I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Posts tagged ‘sacrifice’

It’s always the Mother’s fault: Lenten Tribulation

1. This one is the most important. I know whatever comes below will be executed imperfectly. I resolve to give myself the freedom to be imperfect without beating myself up.

“Hey, Mom,” I used to query, shamefully not too long ago. “I didn’t ask to be here, right?” “No, you didn’t,” she would reply. “Your father and I wanted to have you.” “So!” I said triumphantly. “If I do anything wrong, it’s YOUR fault, because I would not have done it had you not had me.” She would shake her head at me and I would laugh maniacally. I mean, it makes sense! I couldn’t leave dirty dishes in the sink if I didn’t exist to put them there! 

Of course, even then I understood such passing of the buck was terribly evasive. My conscience is generally as tender as my mind is sharp. I truly believe one of the reasons I don’t handle criticism very well is because I am constantly raking myself over coals. By the time another person tells me something that needs work, I’ve probably told myself the same a million times. If I make a bad decision, I likely know it is a bad one, ‘wretched Lady J that I am.’

I like to think I am spending the time between now and getting my glorified body (just think of how fast I’ll be able to run in Heaven!) becoming more like Christ – minimizing the bad decisions as much as humanly possible. This sanctification business is no joke, y’all. The Holy Spirit has a LOT of work to do in my life. Today’s shortcoming: how I treat my body. In an effort to do better for myself, I’ve given up eating out for Lent. It’s not just about eating better (though important) or even saving money (races aren’t free) but what’s required for me in order to not eat out.

I’ve got to plan. And I hate that. 

I could wax eloquently here about why I think this is the case, but I’m basically your garden variety, boundary hating sinner. I’ve had to adjust my bedtime. Cook more. Plan my shopping. I have met a fair amount of success, for I feel better physically and am learning valuable things about planning, not to mention praying for patience

Then there was the Mother. 

Not my dear mother. A mother. A longtime friend! She’s moving to Italy for a few years and I will not see her unless I see her tonight. We love to eat. Naturally, she suggests we meet for a meal. Dilemma. 

I agreed because of my initial reaction. I didn’t think, ooooo, opportunity to cheat! It was more like, hmm, should I really do this? I wasn’t looking forward to it, aside from seeing her. Moreover, I didn’t care to make her seeing me extra work for her, though I don’t think she and her family would have minded. I  am not out to make some point on how great a Lenter I am. 

My burger didn’t have enough cheese. 

I told my own mother about it later and she teased me. “What kind of sacrifice is that?! How can you say you are committed?” I’m sure she knew I had already asked myself that but couldn’t resist. You know how moms are. I don’t feel great physically or mentally, nor do I feel good about going back to real life tomorrow. I might if I felt healthier or skinnier but right now it’s as though eating out doesn’t really make a difference. My shirt didn’t look that great at 6 PM. It doesn’t look so hot at 9:50. What did I lose? I suppose that misses the point, though. Discipline is discipline and I know that even if I were to gain a billion pounds between now and Easter, I would have done so doing the right thing and committing to do better for my body. 

Not even the sweet potato fries I had earlier are as sweet as God’s grace.



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Coachie on Crack

There was more to this conversation, but this is the part that got my attention – 

Me: Why am I slower than I used to be?! 

Coachie: Blah blah insert reasonable scientific answer oh and you’re a year older…sorry! 

I want to make sure I’m understanding correctly. My age is supposed to have some effect on my physical output? No. Way. 

Up to this point, I had been pretty excited for my birthday. I even have a countdown on my phone! I am thankful for the life with which God has blessed me. My twenties have been a big deal – I’ve finished my formal schooling, started my career, become slightly less insecure, am becoming more physically fit, and finally get to stop kissing frogs. I am starting to see just how blessed I am. Bring on the years, baby. Then Coachie drops this bombshell on me. “You’re another year older…sorry!” Black isn’t supposed to crack at ALL, much less so early (Lord willing!) on life’s timeline. I’m confused. 

I went to my computer and started looking at pictures of myself from my early twenties. “My word,” I thought to myself. “I DO have cracks!” I look in the mirror and see lines that weren’t once there, not to mention a gray or two that has appeared since 2005. “I’ve been thinking to myself that I just keep getting better and here’s all this…aging. Yikes.” 

If I am being honest with myself, I still believe that’s the case. I AM getting better. The cracks in my black are evidence that growth always comes with a cost, whether it be time, money, or gray hair. I suppose I could have stayed inside away from the sun, or not taken the risks I have. My life is that much richer because of my choices. 

That being said – I have since upped my moisturizer game. 



Freedom to Choose

“Joan. Not everyone is willing to make the sacrifice you are to make the music that you know you can make.”

The words of my piano teacher have been bouncing in my head since I last played for her a few days ago. At first, I just thought she was talking about practicing, as it can be bloody boring and tedious and not everyone is willing to sit and make it happen. Freaking duh. That’s why students quit piano lessons once they reach intermediate levels – if not before. That’s why students enter college and switch majors from music like, five seconds after arriving.

But what of we badasses who survive the hell that is being a music major?

I can only speak to one badass, of course. I managed to make it out of graduate school and the longer I’ve been separated from formal study, the more I want to learn and surround myself with music. Playing it, teaching it, studying it, ery’thang. The last time I had formal lessons before I decided to give a recital was 2009 while I was still a student. My last recital was in 2008. I’m doing this because I want to and that’s amazing. Perhaps this helps you to understand why I was a bit perplexed when my teacher was talking about sacrifice. “I love you, dear teacher, but I’ve been at this a while. I know it sucks quite a bit of the time,” I thought.

As you may already know, I’m quite charming. I also have a very large family. People like for me to spend time with them and I love quite a few of them. It hadn’t dawned on me just how often I turn down requests to hang out because I have to practice, train, or work.

This really isn’t one of those “OMG check me out, I’m soooooo busy!” kind of posts. I’m sure it’s coming across that way, but I swear that’s not my intent. I am not busy to show off – hell, I have to practice and train as I do because I’m working to suck less, hah! The sacrifice my teacher was speaking of has to do with choices. To choose to do anything is an inherent rejection of something else. I eat eggs for breakfast, that means I don’t have a shake. I train for triathlon, I don’t play soccer. I practice to perform – I have to make plans in advance to hang out. My life lacks spontaneity. I suppose I’ve become so accustomed to it that I stopped noticing.

I can’t have it all. Dammit.

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