Today began intensive potty training for Robbie at our house. No, this is not going to be a blog about potty training. However, be glad that my blogging sabbatical is coming up when it is, because I'm sure a day would otherwise be bound to come along where I had nothing to talk about but P.T.
I will not be that blog.
Nevertheless, the experience has helped to hammer home a point that isn't new, novel, or profound, but has hit me with a sort of fresh newness these past couple of days (and I'm pretty sure I've touched on it before on this here blog thing):
Life is happening.
I know, that's a really duh sort of statement, right? Still, it's one I think I take for granted, or just flat out don't realize, most of the time. See, my year is basically compartmentalized into five segments of similar but varying length. The are called MS1/K1, MS2/K2, MS3/K3, MS4/K4, and MS5. (For those not in the know, those are the designations we give to our main stage and childrens' shows so we can put them into the schedule before we've decided what they're going to be) By the time K2 closes, K3 is already in the works. Heck, I've got my first production meeting for K4 on Tuesday, the morning after K3 holds its first rehearsal. So, while my life is not comprised entirely of my work, my schedule pretty much is, and at that break-neck pace it can start to feel like I'm not a rational creature, but a being that is forcibly ushered from one project into the next, and before you know it, four and a half years are behind you.
But that isn't life. It's definitely a big component of life, but it's not it. What happens to me as I'm ushered mindlessly from one project to the next, how I feel about each project, how I treat each person I work with, and the memories and stories we either laugh or cry about months later, that's life. That sticks. My ever-evolving attitude toward my coworkers, that's life. The things I learn from day to day or year to year, that's life.
You know what keeping this blog has shown me concretely? I change. I'm not the person I was three-hundred sixty-three days ago. I'm not a radically different person, but I'm not quite the same, either. Because somewhere, between the links and the hockey stories and the theatrical retrospective and the Youtube clips and the cute Robbie stories, life was happening, and it was changing me one way or another. Am I more jaded? In some ways. Am I more optimistic? In some ways. Am I a better speller? No, not really.
Am I happier? Am I wiser?
Am I better?
Those are deep questions, and deep questions almost always come across as superficial for some reason. They also require more attention than I feel I can (or should, for that matter) share with the Internet. But they're important questions. And the honest answers are not necessarily good or bad, they are just honest.
Now let's see, why am I bringing this up?
I think it started about a week ago, when I had a rather sticky parenting situation involving a tantrum and time out and trying to show my son that, while I want him to be happy and have what he wants, there have to be consequences for misbehavior. I won't go into all the details, but it can be a tough call, and I thought we handled it pretty well. He ended up taking the full extent of his punishment, and afterward we sat and read a book together. We were still buds. It was cool.
The thought struck me later: I'm really a parent. Not only that, but I'm really an adult, I've really had a steady job for four and a half years, I'm really improving in several areas of my life, I really manage my family's finances, etc.
I think, as people, we tend to want to look forward to the next thing. When we're college, we wonder what it'll be like to be out of school. When we're single, we think about being in a relationship or being married. When we're married, we think about having kids. When we have kids, we think about what we have to do to help the kid learn to walk, then learn to talk, then learn to use the bathroom, then how we'll get them to grade school. All the while, life is happening to us, and we totally don't even realize it most of the time. God is not waiting for us to reach a certain benchmark before He is laying out His plans for us, giving us opportunities to grow and learn, and dropping us either blessings or trials that He wishes to turn into blessings one day. And that's happening all the time!!
The other day, in my godder post, I made some comment that learning is itself a miracle. We lose the wonder of learning something new long before we get into high school, which is unfortunate. Looking into the intelligent eyes of my child, however, as he listened to my words and tried to understand the concept of love and consequences, I realized what a struggle it is to embrace the idea that our notion of the world is incorrect, or at least incomplete (because that is, in effect, what learning is). And yet we do it, and when we do, when we become changed, life is happening to us. It isn't waiting for us to be ready.
Is this babbling? Does this even mean anything?
Are you still reading?
Doesn't matter. Whether you are or not, life is happening to you. It's not a dress rehearsal, and what you do in the next fifteen minutes will in some way have an effect, no matter how small, on the rest of your life. And the first thing you say to the next person you see has the potential to do the same.
God isn't waiting. Life isn't waiting. If you're waiting, stop. Life is calling.