I wrote this last Wednesday. I have been meaning to get acquainted with new camera (slightly more complicated than last point-n-click but have no new energy to go with that desire. I just can't get past feeling tired ALL THE TIME. The world refuses to slow down so I have slowed down out of necessity, for sanity's sake, am drawing breath and taking some well needed space. All my projects are on hold, just keeping up with the kids and getting sleep seem to be all I can manage. I am well, so no need to worry. Just learning my new rhythms. :)
I got up about ten am with the baby. The boys happily munching and watching morning cartoons. I dressed the baby adorably, moisturised his lovely skin and stood back adoring my clean beaming baby. We had a lovely day of outings and invitations ahead of us. I organised the house, sorted out the big boys and wham! suddenly I was was in my room, shutting curtains and lying very very still. Sleep was the only thing I suddenly wanted.
I tried to play cards with the kids. Tried to prop the baby alongside me. Tried to think about lovely new photos on my camera that are just waiting to be taken. Imagined taking tea with friends and talking about important things like homeschooling and making stuff for our kids and life. Imagined my friend Chris who I haven't seen for ages and is feeling very isolated. But in vain.
Dumb dumb migraine stole a day of my life. Stole my boys a day out with their friends. It's gutting as I had friends waiting to see us after our weeks of isolation with flu. Works waiting to be admired and perused and 'please Rachelle can you bring your camera to document our creations'. Argh! And my poor kids, they are all healthy. They are dying to get out and play and live again.
On the upside (read the title again), I am ensconced on my bed with laptop after a sleep and a cup of tea and ginger kisses, the blankets are warm and the boys are happily keeping their baby occupied in the next room. I get visits from my children who inquire if I need anything and asking what to do with Knuckles now. I get phone calls as people read my demise on Facebook. I get an offer of help to bring us dinner, or fresh baked bread. I get prayed for. I am reminded I am not alone, I am loved, I am cared for and about. People out there care about my kids and I.
I email a person I spotted on tv last week. A guy who helped me out when I was struggling with art school. Just to thank him for his awhi and tautoko. He has a full face moko (tattoo) now and I wonder how he is enjoying his transformation. I love that. I love the courage and the mana (strength). It's powerful. I want tattoos. I want to be marked. It's just something I am strongly drawn too. I am just waiting for the right timing. I've been prayerful about it. I have gotten my share of lectures from some Christians against it, that God is against me marking my body. (So what are pierced ears and surgery if we aren't supposed to pierce our skin?). I am visual and I love mark making. It was always just a matter of time.
And that's another thing I ponder as I lay here. All these critics in my head. I think about my boys having to care for their brother as their mother lies in the next room trying to be well again. I wonder about my old church friends and their staunch ideas about what a successful family entailed. Owning your own business (seriously we tried it and failed cause we are not motivated by money, we flopped and yet we are happy for all those who are successful), a constantly tidy show home (meaning no children can play freely or cook or make piles of blankets into huts), a positive attitude all the time (how draining), no junk food (how boring), having a home (aka giant debt), designer clothes (not my thing) and make up (where do I start?). I think I struck out on so many levels and it was part of the reason I left.
Church talk has changed in the last twenty years. Successful living is being promoted so much more than it used to be. I remember twenty years ago the focus was living in the spirit. Now it's materialistic. Almost as if we have to perform well in our homes, lives, careers to prove that God is with us. It makes me cringe and withdraw from all shows of ostentatiousness. I am a rebel. If the church was full of hippy's I'd probably be against that too. But it's just too much when lifestyle and church services and events are the central focus, rather than the simple fact that God loves us. And that His plan is FOR us and not against us. That we are to care about each other. Simple. I can be a complicated woman, but my faith is simple. It has to be.
I like my new pastor. He's pretty on-to-it! He's down to earth and kind and positive and not full of himself. Still his way of being with God and people makes me want to be a better person. And that's enough for me.
This Martha-Stewart approach of do-it-all-yourself to Christianity is manifest in women in the church being preoccupied with their weight, size, appearance, clothing, make up and the self-promotional talk that just makes me want to gag. Thank goodness it's not so evident in my new church. I was like that once too. I thought I could become this fantastic Rachelle, who could change the world by being the bestest me (read: copy others who are more on to it than I am and often be something I wasn't). I bought into a mentality that was promoted by people I admired at the time. I'm still not sure what that was all about. I don't think about it too hard cause it conjures up all sorts of complicated feelings. Very unhelpful ones.
And before I fall into the trap of "I was all good and they were all bad", it wasn't like that. I met some awesome people. People who loved their kids and partners, who loved life, who loved doing life together. I learned much from them too. I guess my arrow is aimed at the prevailing and underlying arrogant assumptions that underscored much of that church's dogmatic teachings. Stuff that was hard to pinpoint but left people feeling insecure, inadequate and compromising who they really were in order to come up to the mark. Becoming performers rather than just permission to be ourselves loving a fantastic God.
I think it is incredibly arrogant and disrespectful for leaders to believe they know everything and that people just have to follow them. It leaves no room for God to work. Why would He? He has such incredible leaders. Argh.
See I don't mind admitting I don't know everything. I don't have everything together. I don't want to be all things to all people. I can't get around some of my weaknesses. I fail some days. I don't always feel good about myself. I am slower at catching on to things than others at times and at screening what comes out of my mouth. I know that my 'say it as I see it' way of being is hard for some people to take. It's hard for me to live with sometimes. I fail to fit the 9-5 way of living and live most of my life at the edges of conservatism.
Some times the places where I expect to see more grace ended up being the most damning places. Still I love my friends in spite of our differences. That's the whole point isn't it.
And I do wonder as I walk into my funky smelling kitchen (Rich cooked a flippin curry again and the laundry flooded leaving piles of damp clothes and a mat to rot in this winter season) what all those houseproud women would think if they walked into my home. I pray they don't.
I love the happy sounds of my kids as they trundle past in their own idea of what dressed means. I love that lunch today was prepared by my 12 year old son - microwaved meat pies and a cup of tea and ginger kisses from a packet. It seriously warms my heart that I asked and he complied willingly, then changed his first awful baby nappy ever. And never complained. not once.
I love that I can relax and get well.
I know those voices in my head would like me to think that somehow I am failing. That somehow I am not doing my family like they would. I refuse to let them win. I am going with it. This is after all MY life. My own home. Run yours how you will. Raise your kids how you will. I will observe and catch anything from you that helps me be a better mum, a better woman. But I will raise mine how I am led to. I will not judge you. Do not judge me. Do not tell me that God says things that He doesn't. It's hard enough in this world without us all turning on each other that way.
Thanks especially to Laurene and Betty Ann for kind offers of help and love. Laurene, you and others like you continue to restore my hope that church does work. It does with people like you. Betty Ann is our special treasure sent from God. She is there to prod and poke and send me mother-like tones in emails, messages, phone calls and gifts. She just loves from where she is. She is waiting for heart surgery later this week. She extends a hand. (currently recovering from her operation).
So I am going with it - migraine, messy house (now after a day of the boys having free rein), scruffy kids, smelly kitchen, messy hair. It's ok because it's mine and I feel very right about all that is going on in my life right now.