Monday, February 16, 2015

the weeds are always greener

I have been trying to write this post for a while now, over the pleas of a three-year-old in the living room. 

"Mommy, I need you to bwing me a snack saped like a diamond."
"Mommy, I need a o-wange snack to eat."

Not conducive to deep thinking, but I am sitting here typing anyway.  If you choose to keep reading, you've been warned.

We are following the life of Moses in our Bible study.  I am a little embarrassed to say I have been a believer for almost 30 years and this is the first time I have read all the way through the life of this great patriarch of our faith.  This is largely due to the fact that it requires reading Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  Okay really just Leviticus.

But thus far, I have (mostly) persevered.  Admittedly there were sections I skimmed, like oh, say, temple construction and the bazillion laws God gave the Israelites, not to mention all the sacrifices.  But sandwiched in between all that, there is some gold to be mined.  As it turns out, there is actual application to my life.  Funny how God means what He says about ALL scripture being God-breathed and useful.

To give you some context, I am about two years into the Israelites wandering in the dessert.  Poor lil muffins didn't know they had 38 years left, or that none of them would actually see the Promised Land. They felt like it had been an eternity already.

If it were our little family unit, I'm pretty sure it would have been going about like this:

God: Okay, time to get moving.  Everybody up and at 'em!
Meredith: Um, we just got here.  I just got this bag unpacked and changed the baby's diaper.  Also the big kids are starving and refusing to walk another inch.  Also it's 1,000 degrees outside, which is giving the baby a heat rash so she's crying non-stop. Also we are sick of eating the same thing every day.  I mean it's great and all that you rain literal food down from heaven for us every morning, but the natives are restless and we need some variety.  Also my husband is thinking about going paleo so some meat and vegetables would be nice.
God: One more word and you're all toast.  I will start this whole thing over with just Moses and his family.
Meredith: Sheesh, we're going, we're going.  Don't be so serious all the time.

During the lecture last week, it was pointed out that the monotony of the Israelites' terrain was starting to get to them.  Every day, they woke up and gathered manna and ate it for every meal.  Every day, there was some sort of sacrifice to be made.  Every day, they stared at the cloud of God's presence to see if it would move.  Every night, they slept in a tent, on makeshift beds with all their children.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 

They were ready to go back to Egypt.  Enough of this manna!  At least in Egypt they'd had a variety of food! I mean never mind the slavery thing, full of beatings and forced labor, or the fact that the Pharoah had gone house to house throwing every male Israelite under the age of 1 into the Nile.  They had GARLIC AND CUCUMBERS.

Which made me think of this:

Every day, I wake up and make five breakfasts, sometimes all different.  Every day, I check the lunch menu and argue with the All Knowing First Grader about whether or not there will be PE and what constitutes "uniform acceptable attire." Every day I feed an infant three times at the table, four times nursing, and get up once at night to nurse her again.  Every day I manage homework, dishes, laundry, lessons, practices.  Every night, dinner.  Every night, we sleep in a bedroom that we had dreams of being renovated by this point, listening to the sound of the trains coming and going because our windows are terrible.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.


And as the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt.  So it goes with the monotony of daily life, but monotony also breeds complaining and comparison to go along with the contempt, and that's a toxic combo.  All of a sudden I find myself keenly aware of the new car my neighbor is driving while I'm still in the car that we theoretically bought to "destroy at the ranch."  And that nice privacy fence the neighbor has? That would be nice in our yard, instead of the chain-link reminiscent of a minimum security prison. Also the nanny that comes every week to watch the kids around the corner?  Sure would be nice if she could make a stop over here so I could go to the dentist alone.  That would be like a mini-vacation.  And the grass is REALLY green and pretty next door. Which is ridiculously UNFAIR because I know that guy doesn't do a single thing to take care of his lawn.  And on, and on, and on.  

And I know it goes both ways.  I know people who actually think we have it all together over here, and that they would be happier if they could only get their kids/spouse/house/job/whatever to be more like ours. Peace would ultimately ensue.

So I took a picture of our backyard.

Isn't it precious with it's smattering of all things children, and the new green grass starting to peek up?  Lovely. How about a close up?

Mmmm hmm.  Weeds.  That's not grass back there. Our ENTIRE backyard is covered in weeds.  That little patch of brown in the first picture is the only spot in the yard made up of actual grass, and that grass is dead. The weeds are so prolific that a small herd of goats could live here for a year before they went hungry.

I happen to hate weeds.  Hate. Them. I am weird about the yard.  It's kinda my thing.  I REALLY want the grass next door.  But that grass comes with single parenting.  I also hate my car.  I want a new one.  But that car in the driveway over yonder comes with a husband who has to be gone for weeks at a time for his job. And I want that nanny.  But that nanny comes at the expense of - well actual expense, which we have chosen to use elsewhere.  

Oh that I would lift my head up and see the picture of the yard where three happy, healthy children play and stop staring like an ungrateful idiot at the weeds; that every time I pull into my driveway in my giant of a car that I would be grateful I am coming home to a place where I know my husband will be home for dinner; that I would cherish the time with my children while they still live under my roof because it is SO fleeting.

May we be grateful and content to sit amongst the weeds.


Cindy said...

So very, very good Meredith!

Matt and Angie Wood said...

I so very much love this!