I think I’ll really do it this time. My friend Melissa, whom I know from Young Life, is challenging many to read through the Bible chronologically in 2010. She has set up a blog ( http://chronologicalbiblein2010.blogspot.com) so that people can comment and interact about what they are reading. I was much more dedicated in high school and college to my daily Bible reading, but need it even more today. Apparently the Chronological Bible is unique in that it, well, arranges stories and books in order of time. You will read, for example, the Psalms at the same time as David’s story in I Samuel. Neat idea. I plan to purchase the Bible and read through it, and I’d love to know some of my friends are joining me! Let’s do it!
For much of my adolescence/early adulthood I had an unhealthy obsession with “finding a mate.” Not necessarily my own (although that was intriguing too) but just the whole science behind finding the perfect “one.” My shelves were stocked with courtship/ dating/marriage books. I loved personality tests; give me ten minutes and I’d tell you what animal you are, and which character on “The Office” you should marry. I made my lists and questioned everyone I could on their opinions. I remember one time asking a 50-something friend what she thought the most important quality in a spouse was. I got a 50-something answer: character. Blah. But I do seem to remember, a few months after rings and vows were exchanged, a telling moment when I began to understand. I have a theory that all marriages have that moment. You’re in the middle of an argument about something – could be sushi menus, could be finances – and suddenly, you get it. You realize in one fell swoop that it matters oh-so-little what fraternity he comes from, how perfect you look in your wedding photos, or how attracted you are to him in his pajamas. It suddenly becomes deathly, painfully, uncomfortably obvious that your happiness lies – so to speak – solely on whether or not he has some, well, un-sexy character traits. Things so boring and ancient you really don’t read much about them these days, unless it’s in that thousand-page book on the shelf. Things that probably didn’t make it on any list or in any romantic conversation. Things like patience. Honesty. Integrity. Willingness to forgive. I picture this moment happening between Brad and Jennifer, and my neighbors: Marriage doesn’t discriminate. Its success requires these virtues in the most beautiful and the most wealthy. Considering how relatively little I contemplated these things, most days I think I lucked out. I think I’m realizing how sexy some good old fashioned holiness is. So here’s to you, honey. Let’s keep working out those character muscles. I love you, and all those beautiful fruits of the Spirit. 🙂
The first week Sam was born someone gave us a present. I can’t remember the gift or the giver, but I remember the bag. It was a cheery blue with sparkly glitter and it said in red writing, “Welcome to Parenthood: Home of Sleepless Nights.” I hated that bag. It tormented me. I wanted to smash it, to burn it, but either due to motherhood busyness or a self-inflicted torment, it stayed on the counter for a good week. If I were to make a bag, it would be a peaceful blue with little teddy bears cooing at you and happy clouds and rainbows. It would say in cutsy handwriting, “Parenting is God’s way of teaching us we have no control.” (And the little baby in the bassinet would be sleeping with a smile on his face.) For the past six months, I have interviewed, read, analyzed, charted, petitioned, and predicted, searching for the keys to make Sam do what I want him to. At times I thought I had it. If I…give him the blue pacifier instead of the green one/get organic sheets/put him to bed earlier/put him to bed later/use a humidifier/rock him to sleep/don’t rock him to sleep/dust the room/eliminate bananas/use a rubber spoon/heat the bottle 29 seconds instead of 25/get a glow worm/etc., then he will _________. But alas, babies do not obey agendas or conform to formulas. People say, “Every baby is different.” They are being sweet. I will tell you what they are trying to say. They mean, “That’s cute of you to try to figure out Sam. But there is no possible way he will ever do what has worked for any other baby, including himself, more than two times.” You do get glimpses of it…a good nap, a happy afternoon, a neutral-smelling diaper. But these are merely taunts, teases, vague reminders of an ideal, like a leftover candy cane in a coat pocket. I am being funny. But it’s not always funny. The thrice-interrupted nap, the bad mood during a holiday dinner, the scary realization that despite avoiding malls and sanitizing hands, there is no way to avoid the diseases I am fleeing, or any other calamity. Being out of control is no fun, especially for a ducks-in-a-row everything-in-order kind of person like me. It’s a big step, but Sam/universe/God: you win. I give up! I will roll with the punches! (Just as soon as I figure out how to get rid of this 4 am wakeup call…)