I will be honest. I don’t balance well. I am either all assistant principal, all mom, all wife, all friend… you get the idea. I am pretty sure if someone was to look at a scan of what dendrites were firing where in my brain, no one part of my brain would overlap. I am that compartmentalized in how I operate. Is it a fault or strength of focus… I don’t know.
When I am at work, it is all about work. That would be ok except my son attends the campus where I am an assistant principal. Sometimes that means that my mom life will intersect with my work life.
So this past week one of those intersections between mom and assistant principal occurred. We had our Spring Open house at school. I was helping in my role of assistant principal… all in my “work mode” compartment of my brain. Earlier I had arranged for my son to be picked up after school instead of “having” to stay through the Open House. He had declined the offer to go home early and, to my surprise, opted to stay. I had noticed, but didn’t think to ask him why. I quickly moved to the next thing I needed to do to be present for as an Assistant Principal. I attended the PTA meeting and then started serving pizza to families… my son was somewhere. I thought he was hanging out with some of the other teacher’s kids and was content.
In the midst of placing slices of pizzas on plates and handing to parents and students, I hear a urgent but quiet voice call, “Mom.”
I look beyond the family waiting for pizza in front of me and there stands my son. He says my name again, this time with a hint of sadness and pleading, “Mom.”
I respond, “What’s up buddy? Is everything ok?”
At that point his response is filled with exasperation and disappointment, “I wanted you to come see my work and show you my ePortfolio.”
Before I really think about my response, because my brain is still in the Assistant Principal compartment, I say, “I don’t know if I can, bud. I need to stay here.”
He is angry and before I can retract what just rolled out of my mouth… he is quickly exiting, but not before I can see the frustration and tears brimming in his eyes.
Suddenly the mom compartment of my brain kicks in and I turn to my counselor, serving with me. I tell her what I have suddenly realized. Kritterman had stayed because he wanted to show me his work. He wanted me to be his mom for a moment, not the assistant principal. He wanted us to be like every other son. I need to be Kritterman’s mom… just his mom.
I try to be what I need to be, whatever the role, in every moment. However, I realize I fall short most of the time.
This would be defeating if I didn’t know that I don’t have to be ALL in every moment.
Often we are told to “be the light.” I believe this is a misconstrued spiritual notion. Recently I have read and come to understand, Jesus “is the life, and that life is the light of all mankind.” (John 1: 4) I don’t have to “be” anything. I only need to seek him. He already seeks after me. He is the light. His light, when I seek him shines through me.
Unlike my son who sought me out and needed to remind me of what he needed, Jesus already knows our need. He does want us to ask and seek him, not because he doesn’t know, but because he wants to have a relationship with us. He loves us perfectly.
He is perfectly present in every moment with us. He wants to do life with us in every moment.
What I am coming to realize is that even though I compartmentalize my life, He is there in every moment. When I walk alongside Him and let His light shine through me in every part of my life, I am more in tune to loving others. I am able to be more of what others need, not by my own strength, but because of what He does in and through me.
It is a relief to now that I don’t have to “be the light”… He is enough, and He shines through me. When I fail to allow his light to shine through me, I fail in every moment. Thank goodness for His forgiveness and grace.
Later after the PTA evening was over and I was home, I sought out Kritterman. I apologized I hadn’t been the mom he needed in the moment when he called for me. He was quick to forgive, and tell me he loved me.
What a mighty Savior we have. When we call out to Him, He is already there… in every moment.