Saturday, July 30, 2011

Finally Getting It Right

The kind old man who always offers to hold my baby during church holds out his hand to my son. My 3-year-old turns away from him. I urge him to shake the man’s hand. Evan snubs him again. The man looks disappointed and I am embarrassed. He must think the white lady’s son is arrogant, rude.

I didn’t get that one right, I think. I should have taught Evan better. I wish I could shrink into the church crowd that happens to be all Asians and all shorter than me.

I look for the words on the screen to join in the song that is played too loud by instruments. Then I turn away, irritated—no—disappointed. In myself. I didn’t get a lot of things right today. Yelled at the kids. Impatient with my husband. Angry about circumstances. Skirt terribly wrinkly.

And now I feel guilty for expecting too much from a 3-year-old. I sink low in my seat, exhausted from the weight.

Sometimes—many times—I don’t know what I’m doing. And I fall short. In parenting—am I too tough, too easy? Never creative enough or energetic enough or patient enough. In marriage—not appreciating enough, too grumbly, worn out. In this overseas life—never quite fitting in, too easily annoyed, brain too slow to understand all that goes on around me, always sweaty and smelly and frizzy.

I just can’t get it right.

And it’s messy. What the right thing to do is not always clear. Shelter my son from all the attention that overwhelms him? Or teach him to reach out, encouraging him to make friends? Jump into local culture, knowing I’ll never completely understand it and will just embarrass myself? Or stay at home where it’s safe? Help that person who may just be taking advantage of me? Or close my doors and hang onto what really isn’t mine?

Am I doing enough to love others, my kids, my husband? What of that stupid pride that creeps in and tells me I should be well-liked, successful, saintly?
The song lifts my face and I sing along to the Indonesian words on the screen.

Ku menyembah-Mu. I worship you.”

My disappointment in myself sinks lower as the tears rise to the crescendo.

Ku sembah-Mu. I worship you.”

I sing and worship and see less of myself and more of Him.
Ku menyembah-Mu. I worship you.”

I remember suddenly the Good News I’ve known all my life, but that I forget every day.

Ku sembah-Mu. I worship you.”

I have fallen short, but He hasn’t, and I take my eyes off myself and put them on Him. I take hold of the fresh start that isn’t based on me getting it right. I shed my human pride and all its efforts and sit in His grace, His hope, His love.

I rest and worship, glad that I don’t have to get it right. He already has.

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