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Managing this Space

July 8, 2011

For years I watched you, not understanding, not wanting to understand. You did life differently. And I didn’t like it it. You were spontaneous and open ended. Everything rolled off your shoulders. Very little mattered outside the moment. You didn’t care what other people thought. You were always happy. And people liked you. And I was confounded! I needed you to be different, act different, think different but you never conformed to the picture in my head. It only took 18 years for me to understand how alike we really were, are. The expression looked different but the heart was the same. Fallible. Misunderstood. Prone to wander. Out of place but loved all the same. And when I finally understood, I was free to love you.

I’ve never understood how the very same woman, my mom, could birth two girls who are so very different. And so my sister became my very first case study in appreciating diversity. We fought a lot when we were little. Hair brushes, remote controls, and barbies were choice weapons. Sharp words and sarcastic jabs were commonplace. I was the bratty, tag-along little sister who’s constant chorus was “Me, too!” And Erin was the carefree, leave-me-alone older sister. Experiencing the freedom of forgiveness pushed open the door to me understanding, even liking, my sister. Forgiveness transformed my seeing. I could finally see her as yes, different, but in a way that made her beautiful and unique, and in a way that drew me to want to know her.

My mind ruminated on this tension about this same time last year (read my old blog).

And this year, I’m drawn back to this space, wanting to manage conflict, ambiguity and uncertainty. I teeter between peace-filled resolve and depressed hopelessness. I live in a place of unanswered questions and hypothetical what-ifs, seemingly taller than ancient oaks. I wonder if I’m doing enough, offering enough, being enough for Reed. But I cannot manage all of this. Not without crushing the people around me.

So as i learned with my sister, I’m learning to trust who God has created Reed to be. I cannot manage him into my little black and white box of certainty and periods. I’m learning to believe that our relationship can be full even though I finger an endless number of question marks. I’m seeing that Reed is beautiful and unique, not despite, but because of this contentious, ambiguous space.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 8, 2011 6:08 pm

    I share much the same relationship with my sister- total opposites. I was timid and shy, she was outgoing and spontaneous. What’s interesting is that as the years have passed, we switched places in a lot of ways. But also grown more like one another as well.

    I love that you are blogging again, I like hearing what you have to say– so well thought out!

  2. Sarah Harlow permalink
    July 8, 2011 6:45 pm

    And our children…no matter who or what they are…aren’t exactly like us! This came as a bit of a shock too! 🙂 A child is a little bit of each parent. They are their own person. This child will like things we can’t stand and will even have a different sense of humor! The second discovery was that a first and a second child are different too! They can’t be raised the same way, can’t be disciplined the same way, can’t even be fed the same things! We just really have to try to keep up and learn what works with each one. EVERY DAY! 🙂 Enjoy the ride!

  3. Erin permalink
    July 8, 2011 11:07 pm

    And I never thought I would need or even want you around! Now you are my closest friend. I love you more than you can know. And ironically, I need you 🙂 love you!

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