I feel like a giant sometimes, dominating my world. I am bigger, smarter, stronger and faster than the little people I live with. While running the business of this household and handling everything from budgets to decorating to menus to shuttle services to vehicle maintenance to primary educator to personal secretary to escort services (one client only), it’s easy to feel large in my world.
Even on those days when I don’t do any of my various jobs well, I still consume my world. There’s a reason they say, “if mamma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” I like to think I rule my kingdom benevolently, but more often than not, my subjects approach me with fear and trembling. On my insecure days I suck in space like a black hole and while I feel insignificant, I act like a raging monster.
I am even a giant in my own home. There is not enough space here. It’s tiny. Clutter seems bound and determined to take over what I have left, but I beat it back with a garbage pail and Rubbermaid totes and I dream of weapons to acquire like a label maker. (Where would I store it when not in use)?
Every now and then, I get a dose of perspective. My grandma recently told me about when Grandad’s family first moved to Oregon from Kansas. Ten of them lived in a one bedroom house. Three teenage girls shared the only bedroom; two boys slept on a mattress in room the size of the mattress. Two more boys shared a couch. Mom and dad slept on a mattress on the floor and shared it with a baby. And the bathroom? It was out back. Running water? Nope. And I feel smaller for a little while.
I think Alysun and I have both mentioned the book One Thousand Gifts: Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann VosKamp. The whole premise of the book is how gratitude shifts your perspective in a lasting way. In a way that makes you appropriately small in your world. Gratitude requires humility before God and encourages a right relationship with him. A relationship where we acknowledge every blessing and he just turns around and lavishes us with more.
I sat and watched and felt my space growing. Or rather, felt myself shrinking. The thousand or so square feet we have felt massive as I watched them taking up every bit of the space with their play. And I felt dainty, petite and lavished upon as I thanked my God for the red balloon, the sound of laughter, a gleeful husband and a super comfy couch to sit on and enjoy it from.
This large feeling I’m talking about is not necessarily having head swelled with pride over the things I do for this family. It’s more like that feeling you get in your stomach after you ate too much Thanksgiving dinner. It was good stuff, but in the wrong proportion, it leaves you feeling bloated. Feeling large is a byproduct of discontent. It is a filling up of things—necessary, even good things—without an emptying out of Thanks.
Instead of just doing this job of motherhood, I need to be thankful in each and every moment for the opportunity to have it. In everything give thanks, Paul says. Not just the big things or the good things, or at breakfast, lunch and dinner, but in everything.
- Red balloons
- Typing with my head resting on the head of the boy squirming in my lap
- The first hugs of the morning
- The heater blowing the curtains around in a crazy dance (Usually this drives me crazy; today, I see it and feel warm)
- And this yucky, cold rain—that I don’t have to be out in it, that it cleans and washes away, that it so tangibly shows God’s creativity: sun evaporates water turning it to vapor, vapor forming clouds, clouds becoming so full that they must empty their collected water on the earth. They empty their over-fullness like an outpouring of thanks watering the ground with praise that will certainly be returned in another form in an endless, ageless cycle.
- Unexpected analogies.