Parenthood

If Not Now, When?

As a mother and wife, I have heard the words, “Not now” or “I’ll do it later” far too often.  It drives me crazy because when I ask someone to do something, that is when I want it done, not at a future time (or more likely, never).  I have a note jotted in frustration from 2012 while in the thick of raising four children.  It says:  ‘Not now’ is the answer to a lot of things around here! “Do your homework”.  Not now.  “Try on these pants I bought you.”  Not now.  To the husband, “Let’s just relax for a while.”  Not now.  Well if not now, WHEN??

I am reminded of Bartleby’s famous words “I would prefer not to” from the book Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville.  Bartleby remains expressionless as he responds, “I would prefer not to” to basically everything he is asked to do at work.  This is about the only thing I remember from college English and literature classes.  It struck a nerve.

I can’t help but wonder what God thinks when we don’t do what He asks.  I’ve heard it said He will find somebody else.  I think of that when I see many of my ideas taken flight by other people.  It took me 40 years, like the Israelites wandering around in the desert, to finally get around to doing some more writing.  I always felt a nagging sense that is what I needed to be doing.  Saying “I would prefer not to” to the master of the universe isn’t a good idea.  The ramifications are a lot worse than not taking out the garbage when asked, or not trying on those pants!

When I was younger, I would get so bent out of shape trying to discern God’s will for my life.  As if it were a one-time decision.  I couldn’t come up with anything that felt right (except maybe writing) and many doors were slammed shut in my face.  I still think I may have made the wrong decision when I was offered a newspaper writing job after high school and didn’t accept it.  I have always wondered what direction my life would have taken if I had.  I feel like I am living my “Plan B” because I missed that particular opportunity.  But who knows, I only have the present.  The past is gone and the future is not guaranteed.

Now being able to look back over the years, I think we have many purposes throughout our lives. God’s will is a continuous journey with many twists and turns along the way.  Many times I think I didn’t even realize a lot of the things I was doing were actually God’s will for that time or at the very least, laying the groundwork for the future.

For instance, I worked as a preschool teacher for a time, but only looking back realized it was part of the path God had for me because I ended up raising triplets plus a fourth child.  That time spent working with preschoolers prepared me for my vocation of motherhood.  I was able to use the skills I had developed to run my household.  Triplet babies needed a schedule, if for no other reason than my sanity.  We had meals, craft time, nap time, outside time, music time, story time.  I had an entire repertoire of crafts and activities at my fingertips.  I was ready for the challenge!

So what is it you have been putting off?  Don’t put it off for 40 years like I did.  Whether it’s pursuing a career, improving your health, learning how to play an instrument, re-uniting with someone you are estranged from, whatever it is, there is no time like the present and that is why it’s fittingly called the “present”. The present is a gift, to ourselves and those around us, if we accept it and not let it sit idle. We should treasure and celebrate the present.  If not NOW, when??

Book:  The Present:  The Gift that Makes you Happier and More Successful at Work and in Life, Today!  by Spencer Johnson

Take No Offense

One problem with all of this is that it promotes victim mentality.  They are the victims and the other person or group is the perpetrator.  This can also be seen in our government, justice system and even churches.  It also prevents kids from growing up and makes them less able to solve problems in the real world.  Playing the victim becomes an easy way out of responsibility and a way to gain attention, or get what you want.  It can also foster moral superiority.   

Of course sometimes a person truly is a victim of a crime or abuse, but I’m not talking about physical safety here, which every human being deserves at all times.  Obviously no one should be throwing “sticks or stones”, or even worse, at anyone.  And students with real and serious mental health issues should definitely seek help.  But a lot of this is sheer nonsense.  Things have gone too far.  Everyone is offended with everything.  It has become a way to control how others think, speak, act and feel.  This is NOT appropriate. 

Unfortunately, universities pay staff excessive salaries to promote this kind of garbage and more.  They encourage the notion that any discomfort cannot be tolerated, yet life is uncomfortable sometimes.  Growing into an adult isn’t all fun and games, there is some pain involved.  Pain and discomfort is necessary for growth, and that goes for all of us.

College is supposed to be about learning, about interacting with all kinds of other viewpoints, about preparing for your future career.  Thinking, discussing, debating helps you learn and grow.  It helps you understand where someone else is coming from, and perhaps even results in reformulating your own opinions.  It is NOT to demand that everyone should think and speak the same way or according to some current cultural agenda.  Freedom of speech must be protected at all costs, even if it makes some uncomfortable.

Instead of arming kids with confidence to go out into the world and slay the giants, they are taught the giants are trying to slay them! However, isn’t that what the current cultural agenda wants?  To create as many weak, dependent, unquestioning followers because then they can be controlled.  Dumb the kids down and make them weaker, not stronger, all in the name of some delusion of equity.  

So where has sanity gone?  Is it hiding in the cry room??  I don’t think so. The Bible states, “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.  Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.  And because lawlessness will abound the love of many will grow cold.  But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”  (Matt. 24:10-13 NKJV)  

It’s not just the college kids that get offended either.  I see plenty of adults who get offended at the slightest thing.  Either adults are getting touchier or maybe they are learning the wrong things from their offspring.  Whatever happened to turn the other cheek, kill them with kindness, forgiveness, telling someone calmly how you feel, or just ignoring someone or walking away if you are offended or don’t like something?

We can all benefit from being less touchy.  Certainly we can always try to fine-tune our behavior, treat everyone with respect, love your neighbor as yourself, be kinder, but victim mentality has become all too common everywhere you look, and it’s doing far more harm than good.

So if you are offended by this article, perhaps you need to go find a safe space or cry room and let the rest of society live their lives, the good, the bad and the ugly, the insults, wounds and bruises.  Because that is how we all learn and grow, and even heal. Not by playing the victim or hiding in a cry closet.   

Personally, I’d rather run into the loving arms of Jesus as my safe space.  How about you?       


You will learn a lot about what is going on these days. Choose wisely!

Life is Like Laundry

I bought a sign for my laundry area at the dollar store recently that reads, “Laundry, sorting out life one load at a time.”  It just spoke to me so I didn’t think twice about grabbing it.  Words of wisdom found at the dollar store!  Hooray!  Laundry truly is a lot like life, isn’t it?  

Don’t we all have many loads at a time to deal with, whether it be laundry or life’s burdens? Don’t we sometimes feel like “throwing in the towel”? (Which would just create more laundry.)

Perhaps sometimes we feel like we are on the spin cycle.  Everything is too much.  We feel like we are getting tossed about, everything moving too fast.  Our lives and minds spinning out of control.  Where is the stop button??  Pull out the plug! 

We have all had times like that.  I feel dizzy just thinking about it.

In life, as with laundry, we have to sort things out.  There are decisions to be made.  Big things like where to work, where to live, how to treat an illness, as well as all the little things on our to-do list, such as what to make for dinner.  So it is with laundry, we must sort the colors or they bleed and we end up with a big, ugly mess, a heap of ruin.  Not looking at all like what we had wanted or hoped.

Mom Moment when
college kids return
home for Christmas.

We wash one load at a time and then it is clean (and maybe put away) but there will always be another load to take its place.  One thing you can be sure of, laundry is certain to pile up again, a healthy sign of life lived.  Laundry doesn’t disappoint, it always returns, like a dear and loyal friend. 

My son played baseball for many years.  I would dread washing his baseball uniform as there were always grass stains to deal with.  I had to find the right stain remover and scrub and scrub and hope for the best.  Life, too, will stain us.  We need to try to scrub away our bad habits and failings. As humans, we all carry the stain of sin.  But Jesus, our Savior, has bled for us and will wash us clean if we ask.  “If we acknowledge our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrong-doing.”  (I John 1:9)

Picture the laundry rinse cycle or standing in a refreshing downpour, drenching us and cleansing us.  I have a Precious Moments picture I stitched in my bathroom that says, “He cleansed my soul”.   O how sweet it is.  “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”  (Psalm 51:1-2)  Also words the priest prays during Catholic mass.

Laundry also has to get hung up or dried.  Life often hangs us up. Time passes, clothes become out of style or worn and so do we.  We get wrinkled, physically and figuratively.  We may have to iron out the wrinkles now and then.  Hopefully we won’t get put away like the clothes, or left in a forgotten heap.  

Personally, I don’t mind doing laundry.  Menial tasks are the stuff of ordinary life with their own rhythm and flow.  Plus they are great procrastination tools.   Nothing like vacuuming when I am putting off something else.  But I must admit I was glad when all of my kids were away at college doing their own laundry.  Sorting out the fabric and colors of their own lives.  It is no longer my job. 

In doing a bit of research on laundry, I came across a business called “Life Without Laundry”.   At the top of the website they ask, “Can you imagine a Life Without Laundry?” and then they list services for pick up, delivery, etc. so that you don’t ever have to do your own laundry.

My answer to that is “no thank you”!  I can’t imagine a life without laundry. 

I prefer not to hand over my dirty laundry to someone else.  I will deal with my own loads and relish every minute.  The dirty and the clean.  The wet and the wrinkled.  It is part of my cleansing journey.  It is my load to carry and mine alone.  No one else knows how to sort out the fabric of my life. 

So my advice is to appreciate those loads of laundry piling up, for you never know what treasures you may find.  People have been known to find money in their pockets they have forgotten about. My son once got a new phone because I washed and ruined the one he left in his pants pocket!

I think I will go hunt down some laundry now!  What about you?


Here’s a snippet of inspo I found along the way:

https://www.loyolapress.com/catholic-resources/liturgical-year/lent/ash-wednesday/life-laundry/

Wait!  There’s more!  Here are some tips for your laundry day pleasure!

https://tide.com/en-us/how-to-wash-clothes/how-to-remove-stains

https://assets.ctfassets.net/ajjw8wywicb3/1nid5bL6SmTJiy0ACpJZ9c/66ab4c2f45f25d8e5171c90205f79cb0/Tide-Your-Guide-to-Decoding-Laundry-Symbols.pdf

God’s Children

” Let the children come to me and do not hinder them.  It is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” 

Mark 10:14

I was reading that Bible passage one day as my children were noisily playing in the room below.  I thought about how the adults wanted to hinder the children from going to Jesus; how sad.  How many times do we hinder ourselves from going to Him?  We are too busy, too afraid, too embarrassed or too proud to need Him, whatever the reason.

But the kingdom of God belongs to children because they are naturally receptive, loving, unburdened by the world’s cares.  When children play, they enter all kinds of worlds we adults no longer know.  We get stuck in our busyness, stress, affluenza, and the kingdom isn’t about any of that.  Interestingly, the next section in the Bible is about the danger of riches!

I mentioned this Bible story to my children and my youngest blurted out, “Me want mama!”  Precisely!  To desire Jesus as much as a child desires mama, because to a child mama is life, just as Jesus is life to all of us.

 

 

 

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