It’s this crazy seemingly backwards thing that I’m learning. My nature resists the proofs of this thing and resorts to what it knows best- selfishness, comfort. And yet something in my mind is slowly coming around and can’t help but see this ‘seemingly backwards’ jem as truth.
I’d had a tough week. With my husband starting out his new business, he was home less. Especially in the evenings. I’d grown accustom to his adult presence in my day of children. 12 hrs of me being mother, school teacher, discipliner, referee, cook, cleaner, driver, listener… was wearing on me. In fact I was feeling pretty sorry for myself right around Friday night. (Earlier in the day I’d attempted to do some “quick” errands with them all in town… walking…) I mentally felt even more sorry for myself that I didn’t have family in town to help my load. And I prayed/ pleaded/ blamed God.
I’d been trying all week to seek “me time”. I need it for my sanity... or so I thought. I’d seek it out whenever I could, thinking my happiness was in some self- fufilling quality me time.
If I’m honest I got lots of short breaks, that I filled with Facebook and other useless pleasures. But I still felt sorry for myself. I didn’t feel happy. Surly this is a problem needing attention.
Sam was able to make it home for a late dinner Friday night but then told me he had to head back out for a bit. I’d dreamed of leaving him with the children and going hot tubbing and sitting in the sauna at the pool that evening. After a sigh, for the sake of sanity, I quickly asked if I could just go for a short walk first.
Which I did.
As I walked I saw kids outside on a neighboring street and thought of my own children full of energy and wildness tearing about the place at home. I decided the dark and cold were not reasons to stop them from going out to burn off some of that energy before bed.
I’m not sure how it happened, I think it was maybe that my two year old wanted to go outside as well. But instead of locking the door on them and indulging in that precious time all to my glorious self… I found myself whizzing down the hill with them on a sled.
We made trains (which the leader tricked me and took my poor adult butt over a jump), we did bumper cars, pulling and pushing and jumping on others sleds. And my toddler walked up the little hill himself like 10 times and never even mentioned his mitts (can all the moms give me a hallelujah?) and he road contently down with me cuddled in my lap. And the very oddest thing happened-
Yes, I felt so alive and full of such simple joy playing with my children! Those 4 little beings I was trying to avoid… we’re fixing my unhappiness as I spent time goofing around with them.
I eventually took Si (my toddler) in to get ready for bed and then washed up the dinner dishes to the sound of the kids laughing in the yard.
That’s so weird. I thought. Why did that make me feel better than I have all week?
Here it is. That crazy seemingly backwards thing I was talking about. I took time to PLAY with my children, not just care for all their many needs… but enjoy them. And I was filled up. I became satisfied.
I think it’s easy, nature, to think happiness is hidden in doing things for ourselves. But it isn’t. The proof is all around us if we think about it. It’s seemingly backwards, but joy is found in enjoying others. Caring for their interests, not just our own.
When we give of ourselves, we take joy in the other persons pleasure at receiving our gift.
Alone time is good, and healthy, don’t get me wrong. But it shouldn’t be my daily goal. “I” should not be my daily goal. Because, however seemingly backwards it seems
loving others is loving ourselfs.
But after all, we were made in the image of someone who defined love. Said love was that he sent his only son to die… for us… while we were still ungrateful little sinners. The most selfless act in all of history. To be a God that can whisper a word and save yourself from all the pain, all heart wrenching pain, and yet CHOOSE to remain and take all our sin on his back. To be made nothing… or worse, treated like a criminal and a lair. For what?
And when my King rose again, 3 days later, after making the way for us all to be free from our death demanding sin… paying the only price that would ever need to be paid… let me tell you-
he was happy. Oh so happy.
Yes sometimes my kids throw toys at each others heads or argue over who once said that doll was heavy but “I never said that!!” and you wonder how they can fight over seriously, nothing. But they also draw me pictures, say thank you when I help them, snuggle me with stories on the couch, laugh and say the darnedest of things. And as I care for them and give of myself in so many ways for them… they grow, stay alive, become intelligent, kind, and loving of those around them. And oh! They do bring me so much happiness.
It’s easy to get sucked into the woes of ME. But that ME needs to remember- the cure to that is
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
1 John 4:9-12
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.