On Motherhood: Searching for Meaningful Metanarrative

I keep crying out that I want a bigger purpose for my life.  

The universe cries back, your purpose is right in front of you.

I cry back– it’s not enough.  It’s not enough.  This is not enough!

I cannot pretend. I’ve been up and down, sometimes miserable lately. And I’m ashamed of myself. Why is it that I just cannot figure out how to be happy? I had an interaction with E yesterday that spun me into these gloomy thoughts.   We were talking about cheerful people – you know the kind.  The people whose voices go up when they talk to you and they always smile and they are mostly cheerful and helpful!!  They seem to have an inner glow.

It’s just not me, I am mellow, solidly so, but she really likes those sorts of people! (Even though, or perhaps because, she isn’t one.)

I don’t like them, necessarily.  I doubt people’s sincerity, strangers, when they behave like that. I find them hard to trust.  People that I know in my real life, who are like that, I take with a grain of salt. But it is hard for me to accept that they are always UP even as I try to believe people like that are sincere, not putting me on.  But I have to admit they can grate on me.

But I realized yesterday that I long to be that sort of Mother. Oh, I encourage, I hug, I kiss, I affirm like crazy – but I don’t slather on love or exude joy.  I’m not all over my kids, thrilled that they simply exist and I’m just lucky to be their mom!  (Though I am, very fortunate to have them.)  And I don’t serve pink Valentine’s Day meals or even give valentines to my kids.

But my daughter wouldn’t let me even try yesterday – pushing me away when I smothered her with kisses and smiles.  “It’s just not real, Mom.”  Saying that I was making fun of her, which I definitely wasn’t.   That got me really in the dumps yesterday.

I woke today with gloomy, anxious thoughts.  My body physically hurts from my heart racing so much.  I even thought I was getting sick, so I laid down yesterday.  Just as I dropped off to sleep – probably ten times – a jolt of adrenaline woke me.  I know this, it is anxiety.  (And I start to wonder if I should return to my shrink.  Damn it, I haven’t seen him in a good long while and somehow returning solidifies my failure.  Failure to stay calm and maintain my mood. )

Even as God did a beautiful thing just last week or was it the week before?  And he brought me out of the depression that clung to me from November to January.  It seems that I cannot maintain any peace in my heart. 

Reading through the Bible with my church.  We’re in the book of Numbers.  And I am struck by the Israelites inability to trust God.  Even as they had miracles – Clouds leading them, and manna provided for them and plagues cursing them … and I think to myself, if God spoke to me like that, I’d have more faith that he’s got a plan for my life.  (Um, maybe.)

Perhaps it really is simply that I don’t trust God with my days – with my future.

I think, I just need to be struck with some horrible punishment like Miriam when she challenged things (Nu 12) and then I’d believe.  Then I’d stop complaining. Or would I?

And every time the people do something stupid, Moses and Aaron’s response was to fall face down on the ground.  Hm…..

Is that what I’m doing?  Am I just complaining when I say I just want to be happy.  I find the days I am living — the sweeping up endless dirt, cooking and washing up, washing and folding, the damn whiny dog, the endless homework, and children who really don’t want to achieve, trying to be helpful and failing,

endless, same, same, same…

Being at home is about giving up my rights, serving. But perhaps I am not principled enough to get meaning out of any of it.  Not much anyway.  

Phooey, I can’t stand myself right now.

A friend keeps telling me to read the Bible for the metanarrative.  I think to myself.  I cannot even live life in the big narrative. 

I’m sweeping up dust bunnies and resenting every minute. 

I’ll regret this grumpy post.  I always do. Definitely not living in the light!   But I need to be truthful, even if it’s not cheerful!  Some days that is all I’m holding on to — being a person that is straight and honest.   Some days.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. athanasius96 says:

    I recently read a post that emphasized that a marriage is not built on people “falling in love”, but “behaving in love”. We need to act beyond where our feelings lead us.

    I think it’s the same here. Often we do not feel like we are part of the metanarrative, but we still work to act faithfully. Truth telling and loving our children certainly are a big part of that. Keep at it!

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    1. athanasius96 says:

      I woke up thinking about this discussion still. I’ll just add the clarification that we behave/work to resist our fallen emotions which skew our perspective. However, we should never “behave” in the face of abuse. That is not loving or meaningful. We must always break away from such harm.

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  2. Kristen says:

    I have felt like this– and it’s most like this when the kids are young. But it’s ok to want and need a greater purpose. Motherhood isn’t your purpose in life; it’s just your main purpose for this season. We never tell men they’re supposed to be completely satisfied just being fathers! I do think mothers need something of their own, that we do just for ourselves, and/or that makes us feel plugged in to what God’s doing in the world. Even if you can only find a little time every week, I do think this is important. Hugs to you.

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