Weekend Ponderings: Motherly Solitude

play-timeTonight as Sarah and I were getting the kids ready for bed (all of us in one hotel room, which means that I am writing this in the dark as four exhausted kidlets and my co-adventurer slumber blissfully in their beds), I managed to twist my bad ankle. Again. And yet, like a goose I kept right on doing what I had been doing before I hurt myself. I think I was getting somebody some cough medicine, or lovey, or some other such life-or-death errand.

“You know, I COULD do that for you,” Sarah pointed out. And of course she was right. I could have retired to my bed and let her run around on her two perfectly good feet. Instead I gritted my teeth and soldiered on. What a dummy!!!

After I finally settled in bed that night, I recounted the story to Sarah about getting my crutches from the basement. I posted about this at “Mommy Monsters” the other day. What I did not mention in the story was the inner dialogue that took place before I actually hobbled downstairs for the crutches. For about ten minutes, I wracked my brain to think of someone I could call to come over and get those crutches for me … Someone I didn’t mind seeing the carpet full of puppy shrapnel (garbage bag bits, pieces of rawhide, assorted spongy toy bits), last night’s dinner dishes still on the kitchen counter, and a whole basement full of … well, let’s just say a basement full, and leave it at that.

I couldn’t think of a single person. Not one. Those I knew well enough to call either worked or lived FAR away, and those I knew casually … I didn’t have their phone number to “promote” them. So I got the blasted things myself.

“What does that say about me,” I asked Sarah, “that I don’t have any close friends to call at a time like this?”

“I think it means you’re like the rest of us,” said my good friend. “I have one person I could call if I had been in your situation, and when her husband told her they might have to move, I told HIM he might have to take me along, too. Most of my really good friends are online …”

I felt a little better then, but still I knew that this little red flag, popping up as it has so close to Lent, signals a character flaw that needed some attention. The problem was my idiotic pride, not wanting anyone to see the house in such a state. I mean, if someone had called ME to help after they had spent two days trying not to walk, I wouldn’t expect House Beautiful.

The funny thing is … it’s part of womanly human nature to help, to come alongside, to support. It’s infinitely easier to do that … than to ask for help. Even when we know it’s the right thing to do.

When was the last time you felt you needed help … and were too embarrassed/shy/self-conscious/fill in the emotion to do so? If you had it to do over … would you?

In today’s Gospel, from the eighth chapter of Mark, Jesus observes that those who are truly disciples are not those who stand on ceremony, or who are too proud to bend low and admit just how short of perfection they fall:

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the Gospel will save it.”

In the Kingdom of God, those who labor to project a flawless, seamless image never get very far. However, those who are willing to let go of the things most precious to them (including their own reputations) in order to follow in the footsteps of our Master ….  leaning on Him all the way … attain the pathway to true perfection. “Saints,” we call them. 

Note to self:  Look for an opportunity this week to ask for a little help … exercise that humility muscle! The sacrament of reconciliation is a good place to start. Who knows? Maybe you’ll make a new friend along the way!

4 thoughts on “Weekend Ponderings: Motherly Solitude

  1. well you could have called me…and I would even have taken off my glasses while walking around your house!!

    course it might take me a bit to get there…………… 😉

    After 3 pregnancies, each with about a month’s bedrest at the end and a couple weeks in the beginning…the middle preg I had a crawler to care for…the last I had a 2 and a 3 yr old….I’ve gotten better at ASKING. My personal low was when I asked my dear friend who came to feed my kids lunch to take out the trash for me. It was full to the brim and I just couldn’t stand to leave yet one more thing for my hubby to do when he got home. I’m STILL embarrased that I asked her to do it………I’ll have to ask her, but I doubt she even remembers DOING it.

    I’ve learned that when we DON’T ask, we are denying the other person a chance to earn graces by serving us. That’s wrong of us.

    Remember, not only did Jesus wash his disciples feet….he allowed his feet to be washed too (I can’t remember her name…with the hair…) and he told the disciples to wash each others feet….well, if we’re all busy washing….WHO’S GETTING WASHED??


  2. THAT picture is from this summer…I’m not fooled! 🙂

    I’m not going to think of the last time I should have asked for help, but a few years ago, when I broke my arm, I remember turning down offers of help because “I can do it MYSELF.” Which wasn’t true, of course, because my arm was broken and I had a toddler. That didn’t matter, though. What mattered was maintaining my independence, my sense of self, my PRIDE.

    Which, um, goes before a fall, eh?


  3. Hi Heidi,

    You write so gracefully. It’s a pleasure to “live in” your head for the time it takes to read an entry.

    I think you’ve hit on a big problem we women have. Men identify most strongly with occupations, women with their homes and kids. I’m guessing it’s a DNA thing, but we definitely size each other up on the basis of how under-control these things are in other women’s homes, while desperately hoping nobody sees the garbage piling up in our own.

    I’m just mortified at the state of my house and laundry right now and I’ve got a wet basement carpet [we forgot to clean out our storm drains — ayeee!] and I’m on a writing deadline and the house stinks of damp. I need another me, or two!

    I love flylady. When I’ve been humble enough to use her system, my house is always company ready and I’m so peaceful. I highly recommend her. http://www.flylady.net.

    Love and peace to you, and may God heal you quickly, not so you can get back to work, but so you can experience his generosity and mercy. And may that local friend be provided! I wish it could be me!


    Lisa Mladinich


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