I had an overwhelming revelation today that I had to take a minute and share. Ok, so it probably wasn’t overwhelming and was more of just a thought but it really helped me to give myself the little break that I was needing.
You see, I am frequently disappointed with my inability to create and then maintain the peace I desire in my home. I so badly want my home to be a haven of rest, a place where we all feel safe and nurtured. A place where we can be rejuvenated so we can face the world. But too frequently… it’s not.
I sometimes wonder if my family secretly calls me “Mom A” or “Mom B,” depending on my state of mind. Or if Rick comes home hoping to be greeted by “Sooz 1” but is quickly disappointed when he hears “Sooz 2” carrying on inside the house before he’s even entered the door. Sometimes this idea, that I possibly suffer from some form of split personality disorder somewhere along the schizophrenia spectrum, really bothers me, and other days I remember that it’s all their fault that I’m this way.
I was standing at the kitchen sink this morning peeling and cutting up vegetables while still in my robe, slippers, and glasses, preparing to load up the crock pot that after 8 hours, cooked on low, would be a cozy winter’s meal for us. As I placed all the beautiful, fresh vegetables and (nail-bitingly questionable) meat in the pot, I mentally reviewed all my “don’t miss this-es” for the day. I was already looking forward to the evening with my parents, coming as the guests of honor, and also really the only people I would feel comfortable putting at slight risk.
You see, while walking Harrison to the bus stop this morning I found our stew meat laying in the driveway. However, after a thorough inspection, making sure that the meat had NOT been assaulted by a wild, neighborhood animal and back tracking data on my Weather Channel app noting that the temperature had stayed below 42 degrees (which is precisely the temperature of the average refrigerator) overnight from 10 p.m., when I had returned from the grocery store, until 7:30 a.m. when the meat was discovered, I threw it in the pot.
Rick and I had just finished orchestrating our new morning’s routine based on the three hour delay that was called due to, at most, 1 inch drifts of snow, and I had just moved Harrison’s wet comforter from the washer to the dryer and started a new load of blankets and sheets, taking a quick multitasking break from dinner making.
Sophia, who now had 3 extra hours to primp for school and who normally enjoys helping me cook in the kitchen, surprised me when I asked her if she would mind peeling some potatoes and chopping them up so I could call dinner a wrap. The problem is she is suffering from early stages of teenager-ism and began to explain to me why she was unable to perform this task for me. I had kept my cool until now, but the pressure to get to work on time was building and “Mom B” was trying to come for a visit when I had my thought:
Just what if The Dalai Lama himself was standing right here in his robe, at this sink, instead of me in mine, peeling root vegetables? How would the father of peace and tranquility manage my situation? How far would he get with the 5 minutes of quiet time I squeezed in while drinking my coffee versus hours of prayer and meditation?
Would he remain calm, if he was in the middle of trying on robe after robe, with each one of them feeling a little snug around the waist and hips, when his husband barged in reporting that they needed to change the just freshly established plans, they had made for all three of their children, because school was now cancelled instead of on a delay? Wait, he’s not married. He doesn’t have someone, who doesn’t understand how estrogen can feel, regularly asking him, “What’s for dinner and what’s the plan for the day?” while he is trying to get his Zen on.
Would his meditative mind be jolted if, while walking through the kitchen in his sandals, heading to the laundry room in hopes of starting another load of laundry before work, this time filled with stuffed animals that had become the innocent victims of Harrison’s upset stomach last night, and see that his nearly teenage daughter had passed on her task of peeling and slicing potatoes to her 7-year-old brother who was thrilled to be playing with knives?
As he touched each wet, cold, vomit covered teddy bear would he have the self discipline, without biting his tongue in two, to refrain from asking his child, I repeat, 7-year-old child, “I mean did you run around the house looking for the area most concentrated with not easily wipe up-able items to let that Arby’s roast beef sandwich on?” ” I mean why not the kitchen floor?” “Would that been asking too much?”
Would he feel compassion, seeing those sweet, snug-able friend’s of Harrison’s all covered with bits of regurgitated shaved beef? Or would they make him feel guilty, reminding himself that he had once again fallen short on dinner plans and had fed his children fast food in the car just before dropping them off at a rigorous sporting event?
Would he finally lose it if he was putting on his mascara, in hopes of bulking up his ever so thinning lashes (of course with his cute little glasses set to the side), and heard, “Hey Dalai, I cut my finger!!!” First of all, I’m aware “the Dalai Lama” is a title and not his name. I just think that’s what we would call him here at our house; “Dalai”, kind of like “Dolly”.
Would he be filled with compassion and concern or more of a sense of “Oh great!” as he went to get the first aid kit that until that moment he had forgotten was basically empty of band-aids and Neosporin because is 4 year old had covered all her babies, head to toe with band-aids and their butts with a thick coat of triple antibiotic cream.
Would he be able to stay quiet during dinner watching his parents enjoy their stew or would he consider withholding information, that I would appreciate knowing about my food, “lying” and feel sure he should have called them to tell them that the invitation for dinner was at their own risk because their protein had been non traditionally cooled overnight?
I guess this is when I started thinking he would crack. I really think he would crack and that made me feel better- a little more forgiving of myself, a little more willing to wipe the slate clean and feel motivated to try my best once again to be patient and gentle and kind and loving during my next life event.
The thought, imagining the Dalai Lama carrying out my tasks as a mother, also made me wonder what he would say to me if we were enjoying a cup of tea at my kitchen table all alone (well of course with the translator that we would give a cup of tea as well). I imagined him telling me many things in my life I should probably cut down on or maybe get rid of completely, including the curly fries that go along with the Arby’s roast beef sandwich combo meal. I’m sure he would remind me of things in my life that I wasn’t getting enough of or missing out on completely that would bring me and my family more moments of peace and fulfillment.
In guiding me to love and forgive and enjoy who God created me to be, I think he would also remind me of all the times that “Mom A” and “Sooz 1,” the woman I want to be all the time, is actually around and I would probably cry. Not only because my efforts were being confirmed but because I’m a chick who loves a good cry. We’d end our time with a big hug and I would probably hug the translator as well, who also might be crying if she was also chick.
After “Dalai” politely told me he preferred to be called “Your Holiness” he left and I picked up with my life duties where I had left off. Today however, without naively believing that in some miraculous moment I had been changed, like I might have done years ago, only to be disappointed an hour later when “Mom B” or “Sooz 2” showed up, leaving me feeling defeated.
No. Our conversation had simply been a precious period of time to learn and grow. Reflecting on where I am on my life’s journey and making sure I’m not off course. Learning how to have contentment with who I am presently but being excited about the person I’m becoming. Doing away with the idea of the perfect “me” and promising myself to always grow, even to the end, not quitting too soon and falling short of who I could become, that is probably even better than the “me” I think I would like to be.
I then basked in peace while I loaded our 3 tea cups into the dishwasher.
So the next time you’re feeling down on yourself about your ability to maintain a peaceful home environment, ask yourself “How would ‘Dalai’ do it?”
Some days it may just feel good knowing that he probably couldn’t get it done any better. But other days you might wonder:
“What would he scratch off my To-Do List today?” Or, “What might he put on it, that I’m missing, that could make all the difference?”
With love, Susan