Friday, March 4, 2011

I so chicken

Give, give, give, I have said to others.  Don't be afraid to share.  Even if it seems small or worthless, even if it is a humble or even a poor gift.  Give and don't worry.  

Obedience through sacrifice.  Generosity through self-forgetfulness.  And all that.

Someone I know has a regular online column called "Confessions" in which she will publicly number some small failing or another.  "I haven't cooked for my family for a full week."  "My kids sometimes go to bed with unbrushed teeth."  "Today I wore the clothes I slept in."  (No, I made that last one up; she would never do that.)

Should I start a "Confessions" column, too? I briefly wondered, and then I laughed.  Isn't mine self-deprecatory enough, already what with all the ridiculous photos of my bad hair and all?  I don't take myself too seriously...  If I did, I might be tempted to compare myself to someone like Heather King and conclude that we wannabes should probably just give up.  It would occur to me that I might as well stop before I start because what's the use of not doing it well. 

Really, why bother?  Because, after all the sweat and tears, it might just be wasted.  Because: it might take me somewhere I am not ready to go.  Because: it might be too hard or something could come along to undo all of my hard work, like a toddler's crayonning on a newly-painted wall. 

Because anyway, there are plenty who do it better.

Hi there, it's me!  Chicken me.

I am not the first mother ever to worry that she could never give enough or love enough, or the only first-worlder to fret over whether the gifts might be mis-appropriated.  The lack of originality just another excuse to retreat.  That widow and her mite?  I am the lady in line behind her who overheard the whole thing and who looks down at the coins in her own hand and they are not copper or gold but something in between.  And because it is neither extravagant nor nobly poor, she pretends that she was near the treasury box for some other reason.  Not to bring an offering, but to, um, pray or think or observe or...something.   

Buk buk, and all that.

But I am going to keep showing up and drop in whatever coins may come my way. 

I will keep offering
and all the other not-good-enough things of every day.

I can give
and love
and fears that it's not enough.
the desire, and the desire to desire to give (even when I don't)
guilt about guilt (about guilt)
uncertainty as well as those ever-so-brief moments of clarity.

Finally: gratitude that, when you think that we are to offer from both poverty and abundance, there is so much in the spaces between.  And that means there is no way we could ever run out of things to give.

Offer up, chicken me.

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