Tag-Archive for ◊ lifestyle ◊

• Tuesday, February 03rd, 2015

imageIt happened again. Another woman came up to Willow at church, bemoaning the fact that her husband isn’t appreciating their new “ambient lighting” (read: candles she bought from Willow last month) or that he has to plug in the satellite TV box half an hour before any game because she keeps it unplugged to “avoid the intrusion of the world on our home.”  He likes the sports part of the world, thank-you-very-much, and is sick of being made to feel like he’s sub-par for it.

Their counters are covered with tomato and pepper seedlings.  From the sounds of it, they’ll have enough plants to feed half of Fairbury.

We won’t even talk about how unimpressed said husband was over his newly darned socks.  I believe Willow said his words were, “When I hear ‘darned socks’ I hear it as the euphemism it should be.”  Apparently he doesn’t like the lumpiness around his heel.  Imagine that.

I expected Willow to tell the woman to learn to do what made her happy without infringing on the rest of her family’s preferences.  I’ve heard her say that before.  She suggested to one woman that just because the TV is in the house, doesn’t mean she has to turn it on.  She told the same woman that it wasn’t wasteful to make her own bread–even if she’s the only one who wants it. “Roman Meal” for hubby and kids and artisan style breads for her–there’s nothing wrong with both.  So, that’s where I was expecting her to go with the conversation.

She didn’t.

I’ll never forget her words.  “Denise, why do you want to cut out the electricity and grow a garden?  Why do you want to darn socks?”

It seemed like kind of an obvious answer to me, but I waited to see if Denise would say something else–something I hadn’t thought of.  She didn’t.  She said, “I love the peace and joy you have in your home.  I love the purposefulness of your life.  I want that for my life–for our family’s life.”

I sat back and waited for the words I’d told myself a thousand times.  Waited to hear, “Live your life with purpose.  Don’t try to dictate the purpose of others’ lives.”

Again, she didn’t say it.  This time, her shoulders squared a little.  I saw her lips tense and her eyes narrow, and I admit, I had to swallow twice to choke down the lump that formed in my throat.  Denise was going to get what Josh and I call a “Willow switching.”

In those very calm, scary cool tones she can get when struggling to control her temper, Willow shook her head and said, “Don’t do it, Denise.  Don’t try to copy my life or anyone else’s in an attempt to find the perfect formula for yours.  I do what I do because I love it!  I am not joy-filled and purposeful because I don’t use electricity for everyday life.  It’s the other way around.  I’m joy-filled and purposeful, and as a result, I don’t choose to use it.”  When Denise started to protest–when she insisted that copying Willow was the only way she knew how to try, Willow dropped the final bomb.

“You, my friend, are guilty of lifestyle idolization.  I want no part of it.  Go home.  Throw away your holey socks.  Plug in your conveniences.  Go shopping online.  Then pull out your Bible and search it for what the Lord wants for your life.  If it is growing vegetables and writing by candlelight in the evenings, then add carrots to your garden and make an appointment with your optometrist and then go for it.  But you may find that it’s designing digital scrapbook elements or writing a travel blog.  Maybe it’s just being a wife and mother. Maybe it’s starting your own company.  Whatever it is–make it yours.  Stop trying to be someone you’re not.”

Yeah.  I went home from church that day and had a long talk with Josh.  I definitely am guilty of “lifestyle idolization” sometimes.  And because of it, sometimes I overlook how much my husband gives up of his own comfort and preferences to please me.  That’s got to stop.


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