Monday, January 14, 2013

About family.

We tenderly tucked away our Christmas for another year (Okay, so maybe I was the only one tucking it away tenderly; everyone else wanted to throw things in boxes and be done with it).  I allow myself a day of mourning for the bareness of my home, then I push forward.  Before long I don't notice the emptiness because the kids fill up the space with energy and life and LOUDNESS.

Knee-deep in Christmas bulbs and greenery I was reminded that marriage and family life is HARD WORK.  There are moments of grandeur (a bit lofty, but true), but more than that, it's working hard to make life (or a family) function with the greatest probability for success (success being happiness and raising well-rounded, responsible kids who love the Lord and can function in society).   It's the nitty-gritty of taking out the trash and deciding who's gonna clean up the barf down the hallway from a sick kid.  It's putting away Christmas decorations and taking down Christmas lights in sub-zero temperatures because it has to be done.  It's waking up frantic in the middle of the night because you forgot about your little one's tooth under his pillow.  It's smiling at the woman, who, seeing you with many kids in tow says, "You DO know how that happens, don't you?"  It's making dinner when everyone but you is hungry.  It's going to work even though everyone else is at home enjoying a Snow Day.  It's teaching your kids how to do the dishes or clean a toilet and standing by them (repeatedly) as they learn to do it right.  It's remaining loyal to your spouse even when you or they are angry, hurt, sick, tired, annoyed, stretched too thin...or overweight :).   

It's sacrifice day in and day out.  So, why would anyone choose that?!

My life isn't glamorous, but it's beautiful.  There's a difference.  It can be down right messy, but it feels right.  I can't keep track of how many times I've wanted to throw the towel in, and at the same time, I associate my greatest joys with these very people.  There are gaps between the challenges and struggles that are filled with fun, passion, wonder, joy, fulfillment, pride, contentment, and peace.  It's easier to see what's hard, what we're giving up, rather than what we gain from sacrifice...and there's SO much to gain.  

My greatest sources of frustration (my family) can also be my greatest joys (my family) because the measure of my love is felt by the deepness of my emotion.  Deep and lasting relationships make life sweet and give it purpose, but you can't get deep without causing a few ripples in the water.  It comes with the territory.  Conversely, if you don't care about something, the resulting emotion is usually apathy.  Apathy in a marriage or a family is asking for trouble.

I feel like I'm running an emotional marathon sometimes and I keep doing it because I know in my soul that THIS is what makes me happy, lastingly happy.  I can go to sleep at night knowing that I'm trying to do what God wants me to do, even though there are days when I feel my efforts are sub par.  Life is LONG.  There will always be better days.  It takes the bad to know the good.

I think that the secret to living a purposeful life is to find out what God wants YOU to do, then do it as best you can. 

"life is just like an old time rail journey . . . delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.  The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride (Gordon B. Hinckley)."

1 comment:

Shana said...

Oh Lanette, I can't tell you how much I needed to read this today. I find it increasingly easy to just shut it all off - to give in to apathy when things get hard. Instead of feeling like a failure, or a cranky person, or feeling the disappointment when things don't go the way I wanted them to, I shut it off. But you're right. That spells disaster. Thank you for being real on your blog. Knowing there's another mom out there who feels the daily frustrations is encouraging. Especially when it's someone who looks (from the outside) like she has it all together, and that life is 100% perfect. :) You inspire me. Thank you.

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