Jul 312010

Dear God,

Please help me become real. Even if the process makes me a little shabby and worn out, God. Please keep on holding me tight until I learn to love, until I become real, like the Velveteen Rabbit.

Love, G

A Psalm of Singlemindedness

by Joe Bayly

Lord of reality
make me real
not plastic
pretend phony
an actor playing out his part
I don’t want
to keep a prayer list
but to pray
nor agonize to find Your will
but to obey
what I already know
to argue
theories of inspiration
but submit to Your Word.
I don’t want
to explain the difference
between eros and philos
and agape
but to love.
I don’t want
to sing as if I mean it
I want to mean it.
I don’t want
to tell it like it is
but to be it
like you want it.
I don’t want
to think another needs me
but I need him
else I’m not complete.
I don’t want
to tell others how to do it
but to do it
to have to be always right
but to admit it when I’m wrong.
I don’t want to be a census taker
but an obstetrician
nor an involved person, a professional
but a friend
I don’t want to be insensitive
but to hurt where other people hurt
nor to say I know how you feel
but to say God knows
and I’ll try
if you’ll be patient with me
and meanwhile I’ll be quiet.
I don’t want to scorn the cliches of others
but to mean everything I say

including this.

Thanks, Wendi, for posting this poem, which made my heart sing.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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Jul 302010

Craig came home with this the other day.

It’s a new vacuum. An unsolicited new vacuum.

Back story:

Like cooking, I consider vacuuming to be something that show-offy people do. And also people who are not quite as deep and sentimental as I am.

The floors in my home read like a history of our family. In that corner you might find Cheerios from this memorable day, under that rug you’ll find sprinkles from that special day. It’s lovely, really. And since I am incapable of ordering pictures or assembling family photo albums, Craig and I just sit on the couch in the evenings, gazing from pile of floor crap to pile of floor crap, reminiscing. We find this quite special and creative. But if you are the vacuuming type, I don’t want you to feel badly. I’m just suggesting that kids grow up fast, so you might want to consider setting aside some floor memories. That’s all.

Several years ago, I started suspecting that my friends had different beliefs about vacuuming and memory-keeping. It seemed they were opposedto using floors as scrapbooks, because their carpets always had those fancy lines in them. You know the lines to which I’m referring? Those fresh, show-offy, “I just vacuumed” lines? So I started getting a little uncomfortable about my un-liney carpets. Now, one might predict that this discomfort led me to re-evaluate my vacuuming boycott, but one might predict wrong. I find my vacuum to be very heavy and ugly and inconducive to relaxing. There is nothing that leads me into a cursing tirade faster than trying to lug my vacuum up two flights of stairs. And Jesus said: if your vacuum causes you to curse, gouge it out . . . or something like that. So actually becoming a real- life vacuumer wasn’t an option, since I love Jesus. (If you do vacuum, I’m not trying to suggest that you don’t love Jesus. I assume it’s possible to do both. I’m just saying it’s not likely. Not likely at all. )

In any case, it was becoming clear that I needed to start thinking creatively about this vacuuming issue.

One day I was watching Tish stroll her baby-doll around the family room in a little pink baby stroller. And when my gaze fell to the floor behind her I noticed that the stroller wheels were making perfect lines across the carpet. Perfect, fancy “I just vacuumed” looking lines. And I thought…CHA-CHING!

For the last three years, before company arrives, before Craig comes home from a trip, every time I feel like playing dutiful housewife, I call Tish and ask her if she’d like to take her baby for a walk. And Tish says, “A reg-a-lar walk or a careful walk, mommy?” And I say, “A careful walk, honey.” When she was two, I taught Tish that a careful walk is when you stroll your baby back and forth across the carpet in such a way that the stroller lines run perfectly parallel to each other. . . back and forth, back and forth, back and forth . . . you see where I’m going with this. And so for three wonderful years, mommy sat on the couch and cheered for Tish while she and her baby-doll vacuumed.

And Craig would always come home and say, “WOW! You vacuumed!” with the same proud tone he uses when I cut a tomato all by myself. And I would just smile and bat my eyelashes coyly but never answer directly because honesty is very important to me.

It was a miracle, really. Except that one night I saw Craig looking quizzically at my carpet lines . . . and I realized with terror that he was finally noticing that my fancy lines were completely surrounded by our usual piles of floor crap.

I had anticipated that this might be the fly in the ointment. So I real quick mumbled something like “Stupid vacuum’s broken. But nice lines, huh? Look! Shark Week is on!” I have been mumbling variations of those sentences for three years now. With great success.

So when Craig walked in the house recently with this surprise vacuum, I was suspicious that he was suspicious.And so I watched his face verrrry closely. And right after he said, “Look! This will make life so much easier! I hate for you go to all that trouble with that broken vacuum and never get the results you want . . .” I noticed a faint smirk and an itty bitty centimeter of an eyebrow-raise. It was almost imperceptible. But I saw it. And so my first thought was . . . He knows. He knows about the stroller vacuuming. The jig is up.

But I recovered quickly. And my second thought was: Oh. The poor guy really doesn’t know who he’s messing with here. He has grossly underestimated the depths to which I am prepared to sink to preserve my way of life. He just doesn’t know.

The other day, after Craig left for work, I told Tish that I had a surprise for her. I announced that since she was such a big girl now, it had become time to pass down her itty bitty baby stroller to Amma, because I had bought her a brand new, big girl stroller. I explained that big girl strollers look very, very different than little girl strollers and even make big noises like cars! Because big girl strollers have engines.

Time for a careful walk, baby. Back and forth. Back and forth.

Your move, Hub-Dog.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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Jul 282010


That’s me, above. The Brett Favre of blogging. You knew I’d never really retire, right?

Last night I uncovered the truth about why I wanted to close up shop.

I had been telling myself this:

It’s time to stop. The experiment is done. We’ve proven that women of different faiths and demographics can love each other well. We’ve truly learned from each other. We’ve proven that if you want peace, it’s much simpler to put down your guns than to fight for it. We’ve proven that the truth really does set people free. G, Time to quit while we’re all ahead.

But what I was really saying, down deep about a thousand layers, was this:

It’s time to stop. Because I’m really, really scared that I’m going to start sucking and they’re not going to like me anymore.

So I spent yesterday thinking about what that was all about. Here’s the thing about when I spend the day thinking. That’s really all I do. I am absolutely incapable of multi-tasking. And my kids know this. For example, yesterday the kids were in the pool and I guess I was looking at them, but not really. And at one point I realized that Tish was staring at me and seemed to be repeating some sort of request because her lips were moving and her voice was getting louder and louder, but by the time I actually tuned in, I heard Chase saying, “Tish, I’ll watch you jump in. Mommy can’t. She’s thinking.” True story.

I was thinking really hard about what I’m so scared of.

And I decided my real fear is that you are going to realize that I am a big, huge fraud.

Because I get up every morning and write about patience and kindness and then by noon I’ve yelled at six people, slammed three doors, and thought forty vicious thoughts.

I write about treasuring my children, about truly noticing them, about living in the moment with them, and then I spend the bulk of my day telling them to HOLD ON! while I finish whatever book I’m rereading.

I get up in the morning and write a lovely essay about following my heart and refusing to consider if others like me or not, and then I check the blog every twelve minutes, to see if you guys liked my essay or not.

I write an essay about humility. Then I hit “publish” and think…that has got to be the best essay on humility in the history of the world.

I write to you about my husband, about how in love with him I am, and then I don’t do the simple, teeny things that I know make him happy.

I write about loving poor people, about getting out there and really loving poor people. But I write about that from my cozy dining room at five in the morning. I continue to be the only poor person in my dining room.

I write passionately about a certain subject one week, and then the next week I wake up and realize that I feel completely differently about that subject now. I decide maybe I should think for a whole year before I write anything down. But that would make for a very slow blog.

And the other night I was straight-up panicking, listing to Craig all of the reasons I was freaking out about some recent decisions we’d made, and after asking me if I needed a paper bag to breathe into, Craig said, “Hon, didn’t you just write about how much peace we have about our decisions? Didn’t you just say we were free as birds? You don’t look like a bird right now.”

I plan to start speaking to him again tomorrow.

And so all of these things make me feel very nervous about this blog, because based on your emails and comments it seems like some of you guys are actually paying close attention to the things I write. And so I was thinking maybe someone who is a little less hypocritical and more consistent should be writing to you. Someone who has a few things figured out.

But then, last night, I got this breathtakingly beautiful email from a woman who was in my freshman English class. Her email was about how one particular day she begged God for guidance about a life decision, and then she told Him that she’d look to Momastery to hear back from Him. And when she logged on that day, she got a direct answer from the post. And she acted on that answer. And she’s happy now.

And so I laid in bed last night and thought . . . Hmmmm.

The Bible’s always saying how God likes to choose foolish people to show up for Him. So maybe that’s what’s going on here. Maybe he just needs a foolish body to keep showing up, and He’ll keep doing the rest.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I can be God’s fool. That’s actually ALL I can promise to be. So I’ll just keep showing up here, when I can, and ask Him to do His thing. And so if I start sucking, we know who to blame, right? Let us be clear on that.

I’ve got some ideas about how to make Momastery more sustainable, I’ll share them soon.

Love You,

GF (God’s Fool)

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest

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