The Weight of Not Enough: A Litany, Some Questions

by Micha

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I don’t have it in me to write something meaningful. My mind is not enough today.

I’ve been back from Guatemala for a week now and my head is thick and swimmy. Its insides move too slow for recognition. Maybe my mind is made of honey, maybe slime. Either way, I have nothing interesting to say about what should be or what could be.

This morning, I read Nehemiah 10. I read it on the couch in the warm white light of my computer at 6 am. I read about the nation of Israel, making promises to turn from their disobedience, to make God a priority again. I think of how hard it is to change our behaviors with promises. I think about how desire forms deep beneath our bones, deep in the insides of our insides. I think how grace must meet desire first, before any new behavior flows good from it.

Then I hear my two-year-old open his door and pad the floor with quiet steps down the hall. He stands in the doorway of the living room and smiles with his lips tight and his eyes barely slit open, his hair lifted to the sky. I think: Take a picture with your mind so you don’t forget. Then he runs toward me, climbs into my lap.

I don’t pray much after that.

There is breakfast to make and boys to dress and a house to leave by 7:30 am. I don’t lose my temper today. We’re actually on time despite my children’s slow motion dressing of themselves. I remind God about it on the way to school. “Did you notice?” I pray through my slime-filled brain waves. “I didn’t yell at anybody! Even though everybody was slow!”

I imagine God’s sarcastic smile. “You’re golden, Micha,” God says and laughs. Then God’s face turns serious: “You’re a good mom.” And I believe it. I believe God.

We actually find a parking space three blocks from school, a miracle in this urban neighborhood school, which was built long before the invention of parking lots or drop off lanes. (Something I usually thank God for, except when we’re running late or it’s raining.) But today, the sun shines and I walk with my two sons and make it in time to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at 7:50 on a blacktop full of hundreds of Kindergarten through Fifth grade kids.

Then my toddler and I hit the grocery store and come home in time for the arrival of a friend’s little girl, who I watch for a couple of hours. I eat lunch standing up and then gather the load of freshly dried towels, while the two-year-olds eat pb&js. I think of what I saw last week in Guatemala. I think of mothers there struggling to feed their little ones, or hand scrubbing clothes in the cold, community washing pool.

Every pause of my life and I keep coming back to them. The mothers in Guatemala, the age in their faces, the weight of not enough.

The weight of not enough, I whisper to the living room, the kids now freed from their lunch seats. They play with cars while I gather corners of towels and crease and fold.

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The weight of not enough.

Those women I saw wore age on their faces and I am probably older than they. Me with my young skin and smile wrinkles barely forming under my mid-thirties eyes.

When my friend’s daughter leaves and I pick up my Kindergartener and he and I sit down for “a” sounds and “m” sounds on the worksheet at the homework table, I feel that phrase working its way down through the sludge of my mind.

Enough.

We all carry the weight of not enough.

There is never quite enough of anything. And what is enough always demands we tend it.

Am I enough? Is God enough? Am I content in the enough I’ve been given?

And those mamas with babies strapped to their backs in the mountain towns near Antigua. Do they have enough? Enough food? Enough time to grow their crops? Enough seed? Enough clean water?

And when will there be enough? When will God crash into this Lack in us, this Lack around us, and spread wide the Holy Enough?

Some posts are for litanies. Some are for questions.

 

Photos Credit: Matthew Paul Turner

 

 

10 Responses to “The Weight of Not Enough: A Litany, Some Questions”

  1. beth September 25, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    Your post is beautiful and I wonder the same thing. And I wonder when will enough be enough for and how will I know? How will I know when I am finally good enough at anything and have enough of everything?

  2. Tanya Marlow September 25, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    Yes. Oh yes.

    I love the silences and the spaces in this piece. Gave me room to breathe.

  3. Elizabeth Evans September 26, 2013 at 6:50 am #

    I as well liked the spaces/pause for thought and reflection in this true heartfelt when is enough, enough.

  4. Cara Strickland September 26, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    “I think how grace must meet desire first, before any new behavior flows good from it.”
    I love this, and in some ways it feels like a whispered answer of the questions we are both asking (I’ve been asking these as well, lately).
    God must be the One who does it all.

  5. Diana Trautwein September 26, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    Absolutely lovely, Micha. I can hear you sighing as I read. Thank you for capturing your questions and responses in this beautiful litany/list.

  6. Rachel Riebe September 28, 2013 at 6:06 am #

    Funny how not enough can plague the human race in every different context, socio economic status, age, etc. No matter where or who we are, it is a burning burden. Well questioned, well said.

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