Small Footnotes

Isaac has begun moving lately, using his arms and feet to slide his stomach across the floor in slow circles. Yesterday he rolled over for the first time while I had my back turned, the signal that I need to take more precautions. When he is on the bed I surround him with pillows, like a feather cocoon in which his little head bobs up and down so he can see over the edge. I have begun spreading patchwork quilts across the carpet so he can practice moving without having his space limited, arms and feet struggling to propel his body along. He seems so content and eager to practice his own movements that I leave him alone, fighting the urge to help.

This morning I feel frustrated. There is so much I want to do in life and instead I feel crippled by time and resources and my own exhaustion. More than anything I fear becoming lazy, but on the other hand I would love to find release from all my lists and ideas and the drive to accomplish more. There are moments when I am entirely content just to be Isaac’s mom, to explore my creativity, and to spend time with Tim. Simple things. Sometimes I feel guilty for this privilege, like I don’t deserve to have this simplicity; other times, I resent it. I can’t help but occasionally feel that I was meant to do more, and is it my fault I haven’t or can I blame my circumstances? Someone recently referred to me as a housewife, and I was surprised to find how much it bothered me. Why should it bother me? I’m not sure which is worse: to allow myself to find complete happiness in it, or to continue to struggle for more.

I have always moved on to the next thing as if afraid of the time in between, a quick succession of life events that have kept me busy and preoccupied. High school, jobs, music, college, art, marriage, having a baby---all this and I am only twenty-one. When a single empty moment arrives, like a space between the lines, I feel lost. Depressed, really. Why is that? What makes me feel like nothing I do is enough? I’m constantly beginning new projects thinking they will bring some kind of fulfillment, and they do---until I finish them or I realize that they cannot be finished. And then it begins all over again, as if what I just accomplished meant nothing and I must once again prove myself to...who? Me? The rest of the world? The voice in my head that makes me run in these stupid circles? Or is there really something that I was meant to do and I just haven’t figured out what it is yet?

I keep thinking that eventually, when Tim finishes his doctorate and we have settled in the last town we will ever live in, and he is teaching at some university, and I have my coffeehouse and my art, and my book has finally been published, and Isaac is a little older and more independent, then I will find release. Then I will be content without needing more. Then I won’t have to keep searching for something to make me feel worthwhile. Maybe it’s just a matter of maturing enough to be content with what I have, or maybe it’s something else. I guess I’ll find out someday.

1 comment:

  1. i wish i could say i know exactly how you feel... i'm not a mom, i'm not married, and i still live at my parent's house... well gosh i'm only 15! But still... part of me, I understand what you're saying. I had been feeling like that for a long time too... even now I wait for something to happen... and I know it's coming... I just don't know what, or when and there's so many ifs floating around that I get exhausted exploring them. I'm trying to understand what your wanting is. A wanting of more, or a wanting to be content? Everyone has their restless moments or days, or even months where they just want more and more... and once they get more, they want more... you see, you'll never be satisfied that way. Now, to be content... that's a different story, and not everyone can find it either. My life starts and ends with God, and He's what makes me content. You know how lately I’ve been struggling with finding God… not finding, finding Him, but, knowing He is my all, with understanding, and feeling it? And instead of looking to God to complete me, sometimes I look to the world, to guys, to flattery… whatever I can get to satisfy my wanting. But it never helps, it doesn’t fulfill me. That empty hole inside is only God-shaped… and I finally understand it. I am so in love with God right now… I’m on fire. I’ve been fighting this for a few days now, and Sunday I finally felt it… knew it. Today I understand it. I know He’s there and I don’t need anything else to make me happy… Oh God I could die in this love… I’m not worried. I’m not worried or anxious for a guy... or the future… I’m content with where I am. I’m not restless, I’m not wanting… I’m happy. And you know what? It’s all because of worship. I felt God… I praised Him… for real. When we were in church Sunday and worshiping God, the music stopped, but the voices kept singing, arms raised eyes closed and tears falling… It was beautiful. I imagined that that’s how it’ll be in Heaven, to have a thousand angels all around praising God… I knew it’d be more beautiful than that, but at that moment nothing could be. Even now, to be in the presence of such a mighty God, can anything be more beautiful? It is hard to let everything go and just be with God with no sin or anything in the middle... I've been going through this stage for the longest time it seems like... where, God is there, but I can't feel Him... ya know? Like, I could pray but it didn't feel like I was praying to anything... or, like, just this really dry spell in our relationship where I just had this wanting all the time but I couldn't find it in Him... I don't know what it was that finally clicked but I feel so much better now. You just gotta give it all up... give up your wanting for more of the world and your desires to be content, and make them God's. So when you're not content and looking for more pray about it... don't make it into something you're not grateful for when you have a wonderful family and place to live.


( hippies always welcome )