We ended up taking a trip to the pediatrician for a minor (but worrisome to me) ailment, which took way longer than expected, and resulted in both Grace and I taking a 2+ hour nap once we got home.
<< Insert random activities: fixing dinner, play time, cleaning up/ moving piles somewhere else. >>
Grace's day ended with a walk to the ER to drop off her Dad's dinner (and bring a smile to two ladies' faces!), an extended bath time, dancing to Disney Pandora, reading extra books, night prayers and kisses.
It felt good. It felt like such a full day, even though I only accomplished one thing on my To-Do list. Just one.
Perhaps the most important lesson I learned when I was single, and then re-learned when I got married, is the art of being content.
Being is a passive word, but it is not a passive state. One must work on "being" - being yourself, being content.
I've become more content with the reality that I am a slow cook writer (vs. a microwave). I was thinking back to college, when I wrote so many papers a semester, all the newspaper articles, and at least 3 letters a week (plus e-mails!). And as the years pass from writing with a point to writing with a purpose, I am more satisfied with longer stretches between publishing publicly. Less pressure to perform, and thus, more time to experience.
I still have goals! Oh yes. And I still overextend myself and say "Yes!" when I should say "No!", but the magic still carries me with hope and possibility.
I start by asking what is non-negotiable to me and what is negotiable. Non-negotiables, for example, the ability to take care of Grace and Will. The willingness to practice my faith. Keeping in touch with family and friends, and writing as a ministry and as a passion.
Negotiables include where I work, what we spend our money on, how I spend my time.
I am a firm believer that boredness is an unwillingness to engage the world. How can one be bored when there is something to learn or read or try? I believe even stronger than comparison of our one life to many people's photographs or success can do worse than ruin an appetite. It can ruin a life.
People ask if Grace is always smiling. The answer is no.
But I record her joy most of the time because it brings me joy. She is my niche. She is an integral part of my vocation, and I want to continue to teach her joy, and to strive, and to be content with who she is.
Insecurity preys on the discontent. But you're the only You in the whole world. You're on a mission from God. Your worth is not how many assets you have, or where you've traveled, or the clothes you wear. Your character is determined by truthfulness, kindness, goodness, and prudence more than how many people "like" your posts or read your blog or call you on the phone.
We all fall into the trap of wondering, What if...? When we should be thinking, What's next? How am I going to be the best version of myself? Am I working towards Heaven or am I scrolling the internet at 2 a.m. mindlessly? Am I using my gifts? Am I developing my talents? Am I helping others? What can I do better for the glory of God?
And when I re-align my life to a purpose, I find that contentment: to be the best wife to Will; the most loving mother to Grace; a good and kind daughter, sister and friend; a lover of life and appreciator of struggles and triumphs.
Life is not easier as a married person - there are different trials. Your marital status does not change your mindset. If you want the joy of kids but dread the late nights, crying, crumbs and heart ache, you miss the opportunities to experience life. Life is purpose: life is worth loving. Did I like spending Will's day off cleaning the house? No. Heck no! But we did it together because an orderly, tidy house is worth seeking.
Let us clean house internally - the cobwebs of old hurts, the wishing for a different life, the wondering if you missed your one chance (which you did not, because life is not so linear). We must see ourselves through and love ourselves.
We must fly to God with our struggles, and fly through life without the boggles of over-worrying and over-emphasis on the things we cannot change. We must try to find happiness during hard days. We must laugh more, forgive more, and think less about what we want. We must pray more for others - we must decrease so that Christ will increase. We must read more Scripture and more literature. Cultivate love and friendship. Think less and less about what others think, and get to know yourself.
Be happy with who you are, wonderful you. Life is too meaningful to want to be anyone else. Write your own adventure.
Darlings, we must fly!