Wednesday, January 25, 2017

If it takes a village, then where's my tribe??

I have a newborn daughter. She is almost 3 months old. I have decided she is beautiful and adorable and also that having an infant is the hardest frickin thing in the world. I do not believe that raising a child was ever meant to be a one-woman show, or even a two-person job for that matter. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and in our independent isolated society I would like to know where is my  village?? I want to sit around the local watering hole and have the village women take turns passing Shiloh around so that I can finish a load of laundry. Or have the evening meal prepared by the other dozen women in my tribe so that I can feed my baby for the fourteenth time that day. Then when my husband comes back from the day's kill, fulfilled by manly bonding and a sense of supreme achievement, he will have the energy to take entertain Shiloh for a bit while Mom, heaven forbid, takes a flippin' nap.

But in our isolated society where I don't even ask the neighbors for a cup of sugar anymore, I feel like  we are conditioned to believe that asking people for help is not only a sign of complete weakness, but an utter imposition upon those we are asking. Instead we should just shell out the money for a daycare we can't afford and leave our offspring with strangers. Or we an just tote them around with us in our fancy carrier and then get dirty looks from people when they start to cry. Sorry, people, newborns cry. They just do.

I'm starting to appreciate the cultures that keep the whole family under one roof. Sure, the six cars in the drive way is excessive, and I may not be a fan of their cultural music, but at least they have the humility to seek help from those around them. Us white people are just fooling ourselves to think we can do everything on our own strength and resources.

I suppose that, ideally, this is where the church body would come in. As church planters (which is just code for 'our church meets in our living room') we have attracted younger members who want to learn from us (as if we know what we're doing). What we lack are the wise sages and the matriarchs who have had been there, done that a dozen times over. In our situation we are the pastors, and so we really have no one pastoring us. Although we did get a card from a neighboring church congratulating us on our baby Grace (in case you didn't pick up, her name is Shiloh).

I'm not sure how a change in attitude is going to fix this one. I'm already stripped of any pride and am completely willing to ask for help , I'm just not always sure where to find it. SO until then, thank God  for take-out a baby-sitters.


Screw resolutions. It has become abundantly clear that having a newborn is not the time to try to begin new routines. I am pretty much a slave to HER routine, and therefore all my goals for the day take a backseat. I am overcome with excitement if I get a load of laundry done and completely ecstatic if we make it to baby yoga on time. Newborns are murderers of productivity and I am only frustrating myself by saying I will do this or do that... Nope. I'm done with the productivity-oriented goal setting.

Holocaust survivor and psychologist Victor Frankl says we can not choose our circumstances, but we can always choose our attitude (paraphrased, of course). So instead of loosing my mind over chores unfinished or mentally kicking myself for failing at my New Year's resolutions already, I have decided that productivity will not be the point. My attitude surrounding it will.

Now for those of you who are just naturally happy and see the glass half full (that would be YOU, Eneagram 7!!) let me explain that how this is actually a challenge for us melancholics (For those of you who know the Eneagram- I'm a 4). We not only see a half-empty glass, we question the purpose of the glass in the first place. Surely a thermos would have been better if we had only planned ahead. Or we negate the need for the glass- I don't care if it's half empty, I didn't want a drink anyway! Or we just hurl the glass at the nearest wall and say "Fuck it!" We are chronically disappointed, not because we hate everything, but because we have in mind an ideal of how things should be and reality never seems to come close to our ideal. We're not pessimists, we're idealists. And this surrounding world and all it's cacophony is a horrible substitute for the beauty and art that is in our minds.

So, out with the unrealistic expectations of achieving this or that, and on to a renewal of the mind of sorts. I already have some books picked out to aid in this endeavor, I'll publish that list in a following post. I understand that the real work of renewing my mind will be through meditation and prayer. I have been avoiding both (more on that later), so this will be quite the upset, and quite the journey.

I titled this blog "Redemption of a Cynic" probably four years ago and never actually added any posts. Maybe this was some sort of foreshadow to the journey I would need to take later on. Or maybe I just was't cynical enough back then, and now I fit the bill. Either way, I shall take my gracious readers along with me towards my redemption.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Day 1

I wrote a really witty blog post and forgot to save it.

My eleven-week-old infant is screaming next to me so it's hard to hear myself think.

I just ended my beginning of the year soup cleanse by finishing off a pizza, a bottle of wine, and left-over Halloween candy.

I'm a Christian in the middle of an existential crisis, a mother who never really wanted kids, and a musician that hasn't touched an instrument in three years. I have an unfinished Masters degree, a library of un-read books, and instead of putting laundry away I just leave it in the middle of the floor until it is so covered in dog hair that I have to wash it again. I'm a severe melancholic with major depressive disorder and I haven't been on medication since I got pregnant. 

It's January and my resolution is to write. 

So this is my blog.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Only three months of my blogging adventure and I've already disrupted the pace. Are disruptions the problem? Do we set out to accomplish our life's to-do list only to be disrupted by jobs, broken down cars, weddings, funerals, cleaning houses, over-due bills, lost dogs, broken arms, headaches.....

When does the break come when we finally get to do what we want to do? When do we get a vacation from the have-tos and a chance to live out our passion? Or more practically, how can we live out our passion in the midst of the disruptions? Or is there a way to take care of both?

Painfully, I am all questions on the subject with few to no answers. I live for my faith in Christ, so that is supposed to give you comfort in all of life's uncertainties. But why would God give you talents and passions and motivations, only to see you be weighed down from the world's agenda? Is there some key that I am missing here? Do I not "believe" enough?

I can't help but think that God intended for us to live a simpler life. His disciples roamed around unemployed for years. John the Baptist didn't work hard just so he could afford to eat at fancy restaurants. Esther didn't spend her time as queen visiting tanning salons and shopping malls.
If your passion is cooking, why not cook for the neighborhood? If your passion is helping, offer to clean. If you enjoy children, be the daycare. If you're an animal person, be the neighborhood pet sitter. If your passion is music, be the evening's entertainment.

I know people will easily brush this off as utopia nonsense, but I can't help but think that there is a disruption-free way to pursue the God-inspired passions inside of us. It just may not look like our United States way of living. And maybe that's a disruption that people would rather not discard.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Highs and Lows

These two weeks have been exhausting! God has flooded our lives with high moments and lows, taking my husband and I on a very unexpected ride. We are seeking other employment situations which brings the anxiety of not having a paycheck juxtaposed by the excitement of knowing that God has another plan for our lives. We are eager to follow Him and see what is in store for our mission together as a couple. But the lows have been overwhelming. Leaving a church and a job in trust that there is somethingbetter can be unnerving, at the least, expecially when truth of the whole situation has become ambiguous.

Prospective bosses call; then they don't. Then they return an email with a vague answer. So what's going on? How far will our trust be tested on this one?

Then Papa dies. Not entirely unexpected. Maybe even a blessing of being released to leave my husband's home town. But still a low. A low that brings on family expectations of how we should handle this, what we should do, and what events we need to attend or not.

Our kitchen floor, currently a bed of cardboard, was going to be fixed. It was a promise made again and again. After three broken promises, a member of our congregation hands my husband a check and an offer to come help put down the tile. Done. Just like that.

Does God let the lows happen, so we can appreciate the highs? Or are the highs inserted as a mere promise that the lows aren't being endured in vain? Are we let down so we can be picked up? Or are we picked up so we can better prepare for the next fall? If we look at Scripture to answer this quesion, I would suppose it to be the latter. Scripture paints suffering as a blessings. Blessings are blessings, too, but they do not seem to provide the wisdom and peace that arise out of a tragedy.

I'm not saying my life is full of tragedy, just pondering the idea of highs and lows. I suppose I'd be bored with the middle anyway.