But life and relationships are not like that. Much to my (self-centered) dismay at times, people do not react to my actions exactly as I expect or wish. I have been working through my issues with this a lot lately but I imagine it will be a lifetime struggle.
In life, if you are lucky, there will be precious gifts--and by gifts I mean people--who hold up a proverbial mirror directly in front of your face. In the light. Without your makeup on. Reality and that mirror will show you things you don't like. That laugh line above the corner of your mouth that has gotten a little too deep. That little mole that gets darker every year. The little uglies. And the big ones. Your selfishness.
Here are two of my little mirrors:
And I imagine as they get older that the reflection of myself I see in them will get sweeter and much more painful all at once.
Someone close to me recently in a very loving way explained that my demanding nature is unfair to others and may sometimes be hurtful. While this broke my heart to hear, mainly because the thought of hurting someone I love by my own brokenness is hard to bear, I appreciated the honesty and the light it shone, though it perhaps felt harsh at the time.
A couple days ago I picked T.Mark up a little early from his preschool class to attend his school's book fair. When we had purchased our books I walked him back to his class so that he could tell his teacher and friends bye-bye. When he walked into the room, his teacher (whom he adores) was occupied with the other children, and they were all sitting in a circle singing a song together. He walked in and said goodbye but no one heard him. He said it a second time and still no one heard. He stood there for a moment and then turned around and looked at me. His lip was poked out and he walked hurriedly to me and said "will you hold me mama?", which is not something he asks very often anymore. It was not a pouty moment, but a truly sad and unsure one in his little heart. For a moment I couldn't figure out why he was suddenly so sad. But then it hit me. Because I knew the feeling he was experiencing. In that instant I recognized more of myself in my little boy than I have thus far in his little life. Life was going on without his help in the classroom, and it made him feel very uncertain and insecure. I now recognize that he has the same deep seated need that I do to be needed, and appreciated, and perhaps even admired on some level. But most of all, to be secure in his place in the hearts of others. And that when he is not given this attention fully he is suddenly sad and may not even know why. What he does not know, but unfortunately I do, is how that aspect of his personality has the potential to put pressure and unrealistic expectations on other people.
It can be quite difficult to see your faults and sinfulness so clearly reflected. Especially when you realize that it is a part of your nature, not always simply something you choose to do. Sometimes it is more depressing to know that this weight and these faults will follow you wherever you go. A thorn in the flesh.
And in a quick treatment of one of my many other faults, since we are on the subject--it is my tendency to always want the answers, to all the questions. And want them right NOW, dangit. I try to have patience, truly I do. But it is so hard. I have always loved this Rainer Maria Rilke quote: "Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."
I hope that I can teach my babies that their security, and the answers to all the questions, are found in Christ.
And because you know I love ending on a happy note:
This guy has been smiling at me today. A lot.