I’ve been learning a lot with school and processing and re-processing some of my assumptions about God, faith and the church. The sifting continues! I chose to do this work knowing I was ready for it and believing it will prove worthwhile. But the work is heavy. And family duties, particularly motherhood as a overachiever, weigh on me as well. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and when my self-care gets low or my anxiety gets high, I find myself rushing. Not just racing from task to task but dishonoring my natural need for a specific and reasonable pace. I feel that I need to do all the things. And all the things need to be done easily, without struggle and on a specific timetable that I’ve created, often without full thought to the amount of effort or time those tasks will require. And when I struggle to “bust something out” in a timeframe I’ve created, I feel ashamed, less than what I believe I “should” be or be able to accomplish.
I just had to stop my intense Trinitarian theological reading because Google reminded me it was time to put the chicken legs in the crock pot for dinner tonight. So I came downstairs and rhythmically removed the skin and placed them in the pot one by one. And after washing my hands, I methodically put away the dishes in the dish drainer I had washed by hand that morning. Just going through the motions of normal things, human things, things that must be done (like feeding myself) in order to do the big things like reading the books and writing the papers, I was reminded that being in a human body means that these types of “breaks” are necessary. Somehow it continues to elude me in seasons of intensity that I am not, in fact, a machine.
As I often come back to this idea of God making us human on purpose, going through these motions reminded me that my lack of machine-ness is intentional. That if I am given the privilege to do the things I’ve decided are worthy of my time and energy, I am also required to care for my body, soul, mind and heart. And while I’m often frustrated by the limitations of what it is to be a human being, perhaps in this moment, I can see my humanity as a gift. Maybe my inability to power through tasks indefinitely is actually an act of care and intention from God. I know that if I could live without being in touch with my human frailty, I would. And so somehow, these reminders are in fact, opportunities. I am being given an opportunity to take a breath, wash a dish, chew my food. These things are not only required for sustaining human life but possibly critical for a happy life, rather than one that is only about production and proving oneself.
It is so easy for me to see the inherent value of others and then turn towards myself and expect more. I’m not sure what this is, exactly. I do love myself and build in a lot of care and dignity for me and the things I value. I have worked hard to remove any apologies or guilt around doing the things I need to do to be happy and healthy, not as a byproduct of my relationships but in and of myself as deserving of care. And yet, when my well gets a little bit dry, those knee-jerk tendencies emerge. Oh to be a person who has done their work and yet acknowledges that work never really stops! It is a kind of back and forth, ebb and flow - an effort towards balance but often falling on one side or the other of it. In fact, I’m starting to wonder if actual balance even exists. And yet, I still find myself reaching for it. Maybe these normal human moments of dishes and chicken serve as just a moment to recalibrate, to check in with my humanity, acknowledge the break with gratitude and hop back over to my books when the mundane has been reasonably addressed.