Are you familiar with these words?
“Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I'm not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I'm doing something wrong.
I used to worry that not only was I failing to do a good enough job at parenting, but that I wasn't enjoying it enough. Double failure. I felt guilty because I wasn't in parental ecstasy every hour of every day and I wasn't MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT like the mamas in the parenting magazines seemed to be doing. I felt guilty because honestly, I was tired and cranky and ready for the day to be over quite often. And because I knew that one day, I'd wake up and the kids would be gone, and I'd be the old lady in the grocery store with my hand over my heart. Would I be able to say I enjoyed every moment? No.
Then there's Kairos time. Kairos is God's time. It's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. It's those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day. And I cherish them.” –Glennon Doyle Melton, Momastery.com
When I read those words, back in the fall of 2011, I felt like Glennon had taken the thoughts from my brain and penned them. Then she went and posted them to her blog (immediately going viral) and suddenly every one I knew was coming out of the woodwork, admitting that raising young kids is hard and painful and frustrating but still good. For the first time, I felt like it was okay for me to not love every single second of parenting a baby.
From that moment on, I became slightly more obsessed with Glennon’s blog. I went back and re-read every post that had been written prior and suddenly found myself feeling even more connected to this person, whom I had never met. When Glennon announced that she was writing a book, “Carry On, Warrior”, I anxiously awaited its release. I devoured her book in two afternoons and jumped online to discover that the closest book signing would be in Naperville, IL.
Though I was tempted, I ultimately decided that driving ten hours for a ten-second book signing was just a little crazy. I justified my decision by telling myself, “It would be different if she was giving a speech, or something.” I was disappointed and maybe even a little sad about missing my opportunity to meet my new friend (who doesn’t know I exist). But sometimes, the Universe gives you a second chance, which ends up being a zillion times better than the first opportunity.
It turns out that my second chance was exactly what I was looking for. She was giving a speech, or something. And the speech was being held at a large Lutheran church in a suburb of Minneapolis—a totally do-able drive for me. So Friday afternoon, the excited butterflies in my stomach and I headed up to Minnesota.
I arrived early (even though I totally got caught in Minneapolis rush-hour traffic, duh) and quietly found a pew in the middle of the church. Only a handful of people had arrived as early as me, and as I glanced around the room, I decided to move a bit closer—after all, I was here to really see this person. I wanted to take it all in. So I sheepishly stood up and quickly moved about five rows closer. A few minutes later, a gal sat down next to me and we exchanged pleasantries. Eventually, I whispered to her, “I’m so tempted to go sit in the front row! I can’t believe it’s still empty!” And she said, “I’ll totally move up to the front row with you!” So my new friend and I made our way to the very front, where we began chatting about ourselves, our families, and Glennon’s blog. (We admitted that our excitement mirrored that of a twelve year old at a Bieber concert.)
Shortly before 7:00, Glennon and her sister entered the sanctuary and sat down in the front row, perpendicular to us. At the moment, I was showing Vanessa (my new friend) a gift I had brought along to give to Glennon, if given the chance. I wasn’t sure I would have the chutzpa to introduce myself, and I figured I might end up sending it in the mail. But then, this little voice inside my head said, “Go over there! What are you waiting for?!” So without thinking, I took the book from Vanessa and headed over to meet my friend who doesn’t know that I exist.
The following is a little blurry. With my heart pounding, I introduced myself to Glennon and her sister, apologized for not having anything clever or thought-provoking to say, and thanked her for all she does. I gave her a copy of the children’s book, Good People Everywhere, which is one of my all-time favorites. It feels like the kid-version of Glennon’s message: Show up, be a good person, do good things, Love Wins. I think she liked it.
Shortly after, I settled into my front row seat, and listened to Glennon speak for a good hour. She talked about her life as a recovering bulimic and alcoholic. She talked about motherhood and she talked about her faith. She talked about how her blog, Momastery, was inspired from her obsession with monasteries—during a point in her life with 3 small children—where silent rooms sounded like Heaven. She talked about Jesus, but in a non-preachy way that even people like me can handle. (Before beginning, she mentioned being very nervous and how she hopes God is here with her tonight and that she’d like to have a quick prayer. All the heads around me bowed in anticipation of a lovely, serious, prayer—and I quickly prayed “please don’t be to Jesus-ey tonight!”—and then she prayed, “Dear God, you better show up tonight Mister!”) She talked about opening up our hearts to others, loving others around us, doing the next right thing, and showing up for life, even when it’s hard.
Later, as she was answering questions from the audience, I found myself wanting to pack her up and take her home with me; to plop her on my couch and just talk the night away. I think we would have a lot to talk about. Had I the nerve, I would have asked her this terrifying question: Glennon, you are a Christian. You are so sure of your beliefs. And you send such a positive-loving-message out there into the world. I’m not a Christian. I’m not even sure what I believe—if I believe anything at all. But I do believe that I’m a good person. So my question is: How do you, as a Christian, let other Christians know that those of us ‘non-believers’ or people of other faiths are just as saved, just as good, just as worthy as you Christians? And that it can stop there. We don’t need to be saved or prayed for or preached to or introduced to Jesus, we’re fine the way we are.” I’m curious about her response and someday, would love to have the nerve to ask her.
In the meantime, I’ll keep reading her posts and sharing them with my friends. I feel so grateful for having the opportunity to hear her speak, and I will definitely be in the audience the next time she's within driving distance. (Who's coming with me!?) I’ll take her message to heart: keep showing up and keep doing the right thing. I’ll remind myself that life is fun and silly and beautiful. And when life is hard and ugly and confusing, or just a little frustrating, I’ll remind myself to carry on, warrior.
**Glennon recently posted about connecting with other women, (here's the link), and although it's scary and kind of awkward, I'm really going to try to do this. On Friday, taking this risk resulted in meeting two new sweet friends-- just wish I lived in the cities and could actually hang out with them**