I have this pair of chairs in the nook of our kitchen. All day long the sun streams over them, warming the seats and creating a golden glow. My stacks of books, magazines and even my rosary beckon me to come and sit in the light. To be still and know.
Right now I cannot remember the last time I sat in one of those chairs to simply sip coffee and read. Maybe the last time my mother was here? In fact many times those chairs are buried under a pile of shirts to iron and laundry to fold. And sometimes I just plain resent the fact that even though I am a stay at home mom, I rarely have a moment to sit, and if I do, my lap is soon filled with a boy eager to read to me or asking for something to eat.
Becoming a mother introduced me to resentment.
When I first had my older sons, only 12 months apart, and my husband left each day to go to the office, out to lunches and dinners with clients or, worse yet, to conferences in California and Florida, I struggled with moments of self-pity. We had little money to spare and macaroni and cheese could not compare with his grilled salmon and couscous! I was proud of him and happy for him but I could not afford even a Starbuck's to keep me company on those long, lonesome days without family in town or even a friend with children herself with whom to relate.
The days were a blur of stories on the floor, snuggles before bed and often at least one out of two babies crying. I was elated and exhausted, fulfilled and drained all at once. I knew I had found my highest calling. I felt like I was in the Peace Corps at home ~ the hardest job you'll ever love. I remember hearing stories from my still single or childless friends about trips to Hawaii or late-night concerts and I struggled with jealousy. How could I find a way to compare changing diapers, midnight feedings and shower-less days to their lives of seeming luxury?
It became clear that only God understood. In the wee hours of the night as I rocked a baby to sleep in the moonlight, I learned to go to him in silence and beg for grace. It helped. Slowly I grew in confidence in my mothering role and in time the boys went to bed early enough that I had time to read and be my introverted self at night.
It was then that I began to understand the beauty of self-sacrifice. That in giving everything for the love of another is the most rewarding way to live. No concert or couscous dinner could compare with the core-deep devotion I felt for my family.
Becoming a mother introduced me to Christ.
The cross became less of a lesson in history and more of a link to my story. I was learning to resolve my resentment, to turn the corner on jealousy and see the little luxuries in my daily life. I began to see my small sufferings as a way to grow closer to God.
Even though I still rarely sit down in my nook, I know that it is there, and I offer a prayer of thanksgiving for a husband who needs me to iron his shirts and for sons who create piles of laundry for me to fold. A prayer of thanksgiving for the opportunity to resent and resolve it through the grace of motherly self-sacrifice.
|Joining with Elizabeth Foss|