This post is brought to you by Passionate Homemaking’s Monthly Contributor, Vina Barham.
When I was working as a recruiter for an international mission agency, one of things we emphasize in our training is the ability to go with the flow. To accept the unfamiliar for what it is, to let go of things beyond our control and to accept, no, to embrace the sometimes messy and often chaotic situations that one will inevitably find herself in.
Some call it tolerance. I call it, flexibility: the awesome ability to bend back and forth without breaking.
Accepting the Unfamiliar
When we come across something unfamiliar, or something that goes against our own way of doing things, how do we react? Often, we insist that the unfamiliar must change and conform to something more familiar or acceptable on our own terms. Take for example our children, who often speak a different language and have a different timetable from us. They want to play more and we want them to hurry up because we have adult things to do. Crying ensues, someone loses their patience and all kinds of simple desires collide. The ability to bend without breaking is the ability to truly accept the Unfamiliar Other without disrespecting ourselves. We accept that it is most natural for children to want to play longer, allow them the most time we can generously offer, slow down and be awake to the moment that is Now.
The ability to bend without breaking is to let go of our need for control. To abandon the Pursuit of the Perfect. We tend to hold on tightly sometimes to our Ideals and we become Purists in that we easily get frustrated and depressed when things don’t turn out the way we expect them to. A good example is our expectations with our spouse. We want them to be a certain way, to say certain things and to treat us in certain manners. This is an exercise in futility. We can only control ourselves: our thoughts, our words and our actions. We can never control our spouse and as long as we try to do so, no matter how gentle and sweet we package it, we become unnecessarily burdened by all the stuff we try to carry on our shoulders that is not for our taking.
Embracing the Mess
Finally, the ability to bend without breaking is the ability to embrace the mess of this Life. Of Your Life. There is no need to constantly berate yourself for the blips and blunders because it’s simple part of being human. Nobody is shocked that you are not Perfectly Put Together. And yet we are, and we put so much effort in appearing to be otherwise. And we teach our kids the same thing. We have to learn to loosen up, let our hair down sometimes and learn how to get Dirty without Dying. To be dis-illusioned by our ability to be Messy people and yet still be hopeful for the Beautiful to emerge is a Rare and Lovely Thing that our world needs more of.
The ability to bend to the Mud of Life without completely losing sight of our Glory is perhaps one of the best gifts we can give to our children. Some call it Grace. The Way of The Middle. How are you practicing your ability to bend without breaking?