Friday, January 20, 2012

Blessings

"You are SO BLESSED."

We can't really go anywhere anymore without someone telling us this.

Yes, we are blessed, and we know it. Somehow, though, when they say it in such an aggressive tone, leaning forward, eyebrows raised...almost daring me to disagree with them as I juggle two babies and a few bags of groceries, fumbling for my car keys while I try to use my knee to keep the grocery cart from rolling away and load our three-year-old into the car without dropping anything or anyone, I feel like "blessed" doesn't accurately describe how I feel.

Our world changed dramatically last September with the birth of our twin girls. Things have felt barely manageable since then, in many ways. Before the twins, I was working part-time in a job I really liked, feeling like I was doing a good job of balancing work and life and mothering my little boy, finding time for myself and for my family, finding time to bake. Now, I am a stay-at-home parent to three children, having trouble finding time to take a shower, and feeling like "balance" is the least likely word to describe my life.

Earlier this week, I was talking with my husband, George, about this concept of blessing...the idea that God has given you something really good and you darn well better be grateful for it...and explaining how troubled I felt that some blessings feel hard to accept. He brought up an interesting idea from his days in seminary. What if blessings are not necessarily supposed to be feel-good, happy-all-the-time things? What if blessings are just something with which you are entrusted, something that has come to you to be part of your life? Would that mean that it is okay to struggle with them, acceptable to question them, worthwhile to wonder if you can even handle them?

This felt like a little bit of truth to me. And then, I saw this essay by Glennon Melton in the Huffington Post. My conversation with George combined with the honest wisdom of Ms. Melton's post made me realize that it helps me just to know there is someone else on the path, someone who has struggled with similar feelings, someone who knows what it feels like to chafe a little bit under the weight of a blessing (and to occasionally feel guilty about it).

I've never written a blog post before. In fact, I'm not sure I even want to. But I'm putting this out there. I've seen a few other women make reference to Ms. Melton's post and say it resonated with them. Maybe there is strength in numbers. Maybe someone else wants company on this journey. We don't have to be in the same place or even have the same views. It's just about sharing what we have and doing the best we can. Sometimes my best doesn't feel like enough, but it's what I have to offer...and I have to trust that Grace is going to stretch my best to cover what needs covering.

I'm reminded of an old hymn we sang in the church where I grew up: "Come, thou Fount of every blessing/Tune my heart to sing thy grace." It never occurred to me before to wonder why a heart would need tuning, but maybe mine does. Maybe I need a reminder that I am indeed blessed, in big ways and small ones, countless times every day. And maybe it's okay that I'm not always rejoicing over those blessings but am instead struggling to learn to live with some of them.

This is what I have to offer today - a reason to start. It's small, and it feels very insignificant, but it's a little turning point for me. From now on, I will try to meet my frustration and guilt with a simple prayer: "Bless my best."

That's the most any of us can do.