Some days it seems like my life is drifting away in a series of "Whens..."
"When the kids are all in school, I'll have time to exercise/volunteer/deep clean, etc...."
"When Tori goes down for a nap, I'll catch up on my Bible study lessons...."
"When I get the laundry caught up..."
"When we finally have a free weekend...."
"When ___________ I'll eat more healthy...." (Yeah, I don't have a "when" for that. I just know I should.)
"When I have a little more time, I'll write a blog post that actually says everything I want it to instead of writing a series of rambling paragraphs loosely tied together under a theme only in my own mind!"
The trouble is that most of my "whens" never come to pass. Just look at the 4 sweet faces on the sidebar as proof that my first "when," as close as I came, never happened!
And counting on nap time usually guarantees a nap boycott. Hoping to catch up on laundry... well, that is just plain silly. Longing for the weekend is a good predictor of some unexpected event popping up that can't be missed. And the complete and coherent blog post.... well, just keep reading....
So then I wonder how much of life I'm missing because I'm waiting for "when" to arrive.
How many sweet moments with Tori (and my other kids) have I sacrificed to the hope of accomplishing some household task uninterrupted? How many things have I done halfway because I've been overwhelmed by those things yet to be done? Which blessings have I taken for granted because I'm looking past them to the things I don't have? What lessons have I left unlearned as I've skimmed over the surface of life in anticipation of the next "simpler" stage--a stage that never arrives?
It's a fine balance, and I can't seem to find the center of it. On one hand, being a SAHM is a life with very few marked and permanent achievements. Even those things that get done soon become undone and in need of being re-done! And in a much deeper sense than nap time or housework, this world is not our home, so there truly are many things that just won't sit right in my soul. This life is imperfect and often hard.
But on the other hand, Jesus promises life and fullness and joy--complete joy, nonetheless! However, He also clearly tells us that self-sacrifice is the only way to true joy. Some days I get that, really get it and embrace it with excitement and purpose. Other days, it feels like a complete and unattainable paradox.
Right now, my baby is in her bed crying because this is one of those "when" days for naps. My laundry is in various stages of incompletion and my floor is sticky. We have somewhere to be every evening for the next two weeks. What does complete joy, self-sacrifice, and true LIFE look like in the midst of that?
The more I think about it, it seems that perhaps asking "When...." questions is okay. Maybe I'm just focusing on the wrong "whens." What if I asked myself questions like,
"When I tuck my kids into bed each night, what do I want them to remember about the day?"
"When the my kids are all grown (which I have plenty of time to prepare for now!) what do I want our family legacy to be?"
"When I meet with Jesus at the end of my life, what crowns will I have to cast at His feet?"
Those questions are a little more difficult to answer. But those are the questions that, when it's all said and done, are truly important to me.
So, I guess I'll go get Tori from her bed. She and I can sit on the sticky floor and play.