I have killed so many houseplants. I subsequently knocked two small basil plants (actually just dirt and seeds, no growth had happened at all so “plant” is pretty generous) off the windowsill onto our shoe rack below. So if something starts growing in Jesse’s slippers, it’s probably basil! Hahahahaha. Also, did you know that sometimes you can buy plants and they’re already infected with small gnats? Turns out it’s true. Bye, bye, cute succulent. The only plants I’ve kept alive are two tiny little cacti. Which are used to the barren, loveless, inhabitable, desert where they are forced to reserve water for as long as possible. So much for being nurturing!
It’s not that I don’t want to take good care of my flowers and plants, it’s just that I forget. I forget to water them. Or that they exist, and they wilt in a hot car for 5 hours. And I desperately want to be the type of person who remembers to water, care, and tend for their plants. But I’m not.
I realized as I read my morning devotional that I was forgetting things the Lord has taught me about who I am and most importantly, who he is. Because at certain points this last year I only had the capacity to focus on getting through the day, certain memories, dreams, and aspirations were simply forgotten. and like a simple and soft spring breeze through the window, some of them are coming back to me.
Take care for yourself and watch your inner self closely, so that you do not forget the things that your eyes have seen, so that they do not slip from your mind all the days of your life.
I re-read a chapter from one of my favorite “spiritual growth” books called Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. In her chapter called “Things I don’t do” she writes about how she realized she needed to make a list of things for herself titled “thing I don’t do.” because her prior method of dealing with her “to do list” was to just write “DO EVERYTHING BETTER.” Which, it turns out, wasn’t working out so well.
“I love the illusion of being able to do it all, and I’m fascinated with people who seem to do that, who have challenging careers and beautiful homes and vibrant minds and well-tended abs. Throw in polite children and a garden and I’m coming over for lessons
…I remind myself of the important things: that time is finite, as is energy. And that one day I’ll stand before God and account for what I did with my life. There is work that is only mine to do: a child that is ours to raise, stories that are mine to tell, friends that are mine to walk with. The grandest seduction of all is the myth that DOING EVERYTHING BETTER gets us where we want to be.”
-Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet.
Those words resonated with me, I realized that there is work that only I can do. Being a loving sister, daughter, and wife are just a few roles that only I have. If I take too much time worrying or striving to be good at tasks that I’m not supposed to do I’ll take precious time and energy away from things that really matter. And I’ll spend a good portion of my weekend scraping up dirt I spilled over all our shoes from plants I think I’m supposed to be caring for. Or I’ll procrastinate taking care of the mess the second time it happens until my husband graciously vacuums it for me.
My “I Don’t List”
- I am not the type of person who gets up with the sunrise and then goes for a five mile run as they dream of their kale breakfast smoothie. I’m the type of person who tries this for a day or two and ends up with a headache, puking, and falling asleep on the couch by 5pm. I’ll take a 20 minute walk and sleeping in until 8am, thank you. Extreme exercise routines are not a part of my life right now, and I need to accept that.
- Jesse and I walked through REI yesterday, and we both talked about how every time we are in there store we think “WHY AREN’T WE ROCK CLIMBERS?” and then I remember, I’m terrified of heights, would rather read a good novel, and I’M TERRIFIED OF HEIGHTS. Why I conveniently forget this fact until I’m at the top of the cliff/bridge/ferris wheel I’m not sure. Where are your beach sandals located, please?
- I don’t nurture and care well for plants, flowers, houseplants or gardens. (See above stories of killing them numerous times).
- I don’t cook every meal. And the meals I do cook are often not “from scratch” they are from Trader Joes and they are delicious. What I’ve been calling “cooking” lately is just pulling together random ingredients from our fridge and convincing Jesse he won’t get food poisoning from them.
I’m sure there are many other things I can add to this list, but I hope I’m not alone in realizing that there are things I’m good at and enjoy and are worth my time and investment and other activities that I can celebrate that other people do really well.