With a Little Help from my Friends

I know that I usually save the Beatles lyrics and titles for Jude's letters, but really, who are we kidding? The Beatles wrote the soundtrack to my life, so I'd be an idiot not to use it whenever I can. And because I've been blessed with a few precious gems from a few precious friends lately, I had to share. Although this is for you, it's also for me. I need this. I need these reminders. 

A while back, I wrote a desperate self-immolating post and got so many caring responses. One of them was from my dear friend, Ruth, whom I've loved since elementary school. She is one of the wisest, kindest, brightest souls I've had the pleasure to know. She is also a mother to two seriously beautiful children. She gave me the gift of this comment about that post:

...I also know very few moms of babies who don't consume in some way to make themselves feel better. The thing with those little people is that they just take so much. If you're like me (and every other mom I know), you feel like you've lost yourself somewhere in it all, and you need to find some way to give back to yourself, a little portion of the day that is your own. A little treat that gives the day some forward momentum when the lows come...as they do often, at least in my experience. And I sympathise that it is hard to find healthy ways of replenishing yourself, but you can do it. I do believe that it will require addressing the need to replenish yourself. You cannot just take away your self-comfort, you will have to find other, frequent, healthy, soul-addressing replacements for it.

This is the truth. I so often feel that Jude is taking something from me and I must give back to myself in some way so that I don't feel like I've completely lost myself in this child. I'm still working on giving up watching a TV show all the way through or finishing books in any semblance of a timely manner, or ever feeling well-rested when I wake up. But I'm working on it. Because I find the less I covet those things, the less angry or upset or annoyed I become when I don't get them. So I'm working on it. But really, I'm still making excuses for my daily 200-300 calorie, $5 coffee habit. I've been making excuses and I think I'm ready to stop wishing for a different me. I have to find the "other, frequent, healthy, soul-addressing replacement" for shoving food in my face every time things don't go my way. And hiding in the bathroom with my phone for some uninterrupted Internet time doesn't count, either. 

Lately I've been feeling really positive about the possibilities in my life. I'm in a strange waiting room and there are so many doors I could walk through. I just have to make the decision and do it. And that's what this week is going to be for me. I'm going to sit down and decide which goals to pursue and I'm going to plan small steps I can take to get there. I'm excited and I'm ignoring that fear of failure that keeps me from so many good things in my life. One of those things I'm excited about is feeling like I'm taking control of the small things. So often I just allow things to roll over me and then complain that I couldn't help it. This is rarely the case. Small decisions can make such a difference and I must finally be willing to accord small things their due significance. I've been denying it and this small denial has become a major factor of unhappiness and a false sense of helplessness in my life. 

So. Small Things Matter. Done.

I also find myself complaining because I'm so alone. Especially when it comes to my faith. I do feel isolated here because the way Kenny's family practices their faith is a bit different from mine. I attend church weekly, but I don't understand much of what goes on, even though I'm taking Jude to children's church. There's so much "holy vocabulary" I just don't get yet, so it's really hard to derive any kind of spiritual meaning (or any meaning at all) from my attendance. I often don't feel God is there. I know there are many ways to approach Him and I am the one doing the limiting here. Anyway, I mentioned this feeling of isolation and desire for fellowship and discipleship to a friend in an email. And she was so wise to reply in this manner:

The good news is that the only one we truly need is Christ. His fellowship can and will be enough to fill you up. Strive to spend time seeking Him, thanking Him, rejoicing in Him. Fellowship with others is important too, but maybe you're in a weird, isolated phase because He wants your undivided attention.

And I realized that this is also true. Perhaps I have been called here into this confusion of another language because when I'm alone, in this spiritual dry place, I see what my faith is made of. And it seems it's not made of much these days. So I'm refocusing on the simple truths that I know. I'm asking help and giving thanks. I'm daily aware of the examples I have before me in the selflessness and joy of my mother-in-law and the quiet, dutiful life of my father-in-law. I'm hoping to close my mouth a little more often, and to listen with my heart rather than my super-critical mind. I'm reminded of a time early in my relationship with Kenny where he wouldn't tell me he loved me. He said that he was uncomfortable with the way people so blithely said it, just spouted it out at any time. It seemed to him that the words had lost a bit of their meaning. He would rather never be told he was loved. Instead, he would rather be shown without a doubt that he was loved. And he did this for me. I never had to wonder if he cared for me. And the same is true for the Lord at this point. He has decided for some reason beyond my understanding and infinitely beyond my just desserts, to simply show me I'm loved. And that's the reason I'm out here in the wilderness alone. So I can hear that tiny voice and feel the smallest gestures of kindness and forgiveness from Him. 

And in turn, I will show up every Sunday morning, with my baby in tow, to sing songs I don't understand and spend a few hours with people I can't entirely relate to. I will happily tithe and give my offerings to a church who has accepted me and my son without reservation, despite our inability to communicate fully. I will gladly wake early on Sunday, thankful that I have an entire congregation of people who will support me and my family (who do, in fact, support us in many ways since my father-in-law is the pastor of that church). And in these small acts of devotion and my efforts at discipline, I will show Him that I love him. So that he doesn't doubt it when I say it. This is love. 

I'm thankful to my friend, Lyn, for reminding me of this. In a few sentences, she turned my head and heart upside down and refreshed my spirit. And I'm thankful to Ruth for reminding me of how important it is to love myself in a healthy way. To also show that I respect myself enough to be careful with what I give myself, what I allow myself, and what I take from myself. 

So, dear reading friends, I share my friends with you and hope this post does a bit of the same in turn. 
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