I met Ivey at our nonprofit, The Homestead Education Center. She and her family are FUN! But I really got to know her on a retreat we held this year with Glennon Doyle Melton from Momastery - Breaking Open: The Phoenix Process of Spiritual Rebirth. Ivey turned 40 like I did this year, and her blog post spoke to me about reality and hope. It reminds me that transformation doesn't always come in the form of a lightning bolt, but often in creeps in slowly, like sifting through laundry. This is her story:
So, I turned 40 this year. And I’m tired. I’m so tired. And I’m sick of hearing myself respond to people when they ask how I am that I’m freaking tired. So, I set out to NOT say how tired I am. Instead, I’m writing about it. Nobody cares. We’re all tired.
I really wasn’t worried much about turning 40. I just didn’t want a surprise party. A surprise party is exactly what my husband wanted for himself (although he never would have said that), so that’s what he got. Me? Don’t you dare. He knew better.
I wanted to treat myself to something fulfilling and personal and meaningful and all that. So, I bought myself a weekend retreat at the MS Homestead Center, keynote speaker Glennon Melton of Momastery. Don’t know her? You totally should.
I interrupt this riveting account of my life to describe to you a scene. I have just returned from the 3rd in my Trifecta Series of speaker events. Anne Lamott. She is a spaced-out, Jesus loving, liberal, ex-junkie, radically loving writer, who said GO WRITE. If you can’t do 45 minutes right now, today, then you are never going to do it. So, here I sit, trying to peck out my first blog post in years and my children are acting like maniacs. Day is on the floor of the bathroom in my direct line of vision crying because I won’t let her go to bed at 7:56pm. The ONLY reason she has any desire to go to bed right now is because I am on my bed and she cannot stand the fact that I am doing something that does not involve her. Wren has totally ignored my demands, I mean requests, that everyone leave me the hell alone, and is playing a game on her phone about 3 feet from my right ear. It’s loud. She insists that it stays that loud. She can’t HEAR it. Dear, God, I am tired.
Back to the Trifecta. Glennon, Jen Hatmaker, and Anne Lamott. These girls make up who I am. Or who I’d like to think I am. Or who I want to be. Jen was hilarious. Glennon was every bit as funny and sweet and real in person as you’d imagine. Anne was challenging and relatable and refreshingly honest. Theme of each being authenticity, wholeness, healing, community/sisterhood and humor. Speaking my language.
And I suppose that 40 lends itself well to reflection and new vision and shedding old crap, nurturing the good stuff. So, in the spirit of authenticity, here are my current struggles and insights…
1) Religion is hard. I want to find a place where my kids are happy (we have that) and where I am not at complete odds with the doctrine/theology. I love gay people. I’m not into punishing people for sins or even wasting much time feeling guilty about our humanity. Politically, I don’t fit the mold at our church, but really? I’m thinking church should not be a political atmosphere anyway. But I love the people. And what is any church but a bunch of messed up people anyway? I’m searching.
2) Parenting is hard. Right now Wren is crying in time-out for spitting at her sister. I don’t like time out. It makes me sad. But, I hate spitting. And Day is crying because Wren is in time out. Nobody wins. Just freaking tears and yelling and bribing and trying our best. I have moments when I really want to stay at home and just raise my kids and homeschool and get this shit in order, but then I have one single day with them all by myself and think, I am crazy. I am completely crazy. This shit is hard. But damnit, it’s hard because we are all crazed and the pace is too much and the schedule is too much and the demands are too many and we are all freaking tired. (I know, who cares?)
3) Marriage is hella hard. If you’ve been married 14 years and have 2 kids under 7 and you tell me that marriage is easy and that you get along with your husband/wife, I will call you a liar. I’m bitter about it. I guess I really did expect it to be easy-ish. You’re laughing right now. Because you know. Or you have no idea what I’m talking about it. In that case, I can say I don’t know you. I don’t get your life. Wish I did.
In spite of these struggles, plus about 62 others I shall not bore you with, I do feel like a new season is creeping in, a good one. I finally don’t give a crap about being anybody but me. It may have appeared at other times in my life that I didn’t give that particular crap, but I assure you, I did. I was faking. Not faking any more. I’m trying to figure out which parts of myself I’ve fabricated and which parts were there all along. It’s a good process. A cleansing process. But it does hurt. I’m not going to lie.
Here’s what I want to remind my 40 year old self: Your beautiful daughters are worth every struggle to figure it out and make it better. You are worthy of love and respect and kindness – ALL of the time. You have so much to offer but no obligation to offer it. Either gift it to the world or keep it to yourself. Don’t offer for approval or applause or ego. This is your one beautiful, wild, life. LIVE IT. Stop waiting until the house is clean or the debt is paid off or you finally figure out how to work part time or until you aren’t so tired. Get over yourself and get on with the business of living. Look up every day. And who cares that your boobs are enormous and your stomach sticks out. You’re 40. Who really cares? Just BE here. Pay attention. People are good and fascinating and hurting and confused. LOVE them anyway, including yourself.
And now, off to get some sleep…
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Stories hold the power to heal. Do you have a story of transformation to share on The Healing Wall? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org