I can’t tell you the number of people who’ve mirrored my thoughts from Sunday in conversations since: “Didn’t you just love what Dona said?” Yes! I’ve thought, and thought and thought and thought, about what it all means if I agree as deeply with her as I do. I’m going to share the joy with you, but beware: if you read, you may be left without an excuse or two as well.
Her son recently returned from a 2-year service mission, an experience that was a tremendous blessing to both him and to their family. Another young man, a friend of her son’s, also recently returned, also blessed, also blessing his family. She spoke about her feelings of inadequacy as a mother, and how she had always admired the way the other mother managed her family, and how she felt that she often didn’t live up to those kinds of standards.
But, she said, both boys served. In the end, the Lord made up the difference, and in the end, all the blessings were there. It rocketed through every woman in that congregation who has done what every woman does so well: questioned herself and measured herself and been found (in her own eyes) … wanting. What rocketed through every woman there was the most powerful force on earth. Hope.
I’ve always loved the Emily Dickinson poem, “hope is the thing with feathers/that perches in the soul /and sings the tune without the words / and never stops at all …” What power there is in something delicate, with feathers, that can go through anything, without stopping for anything, and without asking for anything. That is what people need to do the great work they must do. Women need it in their mothering, because so many are dependent on their song.
If, however, the Lord makes up the difference, our inaction is not excused. I can’t look at the ways my song might be needed and feel intimidated because I don’t feel up to the task. Simply because it is possible, succeeding, my excuse that I am not enough, … is not enough.
I am hiding behind my intimidation sometimes. There are things that I could do, things that might make a difference, things that would require a lot of work and sacrifice, things that I don’t quite know how to do and I will look like a fool as I try, things that I can pretend someone else will do as long as I feel inadequate.
I’ve had to laugh, as Carly Simon has been ad-libbing in my mind … “In-tim-i-da-tion, … in-tim-i-day-yay-shun, it’s making me wait …” Analysis paralysis. I’m waiting to be perfect to even begin. Yipes. Exposed.
If the Lord makes up the difference …
My late evenings have been spent finally reading Three Cups of Tea… in bed … prior to sleeping … when your mind should be filled with peace and not harrowed up by what you’re not doing. I’ve been wanting to read it for ages, but couldn’t let myself until I wasn’t supposed to be reading other things. No school. No church work. No reason not to read it. And now … no excuse not to act. Drat.
If Greg Mortensen, a former climbing bum whose possessions could fit in the back of an old beater and whose day job was night shift nursing here and there, could change the world by building scores of schools in the mountains of Pakistan, it stands to reason that nobody has any excuse. Apparently, the Lord makes up the difference in all kinds of things.
So there. Now I’ve shared the joy. I can’t sleep anymore, because I have work to do. It’s a great freedom, the thought that everything doesn’t depend on you anymore … but an equal responsibility, because getting it all started … does.