fish and death, hold the malt vinegar

what a week.

a week where i feel anxious and nervous and question anything and everything there is to question:  my faith, my mothering, my wife-ing, my everything.

seriously, a stupid goldfish died two days ago and it seemed to be the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.  i couldn’t even keep a goldfish alive for 5 days. it happened right before i walked out the door to my first spanish class.  so there i sat for two hours trying to engage and add more than puerto rican culinary dishes to my vocabulary.  and all i kept thinking about was how i fail at things.  crazy, right?   

with me, this all leads to anxiety.  why do we get so anxious at the little things?  i was eating lunch yesterday and realized i was speed-eating and anxious for no good reason.  i was shaking the malt vinegar on my fries with such passion and fury that i started to laugh at myself.  slow down.  

but i think that is the problem.  day in and day out is fairly slow around here.  i have two little ones who thrive on a routine and that makes for fairly repetitive days.  but it helps to view them as rhythmic rather than repetitive.  even so, in those rhythmic days there is quiet time.  quiet time to think and doubt and question myself.  and in a week like this past one it was doubting everything from why i don’t have more significant relationships in this town after four years to why i can’t keep a fish from dying.  

omar is on an idolatry kick.  he’s been doing lots of reading about how central idolatry is to sin.  and this afternoon it hit me.  i’m making an idol out of what people think/perceive of me.  i want to be valued in others lives.  and there is nothing wrong/sinful in that, but i realized that i’ve not been as concerned about my relationship with God as i am with my relationships with others.    

if i’m honest anxiety creeps in again when i realize there is no quick fix.  i know it’s a slow and hopefully steady path towards sanctification.  that is ok.  i’m learning. learning about what sanctification is, learning about how to build a stronger relationship with Christ.  and i have definitely learned that i cannot handle having pets bigger than a goldfish at the moment.


10 thoughts on “fish and death, hold the malt vinegar

  1. hello, friend.

    after reading this, a quote came to mind:

    “examine your self and strive to adorn it with love, humility, compassion and hope. seek the regeneration of your soul, enlightened by the voice of the Gospel and helped by God. with fear and love for the Heavenly Father, proceed to sow the seeds of God’s word on good soil. cultivate the talent given by Christ for the salvation of your soul.” saints raphael of lesvos

    it’s not only wise, but practical to Christian-life for us to constantly consider ourselves and to examine ourselves unto the Gospel. this consideration gives way to humility and from there comes true sanctification and our oneness with the Lord. isn’t it kind of God to remind us always – most often in our quiet sorrow – that our real living is living with Him? I’m quite certain that you’re not inadequate, but instead actually excel at living thoughtfully and for others, but you’re right: what better friends and wives we’d all be if our most nourished relationship was with the Lord.

    a big hug!

  2. It’s kinda “funny” because I’ve been thinking of my own idols, too. Thanks for your honesty here, and you know what? I’ll pray for you, too.

    Love that quote from Nicole….

    And sorry about the goldfish. 😦

  3. Oh Kate… that struck a chord with me! Thanks for the honesty … isn’t it interesting how someone sharing their struggle can be an encouragement to someone else? You are awesome and I miss you tons.

  4. i know. i know. i know. i’m with you.

    in this study we were doing, tara barthel said (loose quote), “it was like a whole new realm of sin opened up for me when i became a mother.” so much time at home, “unsupervised”, as she put it. i think she was inferring that those quiet moments are often times harder when you’re a mom because you never had them before in such capacity.

    i know. i know. i’m with you on this one. a real good gutsy post!

  5. thank you for the kind words, everyone.

    nicole – “most nourished relationship” – i love that imagery. thank you for the quote.

    jenni – i poke fun at omar for always relating everything to idols, but it really is a helpful comparison, right? and guess what, the other goldfish died, too. that one didn’t send me into a tailspin, though 😉

    melissa – this is an aspect of blogging i really appreciate – people being open and honest with their struggles and giving others encouragement, even if it is unintentional. come visit!

    caron – so true what that quote says. my goodness, this was not something i expected in parenting. and “gutsy” is one of my favorite descriptions. and i’m with you that i know that you know…that i know…ha!

  6. oh! one of my favorite hokey radio preacher lines: do you know that you know that you know that you know….that you’re going to heaven?

    guess this is sort of the hard way to learn patience. the hard road to joy always. it’s iron man training for sure. (woman, that is)

  7. to add to the convo (one that resonnates, btw): i think it is *interesting* how easy it is to think others have it all together and we don’t. surely this is another form of idolatry. it is not only tempting to worry about what others think of us, but it is also tempting to think possibly better of(or at least unreastically about) others–another avenue that leads us to feel crummy about ourselves and, in turn, to continue worrying about what others think of us. such viciousness, the cycle. but all too common, i fear…at least in my own life.

    it seems to me that some among us (i can’t recall names, thankfully!) think better of themselves than they ought, like on a regular basis. but most of us struggle to keep up some sort of facade, to measure up to some standard out there,real or perceived. and when we fail we, again, we make it worse with self-loathing.

    how might we avoid the sins of the one (the unexamined soul/life), while not falling into the mire of the other (the paralysis of analysis?). please, if anyone *figures it out* do tell–and then write a book because i’m sure t’d be a best seller. :0

    in the meantime: kate, you are very loved. and supremely LIKED, too. kab

  8. a familiar idolatry for me as well….

    i so appreciate honesty in posts like these. thank you for sharing yourself and helping each of us identify and examine ourselves.

    p.s. i like you very much….even though the fish died. 🙂

  9. kelly – i think a dog would push me off the deep end at the moment. we don’t need anymore non-toilet-using creatures around here.

    kelli – good thoughts. so true, all that you wrote. thanks.

    tonia – i remember the first time it really clicked what “examining” one’s life (biblically/spiritually) meant. i think i thought, “oh, this isn’t cool. there’s a lot of crap to deal with.” indeed there is. thanks for your words.

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