“You need a hobby,” Michael told me.
“I need to join a 24-hour gym so I can at least go do something at night.”
“I could take up scrap booking. That requires a lot of time and you don’t have to leave the house.”
Week 1 in the life of a new housewife, while my husband is working the midnight shift and days are spent sleeping.
I hung the new shower curtain. Organized all the papers into meaningful piles and hid them. Set the dining room table with the new placemats. Set up the new microwave. Put out the new bath towels. Washed the new sheets because they were so pretty; I didn’t want them to be wrinkled. Discovered the comforter set is dry clean only and started removing it before getting into bed. Helped Michael make french bread pizza. Wrote lots and lots of thank-you cards. Decided (with Michael) where all wall art would be hung. Organized his socks by kind. Spent untold hours on the Internet. Danced around the apartment to Daddy Yankee and Black Eyed-Peas. Pondered what my musical tastes say about me. Tried to convince Michael we should move to Asia as ESL teachers. I tried to watch the sunrise but sort of missed it. The morning was very foggy.
I’m stir-crazy. I took this survey for a friend’s capstone class project. It asked questions about how satisfied I am with my life. It asked about my childhood and my relationship with my parents. Finally, it asked about my spirituality. Those surveys are impossible. Rank this statement: I am satisfied with who I am as a person. Strongly disagree, disagree, neither agree nor disagree, agree, or strongly agree. Well, survey, it really depends.
Satisfaction might mean complacency. I’m happy with who I am – I’m in stasis, no longer seeking to grow, mature or better myself. Well, I know I’m far from perfect, so I hope I don’t allow myself to become stagnant. Or satisfaction might mean contentment. I know I’m far from perfect. I’m trying to improve myself, but it’s a lifelong process. I’m doing the best I can. I have intrinsic value. I believe in my self-worth. In my state of striving, I am at peace. What is satisfaction?
So I could answer neither agree nor disagree. I’m a horrible survey subject. That answer means nothing. But any other answer is a lie. I hate it when there’s an “always true” option. I read that one reason statistics are flawed is because people lie about themselves even in anonymous surveys. And I used to think, what silly people. Are you really in such denial that you have to lie to an anonymous survey? But now I realize that it’s impossible not to lie. The questions force you to. The true answer is rarely even an option.
How does a person find fulfillment? It’s not in making yourself happy. That never works. Happy people are the most miserable inside. Is it in work? Work is important, but it ends up being a means to try to make yourself happy. Work is a status and a paycheck and a sense of control. Jesus said to be greatest, you must make yourself least. If you want to gain your life, you must lose it. So fulfillment is in servanthood. It’s the only way. What service can I do in this town between the hours of midnight and 9 am every third week? That is my quest right now.
I can serve God by serving my husband. (Oh feminists, why do you still read my blog?) I’m called to do so. Michael is serving me. He’s working this job with its crazy shifts for me. He’s in the steel mill so that we can have this apartment with the new placemats, microwave, bedspread, etc. He’s working with very little complaint because he wants me to be happy and secure and taken care of. I’m still learning what I can give him. I’m the one who wants the apartment clean. Maybe it’s meaty lasagna. Maybe it’s me staying up all night and sleeping all day so we can be on the same schedule. Maybe it’s all these thank-you cards written and addressed. I will find it, and I will do it for him. The quest continues.