On the day of high school graduation, I was pulled aside by a teacher. Actually, I was pulled aside by two teachers, in succession. The first emphatically told me how smart I am and not to be afraid of math (I had taken his Algebra II class…twice), and the second lowered his voice to a hush and told me with a squeeze of my shoulder to just keep that wild heart in check and you’ll go far.
My apologies Mr. Algebra Teacher, but math both terrifies and bores me to this day. And to the latter teacher, at the time I was confused. Wildhearted? Me? Was I ever even vocal in his classroom? Was it because I wrote a paper on Kerouac? In a small town, does an interest in the beatnik movement automatically elevate you to the status of wild?
Now, fifteen years later, I recognize the truth in his words. I have a restless heart. It stirs when I should be sleeping. It reverberates with anticipation of some great unknown thing – while I’m driving, reading, working. It sends my fingers flipping, rapid fire through pages of the Bible, devotions roulette, what does God want to tell me tonight? It knows that the world is larger than this life I am living and it is pounding to go.
Which is why sometimes when God speaks and says simply: Stay (even though you don’t want to. Even though your heart is stirring. Stay.) I fight it. Don’t you know I would give up my house, my cars, my comfortable life, to go? I would live in a tiny apartment in Eastern Europe, I would live in a shack in a village in Africa, I would go anywhere. Here I am.
And then, in that very moment, the song I Will Follow comes on my Pandora station and I realize the line that is touching my heart isn’t the “I will go,” but the more challenging (for my restless heart), “Where you stay, I’ll stay. Who you love, I’ll love. How you serve, I’ll serve.”
And I am thoroughly annoyed.
But then, there is comfort too, in learning discernment and in understanding that this is for now, for this moment, this chapter. Of course God knows my (wild, restless, let’s all jump on a plane and change the world, sorry I’ll be broke and won’t be able to pay you back anymore, Sallie Mae) heart. He made it and I will stay. And I will trust. He will use it yet.
Oh my… I struggle with this daily! I don’t talk about it very often though, because I’m also so very deeply thankful for everything that I have that I feel no matter how I word it, to admit that I yearn for something else just sounds ingrateful! (You, however, have once again expressed yourself eloquently 🙂 ) I think being a passionate, creative person can be conflicting at times. I’m always daydreaming about different paths I could have chosen or could choose tomorrow, and yet, I’m equally passionate about being a mom and the life I’m currently living. Whenever I’m feeling this way, I try to recall all the words of advice I have been given about “enjoying your baby while he’s little, cherish every moment because time flies so fast,” etc., and try to relish each moment and appreciate the now. I try to funnel my desires to join the Peacecorps, throw myself into travelling or creating, start a farm etc., into the opportunities and responsibilities I already have been given. So, even though folding the daily load of laundry doesn’t seem very inspired or important, I remind myself of how much I truly do believe being a mom is the absolute, most important thing I could ever imagine myself doing, and it doesn’t matter where I’m doing it, the work I’m doing now to raise a caring, critical thinking child will have a more powerful consequence than any other project I’ll ever take on. I was thinking about this very issue during the holidays, so I sat down with Cleary and we bought some supplies through ChildFund International’s website. Who knows? Maybe someday he’ll be the one travelling the world! I also know that I have these dreams, desires, and passions for a reason and will someday have the opportunity to explore them further. Still, despite all my efforts, when it comes to staying put, I just don’t seem to have much patience.
As always, thanks so much for your candidness and honesty. Your writings always “get me to thinkin”… 😉