"People don't just belong to themselves...they belong to the people that love them."
"I might have saved thousands and thousands from smallpox, but I had failed [my son]."
-from Saving the World by Julia Alvarez
I came across this book while volunteering at the school book fair. I considered buying it but then reconsidered since I was already buying several books for the kids. Instead I decided to look for it at the library.
This book was a very interesting story. It told of a woman, Alma, whose husband works for a "green" company working to bring self-sufficiency and other outside help to third-world nations and whose neighbor who is dying of cancer. The first quote is from a conversation about the dying neighbor and her wishes verses the wishes of those who love her and who are trying to be of help to her now through her illness. Alma is an author who has been researching an expedition to bring the smallpox vaccine across the ocean from Europe to the colonies. The vaccine must be carried live so 12 orphan boys are recruited to "carry" the vaccine, sequentially amongst them, across the ocean. The orphans' caretaker, Isabel, comes along. She brings along an orphan boy that she eventually adopts. At one point in the expedition, Isabel leaves her son in Brazil and is gone for 6 years bringing the vaccine to the Philippines. That is her quote above, lamenting how her son has grown apart from her in her long absence.
Saving the World. What is God calling me to do? These are issues that have been on my mind a lot this year. I have been told that being a parent is the most important job in the world. That nursing my babies is a form of prayer. That one in particular I struggle with understanding. How living my life is a form of prayer if I'm offering it up. How can it be that something so mundane and regular gives God glory? I feel as though my motherhood is the baseline. Of course I'm a mother. Of course I spend my day caring for my family. That's a given. But shouldn't there be something else I should be doing as well? Something Really Important that will Save the World?
So I asked God to send me a memo. With specific instructions as to what it is EXACTLY I'm supposed to be doing. Maybe it's my "always follow the rules" personality that needs to have everything laid out in front of me. I'm thinking this may be my memo. Not very specific but the message I took away from it is that saving the world is no good if you sacrifice your family to do so.
So I am turning myself back from the door, looking inward to my awesome family, and (trying to) embrace this "job" called Mom for all it's worth. Doing the best I can and not obsessing that I'm not doing enough. This job is big. And very important to my most important people. So instead of belittling it, I should praise it. Because that's all I ever ask of my children- be the best Ryan, Bella, and Felisa they can be.