Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Not MIA...

...just contemplating LIFE

This title has a double meaning because of course I’ve been contemplating Life, as in the life I live. (Or rather, I’ve just been trying to keep up with it.) But, I’m also working mainly with the LIFE Project right now (LIFE stands for Living In Family Environments). We always joke that we have so many acronyms in this ministry that we might as well be the military. Let me just give you a few: We got our AMs working over the CLLs, who manage the LCFs and the LCAs. Clear as mud. Right?

On to similarly uninteresting and just as menial things:

I have to make a confession. Sometimes I really struggle with the things that I’m not. It’s like I have this picture in my head of everything that a good woman or a good mother does. And there are so many of those things that I can’t even begin to comprehend doing. For example:

I’m not a gardener. I have never had any use for planting flowers or growing things. When I was a kid, we used to plant tomato plants and flowers and things every spring. So, I know how to do it. My mom loves that stuff. I’ve never had any use for it. I mean, I appreciate it. I love having a garden. I love fresh veggies and lovely flowers. I just can never seem to get the motivation to learn the names of plants and actually plant any in my places of residence.

I’m not a sewer. Again, my mom is a brilliant seamstress. I never learned. I think I burned up a sewing machine or two in home ec class. I mean, I can sew on a button or fix a seam. But, when it comes to sewing machines, I’m basically worthless.

I’m not an athlete. Sure, I occasionally like to do yoga and tai-bo and such. I may even go for a (painfully slow) run every once in awhile. But I’m not the athlete that my dad and two brothers are. Nope. Not at all. I think I sometimes surprise people when it turns out I am actually slightly more athletically capable than they expected me to be. This is probably because I have grown up around athletes my whole life and then married one. I pretty much know all the rules and theory and may have actually learned a few things by osmosis. But, I hate being hurt and I hate knocking into people. This pretty much rules out every sport I’ve ever played.

I’m not a shopper. Lord help me, I don’t like to shop. Not for clothes. Not for home décor. Not for electronic equipment. Rarely even for Christmas presents. However, I love shopping for food. Let me loose in a Whole Foods or a Farmer’s Market and watch me go. Everything else, I can do without.

I’m not a scrapbooker. My best friend, Jenn, tried to get me into scrapbooking while we were home over the holidays. She’s so diligent and encouraging that I was almost converted, just so that I could spend more time with her. But that’s my only motivation. Time with my best friend. Left to my own devices, my children will have their childhoods chronicled in approximately 100 pictures from birth until graduation. Probably 85 of those pictures will be random artistic shots of obscure moments and forgotten memories. Only 15 will be from events that actually needed to be documented. I still only have about 2 of my wedding pictures printed and framed. ‘Nuff said.

I’m not a motorcycle rider. This has come up recently because Jake rides his motorbike a lot and it would be nice if I had the guts to learn and go with him. He tried to teach me last year. I almost ran into the side of the building. Now, he’s glad that I don’t want to learn because he’d rather me be in one piece. (Somewhere, my dad is reading this and thinking the same thing.) Anyway, riding a motorcycle kind of just increases that possibility of getting hurt and knocking into stuff. Two things I don’t like to do.

So anyway, I’m not a lot of things. Not a gardener, or sewer, or athlete, or shopper, or scrapbooker. These are things that people DO. For FUN. Why don’t I really enjoy any of them? I mean, okay, if you invite me to go shopping with you, I’ll probably go. But because it’s with you. And because there’s a chance that we may run into a Barnes and Noble and a coffee shop.

For some reason, I really struggle when I’m not everything. Do you do that too? Does it bother you when you can’t say that you fall into a group of people who seem to have it together enough to plant a garden, crochet a scarf, run a 5K, find a great deal, and document it all in a beautifully scalloped edge scrapbook? It bothers me. I know, right. Get over it.

So, as I’m hitting my “mid-twenties” (GASP!) I’m realizing that I need to just be okay with who I am and what I like to do. To actually be grateful for who God made me to be and to “boast in my weaknesses.” And stop worrying about who I’m not and trying to make myself like things just because other people like them. Here’s what I do like:

I love to make music. Any kind of music. I like to make music with Sunda. I like to make music in Zambian church. I like to sing to Jesus alone in the car. I love to stand in a 200 person choir and sing the “Hallelujah Chorus.”

I love to teach. Anything. And not just formally. Don’t know how to make a grilled cheese sandwich? It is the delight of my heart to break it down into manageable steps for you. I know. I’m a complete nerd. I’m especially great at butting in to teach things where it’s completely unnecessary for me to teach them. People can learn things on their own. In fact, people were doing it for generations before I was even born. I’m getting better at keeping my mouth shut.

I love to read. The Bible. Fiction. History books. Children’s books. Ridiculous magazines. The back of shampoo bottles. Encyclopedias. It’s ridiculous. Reading is like a drug for me. When I settle down and really start reading, I feel this amazing sense of calm come over me. My absolute favorite thing to do is to be near anyone I love and read a book. In one sitting. (They don’t have to be reading a book for this to work, as Jacob will tell you. He often watches soccer, rugby, or 24 as I read. I count it as quality time. I don’t know if it really does count.) I love to read so much that when people say, “Yeah, I’m not a big book person.” I honestly think, “Really? Then what do you do to relax?” Well, Jessi…probably any one of the above activities that you are absolutely unskilled in.

I love to talk. A big surprise to most of you, right? Hahaha. I’ve been kind of dreading everyone coming back to the base and it getting really busy here. Not because I don’t like the people being around, but rather because I just get so distracted by so many people to talk to. I find myself getting less done. Getting Sunda in bed later. Now, if I could only figure out how to talk and read at the same time…oh wait…I think that’s why I also like to write.
Thanks for reading my nonsense (if anyone out there still does, being that I tend to disappear for months at a time.) 


sophanne said...

It seems to me that the older a person gets, the longer the list of things you "wont/can't/don't want to do." That being said, the list of things that you will, can and love to do also increases. You just don't love those things- there are more things to love. You just love those other things-there are more things to love. That's what I think and I love reading your words. Thanks for posting when you can.

Mama S said...

Dear Jessi,
By the time you hit 50, you will be SO ok with those things you "can't do". Like me, for instance...I don't cook (a lot)and frankly, I don't care. I am perfectly happy waiting for my beautiful and talented daughter-in-law (and grand daughter) to come home in November and cook for us!!! For the time being, I am just happy that you cook for Jacob...
I love you and miss you!!!

Your MIL ---Mama S

Beth said...

This was great, Jessi. You're right; it's easy to focus on what you can't do (esp. when you can't do a lot of things... like me!). Love this post... love you!