Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Month: March 2014 (page 1 of 4)

Grieving her spirit

Miss M is a kind, helpful soul. Of any child, she is quickest to lend a hand even without repeating myself. In her heart she wants to be a part of something big – and good. 

Except last night. 
Bedtimes have been a battle over here as the two ladies who share a room both hover at the Year 3 mark – one coming in and the other going out – which historically is the Year of the Worst Bedtimes Ever. (Seriously, someone could make a living putting 3-year-olds to bed. Parents would gladly pay for that service). So when one creates a ruckus, the other plays off it nicely. I think they secretly call it their 1-2 punch. I feel like it’s a full court press. 
Because Lady C is just growing into the Threes, I have more grace for her. It’s that phase when they learn some independence and want you to know their separateness while lacking confidence and wanting you nearby. So they want to lie in bed by themselves yet come down every 5 minutes to check on you. Just to see if you’re still angry that they’re not asleep.
While Miss C wades through these waters, Miss M is a seasoned swimmer. She knows by now, which makes it all the more frustrating to see her in action. In fact, I woke with a sad heart. It bothered me beyond the lack of sleep and the extra energy to walk up the stairs 14 times. In some sense, I was grieving her performance. 
Part of my heart cried for her a little. She’s not living the beautiful life that is in her, I felt. She knows there is more – she has tasted, has seen. Yet she chose this contrary spirit. The rebellious heart. 
I recently reread the verse in Ephesians 4 that says And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. I’ll be honest, for most of my life this made no sense to me. Grieve? The spirit? Don’t make it sad? I don’t get it. It’s such an other-wordly concept to me. 
Last night gave me a taste of that. My spirit was grieved because I knew my child had another spirit in her yet she chose not to live by it. She chose selfishness and pride. She chose her own agenda, even when she knew the one given provided far better opportunity, more space for a generous and joyous life. 
I’m not asking for perfection. I’m seeking a heart without contention, that’s all. I can deal with slips of the hand or turtle-paced progress toward growth. A rebellious spirit, however, might do me in. 
Now I find myself face down, knowing my heart hardened with the same calloused attitude, feeling the familiar buck of the head backwards… it’s clear that this apple didn’t fall far from its tree. God has felt a similar grief, far beyond what my heart can bear, and still came back for me when the sun rose on the third day.
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Life is who you spend it with

Our eighth anniversary came and went on Tuesday with a toast and a smile, but otherwise passed as an uneventful day. We were going to forgo a celebration dinner in lieu of getting a lot of work done on a new rental house. Priorities, yes? 

Then friends called and said that we needed to join them at “the best steakhouse in the area” (partnered with those magical words “gift certificate”). So we immediately booked a sitter. 
At times we catch flack because we don’t choose to spend our precious adult time alone, just the two of us.   It’s how we roll. We nearly always opt for good company. Last year, we went to Columbus for an anniversary getaway and JJ invited a friend to join us for drinks. We celebrated our 5th (the first big milestone) by letting my parents buy us dinner. Take out. 
Actually, our version of celebrating “as a couple” is nearly always with others. On our honeymoon – yes, that special time alone – we jumped an island to go visit my cousins who were vacationing nearby. It became a highlight of the trip. Now we’re contemplating a 10 year anniversary trip with longtime friends. 
I inherited this priority of adult friendships from my parents – I grew up watching them enjoy their childless weekend nights with other couples. They would enjoy a steak from the Steer Barn or gab while playing cards. They had a collection of couples they would call upon to join them for a night at the races, but the beauty was they never had big organized activities requiring an RSVP by all friends. If someone couldn’t make it, they joined in next time. Such an open-door policy freed them from petty arguments. 
After nearly 30 years of growing comfortable friendships, everyone’s kids have grown up and started families. Some of them near, some far. Nests are empty and they no longer live by the high school basketball schedule. While family has always come “first”, the landscape has changed. Now they’re moving into that season of life when friends become widows. As family shape changes once again, they are blessed to keep their circle of friendships consistent. 
That’s our hope. We love our children – and one another – but we recognize now that this season will seem short at the end. So while we eat up every chance for family outings and vacations, pizza nights at home and trips to the park, there’s a certain level of beauty that comes with sharing some of those moments with good friends. When the kids grow up and (if we do this right) leave and continue the cycle as functional, contributing members of society, we want to wave them goodbye with tears in our eyes as one of those friends hands us a tissue, knowing the pride and the pain in our hearts. 
Those kinds of friends won’t magically appear when it becomes convenient. Life shared with others takes the work of clearing space. Giving your “alone time” to those you enjoy*. When it comes down to it, the only thing we take from this world is our relationships with others. 
Setting the example: my dad sharing his (our) vacation with the best of friends. 
*To ease any fears, we do occasionally enjoy a date night as a couple. We’re home by 9. 
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What a glorious day, today

I changed puke-covered sheets twice last night, which means another day of trips to the basement laundry room. I left the preschool after chatting with a few friends and letting the teachers hold the baby to get their fix (he’s so cute, he’s like a drug). I’ll make a pot of ginger turmeric tea to share with the toddler and though I have all the right ingredients, my effort at replicating the Bakehouse Breakfast Club fell slightly short. (It’s never quite the same as when someone else makes it for you, yes?) 

Then on to the pile of resumes to review for the client who wants to hire. Note: when it says “1-3 years experience in food service” they really do mean you. The Dyson needs surgery so I’ll be spending some time on YouTube while the toddler paints* at the kitchen table. A newsletter needs curated and samples sent to a lead on new opportunities. 
This is my day. All day, most every day. Often I get to meet with fascinating and encouraging people along the way -for work and for play. Just as frequently my only conversation is discussing the days of the week or the ways in which flashlights work. 
So with the sun shining this morning I’m filled with gratitude and awe. It’s a day with a to-do list that is tasked out but which will end with an evening of celebrating 8 glorious years with a man who makes this beautiful struggle possible. I have things to do, people with whom to enjoy it. God has provided just enough, each day, for me to continue to live in such a blessed way.  
In our culture, we’re often driven to build more, bigger, best. But recently while reading Tsh Oxenreider’s Notes from a Blue Book** I fell in love with an old parable (source. I copied/pasted.): 

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”

“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

That’s my dream life. Enjoying daily life with my children, making dinner, running a household, writing things that help people’s dreams and business’ flourish and their spiritual lives come awake. Then ending with a full glass of wine and the company of beautiful souls. Some people build empires of business and commerce and personal wealth and all the power to them – you have this one short life, so go for it. As for me, I’m building into people in the most basic ways possible. This simple act of presence – of typing out words into an invisible world, splashing my hands into warm, soapy dish water for the third time of the day and fixing toys whose wheels fell off – fills me with joy. I’m living it with such beautiful souls, people who encourage me and make me laugh and don’t mind my exceptionally greasy, unshowered hair. If it all ended tomorrow, I can say it’s a life well lived.  My prayer is that, wherever you are and however you spend your days, you feel the same way.

*While writing, this happened:

I swear I cropped out that sun streak. But those emails are calling, I have no time for editing. 

**Affiliate link. I make a few pennies when you click and buy. But Tsh didn’t pay me, I’m glad to recommend the book on my own accord. It’s a fantastic book. 

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