February 8, 2012 by Heather
“I could have been a great many things.” – Jo March, Little Women
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my role in life. Not in a Rick Warren what’s-my-purpose kind of way, because I know that in the big picture view of things I am here to glorify God and do His will. I get that. I’m talking about outside of that, the everyday, free will kind of stuff. And I know that stuff is still inside of God’s will…. let’s not get theological, ok? It’s Wednesday, which is also National Non Theologically Thinking Day. You didn’t know that?
A very dear friend recently told me a piece of advice she had received from someone else. “It’s not about what you do, it’s about who you are.” And it’s a nice thought, but (unfortunately) I don’t think it’s how we think. So much is said by what we do… how we spend our days, what we studied in college, what our extracurricular activities are, what kind of job we do or do not have. The things we do are a reflection of who we are, and if that’s the case, I guess I better clean up my act. Just kidding.
I used to think that once I got pregnant and had a baby that my life would basically be over. I had a mental list of things I wanted to do before a baby, because in my mind, once a baby was in the picture then my life would cease to exist and would just merge into the life of my child and I could never be the independent, fun-having lady I had tried so hard to convince myself that I was. I also wanted to be some big fancy career girl, climbing the ladders of corporate America in my charcoal pencil skirt with a head full of ambitions and lofty goals. It is now something Andrew and I get a real kick out of, because as it turns out, I get very little satisfaction out of having a job. And I’m just not good at them.
It wasn’t until we were in Colorado, far away from the familiar, that I was able to really think honestly about what I wanted to do (be) in this crazy life. It wasn’t a difficult conclusion to come to, after making a few lists of what I truly enjoy and what I get the most satisfaction and fulfillment from. The answer was actually quite clear: a mother. WHAAAT?? I thought. HOW CAN THAT BE? I FREAKING HATE KIDS! And if we’re being honest, I still think that. And I’ll probably still think that years from now, when I am having the time of my life being a mother.
I guess the point of all this mumbo jumbo is this: It doesn’t matter what you do. It really doesn’t. I think what matters most is how you do it, and how you feel while doing it. Life is too short to force yourself into a box that you think you should fit into. I say be all over the place. Go be and do a million different things. If you are a cashier at Walmart, be the very best one there. And if you are a cashier at Walmart and you hate it everyday, then go find something else to do.
Me? Right now, I am a stay at home wife, and very soon to be stay at home mom. I know to some it sounds lame and to others it sounds wonderful. There are a lot of mornings, like this one, where I feel like a lazy loser. Occasionally I give into the pity party and sulk around all day thinking that yes, my life is officially over. I’ve decided that doing that right there does make me a lazy loser, so I need to stop. These times are not for sitting around, eating oreos. These times are for preparing for my most important role ever. And if that means spending an entire day going through 13 giant tupperware things full of crap in order to get organized before the little nugget gets here, then by golly I am going to be the very best tupperware-goer-througher that the world has ever seen.
And here’s the very best thing about roles – they are ever-changing. We are ever-changing. We’re always growing, always evolving, always one step away from exactly who we want to be.
So go be awesome. Wear red lipstick, say hi to the cute old man at the bank, learn a new word everyday, pray for your enemies, count your blessings, start a journal, get a new degree, bake your neighbor some cookies, plan a trip, make friendship bracelets, have babies.
And, I know Mom, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength. Or is it mind? Well, that too.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems