The Subtle Thief
The past few weeks I have been noticing all the things (beyond basic cleaning, which I do try to keep up with) that need done around the house. The noticing requires little effort, as there is a hole in the wall by the back door and nearly every painted surface in the house is chipped, drawn on and 85 tattered Magic Erasers later is still begging for a fresh coat (or five) of paint. I even have the shades of paint (Benjamin Moore's "Icy Morn" is one) envisioned for the various offending walls. The slip covered sofa is beyond what dry-cleaning can do for it. The curtain rods? They sag from too many pull downs (two parts of my anatomy can totally relate). And I won't even get started on the carpets...
But when on earth will I paint ANY thing with any number of my children around?
And just like that, the subtle thief slips into my thoughts. "She" is introduced to my course of thoughts. "She" is not one actual person I am referring to, but a figment of my imagination. A thief who lies in wait for when I am feeling overwhelmed with all that needs done that I cannot presently do.
How does she do ALL that she does with children around her feet?
She must be more effective in raising self-sufficient and play-without-conflict children than I am. Are my children even normal? I couldn't even DREAM of doing what she did yesterday (via various Facebook pictures that auto-play themselves through my mind).
Without skipping a beat, she leads me down the slippery slope of comparison.
But it is ME who has allowed her to bring me to this place.
As I slide down it's bumpy descent, the joy of what I DO have is being stripped from my thought process, one tiny comparison at a time 'til I have landed in the sludgy swamp of discontent.
Really, it is
This morning, I walked past all the shoddy walls, feet crunching over broken cheerios on the floor, out the back door, into the sweltering heat, metal bowl in hand, to retrieve just a few hundred of the thousands of ripe, bursting black raspberries out in our back yard.
Today, I am planning on making a few jars of jelly.
This is HUGE for me. My mom has three of the five children, still leaving me with two busy little boys who cannot be raised by George (of the Curious kind) alone. I am going to chose to not think about the hundreds of Amish women around me who have 18 children and manage to can multiple fruits and veggies in one day, in air that is not conditioned with cool. (*For the record, I need you to know I am not impressed with our number of children. Grateful, but not impressed. I think ONE child has the capacity to send any loving mama to the brink of madness. I always cringe when I hear "I only have two children, can't imagine five littles"...which is what I do when comparing myself to the aforementioned Amish women.) I am going to thank God for these amazing berries, for hands and feet that are healthy enough to follow directions on this tedious process (I am not a 'processes' person, so this can get interesting) and for help from others in order to do this task.
Indeed, I have much to be grateful for. There are numerous sources of Joy that I have generously been given for reasons unknown to me. The seven that come to mind right away, are living beings that call me wife and mama...and they would rather have a happy one of those than freshly painted walls and straight curtain rods any day of the week.
Here's to CHOOSING JOY, letting that subtle thief- "she"- go down that slippery slide all by herself and filter our thoughts through the fact that our accomplishments, the majestic or the minute, count for nothing if our hearts are not in synch with His.