Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Something Else


Have you ever backed yourself into a corner? Literally? One of my hobbies is to frequently rearrange the furniture in our home. I am constantly seeking the very best set up to ensure efficiency, beauty, and balance. Of course, such perfection always alludes me, so mostly I am left with something that is “OK” at best. Thus, whenever opportunity allows, I quickly move this piece or that piece, “just to see” how it will look or function in another, BETTER, location. (I have 12 of those little “moving men” things to assist me when no husband or teenagers are around and I'm pretty good and heaving dressers up and down the stairs, even when pregnant).

As you might imagine, this is very annoying to my family. But, as my optimistic husband says, life with me is never “boring.” (That's code for “you're nuts!) Well, the other day, I was innocently sliding a small sideboard (more of a dresser really) from its normal location in the front foyer, into a small alcove in the office where I was sure it would look nicer and provide some needed storage. Much to my dismay, the piece barely fit into the alcove, and in fact, quite pinned me into the corner as I tried to maneuver it. The space was small and unforgiving. For the first time in over sixteen years of furniture moving, I was absolutely backed into a corner. I considered calling for help, but Spencer is only two and Preston (ten months) was napping. There I sat, stewing, trying to figure out just how I got into that mess, and just how, without damaging walls or furniture, I was going to get out again. Anyone who knows me can guess that the metaphors started flying through my head. Why can't I leave well enough alone? Who really cares if there is perfect flow around here?

All this caused me to reflect upon Spencer"s recent favorite phrase. As two year olds are wont to do, Spencer has begun exerting his own will when it comes to choices. No longer is he content to silently accept whatever I offer him. But instead of wailing for what he does want , ala “I want a cookie! I want that truck! I want his shirt! I want to sit in that seat!” his typical response is one that I have never heard before, but one that haunts me. Whenever he is offered anything, he stares at me and says, “I want something else.” Hmm, then the games begin. I start picking up objects, “Do you want this bread?” “No, I want something else,” “Do you want this apple,” “No, I want something else.” Sometimes, he seems to have a vague idea of what he sort of wants and therefore, if you are not getting close with the “guessing” he escalates each request until he is screaming or bursts into tears because, clearly, you are not “getting it.” Other times he seems not to know what he wants at all, and continues to stare blankly while you parade past him all possible choices, only for him to royally dismiss them all.

Well, as I sat there, trapped by my own habitual discontent, I pondered. How very much like Spencer I am and how very annoying that must be to our loving and wise Heavenly Father. He offers us so much. He gives us so many opportunities for a beautiful life, but perhaps, in our ignorance, indecision or “spoiledness” we, like a two year old, want “something else.” Nothing is ever quite good enough for us. We are never quite satisfied, never content to “bloom where we're planted,” or to “make lemonade” out of lemons. As the parent of such an one, I realized how exhausting this must be to our Father in Heaven and how much more He would like to give and share with us, if we could only sit still and be content with what we've already received.

I determined that I was going to stop moving the furniture around so often. I decided that I was going to stop wishing that I were naturally thinner, etc., etc. I decided to go play with the Spencer. Maybe then he'll actually want ME to be his mommy and stop wishing for “something else.” (P.S. Once I made this determination, I magically slipped right out from behind the dresser. Perhaps Heavenly Father just wanted me “cornered” long enough to teach me a lesson!)

“For godliness with contentment is great gain.”

(1 Timothy 6:8)


Matthew said...

This is so true! Having parenting experiences like this has taught me so much about myself and my own dysfunctional behaviors! Being able to find the proper balance between, action, motivation and acceptance has really been something I have struggled with in my own religious practice.

Steffani said...

I love that! Contentment really is a godlike attribute--becuase you can't be content without gratitude, without looking outside of yourself, and without humility. Thanks for this great reminder today!

sara jensen said...

I once heard that a grateful heart is a happy heart-I know it has been true for me; when I am feeling gratitude for everything I do have, I worry less about what might be lacking.