I recently watched a documentary on the West. The show was called...wait for it... "The West." History fascinates me and since I spent several of my childhood years in Nebraska, the settling and "taming" of the West is of particular interest. One thing that always gets me is the overwhelming isolation people dealt with. This documentary tells of the Love family who settled in Wyoming on an area the size of Rhode Island. It was just them...in an area the size of RHODE ISLAND!! Is it just me or is that impossibly hard to comprehend? How lonely they must have felt.
In this age of "social" networking I find myself feeling similarly isolated, which is kind of crazy. Facebook posts display the parties I'm NOT invited to and the social outings I DON'T get to attend and remind me that I have about 25 less best friends than everyone else. There are days when I'm at home, surrounded by dirty diapers, mounds of laundry, chores that never seem to end, haunted by the fact that it may be 12 hours until I see an another adult. My mind wanders to the brave women of the West who were truly, truly alone and sometimes had to wait days to see another adult when the men were out hunting or in town. How did they not go crazy? (Or completely lose it on their kids?) I only have four my great-grandmother had at least twice that many.
The other day was particularly hard. The whining and fighting were seriously giving me cold shivers, so I left the kids in front of the TV (don't judge me) and went outside for a few minutes. After a few deep breaths and some feeble prayers, I heard in my spirit that I was trying to draw my sustenance from the wrong source. Facebook, television, movies all portray a lie that you have to measure up to something. But the thing is, I'm the only one holding the yardstick. After talking to a few pre-school moms this morning, I've come to realize that the only one measuring me is ME! Friends won't fill me, parties won't fill me, my lovely family won't do it. The only thing that can honestly fill the lonely hole in my heart is the one who was created to fill it...Jesus. I was created to be me. As much as I'd love to be at the beach right now, or in France with some newly engaged friends (don't think they'd appreciate the visit, however), or even getting my nails done, that's not MY life. Maybe that's why the Bible talks about being content and not coveting. When you're trying to live another's life all you're going to feel is alone because it's not the life you were designed to live.
Facebook friends will post about the dance classes, gymnastic classes, music, swimming, and sports that their kids are participating in, and when I start to feel bad about not being able to provide those things for my kids, I'll think back to the Love family in wild Wyoming. They had three children on that vast ranch. One became a chemist, one became a geologist, and one became an engineer (surely without a full extra-curricular calendar) . My kids will do just fine too, as long as they know that the source of their strength and the source of their Living Water is their creator.
I plan to work hard at being me, living my lot, and (attempting to) love every minute of it. The women on the plains showed great perseverance and great strength. A lot of failures and heartache came with their lives but I believe they were proud of who they were and what they were doing. These women didn't have 605 Facebook "friends" but I believe most of them had One. And this friend, this gentle shepherd was more than enough to fill the lonely days.