Please see part 1 as to why I am writing this….
Once again, the opinions expressed are my own, informed by my faith and experience and not intended to offend.
On a happier note, I have finally understood how to talk to the men in my family. They are brilliant, remarkable people. But I’ve learnt I need to speak slower, and more clearly, for them to understand me. And forgive me, slowing down is a new concept for me, so I am just learning how to do it. And it’s exactly how Jesus has to talk with me (see Hebrews 12, 1-3, below).I do not mean to patronize them, I know they are very, very intelligent. But I need to say one thing and make sure they understood that before I move on to the next idea. Too much noise and too many people are particularly overwhelming. They communicate in a way that is not always easy for others to understand, and they don’t always understand why others don’t understand their intentions and feelings. They are people who love deeply, but find it hard to express that, and who are very loyal but don’t like too much physical contact. They like just being around those they love, just their presence is enough, and it’s not good for them to be on their own for long, as they get too lost in their own thoughts and worlds.
For the women in my life, including me, I have finally understood, that we give and give and give and then get annoyed that others take so much, with little thanks. We need to create strong boundaries, gently but firmly tell people (ie esp the men in our lives, above) when they invading them, and no matter what the consequences, walk away for a while to be on our own and recharge. It may get a little crazy for a while as those people have to swim on their own without us constantly holding them up, but they will be ok. They need to not have us as safety net all the time (the only one who can do that is God) – they need to fail sometimes so that they can be the magnificent men they were meant to be.
Knowing this and not doing it came close to destroying my beautiful family. I made the classic mistake, that I said I wouldn’t, of putting my children first, making it hard for my husband to get a look in, and my God came a distant third. I’m having to undo a lot with my 3 1/2 year old, and a little with my 11mth old, but I’m on the right track I think. But when you crank the oven on with your son’s lego piece still in it ( that he was using to make imaginary cookies) and smoke starts rising up and a funny plastic smell is coming out the oven, as I did the other week, you know you’re not concentrating as much as you should be.
Believe me, I know how to multitask. I have been trying to cook, clean, wash, tidy, sort, and shop for my household, whilst trying to produce a (fantastic) WW2 documentary film, read books and write tests on nutrition, plan for my children’s education, work out how to raise them as decent human beings, be a loving wife, a good daughter and friend to my beloved family scattered across the globe, take care of snotty noses and sore teeth whilst trying to make my children smile, serve diligently at church, all in a foreign country where being poor is often seen as the equivalent as moral failure. Before that I was second-in-charge of a multi-million pound film, in 3 countries, doing the job of 5 people. I think I took pride in doing a hundred things at once.
All this while trying to look like I’m keeping it together. I did a terrible job of doing that, and didn’t know until recently that more than likely, I’ve had postnatal depression since the birth of my son. And we just never had enough money. We got ourselves into debt just from moving country and not having a lot of money (and not buying crazy stuff mind you, eg, a bed) and there were times when I didn’t have enough money to get food for my family, without further adding to our burden of debt. We are paying a mortgage on a beautiful flat which we have now completely outgrown and can’t live in, but we can’t afford to miss a payment for one month or our debt would skyrocket. (Does anyone want to buy a lovely flat in Edinburgh, there’s a few things we’d like to keep, but otherwise its fully furnished. Our tenants would be our first choice to buy ;-)). And no wonder I didn’t have time to take a shower! So, yes, I know how to multitask. But should I? No. I’m thinking that ‘Should’, should be used sparingly. ‘Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should’ is just about the only context I can think of for it.
I definitely don’t want fame, I definitely don’t want to be on a reality TV show, I don’t want money that I haven’t earned fairly. And I don’t need you to tell me I’m beautiful because I am. How hard is it for us to say that of ourselves women? I come from a culture and a household, where putting yourself down is what we do everyday. I was taught not to speak too highly of myself. And yes, to a degree, they were trying to teach me to be humble. But what they created was someone who was not self-confident, did not respect herself or her body, and who did not love the person within. When I tell a woman that she looks beautiful today it is because she is very beautiful to me, but it’s not a sexual thing, or it’s not that I want them to think better of me, or that I want something from them. When I used to watch the millions of diamonds in the sun-shining on the water of a canal in Edinburgh, and I couldn’t help but stop and be amazed at their beauty, so I look at these women and see an amazingly beautiful thing that I can’t help but stop and reflect on.
I love my husband. I want to learn how to honour and obey him, and listen to him properly. I never thought it was important but I do now. And not so that he can ‘dominate’ me, because he loves me as Christ loves the church and gave up his life for it. He has always loved me that way, even though he finds it hard to express it in words. I would have married him from the instant I could do nothing else but kiss him on that couch all those years ago. It took him a little longer to get there, but he did. He helps to me make me feel secure (but ultimately only God can do that), he makes me laugh like no one else, he likes the things I like, he watched ANTM cos was my vice and it fascinated me, he is so smart, creative and talented and sexy. He’s just brilliant. I want to be a psalm 31 wife to you. But I did stop dancing because you weren’t comfortable doing it, and if its ok with you, I think I need to go do that again.
There’s a line in one of the sections in Paris Je T’aime that I love. A (French) man is about to leave his wife of many years to be with his beautiful younger lover. He meets his wife to tell her she’s leaving her, and she tells him she is dying of cancer. He is ashamed, and knows that he can’t leave her, as much as he would clearly prefer to be with the other woman. So he stays, and gives up his mistress. And then it says
“and so acting like a man in love, he became a man in love’.
So he learned to love her again, and cares for her until she dies, loving her intensely. We can all be like that, if we have gone astray a bit. Fake it till you make it and all that.