Weekly Challenge: Taking Action

YOU. Yes, you. I have a challenge for you.

Every week, I’ll post a challenge. It can be about anything, on any topic. They will challenge the way you think, the way that you see the world. It will make you think, forcing you to step back and reevaluate. In the end, you may find that it will change your world.

Today’s challenge: Taking action
Some of my posts are inspired by daily events. So it is in this case. News travels fast. In the Internet world, it’s even faster. This morning, this world exploded with the stunning, horrifying news: school shooting. 27 dead. Most of them are children, far too young for their lives to be cut so short. Those who made it through- did they really? Their innocence is destroyed; that childish sense of safety, where all the world is their playground, where the bad guy always gets his- that illusion is broken by the chaotic sounds of shots firing.

Most of us, however, lay untouched by these events. We sit shocked, horrified, but in the morning we’ll get up just as we always did. We’ll sleep tonight, wondering how such horror could happen, and we’ll get up in the morning and go to our jobs, our holiday vacations, family times, and party nights. We might go to church on Sunday and stand vigil, meditating in prayer for those who died.

But what has changed? We’ll spend Sunday morning in vigil, and then dismiss to cheer for our respective football teams at the next game. Has it really made a difference?

I want to challenge you today. We’ve all heard the cliche phrases about holding your loved ones close, about living your life fully because tomorrow is not promised.

Today, I want to take that a step further. Tomorrow is not promised- all the more reason to do all that we “would have done.” What’s holding you back, really? There’s always a reason not to. Today, you have more reason to just DO IT.

Mourning over those lost changes nothing. It’s sad, but unless you were there or someone you love was affected, you won’t be. Because until then, it’s just a story. It’s just a story, until it happens to you. And so we sigh over a story, we talk about what must be done, we wonder what we would feel like in the same situation. We argue and debate over how to prevent this in the future (yes, I find myself guilty of the same), and we tsk that such a horrible incident could ever occur in peaceful Connecticut.

We mourn, and we move on, and in the end, it’s just another day in the life, another bad story in the headlines. But stop for a minute- what if it WAS you? Read the personal stories of those affected, listen to the news accounts… and then act. Maybe do something directly- campaign for gun laws, or against them, or raise money for safer schools.

But you don’t even need to go that far. How about reaching out to someone around you, someone who needs it? We are surrounded by people every day, people that we walk by with nary a word. We glance at them, maybe we nod, and we move on, unaffected.

Today- be affected by the stories around you. Make them your stories, and take action.

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Rock-a-bye Baby

Ask any parent, and they will tell you- teething = fussiness. Some babies have less trouble with it than others. Mine doesn’t. My almost-4-month-old is teething. Some days are better than others. On her not-so-good days, she wants nothing more than to just sit and rock with me while we listen to music. (The music is important)

So we sit there, rocking… for an hour… while the rest of the house sits there… for an hour. I have chores to do, meals to cook. My articles won’t write themselves.

And yet I sit there. Some days, by the time Daniel gets home from work, I am very tired, worn out from a day of nothing. Amazing how unproductive days can make you feel so tired, isn’t it?

Sometimes it does drag on me. My little girl is a Daddy’s girl- except when it comes to moments like these. Times like these, all she wants is Mommy. She wants to sit in my arms, lying her head in my shoulder, where she’ll rock and listen to the random songs I find on Youtube.

It drives me ragged. I don’t remember the last time I had a girls’ day.

And she still wants me.

Despite all my shortcomings, she wants me.

Despite my frustrations and impatience, she wants me.

Despite the messy house, the chores yet undone- she wants me.

It doesn’t matter to her that the house isn’t clean enough or that things aren’t organized as they should be. It doesn’t matter to her that I don’t have all the right snacks ready to grab from the kitchen or that the bed (both hers and mine) is a colorful mess or that my pillows remain on the ground where they were tossed last night.

It doesn’t matter. All that matters to her is that Mama is there to rock her and has nothing better to do than to sing to her. She wants me… just me, just as I am. It’s all she wants.

And so we sit on the couch, mismatching pillows scattered around us for comfort. I balance my computer on the arm of the couch and keep ten Youtube tabs open in order to have the next song loaded and ready when the last one is done. And I sing to her, in my slightly off-key sort of voice- which she still doesn’t care about.  I go through every song I know, breathlessly hoping I don’t run out before she’s happy again. Sometimes I play the same song twice.

Because it matters to her.

Motivation

Some days, I just don’t feel like doing anything. There are mornings when the bed covers reach up, cocooning me in sleepy layers of cotton and polyester. The coffee fails at its appointed task of giving my slogging mind a jump-start. I go about the house in a daze of motion, heavy eyes refuse to comprehend the slurred words smeared across the computer screen.

But then I remember: This isn’t a competition. It’s not a race. It isn’t to see which mom can have the cleanest house, or whose kids have the cute little braids and matching outfits. It’s not to see which writer can write the most stellar articles or turn out the most pieces in a single hour.

It’s not about them. It’s about me… and my own family. It’s about my own little circle of hearts knitted together, bound by blood and love. It’s about doing what works for my family. If I take a little longer writing an article, it’s because I was distracted by a three-month-old who just wanted to be held, and so we went outside and sat on the porch for a while. If there are still dirty dishes piled in the sink, it’s because I rocked my baby to sleep for an extra hour.

It’s these things that make the difference. The little things. Not the house or the work. It’s the smile in my daughter’s eyes, that adorable accidental laugh that’s only just beginning to slip out. This is what keeps me going. This is my wake-up call.