, trying - without anything to show for it.
For five days now, I haven’t watched a lick of TV during daylight or evening hours, minus a showing of the girls’ new fairy movie. I thought that it would give me more time and life would feel balanced. Instead, it seems to give me enough time to realize how much more I need to do and my lists grow and grow and I feel like I live in some enchanted land where I am cursed to never finish and never be enough.
My sweet Kathryn girl wrote a book two days ago. Six pages of full color illustrations and six pages of text dictated to me. She’s working on her next book, a story about Peter Pan and Neverland, but she is waiting for the right story to put down so she keeps staring at the pages, drawing different pictures, waiting to see what comes to her.
(This is Tinkerbell in her workshop)
It occurs to me she has created more this week than I have.
My skin is stretched thin. I feel it all over me. I woke up at some point during the night and I thought I could feel it constricting around my tired muscles. It itched. It tightened. I wanted to escape my skin and go somewhere I could breathe.
I chastise myself. I have it so good. If things had gone as we planned, as we thought God desired, as we desired, I would be typing this from a small apartment somewhere in Cairo. I’d be looking out my window onto the street below, watching taxi drivers tear down the street as families walked by, women with baskets balanced on their head full of fresh baked pita bread. I’d see dozens of stray cats peek out from under buildings as they shade themselves from the sun. Everything would be loud. And the air would be full of spice. My ears would be ringing with the Call to Prayer. Life would have been hard. And there would be less, so much less. And in my heart, I imagine we would have been happier.
Maybe that is why my skin doesn't feel right anymore. Maybe it’s not made for this. For preschool and the gym and trips to museums and parks. Maybe it’s not made for this.
But it doesn't seem to be made for the other. There’s nothing left for that. Not right now.
And I’m so heart sick when I hear people talk about how some trees are meant to have their roots go deep and wide and to share their fruit with the others who are the transplants, the goers, the doers. And I can feel bitterness rise up when I think of how we were meant to go, but our fruit was stripped by others before it was time, and now we are left with this barren tree and it feels as if Jesus walked by and cursed us and we are sitting here withering.
And now I hate figs.
I open up my hands and try to let go. I want my life to speak of hope and redemption. But I can’t hide from the brokenness that is there. Loving Jesus doesn't automatically take that away. Because brokenness isn't necessarily something that needs to be fixed. I’m thinking that brokenness is just a stripping away of the things we place on ourselves.
So today, I let the girls sleep in. We’ll pretend we don’t have school. When they wake up I’ll make them breakfast and let them wear their costumes and watch cartoons as long as they want. We’ll play some Uno, sing some Mumford and Sons, and I’ll help Kathryn finish her book.
And I’ll clean the kitchen, fold the laundry, organize the craft closet, clean the toilets, vacuum the floors, and then remember I should make something for dinner. I'll break bread. I’ll finish the preschool schedule and send it out. And in between I’ll change diapers, run kids to the potty, end up cleaning up some sort of accident, give out snacks, give out hugs. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll curl up next to them, pen and paper in hand, and scratch out some words. And each time I write, I hope it brings some life back to us. And I keep checking our tree, to see if anything is growing again.