Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Staring at the Ceiling Fan

Actually, we don't have a ceiling fan, but if we did, this is where I would be right now. I'm posting mostly out of obligation. I have a blog. It is lonely. It lurks in my internet browser, waiting patiently, not even wimpering, but looking sad and forlorn. After a certain amount of neglect, it wouldn't even show its heartbroken face, but would instead hide behind a blank page, stifling its tears in the far corners of cyberspace, unable to hold up its poor little head among the other blogs whose more attentive authors stop by to feed them tidbits daily.

Yes, I also think the food on my plate is disappointed if I don't eat it all and that the books on my shelves are bereft of comfort if I don't read or at least touch or talk to them every now and then. Don't even ask about the anthropomorphic properties of my houseplants. Some night, I am convinced, my patient african violets will arise and do me in. Something right out of Bradbury, only with a Better Homes & Gardens touch. There's a blog entry in that, somewhere.

The girls are supposed to be in VBS this week in the next town where we go to church, the same town in which the Little House play is currently running, 25 minutes away. I tried. I really did. I got them in the car Sunday evening and drove them into town. Got as far as the city limits before I could go no farther. The thought of making that drive every single night, getting home late and tired with the girls hungry after having been rushed through a mere semblance of dinner too early in the evening...it was too much to bear even contemplating. Turned around and drove back. Am taking them to VBS at a little country church we used to attend, about 3 minutes down the road. They're going with friends from school; they're being fed dinner there; and I can drop them off and come back home for 2 1/2 blessed hours of solitude and silence before picking them back up. (At the other church, I would've been staying and working.)

Last night I walked into the quiet house (I've not been entirely alone this summer save 2wce, for 2 hours each time, and then I was sick.) and soaked in the silence. I turned on the computer and wrote (something I've not done for ages), did some yoga and wrote some more. There is a part of me that motherhood and doing the whole evangelical family-raising things has buried, and I am not sure that it need do so.

I am the world's worst for inadvertently (even when I'm unwilling and watching for it) buying into whatever "plan" is currently being offered/pushed by people I love or respect. I did it in college, touched that my professors had an interest, even in some cases, enthusiasm, about my future. I have done it in the churches we've been involved with since our marriage. It is much "safer" to lie quietly down in whatever coffin is being offered one, hoping to make a quiet escape later when the graveyard crew is distracted than it is to look them in the eye and let them know they're the ones that are crazy if they think for one moment you're going to buy into what they're offering, to allow them to keep shoveling cheery shovelfuls of dark earth over you any longer. I've allowed it too often and too long. I will allow it no more. Now I'm clawing at the dirt, determinedly digging my way to the surface, bruised fingers, torn nails and all. God help me if I ever lie down in a box again.


Randy said...

Whoa. Amen, no more boxes. I love it when you write.

Michael said...

I believe I actually stopped breathing part way through this letter,and was breathless until I reached the end.

alaiyo said...

Good for you!

I came home the other day from working at the office (in the summer, when I'm not being paid, but of course one must still get ready for fall and take care of incompletes, etc.) to find a message on my desk. Someone had called to ask if I'd help out with making suppers for our new faculty members moving into town in the next couple of weeks.

Why is it that anyone would ask a full-time college professor to make supper for other people? Oh, of course -- I'm a woman; I must love to make meals and of course I surely make supper every day for my own family so I can just make double the amount a couple of nights -- and package it and drive across town, out in the country, wherever (someplace I'm unfamiliar with, no doubt) . . .

I don't even have time to make supper on a regular basis for my own family, yes, even in the summer.

It reminded me of when my kids were little and I was always being asked to "help out in the nursery." As if having five kids of my own somehow meant I wanted to watch ten/twelve more . . . I did it once and after that said, "Nope; I have my own nursery, thank you. My kids are the only ones I like enough to spend that much time with." :)

Of course, sometimes we have to do things we don't want to -- but that's not what you are talking about here. You are talking about a way of living and of pleasing others by doing anything and everything they ask. This decision is most definitely healthy, and I'll pray for you to hold to it when folks look at you in shock and disappointment because you say no to doing something that you so obviously have time for . . .

Love you!


Cindy said...

The problem with leaving the box is that one invariably finds oneself in another box without even realizing it? How, when one is guarding oneself so diligently against that very thing? Because one PUTS ONESELF into little boxes without even realizing it!!!

Grrrr. If I were not me, I'd dismantle myself and put myself back together again. Not so fluffy this time.

Randy and Michael--Thank you for the encouragement and kind words. Michael, I hope there were no oxygen deprivation issues.

Beth--I'm sorry about the frustration with the domestic expectations. I have found that teaching little ones in the church nursery to sing "What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor" tends to cut down on requests to help with childcare. :)

(No passive-agressive issues here, no, Sir!)

Fieldfleur said...

Amen to twirling in a field instead of being in someone else's box.

Good for you, tending the essential.