Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A bunch of random thoughts

I've had so many little things I wanted to write about over the last few days, but none of them amount to a very interesting topic by themselves, so I think I'll just cover them all briefly tonight. (I need to post something to start pushing my ill-fated toilet post off the page.)

Church this week
Every Saturday night and Sunday morning, I ask God to help me hear his message for me at church. And I haven't been let down yet. Sometimes, it's not the service itself or the sermon that gets me. One week, I was feeling pretty bad about myself - that I was screwing up all over the place (parenting, my job, etc.) and not doing anything very well. That Sunday morning, Pastor Henry stopped to talk to me right before the service and told me that the communion bread I had baked was wonderful and she wanted to know what I was doing differently to make it come out so good. I know it seems very silly, but hearing her say that I had done that one thing right made me feel better about everything.

This week, I definitely got my message from Pastor Goodman's sermon (ironically titled, "The Heresy Club"). His sermons are just amazing (anyone that quotes J.R.R. Tolkien and Anne Lamott wins me over) , and I know I won't be able to accurately summarize this one, but he talked about how the stories in the Bible are fantasy. He asked if any of us had seen anything like the miracles or stories described in the Bible, and of course we hadn't. But then he said that by fantasy, he means fantastical. And he said that the stories are so crazy that they must be true. That this tale of human beings struggling, failing, never measuring up, turning their backs on God, and yet being loved by God so much that he was willing to make the ultimate unjust sacrifice for them, and that in the end, love, peace, and grace prevail - that this tale is so amazing and wonderful and unlikely and irrational that it must be true. Okay, I definitely didn't capture the point very well, but I still got my message from it. That whole concept of grace has been coming up for me again and again, and Pastor Goodman's sermon helped me to understand it in a new way.

Yard work
I am so excited about my yard this year! Now that we're having the lawn treated - and the vile grubs killed - I'm much more inspired to plant things. I've been trying to buy hardy perennials that can stand up to my horrible soil, poor drainage, full sun (and full shade). This weekend, I bought day lilies, coreopsis, a butterfly bush, painted ferns, rosemary, and some other little perennial with purple flowers that I can't remember the name of now. I spent hours digging holes, lopping giant tree and bush roots out of the ground, placing plants, and watering. I'm still not quite done. We have what we think used to be a barbecue pit in the backyard, but it was grown over and full of grass and dirt. So I dug all that out, but I still need to add a bunch of garden soil to it and then plant the daylilies.

I also have one more fern to put in, but digging a hole for the first one nearly threw out my back, so I'll have to wait a few days. The shady corner where I put the other fern and my bleeding hearts is so compacted with tree and shrub roots that I don't know if it's worth it to plant anything there, but I'm giving it a try. I'm ready to hack down the juniper and yew bushes now. I hate them. They're overgrown and too tall and they prevent me from being able to plant anything else because of their roots. I mentioned my idea to A, and he was more than skeptical. So I may start by hacking one bush to bits and seeing how that goes. I know it will make me feel good to do it at least, plus I know it'll set my retired neighbors talking. :-)

I love doing this kind of work - I could spend my entire weekends working in the yard. After I dropped my plants in the ground, I prayed and asked God to watch over them. It's silly, but I don't know if I can take the heartbreak of seeing all those plants getting chewed up by squirrels and bugs.

Dissatisfaction and guilt
I was pretty crabby today, mostly because I didn't want to go to work at all. I really wanted to stay home with R. There are some days when I really resent having to be the one to work full-time; it's certainly not the life I would have chosen for myself. And I feel guilty and inadequate all the time. I feel guilty leaving R every day, even though he loves his school and A is a great stay-at-home dad two days a week. And I feel like I'm not doing anything very well - I'm overwhelmed by my job and have lost interest in it, but it tires me out so much that I end up being impatient and cranky with R at night. And then I hate myself for not being a good mom. I can't win. So I pray about it and hope that someday things will change - or that God will help me accept things the way they should be. I did start reading another Sue Monk Kidd book today, which opened with her describing her supermom syndrome and the guilt that goes with not living up to perfection, so I think I may have picked up the book at just the right time. :-)

My dad made the sinful cake I described the other day on Sunday when we visited him (I stupidly forgot the camera and couldn't capture the delicious spread on film), and we have the leftovers. So, I'm going to cut myself a big ol' piece of that baby, enjoy it, and then head upstairs to do some reading before bed. Hopefully, R won't need me to help him get back to sleep numerous times like he did last night. Poor little guy. I think he was having bad dreams. :-(


shaun said...

You know, I think you are going to be fine. You have a really great attitude about life like 99% of the time.I wouldn't take it as a sign of impending doom that you get down or overwhelmed now & then. That my dear just means you are flesh like all of us. Flesh is so weak.At least you have the right reference point , a lot of people don't have that . You on the other hand " look to the hills" Keep looking up , if we do that we will make it . no one is a perfect parent , no one but God. Have a blessed day.

NoVA Dad said...

I think that, if you go back and re-read this post, you'll see that you're doing so many things well -- and not just baking the communion bread: loving your child so much that you really don't mind being awakened because of bad dreams; spending so much time and love on rejuvenating your yard; continuining to be a faithful parishioner at your church even during those times that you're not necessarily getting a direct message from the service. I think you're demonstrating a lot more of doing things well than you think:-)

LEstes65 said...

Oh honey, I know what you mean. But like Shaun & Nova already told you, you're amazing and you're letting NO one down.

You also need to think about things you're doing that you don't even realize. Do you know how important your support and love are to me right now? They always have been. But right now is crucial. And the little tiny things you do (that you probably think are piddly) are just SOOOO huge to me.

God has his hand on you. And he is using you to spread his love.

Kristen said...

Wow - thank you, everybody! You all made me feel a lot better. I'm really touched. :-)

Wanda said...

I loved all your random thoughts. You have a wonderful way of expressing yourself.
My husband is a Pastor...and he would love to have people remember that much about his messages.
You are a delight to your family, and I know to your church family.
Love and Hugs