My New Year’s Resolution Involves George Michael

Since we’ve last spoken a few things have occurred.  A new school year has started and is now half way complete.  The 7th and 5th grades are progressing beautifully for my two older daughters.  My youngest started her first year of preschool.  She barely made the cut-off for age (2 1/2 by July) and didn’t make the cut-off for potty training.  Let me be clear.  At home, the girl was doing great. Going only on the potty with an extremely rare accident.  What could go wrong with a completely new school, new teachers and new friends? Right?  Uh, yeah…the answer to that is everything.  I have now decided that her teachers were all injected with some kind of crazy patience serum that allowed them to clean my child up day after day and still greet me with a smile at the end of every single one of them.  I am happy to announce that she conquered the public potty training beast and we are done with diapers.  I attempted to have a bonfire to burn the final empty diaper box but was unable to make it ignite because it kept getting extinguished with my tears of joy.  If you’re struggling to picture this it resembled this…

lucy crying

The holidays came and went and I was greeted with the new year and all the freshness that comes with it.  I’m a big New Year’s Resolution maker.  I love the idea of a fresh start.  I love writing down lists of things I want to accomplish and using a BRAND NEW pen and journal to do so.  Speaking of which, more consistent journaling is ALWAYS on my list…and I’ve never succeeded.  The irony that I write this desire in a journal and never follow through does not escape me, people.

I will admit though, 2015 brought a new emotion for me.  I had a desire to pick a bigger task than just the usual ones such as get in shape, have more patience with my kids, stop popping my knuckles (lets be honest, this is never going to happen.) I realized that perhaps all of the lists I make narrow my focus too much.  What if I didn’t write down specific tasks but instead picked an emotion I’d rather exhibit more often?  Would my success rate increase and if so how would I judge it?

At 42 I know enough about myself to identify my weaknesses and feel confident in my strengths.  Unfortunately sometimes they collide.  For example, I feel very confident in knowing that I will probably always have a messy car.  One of my dearest friends, Jeff, once got in my car, looked down, tried hard to hide the horrified look on his face and then calmly asked…”umm…Suz…what’s going on here?”  As in…”Did a homeless person recently borrow your car for lodging?” I looked down and for the first time saw the mess as he was viewing it.  Hmmmm….I guess it is odd that a nail file, bottle of ibuprofen, 8000 straw wrappers and a spoon are wedged in the drink holder.  Maybe I should work on that.  And I do…and it doesn’t last.  The mess doesn’t bother me…until it does, and then I go on a crazy insane cleaning spree involving toothbrushes and bleach and swear it will never return to it’s previous state.  It always does.

On the other hand, I am total control freak.  I worry and have anxiety over most everything to do with my family, home and many times my work.  The luxury I have is being married to and working with a man who takes a lot of our work anxiety on his shoulders so I get to release that burden to a certain degree.  My reason for sharing this is that being an UNORGANIZED CONTROL FREAK is essentially PERSONIFYING AN OXYMORON.  The control freak/anxiety ridden thing is something I come to honestly…I come from a long line of people who are certain they can worry their way out of trouble.  Even with this excuse, it became the “big picture” item that I’d really like to focus on for the new year. Could I really relax, depend on Faith alone and live the “Let go and let God” mantra of the less neurotic?

While I was contemplating how I would apply my New Year’s desire to control the anxiety, my family had an interesting church experience.  I love our church.  I never leave without feeling completely uplifted and/or challenged to apply the week’s message.  That being said, we always sit in the back.  Usually in the very back row.  This is because with a 2-3 year old that refuses to go to the nursery (“I GO CHURCH WIF MOMMY!) there is a dance of entertainment that involves coloring books, iPads and 85,000 reminders that she should “USE YOUR INSIDE VOICE!!!” I am armed with fruit snacks,suckers and books and even with that arsenal we still many times have to let her into the hall to run with the other toddlers that have also not been filled with the intentioned good word from the pastor.  On the day I previously mentioned, we were late.  We walked in the back of the huge sanctuary and started the visual scan for 5 seats together.  A veritable impossibility.  One of the ushers spotted us and waved us towards her with a huge smile on her face, nodding and holding up 5 fingers to let us know she did indeed have 5 seats for us.  We sprinted towards her and anxiously followed her down the aisle.  She smiled back and whispered, “We’re heading up front.” I started to panic and attempted to explain that this was a very.bad.idea. To say the least, we did not connect on this point.  She kept walking and we kept following…getting further and further away from the exit and the grace of a quick escape if needed.  To be clear, the aisle we were walking seemed to be approximately this long…

walkway bridge

The long narrow but completely wide open space had my three year old continuously looking up at me asking “can I run?” Each time I spat back ” NO!!!” she would wait and then ask “I run NOW?”  Oh dear Lord, SAVE US! I kept praying as the usher took us further and further towards the front.  In fact, we walked all the way to the very.front.row.  I could basically see the pores on my pastors face.

I couldn’t even look at Jason.  He finally leaned towards me and murmured under his breath…”I am so nervous, I am pouring sweat.” This, of course, sent me into hysterical laughter.  So…to recap…we’re in the front row of a 400 person packed out church with two pre-teens and a toddler, my husband is drenched in perspiration and I’m shaking with nervous laughter.  But then a strange thing happened.  The three year old was mesmerized with the pastor, the band, and the action that was now available for her to view from her upgraded vantage point.  She sat very still in her chair.  She paid attention.  She sang and clapped and was so, so good.  I didn’t have to do the entertainment shuffle that I had become accustomed to each week because the actual service was her entertainment.  We all relaxed.  We enjoyed.  We worshipped.

The hidden message didn’t elude me but I will admit that upon exiting it surprised me when my husband also commented on it.  He said, “Well that sure was a metaphor in action.” When I asked what he meant he replied… “Faith is so much more comfortable but less fulfilling at an arms length…or an aisle length in this instance”

I find my eyes welling with tears many times during a church service.  The emotion of it all just hits me.  I think this was the first time I ever felt that while walking to the car.  It hit me that I might not be able to “let go” and trust in Faith.  I might just have to chase it.  I might have to walk to the front row and embrace it myself. Maybe if I just put as much energy into Faith instead of worry I’d find myself a little more free of the burden of control.

So there’s my 2015 plan.  George Micheal’s song “Faith” is on my playlist and I’m voluntarily sitting closer to the front each Sunday.  Not the front row, but closer…neither my 3 year nor my husband’s shirt collar can quite handle front row stress each week.

Til next time,

Suz

Comments

  1. It is clear to me that the good lord put me in your life for clarity. You are conflicted and the picture of guilt….for doing nothing wrong! In fact, you are quite the opposite. A wonderful wife, a great mother and the best of friends! My advice to you is … to be more like me!

  2. Precisely why I always sat near the front with my three!

  3. Love reading from a fellow control-freak-woman-of-faith. Enjoyed your insights!

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  1. […] year after this post I found myself in church and the huge screen accidentally shot ahead of where the pastor was in […]

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