Tonight I finally made the muffins I've been meaning to mix up this whole week.
Not too many years ago, whenever my husband Matthew left for work, he always had a little baggie with some homemade goodie in it to take to work. Eating breakfast at his desk, other managers would find him, perhaps hoping for leftovers but always astounded by the fact that his wife would do such a thing for him each week.
"You're spoiled," they told him enviously.
I suspect my man just felt well-loved.
It's not surprising that acts of service is one of the languages illustrated in Dr. Gary Chapman's book The Five Love Languages. I recall reading a while back that it is a common one with men. They feel loved by an evening meal all ready when they walk in the door, a pot of coffee when they wake up in the morning, their favorite blueberry muffins to snatch on the go.
Sigh. I want to speak this love language, but I have a speech impediment called selfishness.
With each baby born into this family, the chance of a morning pastry became slimmer and slimmer. Yes, I was busy for quite some time with those little ones and royally exhausted, but now I think I don't bake as often because there are other things I would rather be doing: reading, studying, writing, and cleaning.
And that evening meal? Blah. I have never loved to cook savory food. I am not enchanted by new recipes I find on the Internet. I would be enchanted by eating them, because I love consuming interesting food, buuuut....if I were left to my own devices, if every man in this house had to fend for himself, I would likely have for dinner each night what I have for breakfast most mornings: cocoa with whole grain toast. I am not picky. I am a grazer, and if anything can save me from actually cooking (not baking, mind you), then it sounds good to me.
As for that pot of coffee, I do indeed try to be good about that. But there has been many a morning when Matthew has woken up and asked, "What? No coffee?" I may have actually remembered to wash the pot and pour in some water, or I may have put coffee into the filter while waiting for water to drain through our pitcher, but somehow I didn't get the job done. And if by sure luck, a trick of the mind, I have completed all the steps, I will then forget to actually pour him a cup of coffee. Then, when I see him get up, I will attempt to bulldoze him out of the way to be the one to pour just so I can have the credit for being so loving.
Let me tell you, the guilt is killing me.
My kids know how to lay on guilt, but my man does it just as well.
And, honestly, I know it; I'm selfish.
When I am writing and my kids come to me for just a drink of water, I get irritated. If I am reading and studying, puzzling over some issue I'm trying to resolve or some newspaper article, I do not like to be disturbed, so I get very snippety at a mere question. When I am cleaning or cooking, and the kids ask me to play, I want to cry, "Why do you think God blessed you with siblings!"
Brother, I'm selfish. I feel burdened by it, convicted by my full awareness of it. But I don't know how to escape this nasty craving for time and peace and creativity and mental stimulation all for myself. And where in the name of all that is green on this green earth can I find that blasted balance? I want to feel good about what I am doing at every single moment - writing, reading, cleaning, being silly with my kids (though, actually, I usually feel good when doing that). I do not wish to feel that I should in fact being doing something better and for someone else, more noble and loving than what I have chosen. I'm guilty.
One day while beating myself in the head with a cheese stick during my Danny Sammy's post-nap tantrum, I complained to God, "This job is so aggravating (motherhood) - ag-gra-vat-ing! Why is it so hard?"
Then I felt a gentle but firm nudge to look at my blessings, to look at the healthy children and food and love that fill this house, and I promptly prayed, "Father, I'm sorry. Never mind. Thank you for all we are blessed with."
Damn, I have it good! Why am I so selfish?