I was gritting my teeth through the morning… two crying in one room while two squabbled in another… one wetting her pants while another filled his diaper… two boys throwing up hands because of math problems while the baby throws up milk because I didn’t pat out his burps while I want to throw in the towel at the sight of a dog tracking in mud-and-who-knows-what… costumes and matchbox cars and crayons and sippy cups strewn all over the house…
I am smiling though my body aches and my soul is stretched, because I know there is no other choice.
But there is a struggle going on while I nearly drown myself in self-doubt and self-loathing. Yes, this day feels like an exercise of futility. But does that mean that it is not valuable? Deep in my heart I know that it is invaluable, but that is an intangible & invisible price tag.
Then at noon my phone rang. It was my husband, calling to check in on my day. When I heard his voice, it felt like a drink of cold water when you are really thirsty. I needed that. And when he asked how my day was going, I said, “tell me about your day” – to which he said, “that good, huh? tell me how things are.” I sighed and walked to the bathroom. It’s funny how a bathroom can become a place of refuge, of comfort and quiet. The rest of the house may be a busy, noisy, bustling, messy place ~ but my bathroom? I can close out everything else, even if just for five minutes. So I did. Well, except for the kids calling me from the other room, and the sleeping baby strapped to my chest. But you know. That is basically the same as being alone. 😉
I poured out my thoughts (anxieties, fears, self-doubt, struggles, frustrations) to my generously listening husband. I emptied myself.
And then he poured his thoughts back to me, seeking to fill me back up.
I may have cried while he did.
He encouraged me, it is hard to see the fruit when we are still planting.
And, it is hard to see when you’re in the weeds. You have to be able to step back and see where you came from.
My husband took the time amidst his own busy workday to encourage me in mine.
I don’t get graded or adjudicated or reviewed to find perspective.
But my husband can see my emptiness. Especially when I am not too proud to lift the veil and let him see it.
Sometimes all I see are the weeds that need pulled out. And when the plants are still small, the weeds and the seedlings can actually be hard to distinguish. I need a fellow gardener sometimes to give me perspective and remind me that I am still planting, still watering; the harvest at this point is in tiny portions. Someone else’s eyes may better see the good growth while surveying the land, while I am on my knees in the furrows, hands covered in dirt and eyes focused on the weeds.
My job isn’t to wonder how great the harvest will be. Not yet.
It is to keep planting good seeds, keep watering, keep fertilizing, keep plucking out the weeds, to let the sunlight in, to patiently wait while the tiny plants take root.
Someday it will be easier to see the work that has been accomplished.
Right now, all I need is to be this empty vessel, this diligent planter, this person who takes five minutes to cry “alone” in the bathroom and then gets back digging into the dirt.
I need to remember that only eyes of faith can see the beauty of future fruit even when life feels lived in the weeds.
Oh Lord, help Thou my unbelief.