Here’s something funny: the title implies this is a post about the benefits of All Saint’s Day vs Halloween! Which I was going to try and write about…not any kind of one versus the other, but about how we celebrate All Saint’s Day and not Halloween. But this isn’t that post. This is my weekly column! Enjoy.
Ten-year-old Augie was sitting in the front room one recent afternoon, his leg dangling over the arm of the brown leather couch. In the post-school flurry of getting home and unloading book bags and changing out of uniforms, my boy was relaxing for a moment, absent-mindedly crunching on his snack, when I walked in and jolted him from his thoughts.
“Mom,” he asked, “if you were going to be the best at anything, what would it be?”
The best at anything? I thought about his question for a long minute before verbalizing my answer. In that moment, I felt compelled to try and articulate the feelings and emotions and energy that is all at the core of everything I do and strive to do every single day.
“I would want to be the best at loving my family,” I told my son, “at taking care of you all and being the kind of wife and mother God wants me to be.”
There I stood in our front room, getting all choked up about the whole thing. Wouldn’t it be amazing, I thought, if God gave me the magical powers to be that kind of person — how I could change the world and shoot the moon and maybe, just maybe, have a chance at being a saint. To have that kind of love! What a life.
“Hmmmm,” Augie responded thoughtfully. “I was going to say Parkour.”
Ah yes, Parkour, the popular training discipline that features agility, speed and the ability to do flips off of random objects. Parkour would also be pretty sweet.
I listened for another minute to my son share his dreams of leaps off tall buildings. One day he hopes he can roam through the neighborhood by climbing and jumping and hurtling himself from house to house. Won’t the neighbors love it!
And then I thought for a few more minutes about my stirring, heart-rending answer and wondered why in the world I get so sentimental. Good grief!
Sometimes, when my boys ask me these questions, I try to answer on their wavelength. What super power would I most want to have? The ability to fly. If I could jump really really high, or really really far, which would I prefer? Really really high. Would I rather have the capacity for invisibility or for speed? Invisibility (totally).
It’s fun to think about these random powers, but sometimes I like to bring myself into reality — to the realm of actual superpowers that I might possibly hope to have. I think of things like being an amazing wife and mother as requiring special powers because I’ve learned that on the days when I really feel like I’ve accomplished something good, those are the days I’ve handed everything over to God and asked him to show me the way.
We can’t operate on our own power, so we rely on something so much bigger than ourselves. Or we should anyway, if we want to function at optimum capacity. It might be nice to think that my smart thinking and splendid homemaking skills are getting me where I need to go. But the truth is there is no way I can be the kind of wife and mother I want to be — the kind God wants me to be — without relying on Him for grace and patience, for wisdom and love.
It’s the difference between being a bucket that has a little water dumped in from time to time, or being a brook from which water bubbles up, an unending source of refreshment. That’s the super power I want, the brains to rely on God instead of myself.
The seasons when I feel the most peace and joy in my life always end up being the times when I am offering everything back to my Creator — when I cling to nothing, when I rely not on my own energy but on that of Him who offers more than I could ever dream to have.