Remember a few weeks/months/years ago when I was all like, "Welp, God. My kids are all in school and life is this now, so what do I do with all this time and stuff?" And God sayeth, "ALL THE WORDS."
So that's what I've been doing. Writing all the words; too many, one might say if one were reaching saturation level with Karen Thoughts. I'm four weeks into my weekly column for Vox.ie, which has been wonderful and stressful. My blonde alter-ego asked me, "So how much time does it take to write that stuff?" And I said, "Well, it's hours and hours of worrying about it, writing a couple of sentences and tossing the whole thing out, reading the news and fretting over what to say... and then about 60 minutes of actual productive work." So she said, "Maybe you should go ahead and schedule worry time into your work week." She's a smartie.
Here's just a bit of what I've covered:
A transition has occurred in the last couple of years, hitting me more significantly than the others who live in my house. As my children have grown and aged into primary and secondary school, my role as stay-at-home-mother of little children has evolved into Mum of Big Kids. My domestic ministrations aren’t as needed or necessary, at least during school hours. My “ministry” is changing and my role, both in and outside the home, is evolving.
I’ve got a crazy knack for oversharing. Put me into a social setting – usually a dinner party or our home group – and I silently hedge my bets on when the words will come tumbling out in slightly embarrassing ways. My inner monologue coaches me to keep quiet, to let others tell their stories in the hopes they’ll skip right over mine. Nevertheless, the words, they do fall…
Oh what a strong word abolition is. When I think of abolition, I think of the desegregation of white and black schools in the American south. I think of Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman and the underground railroad. I think of William Wilberforce’s amazing, risky grace. I think of the good work of International Justice Mission, fighting for the rights and the very lives of generations of people living under extreme oppression and slavery. And I think of a free Ireland that came at great cost.
I am learning to practice the domestic art of messy hospitality as my own form of protest over the housing crisis. We may not be able to host a family of refugees in our dining room-slash-office (my husband informs me our landlord may not be keen on the idea, and we so desperately want to keep him happy in this ultra-competitive market). And I doubt I have much wisdom to offer in solving the property ladder climbing party, but perhaps we can lessen the burden of those who are searching for homes and settling for houses.
And then today, Velvet Ashes has a lengthy essay of mine about all the ways sacrifice makes me feel uncomfortable. In fact, it's not too much to say that I often feel like I've gotten off to easy, living in modern western Europe with all the comforts en suite toilets and hipster coffee shops have to offer.
Still God is teaching me about the non-material things we sacrifice:
"Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple," (Luke 14:33). Now, I’m no homebody, and my family is far from perfect. We’re a lovely dysfunctional crew, mightily pruned and grafted back together into a slightly messy family tree. But eight years ago, when we first departed that Midwest airport, kissing them goodbye – though a sacrifice, to be sure – didn’t carry the full weight of Christ’s admonition. But this is the truth: forsaking our earthly families of origin is a real sacrifice we all have made.
See? All the words.
I wouldn't get to do any of this writing if there weren't one or two people who read it. So thank you for reading and sharing.
Oh, and that photo? I was searching "children, mother" for my first Vox article and this photo popped up. Isn't it the best/worst thing you've ever seen? Thanks, Pixabay.