Sunday, September 5, 2010


Last week, I had a sinus infection.  That virus invaded my body and wiped me out.  I didn't feel good.  I had no energy.  I felt like I was moving and thinking in a mire of sludge.  It wasn't fun.

I have this other virus, though, that just doesn't go away.  I can't take a pill for it.  I can't keep it at bay by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of water.  It's an ugly virus.  It's a chronic one.  It sucks the life right out of me.

It goes by several different names: discontent, jealously, envy, and a myriad of other synonyms and symptoms. 

Some days, I wish I had a different house, a bigger one with a large backyard, a jacuzzi tub big enough to fit the whole family, and enough space that all of us could have a room of our own.

Some days, I wish I had a nicer car, one that wasn't beige and normally driven by people twice my age.

Some days, I wish I could go to the grocery store without calculating the items I am putting in my cart against the reality of our budget.  And I wish I could buy every book I wanted.  And I wish I could update my wardrobe and my house and.........................

Some days, I wish I had a sexier job.  I love my jobs as mom, homeschool teacher, and doula, but there's nothing particularly sexy about changing a diaper, giving a spelling test, or being regularly splashed with amniotic fluid (although, oddly, I don't really mind any of those things too much, now that I really think about it). 

Some days (actually, every day), I wish I were sexier.  Thankfully, I have a husband who has the polar opposite version of the body dysmorphic disorder that I have, and he actually likes how I look.  I, on the other hand, spend a lot of time cringing at my body and wishing it were a whole lot different. 


But then there are days like today, when all of those discontents seem so minor. 

This afternoon, I was sitting on the floor reading the newspaper when someone rang our doorbell.  I tend to panic when the doorbell rings (partly due to the fact that my house never lives up to the immaculate standards I set in my mind, and partly due to the fact that I am an introvert who loves people coming over but who still, for whatever reason, abhors the doorbell).  Thankfully, Matt has no such odd aversion and quickly answered the door.  A man was at the door with his daughter.  The kids and Matt had met this family a couple of weeks ago when they were out bike-riding.  They are new to the neighborhood.  They are living with the girl's grandma right now.  Apparently they came home one day, and their landlord had changed the locks and thrown every last one of their belongings out onto their lawn.  S asked Amélie if she could play.  Immediately, I  panicked a little.  I don't really know this family.  Was I going to let my daughter walk down the street and into the house of a family whom I had never met?  What was I going to do?  I didn't have to worry or think about this situation long, however, because by the time I got to the door the dad was gone.  S was to play at our house with Amélie. 

Oh!  What a relief, really.

She's a sweet little girl.  She is eight.  While making her and Amélie a snack I checked on her food allergy situation (you never know these days--I didn't want to kill the poor child), and she informed me that the only thing she is allergic to is pie.  It makes her throw up, apparently.  Good to know.  She also has four brothers and three sisters.  I am not sure how many of them are living in that little house on the corner with her grandma.  I do know that one of those brothers is allergic to shellfish.  His tongue swells up, and the allergy could kill him.  Another of her older brothers punched her in the mouth one time and knocked out eight of her teeth.  Those teeth are coming back in now, so it must have been awhile ago.  That older brother is ten now.  As soon as they get money from their landlord for treating them so badly they are going to be "crazy rich."  Her eyes lit up when she told me that. 

The things you find out just by asking.  And listening.

Here's the point of this story, the point that still, as I sit here and type this, makes me cry.

Amelie sneaked out of her bedroom later and whispered to Matt and me,

"I would like to have S over for a sleepover sometime.  She has to sleep on her bathroom floor."

Her bathroom floor


How heart-breaking. I just want to go hug her. I just want to ask her to move in.

Later, Amélie followed me into the bathroom and told me that she thinks we should buy her some clothes and toys, because she doesn't have very many.

Suddenly, I saw things differently.  Suddenly, I saw all that I have.  I have enough.  I have too much.  I have enough to give.  And keep giving. 

Some things are more important than granite countertops and trendy cars and sexy jobs and tight bodies. 

My soul needs some work, apparently.
My soul needs people like S to remind me to love. 
   and to give.
          and to be content.
                 and to love and to give some more. 

Jesus appeared to me today.  She had on pink shorts, a pink t-shirt, and had the cutest lisp.

Thanks, S. 
Thanks for reminding me what's important, what's essential, what's eternal.


  1. Oh, Jill, thank you. That was beautiful.

  2. Jill, thanks for being willing to reach out to your neighbors. We all need to open our eyes to the needs around us (near and far) - so many are hurting and desperate.

  3. Thanks, Jill. I needed that.