Thursday, 28 February 2013

the guilt thing...

 I struggle with which way to go.  Always.  So many choices...and saying yes to one good thing almost always means saying no to another. Guilt follows.

I was so excited to know that a friend of mine was moving into my neighbourhood.  I drive past her house at least twice a day, yet the last time I saw her was just before Christmas.  Daily, I think how I really must call her, or at least stop by with a little note and tulips to let her know I care.  Couldn't I at least arrange a short walk or a quick cup of tea?  But no, I rush right past.  I have many neighbours I would love to spend time with.  I remind myself what a poor friend I am --echoed voices from the past, of friends who have been hurt because I didn't give enough.  I wasn't there enough.  I didn't call enough. 

My head spins.

I try to step back a bit and look at it again.

But there are people to love and pray for, projects to be involved with, volunteer positions to fill, sports to get to, classes to take, meetings to attend, calendars to arrange, cheques to write, books to read, neighbors to have for dinner, photo albums to create, kids to snuggle and read with, piles to sort, walls to paint, grout to re-apply, corners to clean, out-grown clothes/shoes/bikes/skates/skies to be replaced, friends to keep in touch with, coaches to please, bottles to return, a husband to make love with, appointments to schedule and show up on-time for.....and as the list of good things grows, THE WEIGHT OF IT ALL GETS HEAVIER AND HEAVIER.  



When I'm forgetting to "think on whatever things are true," I look around me and see competence everywhere.  Women who appear capable of doing it all and then some.  I see fit bodies, healthy meals on the table, kids in every sport, and attendance at every school council meeting.  So much value placed on so many things.  Where does everyone find the energy to do it all?  My 100% doesn't seem to be enough when it's divided so many ways.  

Is there anyone out there who feels as tired as I do?  Is there anyone else asking "what is all this for?"  (As soon as these words hit the page, guilty voice kicks in with:  "What a whiner!  You don't even have a job!! Why did you even go to university?  What do you do ALL day?  Don't you know how privileged you are?") 

Yes.  But still, I am tired. 

 I long for a simpler life.  I long for quiet -time to think and pray and create and just BE...and let my family just be.  I'm not keeping up.

I love watching my kids dance, ski, mountain bike, play hockey, volleyball, basketball, soccer, piano....and I'm proud of them. I want them to achieve, be active and enjoy opportunities that their friends enjoy.  I know these are "the best days of our life."  But I'm exhausted from the running.  And warts!!  Have I mentioned those nasty things yet?  I've been making appointments since spring to try and get rid of a wart on one child's toe.  I don't have time for warts!  Don't even get me started on orthodontics for three children!!!

A few days have passed since I wrote the words above.  I've had a chance to rest, to enjoy a little fresh air while cross country skiing with my son's grade 8 class, and clear my head a little. I've turned around and enjoyed a completely different view altogether.
this was the same evening sky as pictures above - but just 90 northwest - another perspective altogether.
The truth is, I was tempted to scrap this post altogether when I read it again.  It just sounds so self-centered and pathetic when I consider the huge brokenness and heartache in our world.  

And yet, it's where I am at right now.  I feel tugged and pulled by the dichotomy in my own soul.  I care so very much about the world out there, and never want to be complacent about the suffering.  I want to be active, to do what I can to heal the hurts and alleviate the injustice.  Yet too, I feel the magnetic pull to my family life....the world of which I am the hub and my kids are the various spokes that join up with my husband -the wheel ( what a wheel!  Haha, sorry Lance!) who holds us all together, supports us  and bears the weight of our lives together.  

If I am exhausted and grumpy, my family suffers.  If I haven't found a way to operate from a place of peace and calm, my family life can get spinning right out of control.  If I don't have clarity about what choices to make in order to ensure that we are all going in the right direction together, our family can come right apart at the center.

It becomes more obvious to me every day, especially now that my shoulders fit nicely beneath the arms of my eldest son as we hug and his heavy footsteps down the stairs always make me think it's his dad, that family life as we now know it will soon be changing drastically.  I don't want any more regrets than necessary....I don't want to look back and wish that we'd shared more meals, or had more hot tubs together, or that I'd laced my own skates more and joined the kids out on our backyard rink, or gave more back-rubs and had longer snuggles and prayers at bed time.  These simple things are the first things to go when we're too busy, too exhausted, too irritated.  But they are also the brush stokes, each a different color and shape, that create the most amazing portrait of family life.  What am I sacrificing when teetering on the edge?

So I revert to chocolate!!  :)  Really.  I found one left over from Valentines and I sit here (right before supper time) unwrapping an "irresistibly smooth" Lindor chocolate and popping it into my mouth.  (more guilt!!)  After all, aren't all the world's problems solved with chocolate?

Thanks for reading and please forgive the rant!!  xoxo

words and text copyright © Melody Armstrong 2013 


  1. Oh Melody! I really do know that I have too looked at life, the people and activities surrounding me in different phases of my life too, wishing I could be here, there and everyhwere, with so much stuff that can overwhelm my mind and heart! I hear you, and what I know, is that it's because you have such a huge heart for people, compassion that overflows, and a love that wants to cherish every moment, and everyone! But don't let guilt come in, my friend, people understand (some may not), but that's their choice, and there's only so much of you to go around! Love you lots!

  2. Thank you lovely Tracy. Thank you for knowing and loving me!


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