If you follow me on Twitter, you may have known that in the last couple of months there have been some work stress for me. What it boils down to is that I did not get the promotion that I expected. Rather I was told “you’re not quite ready” and someone I’ve never met was appointed my supervisor, when I had largely been working without a supervisor prior to that. I had a good cry about it. I ate too much pizza one night. S-man has been nearly perfect in his support. I don’t know what I would have done without him; I probably would have been a tearful mess for days. People can say what they will about S-man, but he truly is extremely supportive when the chips are down.
It has made me really think about what is most important and what I want my life to be about. I am one of those rare women who is more concerned with respect rather than love. Have you ever heard of that? According to the therapist, most men want respect, and most women want love. When it comes down to it though, I have always craved respect. That may seem odd for a single woman, but I think it has a lot to do with my family of origin and never questioning I was loved. Also my parents are kind of intellectuals, so I probably felt like I had something to prove – ok, I did feel I had something to prove. So for me this felt like I had to earn respect. I tried so hard to get my mom to think I was wise beyond my years. But there are people who respect me… One of my girlfriends has no idea how much she helped me by asking me for advice last night.
Things I want to prioritize:
- Mijo and Junior – there is nothing more important than these two little boys and my beyond normal family. They need my time, attention, and emotional stability, which means I’ve got to get over this and not let it get to me again later.
- Love with all I’ve got – S-man, my friends, and all of my extended family. I cannot be faulted for loving too much. Spending time with and investing in those I care about will likely have the greatest returns of anything I could spend my time doing. I tend to check off my list and then give attention to others, but perhaps it’s time they move to the top of my list. S-man will be around less in just a few weeks (for the foreseeable future), so I want every minute to be quality.
- Prayer (maybe even church) – It is the source of all wisdom, right? There is a part of my job that feels like I was placed there. Maybe it’s time to figure our what I’m supposed to do with that beyond doing my job.
- Food – Cooking and meal planning make me feel better about myself and my attempts at domestication. I’m still learning, but I want to think ahead more and do take out less. That stuff adds up!
- Scrapbooking – I enjoy it, but I think it’s important for the kids too. I’m behind on their albums, and I want to start a LifeBook for Junior. I think it totally applies in his situation even if he wasn’t adopted and that way he won’t feel left out when he’s old enough to realize. I feel accomplished, creative, and loving when I’m working on scrapbooks for the kids.
- Organization – ah, it just calms my mind to have things completed and organized right now there are too many things on my list and much to “Spring Clean”.
Things I don’t want to prioritize:
Since I first drafted this blog, a few things have been occurring to me about what I need to let go.
- This blog – I’m not walking away, but I am going to let go of the pressure. I’m an introvert. Some days I even have problems commenting when I really want to comment on your blogs. Even when I’m not writing, I am reading. I tweet more than I blog, and I think that fits for me. I really only want to blog when I have something to say… even if they are just silly soapboxes. This also means that I am going to continue taking my sweet time fixing the broken images. Now, if there was someone who wanted to sponsor my blog posts, I’d be happy to write every day, but until then….
- Yard work – the back yard can fend for itself for a while. It’s hot and it’s really only the dog and us who are ever back there. I’ll be much happier if I’m not avoiding scratching mosquito bites, even if the bushes look a bit out of control.
- Guilt about cleaning during work hours – I work from home most of the time, although I do go in or Skype in for meetings (this may be increasing). I can finish up things that weren’t done after bedtime, and I feel like I just might be succeeding at this adult thing when my house stays clean. It should be totally okay to do laundry, load the dishwasher, and even sweep the floors before 5pm.
I’m not really sure how I’m going to accomplish all of this. The first two priorities will likely happen in my decisions simply by keeping them in mind. The last three priorities I may have to schedule or put at the top of my to do lists. While I’m at it, I want to exercise more. Any suggestions for me on resetting my priorities and taking my lumps with a positive attitude?
I know this is long, but please stick with me…
In adoption, there are a lot of people quoting the verse in the Bible that states that we are called to care for the widows and the orphans. There are even some organizations like Both Hands who attempt to support both orphan care and widow care with creative fundraising events, yet their partner organization, lifesong for orphans, does not seem to recognize families that do not include both a mother and a father as adoption appropriate families. I wonder if they would consider a single woman living in a separate city from all of her family a widow?
Before I started the adoption process, I figured that fundraising would not be that difficult. I had heard story after story of families raising tens of thousands of dollars in grants, gifts, and fundraising. Surely, a single woman on a single income would be eligible for assistance. I knew there would be some grants that would not be open to me, but that just meant less applications I hoped. I didn’t grow frustrated as I crossed organization after organization off the list after reading their requirements, but I did get frustrated when the curt or belittling rejection letters and emails started rolling in. As I dug deeper, all I could find were forums stating that they had never heard a single story of a single person receiving a single dollar in grant money. Ouch.
I think I have a pretty healthy perspective on the church. I have several ministers in my family. I have taken enough Bible, Religion, and Theological courses and held enough positions in churches or church groups to fill a resume. One of my best friends as a teen was a pastor’s kid and one of my college roommates was a missionary kid. I have seen how the church has hurt people and destroyed lives because the church is made up of other people. I have also seen how the church has made powerful, positive impact on people’s lives.
Once I moved out on my own, it was difficult to find a church locally that could speak to me. The people were often sweet, but they either came on too strong (frightening this introvert with their small talk) or ignored me completely because they did not know what to say or what to do with me. Although, they did almost always say Welcome. I get it, it is often easier to talk to kids than adults, and parents generally value people and places that value their kids. My primary excuse for never finding a new church home was that I often disagreed with the exegesis or had studied it myself more than the preacher and did not feel challenged. I am sure the therapist would argue that I was never made to feel a part of any church. I wasn’t a part of the church family because I didn’t have a family.
It was in a church that I learned that people generally disappear from the church after high school, reappearing about the time they get married or start having children. It a chicken-egg problem. Do young adults not come to church because there isn’t a place for them or is there not a place for young adults in the church because they do not come? I never blamed the church in general because I did not fit, but I didn’t try to make a space for myself either. I am an introvert.
When I first moved out on my own in a city away from all immediate and extended family members, there were times that I felt alone and times that I felt that maintaining a household, albeit a small apartment, was really more than one person could do. My parents had married before they had left college; there was much that I was experiencing that they simply could not understand. That was when I first started contemplating the idea that maybe I was a Biblical widow.
In Biblical times, people married even earlier than my parents did. Women lived at home with their family until they were married. I don’t recall many stories about Old Maids in the Bible. In fact, dads like Laban made sure that the older sisters like Leah were married off, one way or another. The reason that widows were such a social concern was because Biblical women did not have the same rights as the modern day woman and could not fully care for themselves. I’m glad that I can choose my mate or whom I do not want to marry. I am glad that I can work and vote and purchase property.
Paying bills, cleaning house, working full time, caring for kids, mowing the lawn, planting a garden, and maybe a little advocacy work… it’s more than any one person can do, at least well (and I don’t like not doing things well). Now I can afford to pay someone to help with at least one of those things. My brothers are often around to help now. I’m in a much better place, but I also know that my income is above average currently. Most of my single friends agree, it’s hard work to do it ‘on your own’, simply in the organization and tasks to do (forget about all that emotional mumbo jumbo).
The rest of the world probably doesn’t interpret the Biblical widow the same way that I do. There are days that I find some irony in having a family that includes at least one widow and at least one orphan. Most of the time, now, I don’t consider myself a widow. I have help here pretty consistently. Yet, there are days when I experience discrimination unexpectedly that do make me feel like a widow all over again. While the church may not care for these modern day widows, I think that single adults, especially single parents, are a population that could use our caring and assistance. So what single woman’s lawn are you going to rake this fall?