Sometimes, I just don’t know what to do.
Daily, I’m presented with decisions—decisions that confound me. Should I let Ellie “cry it out” as she screams, or should I comfort her? Should I correct Sophie every time she says “baby” instead of “maybe”, “sanks” instead of “thanks”, “free” instead of “three”— or should I let her speak without critique? Do I force Cohen to eat everything we’re eating for dinner, or do I continue to let him subsist on strawberries and buttered bread? And after I’ve made any one of the aforementioned decisions, how will I know it’s the right one?
Like this week, Cohen has been overtired and under the weather. Do I stick with the routine and make him go to school, or do I let him stay home and catch up on sleep? I know there must be people out there who simply make these sorts of decisions without overanalyzing them—bold, confident, beautiful people who march through life unfettered by pros & cons lists and reoccurring dreams about tornadoes. But I am not one of those people.
The past few days, the bulk my dialogue (or monologue) with Cohen has been “Come on buddy, we have to move faster so we can get ________.” Or “One, two (insert quarter increments before three)”. And then once I leave him I wonder how I came to live in this world that so values running and running and running from place A to place B, and I tell myself I’m making him grow up too fast by making him run, run, run like the rest of the mindless and exhausted herd—because after all, he’s only 5, why should he already have to start rushing? (Did I mention I’m an (over)thinker?)
Sometimes I just don’t know what to do.
So tonight I was reading the sermon on mount, trying to scavenge some sense out of Story. And here is what I noticed about what Jesus says to all those people—he advises us to do nearly impossible things: he wants us to eradicate anger (Matthew 5:22), turn the other cheek (39), and love our enemies (45). The sermon on the mount is this gradual crescendo of instructions, ultimately ending in his request for what is indeed impossible: for us to “be perfect, as [our] heavenly Father is perfect.”
And I noticed how there are other words—reassuring words—embedded within those instructions. First, before he tells us to do anything, Jesus reminds us how the Kingdom of Heaven is available to all—“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The meek, the mourners, the persecuted—the Kingdom is available for them. And then, shortly after his words regarding perfection, He is brazen and beautiful enough to remind us to “. . . not worry about [our] lives, about what we’ll eat and what we’ll drink; about our bodies or what we will wear…” He wants us to be perfect, and he tells us not to worry about it.
Do you see? He whispers to me, I want you to rest in the reassurance that everything is not all about you. Surrender, surrender, surrender. Do not worry. Do not try. Simply be.
So does this mean the next time I’m trying to figure out how to get Cohen’s clothes on when he won’t get out of bed in the morning I should sit like the Buddha and say “Ohmmm” and listen for the whispers of the Spirit?
Or maybe it means before I start pulling him out of bed, I should look at him, silent for a moment, quiet enough to say “I surrender God, Live in me,” before I pull his covers back and rush into the inevitable racing of the day. Maybe those quiet seconds of surrender will grow into minutes, and those minutes will grow into hours, until eventually surrender seeps into my actions, into my Being—releasing my guilt and recreating my heart into something Bold, into something Beautiful, into a creation that not only understands the right decisions to make, but also into a creation that is indeed “perfect, as her heavenly Father is perfect.”