One of the things I love about having eight children is how uniquely different they are. I mean… they all live in the same home, in the same environment and have the same parents. Yet, somehow they are all COMPLETELY different! And with their differences, I am learning something new from each one of them.
Our seventh child, Witt, is incredibly predictable, VERY responsible and expresses his need for love in the exact same way. Every. Single. Time. He leans in.
You see, he’s a leaner. And when he was younger, his L’s sounded like W’s. So we called him our “weaner”. As a toddler, when he woke up from his nap, he would come up and lean on me. Now that he is older, when he gets home from school, no matter whether I am sitting or standing, he leans in to my body. Before he goes to bed at night, he will go find his dad and simply lean in. He doesn’t say a word.
He. Just. Leans. In.
I have learned a lot from this boy. He leans in to the people he loves. He leans in to his own needs. And he leans in to life so that he can experience it more fully. I want to be more like him.
For some reason, when I am hurting, I am not always willing to lean in to the people around me, even those that love me the most and that would do anything for me. Sometimes, I push them away; when in reality, what I REALLY want, is for them to come closer. Sometimes I would rather put a mass generalized text on Facebook than to pick up the phone and tell someone, “I am struggling and I NEED YOU”. Sometimes I just don’t want to inconvenience “my people”. And other times, I think it is easier if I do it myself. Even though, easier is not always best.
When I am walking through a difficult season in my life, it is not easy for me to lean in to the moment and look for the good. Even though there is ALWAYS good. It’s like the George Strait song, “I Saw God Today.” I saw a flower growing in the middle of the sidewalk, pushing up through the concrete, like it was planted right there for me to see. I know that there are moments and messages I miss because I am wallowing in self pity or keeping myself busy so that I don’t have time to feel the yuck.
And even when life is good and I am experiencing joy, I don’t naturally lean in to the emotions of joy and delight. Most of us desire it but we don’t always allow ourselves to REALLY lean in and FEEL it. Brene Brown says that “Joy is the most vulnerable emotion we experience.” She goes on to say that “many of us are terrified at the prospect of feeling joyful. It’s not the sensation of joy that we fear, of course, it’s actually the fear of losing it or the fear of never feeling it again.” You almost have to let that sink in for a little bit…
As I sit here this morning, with the background noise and chaos of dogs wrestling and kids playing games, making their breakfast and discussing college football with their Dad, I have a choice to make… a choice of how I am going to live this day.
Today, I am going to choose to lean in to the people I love, to my own needs and to this life I have been given, so that I can experience it more fully. So if you see me at Costco and I start to lean in, you’ll know why…