I go to the gym in the mornings. I am so grateful my husband gives this gift to me by getting up to take care of our child. But my son is teething and for a week straight he has been grunting and whining if not in my arms. I haven’t slept in days. First year molars are no joke. So this morning I drove straight past the gym to Starbucks, got a latte, and savored the caffeine and the quiet. And now I sit writing and breathing. It’s beautiful here, people. One hour of quiet time to pray and write can make all the difference in the world. By the end of the hour- I will be missing my little guy and ready to give for the rest of the day.
There are days when I don’t recognize the depletion. Days when I would have pushed myself to go to the gym anyway, worn myself out even more, and proceeded to be a grumpy, impatient mom resentful of everyone – including the dogs- for needing so much. Actually, especially the dogs. Does my ten year old cocker spaniel really need to go to the bathroom with me? I understand the one year old human, but the dog?!? And then there are days when its not possible to take an hour to be still. Days when my husband works long hours or is out of town. And to be honest, I don’t really buy into all this “mommy break time”. I am not entitled to self care breaks from raising my kid. You think mothers in war zones are crying “I need mommy time!”? In the countries where the focus is survival? I think they just take care of their families. So there are times when I have to push through on no sleep and just take care of my family (woe is me, right? Please.)
Today in this glorious time of caffeine and quiet, I realized I am trying to do it all on my own. Again. I often land in this place. How many times did I turn down help from a friend last week? “Thank you, but I got it” is my standard answer. Yeah…. no. I don’t “got it.” I cannot go it alone. Just the same as the mom whose only focus is survival cannot go it alone. I don’t NEED to go to Starbucks and drink a $5 latte in order to be a good mom. What I need is connection. I need people. I need to know I’m not alone even when the needs within my home render me unable to get out or pick up the phone. I believe we were put on this earth to be in relationship with our Creator. And in relationship with those around us. This is the deepest longing and often the deepest pain in us all. It is the common thread. Crosses every divide. The irony? It is also the great divide. Those with the deepest pain of alone-ness (different from loneliness)- those who have had to go it alone- are often the same ones to inflict great heartache on others. From creating an emotional wall to a physical one to a violent one, these walls are created out of alone-ness. “I am alone so I will turn against you. I will prove I don’t need you.” And so we are a world full of people trying to prove they don’t need each other. I tried to deny the need with anorexia and then tried to fill it with bulimia. Maybe we fill it with other addictions. Or we try to fill it with perfectionism or achievements- I struggle with this one too. Or we try to fill it with a false sense of connection through social media and technology. Or we join a divisive group through religion or politics or activism. The need is so basic. The solution is so simple. And yet it is most difficult. We need connection to the One who created us and we need connection with the ones who are created in His image. That’s all of us y’all. Every. Single. Person. We are all created in His image. And we are all created with this need. This common thread. This great divide.
My question today for myself and for you: How can we work to heal each other instead of hurt each other?