A thirsty person shouldn’t drink salt water.

Sometimes I think I’m doing this all wrong.

There’s the sock drawer, for instance. Okay, okay. There are FOUR miscellaneous sock drawers in our house, probably more. That’s just what I know about in the laundry room. I’ve never seen the inside of my teenager’s dresser; I pretty sure there’s stale Doritoes under socks that he wore when he was seven.

It’s true. The kids’ socks don’t have matches. If you look on my kindergartener’s feet, you will see that he has on two socks, but I can guarantee you that they are not two socks from the same white tube sock Hanes package. I count on the fact that nobody goes around checking my kids’ ankles. I figure that everyone has their own lives to live. And except for the lady in the produce section at Wal-Mart last week, I’ve been basically right about that.

There are bigger fish to fry. Like the time my fourth grader was learning how to write a step-by-step paragraph. The assignment was to describe her morning. The teacher pointed out that she forgot to include getting dressed. “Oh,” my daughter says, “That’s because we get dressed the night before so we can make it here on time. We all sleep in our school uniforms.”

Yeah.

At least, she is the child who religiously brushes her teeth, so that saved what was left of my reputation. It could’ve been another child (who will not be named) who was assigned to write about his or her grooming habits, and if that happened, I’d be in jail right now for neglect. You have to look on the bright side of things.

There’s also all the stuff I can’t write about on the internet because when it’s all said and done, I don’t want to embarrass myself or my family. (I’m being serious.) I think you should let four years pass first, and then you can talk about it. Yes, I think four is the magic number. That sounds about right to me.

I remember being 18-years-old and walking through a fancy neighborhood. There was this house, and it had climbing roses all over it. There, I thought. Those people are happy. They have to be happy. Who wouldn’t be happy with climbing roses greeting them with a fragrant perfume as the breeze wafts into the breakfast room while bacon sizzles in the backdrop of life?

Fast forward a bunch of years. Greg planted a climbing rose by our breakfast room. (Our breakfast room happens to be the lunch and dinner room, too.) The climbing rose is still alive, but there’s no dreamy smell to the two cream colored roses it coughed up in the last three years. I’m going to Miracle Grow that baby in the spring, and then I’ll sit by the window to wait for that to make me happy.

I have this image in my mind of the way things are supposed to be. That maybe if I got my act together once and for all — maybe if my house was organized enough to find some socks around here (clearly, not a lofty goal) and my garden wasn’t embarrassing — I’d be happy. Maybe if my marriage was sparky and romantic and my friends always remembered to invite me to parties. Maybe if my health was better. Maybe if my kids wrote dazzling thank you notes and were the epitome of gratefulness. Maybe if I didn’t wrestle addictions and lose. Maybe I’d be happy if my sister was still alive.

Maybe.

—–

We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. (The Weight of Glory, 26)

25 Responses to “A thirsty person shouldn’t drink salt water.”

  1. 1

    Aaack. The weight of glory. Sometimes it hangs so heavy.

    I grieve for you and your family at the loss of your sister this side of glory. I’m praying for you. I was so gladdened to see that you had written and then so saddened by your loss.

    Keep smelling those roses. You Miracle-Gro the heck out of them, and maybe I’ll get the nerve to plant some, even when I know mine will return to dust faster than anyone else’s and that my very planting them is most likely to decorate their own grave.

    I remember you posting about your sister, and I remember how beautiful she was in the picture you included. You two share a smile and share your eyes.

    I am praying for you. Please keep writing. You inspire and encourage!

    Rachel

  2. 2
    Carla

    My kids don’t wear matching socks either, ever. I’m happy if they can even FIND two socks at all! At least my youngest will sort of attempt to incorporate it into his outfit, wearing one black and one white sock to match his black and white shirt.

  3. 3

    Excellent writing- love the part about getting dressed the night before so that you can make t on time.. and YES- WE ARE FAR TOO EASILY PLEASED !

  4. 4

    Umm… clearly you didn’t look at Bethany’s choice of foot apparel last week at church. At least both shoes were red. One was on the right foot. But they certainly didn’t match.

    And two weeks ago I had to be sure to take off Sam’s socks when he took off his shoes during church, since one sock was green.

    I’m living your life. Maybe in 4 years it’ll all be better?

  5. 5

    Amy it is so nice to ‘hear’ from you again. I am deeply sorry for the loss of your sister. I can’t imagine that kind of loss-sisters are a beautiful gift. There are no words-I have 7 sisters and they are so precious to me. Praying God surrounds you with his tenderness and peace in your grief. God is FAITHFUL. With love,
    Mel
    Deuteronomy 7:9
    9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.

  6. 6
    Beth Kostner

    I’ve missed you…

  7. 7
    light

    Amy,
    You Are Strong! just like that rosebush.
    Sprinkle both with Faith.

    God Bless you and yours.

    notutopia

  8. 8

    I’m sorry for the loss of your sister, Amy. Deeply sorry.

    Thank you for taking the time to share with us in your unique and witty way. I enjoyed this post.

    I struggle with socks, too.

  9. 9
    Jan

    My oldest daughter is now 27. She hasn’t matched her socks since her first year in school. It has become her trademark and she has used it many times to meet new friends. One year it had been a while since she met anyone new so she wore mismatched shoes.One year her grandmother gave her socks for Christmas – she took them all apart and mixed them up.
    She is continuing this tradition (?) by teaching her brothers children to mix up their socks much to his dismay. Now we think something is wrong if her socks match.
    Jan

  10. 10

    I’m so happy that you are back. I’ve missed you.

    I’m sorry to hear of your sister’s passing. You have my sympathy and my prayers.

  11. 11
    Laura

    Praying for you, Amy. I’ve lost a sibling – I’ve been there… I know prayer is all anyone can offer, because nothing else will help.

    My mom is dying right now. Cancer, & COPD, & congestive heart failure. It’s ugly, and very drawn out, and all we can do is watch & wait & make her comfortable.

    Waiting for happiness to arrive here as well.

    God bless you!

  12. 12
    Kelly P

    So glad to “hear” your voice again, Amy. I was thinking of Lewis and that very essay as I was reading, so well done. I’ve missed your writing very much and thank you for being brave enough to grieve and suffer and ponder in front of us. It’s more encouraging than you might know!

  13. 13
    Dawn

    Nice to see you again! Skip the miracle grow and go right to humic/fulvic acid…that bush will explode roses. :)

  14. 14
    Janet

    I wish you could take a peek into my life- although you might run away, screaming!! I am a little farther down the path, having raised 9 kids to adulthood. So how come my life is not yet perfect? And why do we still have unmatched socks?

    God puts perfectionists into chaos. He wants us to know that we really can’t measure up to our own delusions of grandeur.

    Somehow, through it all, we learn to be content. And happy.

  15. 15

    Amen

  16. 16
    Lois

    Very clever touch to take us even deeper with your changing color “maybe”! It’s the end of the day here and there’s much to ponder on as I fall asleep. thank you.

  17. 17
    Janet

    This speaks to me so deeply. And I’m not just talkin about the mis-matched socks.

  18. 18
    Jo Ann

    I’m sorry for your loss and all those who loved your sister. And your words resonate within me deeply.

    I remember when my 5 year old son (now 11) refused to wear matching socks for quite a while because it was “just a rule of society” (Thank you, Cosby Show). *sigh* You know the challenges (and joys) of raising one like him. I’ll have to plant some of those roses for those not so easy days which seem to be coming way to frequently.

  19. 19
    Lorene

    Amy, it was so good to hear from you. I missed your honesty and forthrightness about how life really is. I too identify with the thinking that it would change as I learned to get my act together….it doesn’t. Life continues to throw us curve balls and according to my older pastor it continues even at his age. I have finally decided to settle for functionality and not perfection…think I can accomplish that? HA, probably not all the time! And I know the longing for perfection does drive us to the feet of Jesus where HE alone can heal us. (((HUGS)))

  20. 20
    Jo

    My heart is breaking for you, but am so encouraged that your sister came to know Christ and that you were reconciled. It helps me to remember to KEEP asking, KEEP seeking, KEEP knocking. That we can’t loose heart.

    I have missed you and am so glad you are up and writing!!!

  21. 21
    Jo

    Oh, and Amy. My mom has some lovely fragrant roses by her sun room (they do have many of those fancy rooms). I love walking by and smelling them mixed with the mint that is planted near by. So divine. The other best smell are the orange blossoms. They’re so lovely.

  22. 22

    I used to imagine the people in Suburbans as I drove around town. The car was full of a FAMILY. Now I have a Suburban and the car is full of kids, only the car did not make us a FAMILY…that’s something we’re working on. ;-)

  23. 23

    I’m so glad you wrote! But so sorry for the loss of your sister. I hear you on the doing it all wrong. I feel the same way. So grateful for God’s grace. I know it’s sufficient even though I fail so very often.

  24. 24
    AP

    I feel like you must live in my house;). Thank you for blogging your thoughts, if only to make me feel like I’m not the only one whose children leave the house wearing two different colored & style socks, hair that looks like a bird made a nest in it and t-shirts with holes (that I thought I had gotten rid of). I, too have a climbing rose planted by my back door, that just started to bloom in it’s glory last year. It took the edge off the wild jungle wilderness that is or was the rest of my garden/yard/field.
    Thank goodness for God’s grace.

  25. 25

    I’m so relieved to hear that I’m not the only one who dresses my kids the night before, or that they often wear mismatched socks (the latest was one bright pink and one pink striped).
    I’m constantly striving for that thing that will make me happy, too, usually being better organized. I have four kids ages 1 through 4, so I guess I have three more years before I have to “arrive” at perfection, right? It is nice to hear that it gets better, though.
    I’m sorry about your sister, too. I wish I could say something that would make it better.


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