Month: April 2016

When is it time to quit?


I have always said I would never be an obnoxious stage mom, peering into the studio window, to make sure my daughter was getting plenty of time in the front row of her ballet class.

Or, one of those parents that cannot shut up at the football game and gets carried away, as eight year olds run up and down a field.

I confess I roll my eyes at the obsessed parent who clearly is living their life vicariously through their kid.   I confess I am judgmental of crazy parents who clearly need to get a life.

But I realize, what I confess, is that I too have become that crazy parent who has lost perspective and has become emotionally invested in an activity that was never mind to begin with.  The problem is, I created an expectation.  I created a vision in my head for another person.  That vision was not a shared vision, and now I am wondering why that vision won’t become a reality. – Um, hello! When will I ever learn that we cannot design dreams for other people!

If marriage teaches us anything, it should teach us that.  Sometimes I think we women have fantasized dream weddings and ideals marriages  to extremes and then reality hits we discover that our weddings and our spouses are less than perfect.  We get angry because our expectations haven’t been met.

Learning to accept that we didn’t marry a dream, we married a human being, is a good way to stay, well, married! Don’t expect, accept.


So, here’s my confession.  Somehow I have become obsessed over my daughter and her playing the violin. She started Suzuki when she was five years old.  She is now 14.  So, for 9 years, I have sat in on  hundreds of practices, private lessons, group lessons, recitals, and concerts. I have rented every size violin and purchase a full size instrument. I have bought books, bows, shoulder rests, rosin, strings, and stands.  I have encouraged her through Bach, Mozart and Vivaldi.  And now, on the threshold of high school she wants to quit. She wants to try new things.  She keeps getting put back in chairs in orchestra, and she is done. It’s over. Kaput. Finished.

She wants to quit.

I had a vision of her surviving high school by being in orchestra. I thought there she would be safe, with all the orchestra kids. I wanted her have a measure of success, to see it through, to play in high school.  But instead, she has simply said, she wants to try new things.  This is a completely reasonable and understandable request. And yet, I find the idea of no longer sitting in her room as she works through a piece, or driving her to her lesson, or not planning the next recital , so, so sad.  Like it’s time to sell the crib and the baby clothes.  This thing that has always been, will become a “used to” instead of “what is.”

It’s just a violin.

But it’s more than that.

It’s a passing of time.

It’s a letting go.

It’s a moving on.

It’s one more letting out of the kite string, before she flies on her own.

Maybe the answer is not grieve the visions that were imagined, but to celebrate the visions that really happened.

For that, I will always be a grateful, and slightly crazy parent.




Coming Up Wanting

michigan lake sunset

It seems to me the world is coming up wanting, hungry for answers, certainties, and the desire to believe that “everything is going to be alright.”

We come up wanting, as we scroll down social media posts, searching for a quote, a video, or a joke to give us an answer to the incomprehensible world in which we live.

We come up wanting, as we find our way onto our same pew every Sunday morning and read through liturgy without seeing the words, and say “amen,” when in all honesty we didn’t really begin to pray.

We come up wanting, as we race through our meals in order to get to the practice, the game, the recital, and try not to forget the appointment, the meeting, or the phone call.

We come up wanting, as we wake before dawn, and wonder why in the world we are awake and as we lie there, our old friend Anxiety snakes her veining cold fingers around our brains and whispers, “worry, worry, worry.”

We come up wanting, because our desires have been hijacked by the world and voices that clamor for our attention.  The voices that tell us that if we aren’t worried, we are irresponsible and that if we aren’t working, we are lazy and that if we aren’t consuming, then we are lacking..

The alternative to all of this wanting, is to strive to live of the world, instead of in it; to find a way to swim up, out of the deep surface, into the light above.

There once was frog who lived in the bottom of a well and he would look up to blue circle above and sing praises of the entire universe, believing the universe to only to be that one, blue, round ball.

How limited is our thinking and our understanding of the universe and the world in which we live?  Are we all little frogs at the bottom of our wells?  How do we see beyond our own limitations?

Imagine for a moment that our desire is Christ’s desire.  Imagine for a moment that our breath was Christ’s breath.  Imagine that our worry was Christ’s worry, would he worry about such things as we?  Would he work for appreciation and recognition?  Would he check his phone while in the middle of prayer?   This is not the cliché question, “What would Jesus do?”  It’s more than that. It is rather the question,”What do you desire?”

If we desire peace beyond all understanding, we will seek his Word. So that when the storm hits, and the worry comes, and the panic paralyzes, we find ourselves anchored in an indescribable steadiness.

If we desire joy,we will seek his face. So that regardless if the day is happy or sad, joy like a light that never goes out, remains.

If we desire God, we will seek the stillness of His breath.  And in stillness, we discover that God’s breath breaks  through all that suffocates and holds us down.  The breath breaks apart the clutch of our wanting and whispers, “hush, hush. hush.”