I needed to get out of the house this morning. Reading lesson was like pushing toothpicks under one’s nails slowly and deliberately and Evy was running amok occasionally throwing things at us. I was counting down the minutes until bedtime and it was only 9:45am. I felt exhausted and all alone. And at the precise moment I was conscious of those thoughts, it occurred to me that a million other mamas probably feel the exact same way. Now some are baking cookies while their perfectly behaved offspring cuddle and read Shakespeare but I do not know of any. Most days I cannot find my keys or my phone. But I don’t think I am alone even though the enemy wants to make me feel that way some days. Trying to live this Mama gig under the impression that somehow all the other Mamas out there have it all together is life sucking and makes us lose heart. I need to embrace that I simultaneously love being with my girls; teaching them, watching them discover their world, and guiding them, and at the same time feel the need to give up some mornings before the oatmeal has been heated and the apple juice has been poured. And living in that tension means I need Jesus more in the everyday.
It was one of those mornings today so we skipped out on read aloud (I know, don’t tell the homeschool police) and decided to head out for a long walk with no particular destination in mind. We ended up at a local coffee shop (who was I kidding this was probably a predetermined eventuality). It was a quick pit stop on the way to a park. I had a Mexican Latte and the guy said he made me a medium even though I only paid for a small and I could have hugged him. My latte was heavenly and the girls shared fruit snacks (AKA espresso for the ankle biting set) and we sat on big pillows spilled across the floor. The place was decorated with different currency and Anni and Evy scoured the joint for Tanzania money to no avail. We made promises to bring some in on our next stop and then squeezed our stroller, my big camera bag, and Anni’s hula hoop (don’t ask) out the small glass door.
The sign on the door said “A Traveler’s Cafe” and I wanted to cry. It was all a bit apropos and enlightening and ridiculous. All at once. I don’t want to be esoteric about this but it encompassed the swirl of emotions I was feeling. I really do not know why I feel like tearing up at any given moment. I guess it is the in between-ness. The where do I fit in or belong? gnawing at my soul. But it again occurred to me we; who are blood bought by Christ, are travellers in this world. In this text the words are exiles and foreigners. Being a foreigner is tough and it strips away comforts.
I yearn for community. The type we experienced in Tanzania. Community that is packed into buses, teeming out of small brick and mud houses to visit, sitting on mats with plenty of time to just catch up and be together. I yearn for community; the kind we have experienced in the U.S. at many times but there is no short cut to real community. I am feeling isolated, yearning for what we had but knowing that I am called to be here. Fully present. I am invited to invest again and start over even though it is difficult. I am called to be contented in all circumstances.
There are amazing folks here and I struggle to even express how I feel because I do not want to make anyone here feel like they are not enough. That is not it at all. I am just struggling to know how to fit into it all again. Life has a different flow here and I feel like I forgot the rules and have been out of the game for too long. J and I tried to discuss our schedule and work out some dates and I felt like my head might burst. I realized the sheer amount of possibilities here is crushing me. The plethora of choice actually can be stifling in America when it forces us into self absorption in deciding what to do, what to buy, how to spend our time. There is just not a lot of choice in the majority world and although I pined for some of that choice when we lived there now I feel chocked by it. Ironic, huh? The lesson in it is one I have been learning for years (I am a slow learner): God is good and He is enough. Period. No matter what.
I am trying to find my place between isolation and over commitment. I never want to confuse busyness with Godliness and it is a real threat that can creep up on us. I want a life dictated by relationships more than by commitments. Led by love and defined by a desire to seek God’s peace and call. The busyness is hovering around me and with good reason. If you don’t schedule things with folks way in advance you don’t really see them but if I have my calendar full I sorta feel like my throat might close instantaneously. I am seeking the place where our family can thrive and not only survive. There is an underlying sense of purpose and struggle for peace that is just below the surface of this all. I can feel it too. I want to understand more and more of what really matters and let the rest fall away.
Praying for peace & discernment & more Mexican lattes with friends and family while I fumble through figuring it out,