The old tune says, “You can’t always get what you want… You get what you neeeeed”, and I am trying to figure out why. Why? Why? Why? can’t I always get what I want? (insert sound effects of stomping feet here).
When I was in middle school (we called it junior high back then), I wanted anything Ralph Lauren. My mom and dad wouldn’t buy the sweaters b/c they cost too much and weren’t the best quality. But everyone had a Polo sweater. Not one to give up on asking (God bless my mother and father), I said, “Okay, then, I just want something, anything with the Polo guy on it. And it can’t be that fake one. Everyone knows the real one from the fake.” So Christmastime comes and I’m waiting not so patiently for my Polo something. And I got it. But I wasn’t very happy. After all, who is going to see the little horsey on a PAIR of SOCKS! I kept thinking of ways I could sit to make them show so people would know how cool I was to wear these socks, but no matter how hard I tried, no one really noticed my stupid Polo socks.
That’s not such a big deal, right? But what about when it comes to life issues like wanting a better salary, or a nicer spouse or “normal” children. That’s when the big disappointments come in, but often we’re not willing to admit it lest we look like ungrateful and wretched human beings for wanting something we don’t have.
Let me stop here to say I love my husband, my children and the life God has given me — most of the time. But there are times when I want to run away and I’ve come pretty darn close a few times. But I go back to that waaayyy overused song and I know that I get what I need.
Would I have ordered the husband’s multiple sclerosis? No. But do I want to be married to Bret? Yes. Would I have ordered a girl in the mix with my boys? Yes. But would I trade any one of my boys for a girl? No.
When I found out I was having a fourth boy, I remember driving home from the ultrasound and praying aloud, “But God I always just assumed I would have a girl. I never imagined I would have all boys but here I am. What will I do for girl time? Will I be sad every time my friends go to tea parties and ballet classes with their girls in pigtails and pink tutus?” But I remember distinctly thinking that God gave me this baby, the very one growing inside me, as a part of our family not because he was a boy but because he was. He just simply was.
I think I’ve posted about acceptance before but it’s true for me, that acceptance is the answer to all of my problems. If I don’t accept something as it is, I get the crazies and sooner or later I will end up in the wacky shack trying to make or control my world in a different way. So, I get what I need.
The other night I got the girl fix when my friend’s daughter Olivia joined one of my sons and me for a coffeehouse concert. As my son walked around with his school friend, Olivia sat next to me, snuggled up close on the couch and laid her head on my lap. For 15 minutes or so, I got to run my fingers through her long, pretty hair and rub her back. My boys might allow me to do this, too, especially the younger ones. But there was something sweet and tender about this moment with Olivia that I can’t exactly describe. She is like my own daughter as I’ve known her since birth and our families are very close. As we listened to Tom Prible play song after song of the struggle to grow up and to figure out who and what you’re about, I thought about life and Olivia and my boys and how we all face certain things we can’t control and quite frankly do not like. I had had a conversation on the way to the concert with my son and Olivia about some friends they no longer see, and how hard that has been. Again, it may not have been what they wanted, but I tried to explain as best I could that this may have been what they needed. I have no answers as to why some things happen the way they do. All I know is the more I fight, the darker I feel. But the more grace God gives me for the situations he has placed me in, the more I am made like Him. Made like I am supposed to be. Made like I truly want to be. Even if it means I am not getting what I “want.”