On the weekend, I was perusing the latest Hello Canada magazine that comes to my mailbox every week, courtesy of Christmas. I stared at page after glossy page of beautiful hair and red carpet dresses and all of those women who, for reason of their show-stopping outward appearance, evaded the editing room chopping block.
Then on Monday morning I found myself thinking of those shiny pages as I stared about my closet looking for something to wear that was clean and not too dumpy or full of holes. I felt a little depressed. Not that I've ever had the kind of body that would wear one of those fancy shmancy dresses I'd been ogling. Not that I've ever even had more than a passing interest in those kinds of things - I can barely manage jeans and a shirt and I hate shopping. But the stark contrast between that and this felt worthy of just a little sigh.
It wasn't about the wardrobe. (Well, maybe it was a little about the wardrobe.)
Rather than sewing feathers onto the train of a red carpet dress or attaching ten carats worth of swarovski crystals onto a bodice, rather than jetting off to the next big gala event that warrants yet another sequined creation, my reality was going to look just like last week and the week before: Attempting to encourage reluctant children to complete school work; assisting said children in the resolution of their conflicts; trying to bring a minimal level of organizational control to the house; cooking and folding laundry and wiping tables and counters, all tasks that would go unappreciated.
I just didn't really want to face it - another day of routine, being responsible all of the time, managing everything and my kids' education.
I need a break. I haven't been on one of my silent retreats for many months now - those twenty-four hour chunks that saved my sanity for much of 2012. Not going has been a mistake because I feel emotionally drained and a little cranky having to be here every. freaking. day. every. freaking. week. I sometimes just long for the freedom that I'm trying to prepare my children to handle years from now; I miss interacting with co-workers; I miss feeling like I make a difference in a client's life; I miss reading something other than kids' books and parenting books; I miss that lovely feeling when someone actually listens to what I have to say; I miss cleaning up and not having to start all over again immediately; and I am so tired of complaining, fighting, whining and resisting.
All of that was flitting through head and heart as I stood there in the closet in my underwear.
But then another thought pushed its way in, maybe a crash refresher course from the Almighty: By doing all of those things that I'm so tired of doing day after day, I am living the life that I am called to lead. I am living life in the nitty gritty. This is life. The good, the bad, the shitty.
I let out a breath of relief that I'd remembered. And wished that it was more of a natural thing and less of a remembered thing.
It's hard sometimes, down in the trenches, to remember that this is a choice. And a calling. That this is a want, a dream that I'm living. That I wouldn't change a thing despite how hard yesterday was, despite how hard tomorrow might be.
My reality is that, confronted by red carpet gown choice, my first thought would be to figure out a way to take that shiny dress fabric, those sequins, and make a Friday afternoon craft out of cutting and gluing and pinning. Not to mention the feather possibilities.
The reality further is that I want to have these memories when I get old. I really do want to remember the good, the bad, and the shitty. And I want to live life knowing that I have no regrets about this season of it....because I'm doing exactly what I am called to do right now.
As I pulled out one of my older shirts for our cozy, at-home day, I understood deep down that the grass isn't greener elsewhere despite the sparkle of it all. Increasingly, I want deeply to take off these tinted glasses and sink into heart-felt understanding that that grass is truly the greenest right here in my closet of holey and sometimes dowdy clothes that fit perfectly the life that I have chosen, that God has given me.
So when Lizzie barged into my closet demanding justice for the owie inflicted on her by one of her siblings; when I had to leave my closet half clothed in order to deal with squabbling boys; when I heard shrieking coming from a far quarter...I smiled. I touched my finger to one of the holes in the side of my ten-year-old shirt and in that moment wouldn't have traded a zillion of those fancy shmancy dresses for my ratty old shirt that boasts of the wear and tear of a life lived in the trenches.