Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Girl I Mean To Be

I read a book many years ago by Charles Dickens called A Tale of Two Cities. A key line in the book stuck with me: "The good of the many outweigh the needs of the few ... or the one." In essence teaching me and setting me on a path where I exist to put the needs of others before my own.

My faith teaches that as well. It's not about me. It's about serving others. Caring for others. Looking out for others. Putting their needs first. Some refer to that as Servant Leadership. Others just call that wearing a servant's hat.

My role as a parent reminds me to focus on the needs of my children ... raising the kids, watching out for them, clothing and feeding them, holding them, staying organized and getting them to and from activities. The simpleness of spending time with them as well tucking them in at night and reminding them how much they are loved.

As a wife, I have other roles ... I need to be getting dinner on the table, taking care of the home (not so good at taking care of the outside stuff, I'm afraid) and be there to care for and encourage my husband. Then there is the Keeping in touch with my parents and siblings role ... touching base ... sending love.

My job calls me to plan Events, work with customers and members, appreciate sponsors, inform the staff and Board. In essence, take care of the Event and the project.

But amidst all this energy that places me centrally in the service of others ... the needs of the one come in last. Gotta admit that doesn't always sit well with me. I'm selfish more than occasionally. And putting myself last sometimes feels like I'm not caring for or being true to myself and my own needs.

Yes, there are times I want to be selfish. I need to be selfish. I want to go off and do what I want to do. Not have to explain or get approvals. Leave when I please. Come home when I please. Spend time with who I please. Not worry about plans or cleaning or cooking or kid/family care. I am finished. I am done. I want to take care of me and do what I want to do.

But how do I explain that? How do I not disappoint when that is what I want and what I need? Maybe, if I'm honest, I'm not actually always the person who wants to put the needs of the many before the needs of the few ... or the one, namely me.

Do I have to seek permission when I turn the focus off others and onto myself? Why do I have this sinking feeling that to do such a thing is just not acceptable. That being the Real Me is just not the right choice. That part of the human existence is to mask our own inner inconsistencies and deepest desires in order to maintain the balance ... the status quo ... the peace.

So who am I? Will the real Jenni Carmichael Clark please step forward.

And if and when I do ... will I be a disappointment? Will I care?

                                                                                                           -- Jenni