Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Best of Me

Declaration 6 [part II]:  Putting on gentleness and kindness daily, the new creation that I am will seek to always see the good intentions in her children and her husband first. 

She will offer them the best parts of her,
Not the dilapidated leftovers after the whole world has had their turn.    

A few years ago, the Officer was enrolled in a mentoring class, and I remember the words of his wise professor at the end of the term: “[the Officer] is the only father his children have, he is the only husband to his wife.  His other roles can be filled by others, but these two are the ones for which he is irreplaceable.” 
Those words were sobering; mouth-hanging-open-because-it’s-obvious-yet-so-revelatory. Not because I wanted the Officer thusly convicted, but because I lifted his name out and inserted my own.  I am the only person who can be Mom to my kids.  I am the only woman who gets to be Wife to the Officer.  These privileged positions are the ones for which God choose me.  And only me.  The ones which nobody else in the history of human existence can do. 

All else: the cooking, the cleaning, the errand-ing, the blogging [oh, yes, even this], the encouraging, the fun-ing, the planning, the spontaneous-ing, the praying, the teaching, the learning, the serving.  All of it could be done by someone else.  And that’s how it should be.  Yes, we each bring our own, unique traits and ways of doing things to every task and friendship and ministry we engage in; and yes, no one else could do any of those like we do.  But that doesn’t mean that no one else could do them; it simply means nobody else could do them the way we do.    

The Mom-ing and the Wife-ing, those are mine alone.

So should these two roles/jobs/privileges come very last on my list?  Or should they be elevated to second-only-to-worship-of-God?  I know it’s the latter.  We all do.  Which means that I need to treat them as such.  I need to give the best parts of me, expend most of my energy, spend most of my time, give most of my attention to these two positions.  And then give the rest of the world what’s left.  Not the other way around.
Practically, this means that I need to ignore the little alert noises on my phone when I’m with the Officer, because he trumps email and facebook.  I need to be mentally alert and emotionally available to my kids after school and into the evening; even if I have to nap to make that happen.  It means dinner preparations need to be less important than the conversation around the table; because there are only so many of those left.  It means that picking up either has to wait until everyone else is in bed, or (as much as this bothers me now) until they’re all gone for the day; because my time with them is a gift, every breath of it.  This means that kindness I spend on the drive-through attendant should not exceed what I spend on my family; because I’m forming their identities with every interaction.  That my tone should be more pleasant to them than to the person on the other end of the phone; because they need to know how loved and important they truly are.   

It means that grace should come before any other reaction to failures and mistakes; because that is how God treats me.  It means that love should be the loudest, longest, and most obvious part of what I communicate to them; because that is what they need.

Thus I am resolving to fill the only two roles for which I was uniquely and purposefully chosen with the best of me, first.  And letting all the rest come, as it should, after. 



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