On Moms Who Waste Coffee.

2016-05-06 13.38.20

Assorted mugs found around my home. 

Also found on HuffPost Parents:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-gilmore/to-moms-who-waste-coffee_b_9859534.html

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When I come home from work I regularly find coffee mugs, half full of delicious dark magic, in various locations around the house. I find them on the kitchen table, in the microwave, in the laundry room. Sometimes I find them right next to the coffee maker, never making it beyond their filling.

I’ve come to the conclusion that my wife enjoys wasting coffee (a borderline deadly sin). Either that or she is so preoccupied with other things that finishing an 8-ounce beverage becomes an arduous task.

It’s likely the later.

She is probably too busy chasing children intent on hitting each other with toy hammers. Or catching a baby that can’t quite sit up on her own. She’s likely trying to get crayon off the floors or making sure I haven’t spent all our money on Amazon. She’s often had to pick up someone from school or drop a friend off at work or take a child to the doctor.

As she regularly makes decisions based on what other people need, she sets asides the things she wants and enjoys. Things like warm coffee and exercise and not having anyone in the bathroom while she does her business.

That’s how she loves us.

Moms come in all shapes and sizes. Some work, some stay home. Some are doing it on their own, some have great support. There are adoptive moms, foster moms, bio moms, neighborhood moms, stepmoms, grandmother moms.

Regardless of their specific circumstances, there is a common theme. Mothers always seem to put the needs of others above themselves. They trade what they want or need for what others want and need.

They set down their cups of coffee in order to kneel and kiss a boo-boo or in order to read a book for the 19th time since yesterday.

They trade in their careers for the chance to be home or they trade in their sick days when it’s not them that has a bug (and then are forced to work when it is their turn with the illness).

Many give up their hobbies and find new ones that revolve around soccer practice and band recitals.

Moms, it seems, often trade in warm meals for cold ones by tending to everyone else first.

Most forgo any moments of silence and many trade in money that could have been spent on a new something-or-other in order to make sure the family has what it needs.

They give up sleep when their children are little and again when they are teenagers out past curfew.

I’m sure many feel like they’re trading in their sanity or personal hygiene or the ability to have an adult conversation without interruption in order to be who their family needs them to be.

Moms are constantly giving, thinking of others, looking out for danger, making sure everyone feels loved, ensuring discipline is consistent, and on and on and on. Often at their own expense.

And so I just want to say thanks.

To the moms who set aside their coffee, their book, their free time, their bodies, in order to care for their families, thank you.

To the mamas doing this on your own, you are heroes and the strongest of the strong. You inspire us and we got your back.

To the moms who work, we know it is difficult to come home to be met with the demands of homework and schedules. You are resilient and we admire you.

To the mothers at home, we know it’s not a vacation, nor for the faint of heart. You are wonderful and doing something many of us couldn’t.

To the moms whose kids have grown, to the moms whose kids are gone, to the moms who have broken a cycle of bad parenting, you have made an impact. We celebrate you and the lives you’ve touched.

Moms, thanks for all you do, have done, and will do. You make this world a better place.

May you see your sacrifices as an investment. May you find all the energy, wisdom, patience, and courage you need to navigate this immense responsibility. And may you soon find the time to enjoy a warm, un-reheated, cup of coffee.

On Being Afraid of the Wrong Things.

There are a lot of things I fear. Like windows without blinds (seriously) and heights.

And there are a lot of things I do not fear. Fear Ladder

Like Muslims.

I’m also not afraid of Buddhists or scientists or flying spaghetti monsters.

I’m not afraid of questions or doubt or skepticism.

I’m not scared of any government or capitalist or communist. I’m not even afraid of Trump.

I’m not afraid of refugees or illegal immigrants or legal ones.

I do not fear gay people or trans people or people we can’t categorize in neat and tidy ways.

Along the same lines, I’m not afraid of finding someone in the “wrong” bathroom. I’m just not.

I’m not afraid of political correctness or laws that make room for other people’s belief systems.

I’m not afraid of the super rich or the desperately poor, people on welfare or people in penthouses.

In my greatest moments I’m not even scared of those who wish me harm or those who tell me I’m wrong.

I do my best not to be afraid of people who don’t look like me, act like me, speak like me, or believe like me.

I am, however, afraid of the way I and others like me misrepresent Jesus. I’m afraid people may reject Jesus because they see me and decide if this is what Jesus is about, they want no part of it.

I’m afraid the Kingdom of Me is a whole lot more appealing than the Kingdom of God. I fear that I seek first my reputation and status and rights. I’m scared to think that I would chose safety and security or comfort and complacency over faithfulness.

I’m afraid our commitment to political opinions is stronger than our willingness to “love your neighbor as yourselves.” I’m afraid that our quest for power and position and privilege leaves us overlooking the very people for whom Jesus would be most concerned.

I’m afraid I don’t have enough friends who are prostitutes or tax collectors. I’m fearful I exclude outsiders and those whose lives look messy. I’m afraid I too easily look down on or insult those who look, act, and believe differently.

I’m afraid all our boycotts and clever memes and FWD: FWD: FWD: emails (and blog posts) will do nothing to bring about the world God desires. I’m fearful that we’ve traded Good News for bad news, an eternal perspective for a temporary one.

I’m afraid that I desire to be right more than I desire to be loving.

I’m afraid that when we respond in fear to people, politics, religions, and whatever things are different than us, we are not responding in the way of Christ. I’m afraid that fearing “the other” will leave me only loving myself.

Most of all I’m scared I will raise my kids to be afraid of the people they are called to love. I’m afraid I will so want to save my children’s lives that they will lose the only life that matters in the process.

That terrifies me far more than terrorism does.

As a general rule I avoid ladders and roofs and other things from which the greedy hands of gravity wish to remove me. My discomfort with heights is stronger than my desire to have clean gutters. My fear wins out.

Since fear often determines my behavior I want be sure to fear the right things.

I want to avoid division and exclusion. I want to build bridges, not walls. I want to learn from people who see things differently. I want to hear the stories of those I don’t understand. I want to break bread with people who have dreams and fears of their own; people who have value to my God. 

I long to set aside things I want in order to serve and love the people everyone else seems to fear. I don’t want any part of pushing people away because they vote or live or believe differently than I do. I want less of “us and them” and just a whole lot of “us.”

When we do that we’ll all be better for it. When we do that we’ll look more like Jesus, who fears none and loves all. And I believe when we look more like Jesus everything changes. And when everything changes, there will be nothing left to fear.