It’s hard to be a member of a family. I think this is true no matter the role you play in that family. I’m the Mom and wife – it’s hard. Scott’s the husband and Dad, I watch him struggle like I do. The kids are both kid and sibling, and student and team member and they’re in the midst of learning the role they play not only in our family, as well as the little sphere in which they function in the big world. How do we piece it all together?
I have a friend who has said on many occasions as we chat: “No one tells you that you will be constantly laying down you life for someone else” – We watched Jesus lay down his life for ours last week as we remembered his crucifixion and we relate to his human struggle and still do not expect that this living will be hard – that we too will have to constantly lay down our lives. Lay down our dreams and wants and needs sometimes so that we can instead, help the people we love flourish. So that we can watch them grow and dream and find their own ways in life. There are unfinished science fair and knitting projects, emails and letters: not sent, phone calls and beds: unmade; movies and library books: not returned, baseball practice and games looming. Ballet and Swimming lessons still on the list of to-do’s. Books to be read. Softball games sadly pushed to the back burner, a musical lifestyle once again put on hold, and musical theater practice to attend on time.
Time. Trying to fit in all the things. The things that seem to help us flourish – pushed aside. Loving means laying down and surrendering what we want for the wants of someone else – but also loving ourselves for doing so. It’s really too bad there’s not a way to connect the dots in a straighter and easier manner – in a way that the pathways that lead through this life are more clearly drawn and followed.
All these thoughts and I’m brought back to this:
“By this division of labor, it is possible to increase enormously the quantity of finished articles produced, but the individual worker no longer shares directly in the vision of the final product that governs the whole process. His work is assimilated more and more into the repetitive action of a machine rather than to the purposeful work of the craftsman, whose operations are all governed by a vision of the end. “ – Newbigin “Foolishness to the Greeks”
Newbigin was on to something there. Each of us, a member of a family (or community to draw on a bigger picture), have a goal that we are working towards – whether it is a realized goal or one for which we still search. We are raised in a society that tells us that all of our goals are individual goals, separate from everyone else – unique, beautiful – and yet we all struggle. We struggle because we are each still trying to be part of a family which holds the same goals. Could it be that we need to sit down and have a conversation about community goals and purposes? Could it be that by remembering that Jesus already laid down his life so that we can live and love and build toward the purposes we are meant to fulfill, we can realize that not a single one of us has a unique goal and therefore this should not be such a struggle? This life that is fun and beautiful and full of small bits and glimpses of heaven, is beautiful – we just need to remember that we do have a common purpose, and that each one of us has a part in that – Newbigin talks later in his book about the way in which the division of labor effected the market economy and in that, effected the way each person working in the warehouses of the industrial revolution, not knowing what end the products they created might see, each person was a replaceable part. Because that view was held in the workplace, it bled into the home. A family made up of replaceable parts.
That’s not true. Not a single person in this family is a part able to be replaced. Just like each person in a community has a purpose, whether they know it or not – they just need to know that they do have a purpose and that it’s okay for them not to be unique – to share goals and life with those around them.
Now I’m rambling, but coming back to the beginning.
How, in this crazy world, can I make this growing up and being part of a family and community less hard for my kids? How do we make this family about shared goals and responsibilities and love and friendship and time? How do we fight against societies want to tell each child to be unique? And how can I help them want a uniqueness while sharing life?
The only note I wrote down at church yesterday was:
“Make me a vivid illustration”
And all I can think right now is that I just want my vivid illustration to be so bright that it can’t be picked out of the illustrations which run alongside and overlap.
End of non-sensical spiel of the day.