We are in one of those growing seasons at the Tullock house.
As we become adults, something strange happens with our experience of "growing."
Shrinking becomes part of growing.
Our church is going through a capital campaign right now and every day I'm reading a church-wide devotional about the process. At the exact same time I'm actually leaving my church job to get ready for the baby, losing quite a bit of our monthly budget in the process, preparing for a maternity leave that might leave my husband and I without a large part of my school salary for the summer . . . and then there's the fact that our insurance payments went up significantly this January . . . and the prospect of paying for childcare next year (which is over half the amount of our current mortgage).
As I read daily about the necessity for generosity in giving, my husband and I are working to shrink our household budget so that we will be living responsibly with our new normal.
I'm experiencing a little bit of cognitive dissonance.
You've experienced it at some point in your life. Two ideas conflict - an old one and a new one. You become uncomfortable because you can't hold them both in your mind at the same time. You try to reduce your discomfort by changing the way that you are behaving . . . or by removing one of the two truths. Or by denying some of the evidence. Or by trying to rationalize one to the other.
It reminds me of looking at a new piece of music for the first time, before practicing it . . . or navigating a new city . . . . like my first week of graduate school - everything looks too complicated, too big . . . impossible.
After a little practice and contemplation, we find that many things look like "Twinkle, Twinkle." So, here's a way that I can reconcile a little bit of my discomfort.
My church isn't actually building anything new right now. The capital campaign is not pretending to be anything other than a way to bust the debt. The church is trying to live more responsibly so that it can provide what it needs to for the people in its congregation . . . for the folks who come looking for help with bills and gas vouchers . . . for the two other congregations that hold worship in the sanctuary every week . . . for a future. Just trying to live more responsibly. Because when we live responsibly, we can reach a little farther.
We shrink and then we grow.
We sacrifice and then we gain.
Part of that awkward adult growth pattern is sacrifice.
My husband and I are not trying to buy a new house. I'm not trying to go back to school or record a new album. We're just getting ready to do life more responsibly. We have a lot in common with the church right now. And I know that my mind is stretching because I'm experiencing this at two levels - one in my faith community . . . and one in my little home.
Because very soon there will be somebody "One Day Young" waking me up in the middle of the night, needing a place to grow.
This morning I was reading random stuff on the internet (a very good Saturday activity), and I came across the "One Day Young" project. This photographer has spent her time taking pictures of mothers and their babies during that first 24 hours of life . . . wow. Right? Go click on it.
If you're waiting for me to tell you what my husband and I will give to our church, you can wait a little longer. We won't be sharing that information. That's not the point. And folks need to do that sort of thing very quietly, very privately.
But I'll tell you this: I have a lot of respect for anybody and any organization trying to live simply and with an eye on responsibility. It's hard to do. And it's not glamorous. But it creates freedom.
And I'll tell you this: Yeah, I'm having some discomfort in life right now. Physical, emotional, and mental. But I am also experiencing such a huge sense of gratitude - grateful for what has been . . . the work that has been done . . . grateful for what is . . . the people who are carrying on with things I used to do . . . and grateful for what will be . . . a period of life that will involve me shrinking back into my family's life so that something new and different can grow where the old work used to be.
Confront the stuff that creates cognitive dissonance for you. When we contemplate and practice everything eventually looks as simple as "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
Peace & Goodness,