Giving away my good

We’ve recently had puppies born here on the farm.  We prayed for one big, fat, healthy puppy which we were blessed to receive, but 7 healthy puppies came with it-all equally adorable I might add.  One of our long time friends have already adopted one of those pups and named her “Jane”.  At home they have a grown dog that was rejected by her mama along with the rest of the litter.  As they were leaving the other night they mentioned the dark past of their dog waiting at home and mentioned that they hope that this new pup may pass on some of it’s good.

That got me thinking about how privileged we are to be here on this farm loving Jane in the way that we are-allowing her to love her pups in such a profound way.  How privileged these new pups will be as they are carefully picked for new homes.  Should these new pups harbor up good for themselves or should they share some of their good in order to beautifully invade all of the hurts and gaping wounds of any dog they meet along the way?  I surely hope that the good we are providing these pups will most definitely go out into the world and serve it well.  As hard as it may be I hope that for ourselves and our  kids as well.

There was this very specific moment in my life where I was on a road headed in what appeared and felt like the right direction, but then something happened-something that took me off course and made me consider everything I had ever known.

Nathan and I were living what I would call the best of the American dream.  We were benefiting from good, solid financial decisions before, during and after college.  Nearly debt free from making hard sacrifices and living on a minimal budget after I became a stay at home mom.  We were both willing to work-and work hard-when and as needed.  Our faith in God was strengthened and we were learning to value what I had to contribute to our marriage and community as well as allowing Nathan to be the strong leader that he is.

Over time we learned to “stop and think” about everything in life from faith, finances, birth, food, education, health, community.

This cloud lifted revealing the ways that we as human beings really had all that we needed to carry on in this thing we call life, but soon after the dust settled I looked around with a clear view of the world around me.   A reality of who I am in all my privilege.  Yes, I was raised by a single mom on disabilities, yes I struggled and had obstacles, yes I was living a mainstream life that I struggled to remove myself from.  The reality was that I am white, educated, supported, loved.  The world around me was ugly and hurting and struggling to just get through the day-I wanted to choose to see it, feel it, know it-even if it hurt.

I could have stayed in my perfected bubble, in fact I could have served and loved lots of people by doing so.  I was putting myself out there in the birth and breastfeeding community.  Having had a home birth it leveraged me to a point of credibility that others wanted to touch.  I was devoting most of my days to pouring out love to my babies, wearing them in a beautiful way, feeding them from my breast, teaching them at home, baby gazing for days, lifting them up from the darkness the world serves up.  Lifting them to a place where they could learn to serve themselves-or consider the world around them…

You can only bless blessed people for so long.  I’ve forgotten that from time to time.

You meet the mom who has never given birth.  You meet the mom who ran over her own child.  You meet the mom who has to put her child into day care for 12 hours a day.  You meet the mom who can only afford white bread and peanut butter.  You meet the mom who doesn’t have support or is addicted or is so depressed that she can’t get out of bed.  It changes things.

From the beginning my original intent was to create grace and space for thoughtful conversation about any and all things that effect women.  So many women are silenced:  in the home, at the doctors office, at the hospital, in the school room, on the soccer field, on social media, the playground or in their church.  I wanted to offer spaces where women weren’t silenced anymore-where they could say what they wanted even if it wasn’t “right”.  I wanted to give away pieces of my own good in order to replace the hard, hurting, hateful things that were holding  so many people back from their own good.

Slowly-one by one-many of those who supported me, respected me, benefited from my work began to fall away.  As I choose to give away my good I also gave away the respect of those who valued my work.  It’s hard to put value on something that’s being given away for free, I suppose.  There became this pivotal moment when I had to choose-do I choose my own reputation or do I choose the common good of all human kind-especially the least of these?  Do I love those who think, look, and act like me or do I choose to love those on the fringes in a meaningful way?

Giving away my good is hard.  There are no promises.  Some days I give too much.  People may take my good and cash it in for a return on something better, something more comfortable.  Or they may take my good and keep going-never replacing it with.  It means that I may not get to have babies when I want to, or eat the healthiest food all the time, or focus on sustainability like I’m supposed to, or achieve some sort of level of success or even be understood.  Giving away your good is not meant to create security and comfort-I’m learning that.  It’s meant to create a better you-to create space for all the things that allow you take those deep breaths in the middle of the day and fall into a peaceful sleep at night.  The day I take my last breath I hope I’ll know that I’ve done everything I can do to leave this corner of the world a bit better-a bit more honest and fair.

I think about our friends dog (who is living with the suffering from her past) and our sweet puppies who are being loved beyond comprehension.  There is no better way of making use of that love than to give it to the dog who needs it most-to spread it around in ways that just doesn’t make sense in this world of greed, safety, success.  I hope that we are doing that with our family too-spreading around this love and good in ways that just doesn’t make sense so that those who need it grab hold of it in order to make their own good.  I may never know if giving up my own good will create a better world, but I’ll continue hoping it might.  Giving away my good means giving up on the success that comes with grabbing hold of my own good and letting it go in order to achieve my original intent-which was to see the value in everyone-no matter their struggles or obstacles.  Grace and peace to you-grace and peace to me.