But I Am

When I was young, I would sing songs to my friends about being young and listening to the radio. When I was young, I dreamed and I planned and I created. When I was young people told me all the things I should be. A writer, they said. A singer. A scientist. Be a strong woman. Don’t let the men get all the good jobs. You’re good at math. Go to college and do mathy/computery things with the big boys. It’s a woman’s world now; the women who came before you sacrificed greatly to open these doors for you. Don’t let it go to waste. Women can be fighter pilots now. Join the air force and bullet the blue sky just like the men do.

When I was young I met a boy that I knew I wanted to spend my life with. Don’t do it, they said. You’re too young. You have so much to offer. You’ll regret it someday.

When they get to the part where he’s breaking her heart, it can really make me cry.

I’m pretty sure my high school counselor is still mad at me. He worked hard to get me that presidential scholarship. I had a free ride to a place where other people’s parents paid bootie-loads of money for super-smart people to shove crap down their kids’ throats.

I lasted one semester and two weeks. I cried every day. I didn’t like the taste of crap.

People still think they know all the things I should do and they still try to tell me and I still don’t want to do any of it. Or if I did before, I don’t once they tell me I should. But I still dream. I still plan. And I still DO. My whole life, I have done things. REALLY done things. Someone put this thing inside of me that pushes me to excel and I rarely settle for less than the realization of my dream exactly how I imagined it. Other people look at that drive and they say “You should DO something with that!” and I always think, “……but I am……doing something…..”

It’s a quiet drive that I have. Like a luxury vehicle.

Is contentment with a small world a waste of a life? I think of the parable of the talents and sometimes I just don’t know. But I have had dreams and I do have dreams and I will have more dreams. They always consume me and I work at fulfilling them and when they are fulfilled, I am content for the moment. They mostly don’t involve performing on stages, winning grand prizes, dancing with royalty, or breaking world records. They are mostly private and I don’t talk much about them. One of them was to be a mother at a time when so many others were telling me I could accomplish so much more. I have watched a mountain grow in my belly (three times) and I have groaned and writhed with the agony of the curse and I have known the joy of a mother’s love when that wriggling, squawking, angry little thing has been placed at my breast and known contentment. What a blessing. What an immeasurable blessing.

I have nurtured (and wriggled) and guided (and squawked) and loved (and hen-pecked) those three young things to the places they are now, with the tender, loving help of their father. I don’t think I’ve wasted much. But then again, I don’t think anyone else would say I’ve wasted much either. But I don’t like to talk about it.

All my best memories come back clearly to me….some can even make me cry.


On His Blindness

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

John Milton

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  1. #1 by plunky on October 23, 2013 - 10:46 am

    You are indeed a luxury vehicle! Like my favorite Infiniti that floated down the road on clouds, cocoon-like and insulated from the noise of the world.

    And that picture…I love how their faces are all the same then as they are now. That is a good use of talent, right there.

    I do believe that God is very pleased with what you have done. I like it too. You’ve done a lot of good for me through it all!


  2. #2 by Leslie on October 23, 2013 - 11:01 am

    Thank you, dear friend. That picture breaks my heart into a million pieces every time I look at it. The deep, cautious one on the left, the dreamy, vulnerable one in the middle, and the round-faced, precious one on the right. I hope I squeezed and kissed their beautiful faces as much as I should have. I still do, but you know.


  3. #3 by Anna on October 23, 2013 - 8:31 pm

    Thank you. You did what you ” should’ve” done. It’s good for all of us younger ones who are being told what we should do to see the ones like you…and to know that you are the ones we most admire, that we find the most beautiful.


  4. #4 by Leslie on October 24, 2013 - 6:25 am

    Thank you for your kind words, Anna. May you also find peace and contentment as you pursue your beautiful dreams.


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