Living in Two Worlds

So, I envisioned myself as this super-intelligent blogger speaking out about all the various political and religious ideas of the day (and I tried...once), rather than someone who constantly talks about the achievements of her children or post recipes for some kind of healthy and hearty bread or whines about the various minutia of my day...

But then I realized I should probably just be myself and talk about my life. So, my posts will probably be more self-indulgent than the other two, but oh well...that's very American, right?

And, as you can see, right now, my life is about juggling my vocation as a priest and my vocation as a mom. Two things I never really had aspirations to be, and can drive me crazy just about every hour of the day. Yet, two things I love doing more than anything else.

I find myself complaining about this pull - between work and family, priesthood and motherhood - because some days it is just so maddening. Like today, for example. We loaded up the car and went to work. For the first two hours of the day, I chased the baby around (who is walking pretty aptly these days), cut up various food for him to eat for lunch, shoved down a sandwich for me, and played in the nursery with him as I checked my email. I attempted to have a meeting with one of my wardens, but that was interrupted by the baby's gleeful screaming as he proceeded to take all the pamphlets for the Free Clinic out of the cabinet and scatter them all over the floor. So, we left the meeting and retired to "our" office, where baby decided to take the push pins (They were on the cork board that was originally on the outside of my door but the double sided-tape failed and it fell to the ground, where some kind soul decided to slip it under my door for a baby to play with.) and shove them in his mouth. Of course, I was busy writing thank you notes for the volunteers that helped with the fund-raising dinner we had the previous Saturday, so I didn't notice until he screamed in pain. So, I asked him to show me what he had in his mouth, and he removed the now bloody push pins from his mouth and, through teary eyes, held them up for me to examine. I am such a bad mom. After he had started crying for the fifth time (and tried to pull the pen from my hand for the twentieth time), I realized he was probably tired, so I closed the black-out curtains in the office, turned out the light and plopped down in the rocking chair. And we both fell asleep.

As he slept in the pack n play, I tried to proof and edit the bulletin for this week - our first Baptism since we arrived (and since the hiring of our most excellent parish administrator) in the pitch black. Not easy to see the black keyboard on this silly dell laptop in the pitch black. I found myself daydreaming about what a great invention it would be to have glow-in-the-dark keys for those late-night, in-the-dark moments on our various keyboards. Maybe that will be the million dollar idea people keep telling me I should have. I made one phone call (whispering in the hallway, so not as to wake the baby), which ended up being a left message. Sat down to make a list of everything I had to do this week during my quarter-time hours (HA HA), put the pen to the paper, and then baby woke up.

And so it goes. And no matter how tempting it is to complain, I actually love it all. I have always loved being a priest because it is a job that is never boring (sometimes so maddening you want to choke yourself and all your parishioners) - with so many angles. I get to be teacher, public speaker, singer, poet, writer, social activist, fund-raiser, manager, conflict resolver - conflict avoider and creator, too - pastor, friend, enemy, secretary...well, you get the idea. I don't like to be bored, so I know this job is for me.

But, I also have the unfortunate need to also be orderly/organized. I like schedules and lists and calendars. I like things put away in the right place (except for my clothes, which tend to lie on the floor of my closet for weeks at a time). I like to know what I am doing and what I am doing next. And when it was just me, when I was working alone in my office, I could control that all.

But with baby, it is impossible (and not just at work). And there are days when it drives me crazy. When I leave the office and think - what the hell did I do and why did I even come in today? And there are days when I wonder why am I even trying to work and be a mom and take care of our house and..? And if I continue on that path, I will be driven crazy.

Because while I could finish everything I wanted to get done when I was alone - I was still alone. I wasn't watching this amazing child change every day - learn new things, start to say words, laugh and play and look to me for love and approval. I might have been involved in various diocesan committees and task forces. But I didn't have the opportunity to hold my beautiful baby in my arms and think about nothing else in the world. And while I could check off my lists and see all my appointments nicely written in my Episcopal calendar, I was more bored than I knew. I took this job because I wanted to be with my baby (and work with my husband). I didn't want to deal with babies and daycare or working all the time and giving what was left over (if any) to my family. I was tired of suburbia and that constant drive to do more, be more, have more. I wanted to have the best of all worlds. And so, I am working on appreciating my multi-faceted life. And when it gets crazy, I try to remember to grab hold of the horns and just stay on as long as I can.

I am lucky. I can live into the various calls God has handed to me. The call to the priesthood that I knew with every cell in my body was right as all those priests and friends laid their hands on me. The call to motherhood, which has been a slowly refining call, that feels so naturally a part of me. And I am working on loving having it all. Isn't that what we all say we want anyway?

1 comment:

Doorman-Priest said...

I wanted to be really profound too. Tiring isn't it? Yes, it's often God in the every day that is the more interesting.