I do not have all the answers. I don’t know where the healthy balance is in using technology and using our bodies. I only sense that we’re out of balance, and as a mother of two incredibly active young boys, my most constant feeling is that I’m failing them, precisely because I don’t know the answers to these questions. I fear I’m drugging their active, quick brains on too much TV simply because sometimes my own body is so tired. I do not have this figured out, and I have DESPERATELY NEEDED to figure it out, thinking that if I could name exactly what is bad about too much TV or too much internet, I could finally set some limits and stick to them once and for all. And succeed at parenting in this high-technology age.
But my husband reminded me of something a theologian said long ago: we will never be anything but beggars in this life. We are justified in no expectation and no sense of entitlement – especially success. Anything we have is gift and blessing, and we have deserved none of it. Yet still we receive it – sometimes abundantly. The sooner we accept that, the freer we will be. We have been ALLOWED to be successful at some things, and to fail at others. It is not solely due to our effort (although our effort has a role).
So beginning today, when I feel like a failure in raising my boys, I’m going to try to simply accept that, yes, I can’t provide everything that my boys need. I have failed them in the past, I am failing them now, and I will fail them in the future. Out of no fault of their own, they, like every single other human being in all of history, have an imperfect mother. I will make mistakes out of ignorance and out of willfulness. I will try not to cover over that reality anymore with anxiety that leads to striving more and more to learn more and argue better and insist on my own way to distract people from my weaknesses and failures. I sense that the more I admit that I am broken, the freer I will be. And that freedom naturally yields energy and focus and joy.
Really this blog is about becoming embodied – choosing to live in my body and call it blessed, however broken and imperfect it may be. It is blessed and can give blessing through its weaknesses, because I notice that when I admit my weaknesses, I am able to have compassion for others in their weaknesses, and I am better able to love unselfconsciously. I’m better able to enjoy the moment, enjoy the day, enjoy my life, because the pressure to be perfect is gone. This above all is what will keep communication sustainable – and human.
The aspect of becoming embodied I’m working on most right now is this attempt to recognize that parenting, more than anything, has tested this iron will of mine to strive to be perfect at all costs. It has tested it, and it HAS BROKEN ME. I cannot master parenthood. I have wrestled with God over this daily for five years solid. I walk with a limp. But I am still blessed, because our bodies were made to be broken. Their fragility is part of their good design. Their healing capacity is also part of their good design. And where they heal, they become strong places of compassion. I can only assume the same is true of our spirits.