Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Blessing of Inequality

Have you ever thought about the word equality? Is it even possible to attain equality. More importantly, is it even desirable? If our pursuit is to be equal, and treat everyone equal, then we lose ourselves and stifle others.

For instance: when I apply this to motherhood, I think, "How easy it would be if I could be the same parent to each child and simply ensure that there were the same opportunities across the board for all of my children." The problem is, easy does not garner the best results. Easy means much is lost.

It seems so simple to just make everything the same and have all the problems cease. Trouble is, the more people are shoved into boxes, the more they want out. Problems don't cease, they grow. Nobody really wants equality. Everybody thrives on individuality, they just might not have had the joy of experiencing it yet.

People who want equality generally want it for everyone else, not themselves. They want to be the do gooder, the champion of a cause, the stifler of all stiflers so they can rise above the masses of the equal. There is also the case of the misery loves company equalizers. In my experience that mentality comes from a place of frustration regarding said individual's inability to practice, for whatever reason, individuality for his or her own self.

I am not saying that genuine and good people aren't out there fighting the good fight for all those "lesser" and "unfortunate" people. I am simply saying that if you look at what they really want, it has nothing to do with equality and more to do with celebrating individuality.

I come from the camp that there are no "lesser" or "unfortunate" people. I come from the camp that truly believes we are all created equal in the sight of God. That does not mean we benefit from equality of the social, economic, educational, or any other worldly variety. We all have trials. We all struggle. In our own ways, and in our own circumstances, we all have difficulties to navigate and choices to make. We will never be equal, except in the sight of God.

If my life's work is to be just like so and so and have the same opportunities as said so and so, then I never get to discover me. I am unique. I am an individual. So are you. My life need not be patterned after, nor compared to, any other. Same with yours.

As a parent I am constantly debating with myself over whether or not a certain discipline or teaching method is working for a certain child. It is difficult for sure. It takes much time and effort and a deep understanding of the heart of each individual I am governing over. It is also incredibly rewarding to see individuality triumph every time. This is exactly why a large body, government or otherwise, is not the best source for governing individual lives and families.

America was founded on the principle of individuality. God sees the good in all. He also sees the need for us to pursue our happiness and not have it defined for us, or handed to us on a silver plater. Agency is a beautiful thing, but it does have its consequences. Everything does. When we scream for equality we better be ready to accept the consequences of that equality.

Conversely, have you savored individuality? Have you really stopped to think about how absolutely wonderful it is that you are you and not anyone else. And that everyone else is them and not you. It's a marvelous thing to contemplate.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Train for the Right Race

Guess what? Life is not a sprint. How did it take me so long to get this memo?

I was stewing the other day. And by stewing I don't mean making delicious morsels for my family to partake of. I mean smoke coming out of my ears stewing. Just to be clear.

It was one of those days where you just can't figure out why you are doing the same things over and over and over and over and over and over again, and nothing is being learned, nor any ground being gained. Kind of like when you say for the 500th time, "Little Jimmy did you wash your hands after you went to the restroom?" and little Jimmy says, "Yes." Only it's the guiltiest little "yes" you ever did hear. And kind of like when you just get done folding the 7th load of laundry for the day only to realize you forgot an entire basket. You know those moments when you think to yourself, "Is this really my life?"

So anyway, it was one of those moments for me and I was suddenly thrown into an alternate reality. It was a beautiful place. Palm trees surrounded the crystal clear water of the most gorgeous aqua hue. The purest white sand squished between my toes with exquisite squishiness. Servants waited on me hand and foot. Children were frolicking in the warmth of the sunshine lovingly, gleefully, and void of all contention and loud noisiness. Dust never settled, laundry spontaneously folded itself, scrumptious dinners that everyone loved appeared at the immaculately set table with clean children using their best manners. Everything was free and money was not even a word. Oh wait, we are talking about reality, not dreams. Pardon me.

So. I am stewing. The alternate reality jogs up to my pace and slows to walk with me. I hear this beautiful whisper, "Slow down. It's not the sprint today. It's the distance run." The distance run? Ah, things are beginning to come into focus. No wonder I am so exhausted and can't find the finish line.

Turns out, my reality of wanting everything to be done is the alternate reality. I was measuring things with the wrong instrument, and boy does it matter. That pretty little finish line with the red tape and all those loving faces cheering you on, that place is death, crossing over to the next phase. I am still here. 

I am now looking for the loving fans cheering from the sidelines, the finish line can stay far away. All those little tables with cups of energy boosting drinks to keep you going for the next 50 miles; that's my new normal. I don't know how long this race is. I have no map offering me a "heads up" on the hills, hurdles, sharp curves, and other obstacles that will come. However, I do know something. The more I keep running, the more I want to keep going. The more I enjoy the repetition, the more my muscles become accustomed to the distance of it all and the easier it feels. Mostly though, pace matters.

It's okay to slow up for the hills. The point is to get up there, not how fast you do it. It's okay to take things in stride and blow right by sometimes. Not everything is meant to be savored. Getting through one step at a time is sometimes the most graceful way to go. It's not always fun. It's not always pretty. It is however, always rewarding. The best part; my steps don't need to match anyone else. I can get there when I get there and you can get there when you get there. It's the perfect race because there is no winner but there are enough gold medals for everyone. The point is to get there. The pace is irrelevant.

Thanks sweet voice of the Holy Spirit. Thanks gracious and loving God for never leaving my side. Thanks amazing family and friends who know just where to place all the little tables and just what "drink" to have waiting. Life is never done. Children are never really "raised". This is my life. This is my race. I am settling in for the distance run and loving every minute of it. 

Stew is to be eaten and enjoyed with those you love, absolutely not for coming out your ears.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Starving To Death

I hear this phrase several times a day at my house. They have never really been starving, but I suppose that's highly subjective. We have hit a bump in the road. More like a boulder with a sharp curve before and after. You know the kind you'd be lucky to make without throwing everyone out of the vehicle. We are all securely fastened in our safety belts. We fully intend to make the curve, climb the treacherous boulder, enjoy a nice slide down the backside of the beast, make the curve on the other side, and continue on our merry way.

Maybe we should loosen the belts a bit and see if we have wings.

You can head over to the family site if you want more details on the curves and boulders. Anyhoo, how would you like to offer your assistance? You'd love to, great! Send me your best recipes, preferably by e-mail, for things like: dried beans, lentils, chick peas, potato flakes, powdered milk, wheat. You know dirt cheap and nothing from the store if you can help it.