Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Here and Now

Sometimes, out of nowhere, I'm jolted by it.
Jolted by the reality of this moment, of the here and now.
As my crazy kids wrestle and turn cartwheels in our messy den, as I help Esther put the mounds of Barbie shoes and clothes and half naked dolls yet again into the white plastic tub, as I walk past the row of tupperware boxes filled with photos and old cheerleading uniforms in our dusty garage that have been greeting me for years...
It hits me that THIS is it.
The here and now.
THIS is what I've dreamed of, now literally, for years: Getting to be a wife and mom, living my days with these five fascinating people.
This moment, sitting here at my laptop, is part of what makes up all the moments that make up the days and the weeks and the years - and THIS is it.

The problem is, though I'm (honestly) grateful for my life, I thought I'd be different.
I thought by thirty-eight I'd be more mature, more Godly, more grown-up, more steady.
I thought I'd be in better shape, that I'd cook healthier meals, that I'd cherish getting to sit on the floor and play with my children.
I thought I'd be fluent in Spanish, and that I'd play piano really regularly.
I thought I'd be teaching more Bible studies, and writing more Bible studies. 
Definitely thought I'd have a writing career underway. It saddens me sometimes, more often than I like to admit, that I'm not doing more of what I love with writing.

And while my self examination reveals the reasons why these things are not so, I'm pretty content with who I am (and who I am not) because it lies in comparison with all of the unexpected, fulfilling surprises I didn't even know to anticipate in my younger years. But specifically with writing and speaking and teaching, it feels defeating to be here, far from what I pictured.

Part of my fear in writing is that I keep waiting to become that person. That person I've pictured all these years. The really mature one, the early-bird-Bible-scholar one. The one who doesn't struggle with fatigue and fear and inadequacy. The one who doesn't hurt her mom's feelings or lose her temper or feel discouraged by shallow ridicule.

But you know what? It's hitting me, slowly and surely, that I'm just never going to be that person.
My goal is slowly shifting from "capable and sure grown-up" to "needy one who walks with (is carried by!) Jesus."

So, this is my here and now. It's all I've got. And believe me, I'm needy (goal accomplished).
No sense in waiting for Ms. Capable-and-Figured-It-All-Out to show up. 
Is it possible that a few jumbled words, sparse and vulnerable and hesitant, written by the hand of a Not-Even-Begun-To-Figure-It-All-Out, could provide comfort and encouragement?
As Basden tells me, "Mommy, if you want to write, then GET WRITING."
And you, dear friend, are privy to my pep-talk.
On unsteady feet I traverse...


Alyssa said...

I can't wait to see where this leads! I'm ready to read whatever you write! I have much respect for this Here & Now gal and am not sure I could relate to that perfect aspiration gal. :-)

tanya said...

I believe this may be my favorite post. I appreciate your transparency and the courage it took to POST this post! Thank you for the gentle challenge to fully live where I'm planted.

And, for the record, I always learn from you. I'm always inspired to be the best wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. Thank you.

Margie said...

Like you, I'm still waiting to grow up so I can get there. When I grow up, I will be (fill in the blank). Only recently have I been coming to grips with the grown-up-is-NOW concept. It's quite possible (God willing) that I could be an old lady on my deathbed and thinking, "I'm dying young!"

tanya said...

And another thing -
I cannot even begin to tell you the countless ways you, K.S. and N.A. have "mentored" me through your writing (wrestlings). Did I mention I love this post?!

Krista said...

Thought about "this is it" many times since you said it a few weeks ago. I knew it, but I am finally letting it sink in-- had that moment at the dinner table that you described.
Girl-- WE WANT YOU TO WRITE!! Please. You've much to offer us.
Traverse, friend. Confidently.

eric said...

Transparency is the word. Thank you TJ. Being transparent is brokenness producing humility that gives birth to life. It's the ability to read Philippians 4:13 the right way. We usually read this verse, all in one breath. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Christ wants us to read it this way. "I can do all things (inhale,) through Christ who strengthens me (exhale.)

Jennifer Lyn King said...

This is so beautiful. Yes, this is my heart so many days. I often hear that Natalie Merchant song in my head, These Are Days. They are precious days, and just being able to recognize the gift in them is huge. You're doing great.
I have always told myself that I don't want to be one of the moms who falls apart when her kids leave home, because she has nothing left to her life after they leave. That day is approaching fast for me!
Like you, writing is my passion. I am not me without it. But, it takes a lot of discipline to write when the kids are growing up. It's always impossible to get the buttocks in writing chair. Maybe it's harder as a mom because there are always more mom things to do. But my time with my kids is so much sweeter when I've had my block of time writing, investing in me. The world needs your voice out there, TJ. You can do it! One day at a time, bottom in writing chair, one word at a time. Can't wait to read more of your work. xo JK

spaghettipie said...

My friend, glad to read your post . . .your writing. And I'm really looking forward to writer's group on Sunday! :)

Savor the moments, the here. But also press on toward your heart. He gave you the passions; he won't leave you frustrated. It's a balance for sure - of being content and pursuing our desires. Maybe you needed to be to this point for the sake of your writing.

So appreciate your authenticity and your friendship.

balmingilead said...

Love this. I so identify- in fact, I've almost the exact same thoughts. And yes, I thought at the ripe ole age of 37/38 I'd be much more put together in areas of hair and clothing, organized with my to-do list crossed off completely each day, unquestionably self-assured in all situations, and a total spiritual giant in all matters of the heart and mind.Oh, and mother and wife of the decade.
Instead, I'm just trying to get my coffee quota in(at least 3 cups) before 9am so I can function.
I love you TJ and I love your heart.How I long to run down to your 5th floor dorm room and have a good long chat. - Amy A.

TJ Wilson said...

my dad's response to this...

Hmm, Let’s see, things I hadn’t yet done at your age…
Met my first grandchild
See my kids pass me in the important areas,
Fell in love with my wife for the second time,
Built and flown my own airplane,
Airline Pilot Instructor,
Aerospace Test Pilot Instructor,
Email from pilots from around the world using my designs,
Emails from around the world wondering when I am going to post another story,
Compiled the guts of several books,
Rewritten the guts of several goo d books,
Know the Lord in this decade, this way…

Love, dad

To do list: finish the book, the study, the airplane… everything, and work up to ten freehand pushups again….

michelle said...

that fat packet of papers you had last night proves that you have been listening. I can't wait to see how the rest of it takes shape.

Courtney D said...

TJ - you don't even know me, but I follow your blog through Ashley (Evans) Boone. I was a YL leader in college, and she led my small group for four years. Anyways - I have to tell you how much I love your writing and your transparency. I'm in my later twenties, married/working full time/back in grad school, and I love reading your words about being a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend and most importantly a follower of Jesus. I must say that I would buy your book right when it was published - you speak right to the heart in an authentic way. . .I feel privileged just to read your blog!

Courtney Dudley

nikki said...

love this post...and love you.

Jessica said...

This post is now my life anthem. (Along with something from Shauna Niequist, but I know you don't mind sharing with her.) Here's to flabby thighs and rushed mornings and unexpected outbursts of anger and all the things I thought I'd never do or be...and here's to vulnerable friendships that let us know we're not alone... and here's to Jesus, for carrying us when we finally realize we'll never be the person we imagined in our heads before the Here and now arrived. Love you friend.