I realized something today as I was standing in front of my oven, carefully placing eight dinosaur chicken nuggets in a row on a pan. Both my children were at the kitchen table, happily playing with crayons and blocks. It was almost noon on a Monday. It was at this moment it dawned on me that I am no longer a machine.
See as I was standing there, joy in my heart, gazing over their work – encouraging them, helping them, laughing with them – I felt a pang in my stomach. A knot of anxiety jabbed me deep in my gut. I knew what it was telling me, why it had graced me with it’s disgusting presence. I wasn’t producing anything for it. I wasn’t doing anything that could be formulated into a spreadsheet to display my progress or lack thereof.
At a previous corporate position I held, we had “Our Numbers”. Or at least, that is what we called them in our department. I’m certain this report had an official name, something like quarterly summery progress report, I suppose. To the people in my department though, it was the still small voice in the part of our brains – not stemming from the Spirit – but stemming from Corporate America. It was the voice that reminded us time is money. It reminded us that we were nothing more than the production we put out. It reminded us that in order to get a raise, which on a good year would equal half of the cost of living increase, was determined by the outcome of “Our Numbers”.
There is joy in hard work, company loyalty, and work ethic – all of which I like to think I possess. There is also a time for simply living in the moment. We were not built to be machines. We were built to create, procreate, and honor the earth we were given.
I spent almost 45 minutes with Isaac this morning doing two things; trying to get him to say “shoe” and playfully helping him pull his shoe on his foot. I spent 45 minutes with my child in which the worth of my time could not be determined. I spent 45 minutes in which I did not produce and no client could be billed for my time. Isaac will likely not be putting shoes on by himself anytime soon. And when he does say “shoe”, it could have been the exact same day he would have learned this word if I had not spent those 45 minutes working with him on it.
My worth is no longer determined by my production. It is not determined by numbers, graphs, or progress reports. My worth, in my home, with my children, is the level at which I am able to love them … a worth that cannot be broken down and analyzed. The deep longing I have always had to stay at home with my children, is to be given the opportunity to simply love on them more hours of the day. I am here to love them. Nothing I do, or don’t do, short of loving them is going to change that.
I am no longer a machine … and this will take some getting used to.