Thursday, October 4, 2012

Working Wife

I was born without a talent.

I am not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me, to throw a pity party, or to bore you or repulse you. I am just telling you the truth. I was born talentless.

When it came to sports, I had two right feet, and negative-one hand-eye coordination.
I'm not a singer. I can't naturally harmonize (see my sister for that skill).
I cannot create visual beauty through painting, drawing, photography, etc (see my sister, again). 
I am not hilarious.
I am not fashionable.
Musical talent, playing the piano by ear, learning to read music -- right out.
I am not smart --  math and science mystify me. I can't understand the process and I can't understand why anybody cares! (But I'm certainly glad they do, because thanks, Doc.)
I have bad taste in music and movies. 

What I can do, and I believe I've done, since the day I was born (okay, exaggeration allowed), is work. Yes, I made that word emphatic.

Now that I'm an adult, I have gone through your typical courses of study, completed a bachelor's degree, gotten married, and it still seems I'm a dunce in the natural talents arena. I'm not a great housekeeper or decorator. I don't seem to have a knack for cooking or grocery shopping. I'm terrible at organization. But what I do well is work.

At work, even when I feel bad, when I want to hide, when I want it all to go away, I want to be there. I want to be there because even when I mess up, I know I can. I can accomplish tasks. I can cross things off my list. I can make things happen.

Often I wish my husband or my family could know me at work, because sometimes I think I am a different person there than he will ever know. I feel like I am the best of myself at work. People always want me, even when it's for bad reasons. What do they call it? Kickin' ass? Check. Takin' names? Check. Hugging people? Not very much, but sometimes. 

Now that I'm married, being good at work isn't enough. My husband gets home first and he's waiting for me. It's so strange that I work, and my husband gets home from his job before me and he waits for me. My talented husband, who's good at working AND cooking AND cleaning AND sports. My wise husband, who has a worthy piece of advice for everyone, and yet somehow chose to be with me, a blundering silly-sweet girl who loves hard and works hard and somehow makes up for the void of talents and passions by just putting in the effort.... This is so different than how I thought it'd be, when I grew up with a stay-at-home-mom who was an excellent cook and made coffee and lunch for my daddy every day.

At my wedding, my dad said some beautiful things, while I was wrangling my 3-year-old nephew-turned-ringbearer, so that he wouldn't set some lovely tablecloth aflame. He said that Husband and I will figure out what it means to be US, to be Me-and-Him. He said that we will find that there are unlimited answers to this question. And he said to save some of the generosity that we share with the rest of the outside world, and lavish it on each other.

Lastnight I got home late. I was supposed to leave 45 minutes earlier than I did. This might've been less of an issue if I'd communicated, but I got lost in the adult temper tantrums, the people who needed me, the deadlines. The pile of work that's never even close to done. My husband was left waiting and I failed him.

The whole drive home I was thinking about the Proverbs 31 woman. I used to think -- no biggie. Just get married. I'll be good at that, at least. Wrong. Proverbs 31:11: "The heart of her husband trusts in her." This sounds so huge -- like, he knows she won't cheat. But what about when he's waiting for her so they can go running together? What about when he gets through tough days, treasures coming home to her at night, only she fritters away precious moments without even telling him she's going to be late? The heart of her husband trusts in her. But lastnight, I failed at being that trustworthy woman. And I haven't even been a missus for two weeks.

Maybe I just don't know yet -- I haven't learned. I haven't taken the course of study or done enough homework to know: what does it mean to be a working wife? What does it mean to be good at work, and great at being a wife? I love both, but one is surely more important.

All my blog-roll models that I talked about, they are wives, but their work is in their homes, with their kids and husbands. My work is outside, with a team of spirited staff and a huge field of unknowns to plunder in order to be successful. 

I am a woman. Can I do both? Can I learn and grow into a new kind of balance? 
I applaud the blogger Mamas -- and O! how I wish I could be one of them -- tomorrow.
But for tonight, I want to tell the Working Wives that I am joining them in a quest to be the best we can be, practically, at the place we are called. Where is our blog support community?? Let's get it going.

Wherever you are -- be all there. Live to the hilt of every situation you believe to be the will of God. -- Jim Elliot

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