Discernment

I’ve been thinking through something that I find hard to give words to.  I’m forcing myself to sit down and try, though, tonight.  If you have had enough stamina to read through a lot of my posts lately, you’ll notice a theme.  A theme focused around discernment.

I find myself vacillating between two realities these days.  And I kind of think Drew is too….

One moment it’s this….

And the next, this…

And then this….

But oops!….boo….

Before you call child protective services to report me for abusing my child by taking pictures of him crying, let me assure you, he’s getting lots of love, lots of holding.  Poor Alex is getting my “leftovers” these days, and covering his ears a lot to avoid suffering from the shrill cries and howling.

Today, after trying to spend some time helping Alex put together his tepee/tent/tunnel contraption (thanks, Auntie Corrie!) from his 2nd birthday, I clearly didn’t know what I was doing and had to give up.  Alex was complimentary of my attempt, but later assured me that he forgave me for being so bad at making tents and tepees.

And Drew was being so loud that Alex just picked up his stuff and headed outside.  Poor guy.

Back to the dichotomies….do you find yourself vacillating?  I have used this forum to share about my struggles and discernment process regarding employment.  I have spent way too many hours this week emailing, combing Craigslist, calling districts, filling out applications and updating my resume.  And instead of approaching it in a calm, cool and collected manner, I can feel anxiety rising up in me.  So many questions.  So many unknowns.  Matt is not the one putting this pressure on me.  It ME, putting the pressure on ME.  I was the same way in high school when it came to taking on too much.  And I ended up with an ulcer.  So, it’s time to try and pull back and settle in.

{one sidenote:  Today, after calling one local school district to ask about employment, the woman on the end of the line laughed and HUNG UP ON ME.  LAUGHED.  AND HUNG UP.  Oh, my.  It made me laugh too.  I figured it was that, or just start crying.}

One moment, I look at the boys and think, go back to work?  Head back into the classroom?  Leave little Drew with a sitter?!?!?  WHAT?  I mean look at this….how could you just drop him off?

{And then in those moments, you should remind me to scroll up and just look at those screaming pictures for a reality check.}

Today, something unexpected fell into my lap.  I went to the library to return a book and a new one caught my eye.  It’s called Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist.  This reflection struck me today from her words, “This is what I’ve come to believe about change:  it’s good in the way that childbirth is good, and heartbreak is good and failure is good.  By that I mean that it’s incredibly painful, exponentially more so if you fight it, and also that it has the potential to open you up, to open life up, to deliver you right into the palm of God’s hand, which is where you wanted to be all along, except that you were too busy pushing and pulling your life into exactly what you thought it should be.” {pg. 13}

And there you have it.  I’m in a stage of change.  When I had Alex back in May of 2007, there was still a “bookend” of sorts on the horizon.  I knew that on November 1, 2007, I’d be headed back into the classroom to teach again.  This move to Sunnyvale, though, landed me in a spot with a new “job” and role…staying home with our boys.  Alex is in preschool 3 days a week/part time, but it’s nothing like the 9-4:30pm schedule he’d been on for so long.  As many moments as I want to pull my hair out, cry, wonder how to approach situations (like caring for a crying infant while simultaneously needing to make dinner, tidy up, and play with/engage with the preschooler), I’m also enjoying the gift of getting to be with the boys so much.  I am learning more and more about Alex.  I get to hear all the hilarious comments, to guide him through projects, to encourage his creativity, to ponder some pretty deep questions.  I have the privilege of watching Drew in those quiet moments when Alex is at school.

Settling in and being present in this change has been really humbling and hard.  And yet, when I stop “pushing and pulling [my] life into exactly what [I] thought it should be” as Shauna wrote, it is surprising the ways that I can see the blessing in the change.  To see the goodness in the unknown.  To see the growth in the “not yet”.

Some moments I respond to the change, unknown and not yet with the violent tears Drew exhibited above, literally and figuratively.   And once in a blue moon I can sit and savor the uncertainty and realize that my small life is part of a much bigger story.  A story that requires me to trust and have faith, even when the path is pretty fuzzy and unclear.

Shauna shared, “I didn’t pray for God’s will to be done in my life, or, at any rate, I didn’t mean it.  I prayed to be rescued, not redeemed.  I prayed for it to get easier, not that I would be shaped in significant ways.  I prayed for the waiting to be over, instead of trying to learn something about patience or anything else for that matter.  I couldn’t make peace with uncertainty.” {pg. 18}

Kind of like Alex and his dominoes, there’s a lot of options, paths and combinations; but, it’s my hope that I’ll slow down and take some time to pray and just wait.  This picture, especially Alex in the background and his expression, is my visual reminder of this commission of sorts.  A charge to stay put.  And to wait in the uncertainty.

One thought on “Discernment

  1. Christine –
    I am in this same boat. Feeling the growing pains that come with change, waiting, and uncertainty. I always keep an image in my mind that I saw years ago in your office: a little sign that read “stay the course.”
    Love you and miss you very much.
    Lisa

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