The Value of One

My husband commented that I looked particularly unhappy when I played my cello with the worship team this week.

There were multiple issues – I had a terrible headache, I was somewhat preoccupied with some deep thoughts, and we recently had a change of leadership due to the impending move of the former leader.

Now I like the new leader just fine – we have been friends for almost 30 years.  But the other leader – he and I are more like allies – we've talked through some really hard stuff on his end and I just enjoy him, plain and simple.

He brings his own unique self to the table and I will miss being a part of that experience in real-time.  He is off on his own Adventure – and I'm glad for him, for sure.  But sad for our loss.  My whole family enjoys him.

Each of us brings something that is needed and missed when it's not brought.  Don't hold back on your unique you-ness.  We need the You that only You possess and only You can bring.

Brad, I'm gonna miss you tons.  





"I think we have two lives.

The one we learn with;

And the one we live with after that."

                                                                                  -Iris, The Natural


One of my strengths is that, in general, I mean what I say and say what I mean.

My kids find this both comforting, and maddening.  I have heard them say, on more than one occasion, "Once she says 'no' that's it – there's no moving her."

But there are some places I am quite inconsistent in.

Take spiders in the house.  Generally, I think of spiders as a good thing, because they eat many of the bugs that really annoy me.  So by-and-large, if I see an eight-legger, I will usually live and let live (unless my daughter, who LOATHES them is around, in which case, I will capture them and set them free  outside).  However, occasionally, I smoosh them.  What determines the benevolance or the excecution?  No idea.

Similarly, with mice in my barn.  I think mice are adoreable.  If they didn't multiply like, well, mice, and if their droppings didn't carry disease, I would just share my space and resources.  But I learned the hard way one winter and actually lost an animal to disease caused by an exploding population of mice.  So, when I see them, I steel myself and set out traps.  But, my snapping traps are not always effective, especially if they only catch a tail.  What do I do?  Of course, I set the mouse free!  The other day, I set four free, only to catch them more lethally the next day.  I rescued one from our indoor cat earlier this year, because the cat didn't just kill it – it was "playing" with it to death, and I knew that mouse would suffer for hours.  So I took it a block away and released it in a field.  

There are other examples of this strange behavior – eighteen months ago, I stopped buying meat at the grocery store, because I was horrified at what animals go thorough in the process of being raised enmass and slaughtered.  But the problem is that I actually really LIKE meat, and I hate being around high-maintenance people, so I'm not going to become one by going whole-hog (no pun intended) with this.  When I am with other people, I consume what they are enjoying.  What is that, if not totally inconsistent?

I think what is happening with the spiders, the mice, the food, and numerous other examples, is that I have a low tolerance for suffering.  Somehow, I am assessing what will cause more distress for me and for the other individual and I choose the lesser of the two.  For example, I hate the way wasps crunch when you kill them – it totally disgusts me (i.e. makes me suffer), so 9 times out of ten, I will find a way to get it to leave peacefully, rather than kill it.  But if I can find their nests, I have absolutely no compunctions against spraying it – we go through five cans of the foaming death each summer.  I HATE wasps.  So, obviously, my high regard for life has some limits.

This sounds semi-noble, or at least eccentricly interesting, until you apply it with people.

All real relationships require eventual uncomfortablness .  Some form of exposure.  Most certainly confrontation of differences. And reality causes pain at varying levels.  Do I do what is best for them, in terms of authenticity and honesty, even if it creates anxiety and distress within me?

Like the previous examples, I am inconsistent.  Even though I would like to believe I am not.

Good thing I'm mid-life … I've still got time to grow.


I have needed to have several things contracted out at our home recently.  It has been a struggle to work with their time frames … they are narrow and not so accommodating.  As a result, in order to work with them, I had to cancel or shift around several of the things normally in my schedule.  Which made me feel bad.  Rude.  Inconsiderate.

This began with a shed, which was part one of a hay effort; they told me there was a 3-5 WEEK wait; so I moved ahead with the other factor  - I was going to have the hay delivered on time because we all know that you 'make hay while the sun shines'.  And 'the early bird gets the worm' – translated, this  means, if you don't buy your hay when it's available, it goes up in price and may actually run out before you get it.

So now I arrange for my hay to be delivered before the shed and rearrange my life to be there when it comes.  The shed company calls and says, "We will be there Thursday sometime between 12 and 4."  (which is in five DAYS, not weeks). Sigh.  I cancel my cello lesson.  I rearrange meetings.  I postpone the hay.  (Which, consequently means I now have to ration it, as I am very close to being out). I have to contact tractor-guy post-haste to level the ground, because shed-guys don't do that sort of thing.

Tractor-guy shows up a half hour early, which means I am not even home and I get to pay for the time he was waiting.

Shed-guys show up THE NIGHT BEFORE at dusk and ask if they can put it up at 7 AM?  I say, "No, can you come back at 8?"  They say, "NO".

Sigh once more.  Now I cannot water my lawn / field, because their behemoth truck / trailer will destroy the ground if it is wet.  However, we can only water every other day and we only have enough pressure from 3:00 am to 8:00 … furthermore,  I should tell my cello teacher that I actually can come,  because it is frustrating on her end for me to cancel and reschedule etc … 

In the end, I got up at 6:30 and shed guys didn't come til 8:30.  Then hay guy came three hours later, instead of three days later as scheduled.

When people say they will do something in a certain time frame, and then they don't, the ripple effect is pretty substantial.  So their inconsideration now becomes MY inconsideration.  

And I don't like how that feels.


We need to be connected.

My daughter is home from her first year of college … she has been home about four days and she says repeatedly, "I miss my people."

My son has left for a week-long camp.  It's rare for him to be gone from home and I feel his absence.

As I think of my various friends, each has a rhythm of their connection with me – for some, it is weekly, for others semi-annually, and everything in between.  When their particular interval is stretched, I feel it and I miss them.

Connection is like an appetite.  When I have the right amount with the right people, I feel satiated. When it is not enough, I become hungry. 

Part of living deliberately is knowing your connection needs and taking responsibility for them – it is not the other person's job to know when you need to be filled.  

This is your task:   To know yourself well, to invite others onto your path and to give them grace if they can't meet you where you are at the moment.