So, my question is, who decided "excellent" was, well, excellent? And does being "excellent" blind you to the "good?"
I contend that pursuing the best you can be, is the best you can do. I contend that expecting others to live up to your definition of excellence is being a noisy gong. I contend that always wanting excellent can be a way of keeping yourself from accepting something good. And lovely. And joyful.
These things, I have concluded for myself.
Please notice the retail price of $39.50.
Now please note this almost identical lined jean jacket from the same famous chain store:
Please note that the yard sale price was $1. One dahlah! as my Italian friend Fracesca says.
My friend has a little boy, just 2 years old. He says "this," for whatever action he wants. "This," he says, as he tugs my hand, come read me this story. "This," he says when he wants me to get something for him. This. This is what I want. This. It is here. Help me get it. I want it.
"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." - Genesis 2:24 (KJV)
[Middle English cleven, from Old English cleofian.]
intransitive verb: cleaved, cleav·ing, cleaves.
To adhere, cling, or stick fast.
To be faithful: cleave to one's principles.
Cleave. The husband to his wife. The intransitive verb "to adhere, cling, or stick fast" doesn't tell all. In Hebrew, there is action, intention: "follow close (hard after,) pursue hard." Can you feel it? Can you feel the effort? the struggle to be one?
Cleave has no meaning without a becoming of one. A transitive verb; the direct object being her, whom He made just for him.
Hard work. This.
Then I decided to become a mom. This is my adoption binder. This does not include the Attorney binder or the Post-adoption binder or the Trauma Disorder binder. Or the Infertility folder. Or the Miscarriage folder.
To the right is our application, what we call the "big app:" 71 pages. What you don't see is all that went into the 71 pages: getting the child abuse clearance, the criminal check, social worker's interviews, photographs of our home and neighborhood, going to the IRS to get copies of our back w-2's, getting our birth certs, writing our autobiographies, including information about our nuclear families and our philosophy of child-rearing. When people ask me if we'll have a second, it's not a uterus I'm worried about; it's my carpal tunnel! I did all this while still working a more-than-full-time corporate job and commuting 48 miles each way. Did I say each way?
What is my point?
Oh yes. Boo comes home. Traumatized. Hyper-vigilent. Not sleeping. Not playing. Not looking at me. Clinging. No. That is not an adequate description. Velcroed. No. Is there a word for "suctioned on?" My OCD served me well. I kept his world very consistent. And constant. Any changes were made (and recorded) incrementally. I kept a minute-by-minute log of his first year with us. I have the notebooks to prove it.
I did loosen up and through those years of being home full time, raising and healing this toddler. Now this toddler has mysterisouly become a little boy. A little boy wearing size 13 XW shoes! Over the years, I stopped being so organized. I kept a rigid schedule of meals and sleep, and all but totally let go of everything else. It's time now to pick up the pieces of Ms. Oh and get Organized again. So that I can be a good steward of the 6 hours he's at school.
It's not as easy as it sounds. In fact, I should be getting organized right now!
By Sunday, Boo had not caught up with his sleep. Desperate for some measure of sanity, I made him take a nap. So. 10:00 that night, he is still tossing and turning, complaining that his head hurt. I decided to lay down with him and shared, "My head hurts, too."
With one thumb stuck in his mouth, he reached out with his other hand and started rubbing my head.
That boy, he'll make someone a good husband.
". . . LORD God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have
made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me
wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern
this great people of yours?"
God said to Solomon, "Since this is your
heart's desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the
death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for
wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king,
therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you.
And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have."
2 Chronicles 1: 9-12 (NIV)
Do you wish you were more wise? That you knew more? That, in itself is wisdom and knowledge. To me, there's nothing more foolish than thinking you know everything.
I need to remind myself to look on Solomon's prayer and act on it:
". . let your promise to my father David be confirmed . . "
I am to call upon His promise, because His promises are sure and true.
". . You have made me king . . "
I must acknowlege that He has control over all things. King. Wife. Mom. Clothes picker-upper. Child picker-upper. Disciplinarian. Bible study leader.
"Give me wisdom and knowledge . . "
I need to pray for wisdom and knowledge, not just patience!
". . this great people of yours?"
Do it for Him. Do it with love so as not to be a noisy gong. If the sacrifice you present is without love, He will not be pleased. It is for Him.
"And I will also give you wealth . ."
God doesn't say "Because of your prayer" or anything that relates to what Solomon has done or said. Giving wealth is at His discretion and not a result of Solomon's actions or words. Don't believe those people who say good deeds and prayers and giving will result in riches. It is at His discretion and nothing you do will make you "deserve" it.
Enjoy! Rest! on this day that the Lord gave us!
- Is it because you always saw yourself as a mom/dad? and that is your identity?
- Did you have a great family and you want that same happiness?
- Did you have a dysfunctional family and you want to do a better job?
- Because that's what you're supposed to?
- Because you got pregnant?
- Because you want to live on and leave a legacy in your children?
- You want to see yourself/ your spouse in these little ones you created?
A girlfriend of mine and I used to say that when God gave out the motherhood gene, we were out picking flowers or something, because WE did not get that gene. We never oohed and ahhed at cute booties and blankets. We never thought about cute names or dreamt about family outings. We never looked at babies with misty eyes, clouded by longing. Nope. Not us. Clear-eyed and sure. We didn't long for a child of our own. Don't get us wrong, we loved babies! Like each of our nieces and nephews - the ones you could give back at the end of an outing.
Once I married, I asked many people, "Why do/did you want children?" Not to question their judgement, but to solve a mystery for me, to have them explain the incomprehensible equation. Like approaching a Calculus T.A. The most common answer was, "I don't know," accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders. I would even feed them the list of questions, and none of them seemed to ring true. They would agree hesitantly to one or another, but there weren't any "Ah ha!" responses. Here again, I was the odd one out. Nobody seemed to really care why they wanted a family. They were not intrigued by my question, but rather, saw it as a distraction, as if your spouse asked you during The Game if you wanted broccoli or carrots with dinner.
In the end, I decided that wanting children is a primal thing. It is something in the depths of our being, planted there by our Maker. Somewhere along the line, between Eve eating the fruit and here, my friend and I lost that gift that God gave us. That makes me sad now, now that I am a mother because I think I still lack something in my Being.
When the time came and we chose to create a family, we made a family through adoption. So this brought about a whole 'nother round of questions about what it means to want a family; be a family. I don't know if I love my son as much as if he had come from my body, because he is and will be our Only. I do know though, that I love him fiercely; as fiercely as any Momma Bear. I know of a couple who wants a family in the worst way, but he refuses to even consider adoption. Let me be clear: adoption is not for everyone. Neither is parenthood. But I have to wonder, does he really want to come together with joy or is it something else? What do you consider is a child of your own? Do you want a baby or do you want something of yourself? Do you want to give of yourself or get something yourself?
I'm understanding parts of the equation, but there are steps that are still murky to me. I need a Parenting T.A.
For me it is the end to the perfect day. The wind is blowing softly, the sandpipers are scuttling along the shore while the suns golden glow shimmers as it sinks below the waves. My six-year old son skips along the sea, jet black hair flying behind him. He delights in the unfamiliar of the shore songs that greet us and offer up the ocean's bounties. Shells of many colors: brown, tan, black, white and an occasional tinge of pink. He runs, collecting both big and small. He scoops them up,washes them off, and dumps them in the bag as we make our way down the beach. I help, pointing out the errant ones that he has missed along the way. But of course, I leave the chipped, broken and those shells whose imperfections make them less than a desireable collectors item.
"Mom, LOOK at all my shells," his voice booms. "There are hundreds of them."
I peek my head into the bag. Bits and pieces with jagged edges greet me.
"But Kullen, these shells are all broken," I say, trying to be helpful. "Why don't you collect ones like this?" handing him a perfect specimen that has just washed ashore.
"But Mom, they don't have to be whole to be perfect. They are beautiful just the way they are."
And with that, he looks into my eyes and holds my gaze with those deep brown eyes of his and gives me a dirty black shell, the majorityof whose pieces are scattered over the bottom of the Atlantic. But when I turn the shell over I see he is right. The center makes a perfect circle which circles back upon itself. The color is uniform and as dark as ebony. And as I stare at that shell I suddenly see my son within it. They both have a few cracks and even some missing pieces. And as I stare down at the small piece of shell in my hand, I come to the sudden realization that both it and my son are perfect just the way they are.
Sometimes it takes a six-year old boy with autism to remind you.
Written by Cheryl L. Dieter copyright 10.10.2008 Do not reprint without permission.
God put this upon my heart recently:". . . LORD God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have
made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?" God said to Solomon, "Since this is your heart's desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. . ." - 2 Chronicles 1:9-12 (NIV)
King Solomon called upon God's promise, knowing God's promises are sure. He understood that it is God that put him in that place as King. It is to Him that Solomon turns for wisdom and knowlege. Does it matter that my Kingdom is a 6-year old and a brood of dust bunnies? Do I know that God has placed me here? that His promises are sure? That He is tender to me, His child, like a hen with its chicks? Surely God will bless me with wisdom and knowledge, just as He blessed Solomon.
He also sent me:
"The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it." Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked. "How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. . . The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?" Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus." - Acts 8:29-34 selections (NIV)
I have always considered that passage from Philip's point of view, I being the apostle of Christ seeking for opportunities to teach an unbeliever. This passage was, for me, about trusting the Spirit to guide me to situations in which I could help someone. Recently, I considered the Ethiopian's perspective. Here, he earnestly sought the Lord as He worshiped and read the Word, and yet, he did not understand. Then, God sent him someone to help him understand! I am sure God sent Solomon enlightenment, but I am also sure God did not just miraculously send streams of knowlege into Solomon's head. More likely, He sent wise friends, counselors, advisors his way.
I need to pray more for wisdom and knowlege. Don't you? But I too, often need someone to help me understand. My thinking has been warped by sin, and sometimes I can't see around the gnarls and twists of my mind. I need spiritual help from a friend, a pastor, a Bible study. . .the Spirit.
But I also seek heart and mind counsel. How do I love? How do I be patient? How do I trust the Father? When I pray for wisdom, He also sends me a way for me to acquire that wisdom. In the form of enlightenment, a friend, a stranger, a therapist.
Here are some Safety tips to share with your Special Treasures, from the Arkansas Attorney General's Office:
Hug them hard, hug them long and thank God every time they annoy you and drive you crazy. Because they are home.
I had forgotten about them! I enthusiastically said, "What a great idea, Boo! It's much closer than the other ones"
He was so proud of himself and replied, "Mom, I had a thought bubble!"