Monday, February 11, 2013
What is Important
Sometimes when I tell people about my travels, I get a response like this "Wow that must be nice."
When I get an upgrade, when I am stuck in a town due to weather delays or cancelled flights and I stay in an upgraded suite, dine on room service or Häagen Dazs ice cream, when the car rental company gives me the newest model of a black sleek car, and when I get to skip security it does feel like I get my own little mini-vacation. I can't pretend like being alone in a hotel room with room service is "stressful" or "sensory overload" like my house often is on a regular basis.
And yesterday at church, someone posed the question: "What is your holy place?" and I had to admit to myself that unlike some other women whose response is "the bathroom", I actually have a quiet and peaceful place where I spend time on a regular basis. That is since my "no TV" policy I established a few years ago (due to excessive Seinfelding at 11 every night).
But when I sit down to look at my travel schedule and find that I am going to be away from my family for at least some portion of the week for weeks on end, I wonder if it really is nice.
My children are growing up. My two oldest are in fact away from home already much more than I anticipated, spending time with friends, or extra-curriculars and as they grow up, I miss them tremendously. And I wonder what long-term effect my travels will have on my children.
Will they report to their therapist that their mother was always gone and neglected them or will their sense of independence and ability to make choices be greater and healthier psychologically?
Will I look back on my life and wonder if my sense of purpose was skewed in wanting to serve so many children over serving my own brood on a regular basis or will I feel a sense of satisfaction at having done both?
Will my husband look back on our marriage as a one-sided effort or will he feel closer to me because we made a great effort to spend time together precisely because of my schedule?
If I were working for a standard for-profit industry, I feel that the moral dilemma I face would not be so complicated. Though I doubt I would be able to recognize it, I feel that in my heart I would know that my time of jet-setting was to come to an end once my husband had a job and we had another income.
But now, I can't imagine giving up the work I am engaging in nationally and by the way being paid for it any more than I can imagine not being a mother. It is who I have become and who I want to be--so the question becomes even more complicated. Were I not working for pay, I would still spend hundreds of hours a month in schools, school board meetings, or some other nefarious volunteerism.
As I recently said to a co-worker, we are all busy doing a certain number of things. Some of us do more things and do them less effectively--I am one of these individuals. No matter what anyone says, I am certain that my effort to raise my children is less efficacious than a woman who is at home with her children full-time. I am positive that my home would be cleaner, my medical bills more organized, my budget in better shape and my church service would be greater. I know I would be a better intern and grad student if I weren't doing 10 other things, a more committed friend and a less needy wife--but these are not the choices I have made.
What I still can't decide is whether more is less, or, as my mind and body insist, more is more.
Hampton Inn, I will see you this evening O my Holy Place.