Seeking My Best Self

trying to make sense of my life – and lose some weight

An Inverted Turtle

situ and kidsI’ve loved my sojourn in Gettysburg and Madison. Caring for my bright, determined grandchildren. Discussing theology, listening and being with my daughter as she walks the path of the pastor-to-be. Basking in the energy and enthusiasm of my son-in-law. Immersing myself in passionate intellectual converation with my son and his friends. Learning new ways of being church in the twenty-first century. Ballgames! And so much more.

After three weeks, it’s time to return home. Or perhaps I should say it’s time return to another home, because a piece of my home is wherever my children and grandchildren live. Truth is, I’ve realized that home isn’t a place external. I am an inverted turtle, carrying my home not on my back but in my heart. Home is with all I love, including me.

That means the more of the world I can embrace, the larger my home becomes. Without monetary exchange or land title. Could that be the key to solving the world’s strife? If we take more time to love, we’ll feel less need to possess, because we’ll already be home.

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join me, and the world will be as one….”   –  John Lennon.

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My Favorite Job in the World

grandkidsI’m sitting at my daughter’s dining room table, sipping coffee and listening to the rain. I’m here for three weeks to care for my grandchildren while their parents work. However, school is still in session (two more days until summer vacation) so the house is quiet.

I’d planned to walk to city center to shop and explore, but the weather isn’t cooperating. Looks like a home day. The grandkids won’t return for seven hours. The living room is picked up, the dishes washed, the beds made. There’s nothing more to do.

Anyone who’s known me for more than five minutes knows that the girl must not be bored. But I’m not bored. I’m relaxed. Happy. This is my favorite job in the world. It always has been.

True confession time: I love being a homemaker.

My mother always worked. As a child, I hated it. So when I had kids, I stayed home. I discovered that I loved moving through the world at their pace. I loved sharing it with them, teaching them about plants and people, about stories and science. I loved keeping a clean and beautiful home. I was really, REALLY happy.

But finances were tight, and people were disapproving. (Which is a conversation for another blogpost. For now, I’ll just say that I was young and impressionable.) So I found part-time work. Bookkeeper, bank teller, delivery driver, salesperson: a quick succession of jobs. Wherever I worked, I rose quickly to positions of greater responsibility, because I was (and am) smart and competent. And just as quickly, I’d hit a glass ceiling. No degree? No further advancement.

So I returned to college. Got my degree. Started a full-time, well-paying professional career.

And hated it.

I was good. Very good. But it just wasn’t fulfilling. So I worked harder. Over the next years, I moved up the ladder until I hit a position – and company – that was an extraordinarily poor fit. I was miserable. With my husband’s encouragement, I quit and spent three months at home while I searched for a new job.

Once again, I LOVED being home. It was as challenging as any outside job, but much more fulfilling. Eventually, though, a call came. Would I interview for an administrator position at a local non-profit? It seemed like a perfect fit. I interviewed and was hired immediately.

I cried when I got home. I didn’t really want the job. I already HAD a job. Nicholas, then ten, cried when I told him. “Please don’t go back to work. Please, Mom.” I cried the night before I started.

“You can stay home,” said my husband. “We’ll figure the finances out.”

But I wanted to ‘pull my weight’. To contribute. So off I went.

Taking that position is one of my biggest regrets. I wasn’t true to myself or to my family. The time that was lost can never be regained.

So this morning, I revel in the home around me. I rejoice that I am temporarily returned to the job I love most. Caring for family. Keeping the home fires going. Enjoying the expectant silence of the morning, because soon this house will be filled with the sounds and sights of those I love.


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