As a mother, the words, “I need” and “I want” are familiar territory. We hear them all the time. “I need a drink”, “I want a toy”, “I need a new dress”, etc. It becomes easy for a Mom to get caught up in words like these- for them to be the anchor to tether her heart strings to. You don’t need to be a Mom, though, for these words to have a foothold. They ran my life long before I gave birth to two little girls who use them daily.
I was always one to see need like one does colors. The unspoken hunger. The pain hidden behind words of assurance. I quickly saw my place as the hand to hold, the paper to edit, the meal to make. The job to get, the encouragement to voice, the school drop off to be accomplished. I heard, “ I need” and “I want” in the walls of the classroom, the mall, the church. The whole earth hummed with the weight of it and I rationalized that I had been given so much and can bear so many burdens that aren’t my own; surely I could move my needs and wants further down the list for a little while.
Then I became a wife. And a Mother. And there were people of my own blood and kin who had needs and wants. And I added theirs to the top of my derring-do list. And there was joy in the giving of it, at first- the answers to the wants and needs that I hardly noticed that I had begun to lost sight of the fact that I even had my own anymore. Because surely, not even Atlas can hold up the world like I can?
And this year came and almost took me with it and I was assaulted by the repressed vibrancy of my needs: a deep red thick with anger, with grief and with shame. I had forgotten I had them. Jesus didn’t.
He allowed life to bruise me in such a way that it was impossible to deny that I had deep needs and wants. As basic as being fed, as complex as needing a community to hold me together. That I was not Atlas. That it had not been me holding everything together this whole time and I traded myself away for a false title robed with Pride.
And I looked in the mirror and was shocked at the old woman staring back at me, wearing a dress at least ten years a senior, sagging and malnourished in every way. I gave myself up for everyone else, when all anyone ever needed was the me I had been in the first place.
So, I made a promise to myself to never trade away my needs or even my wants ever again. Part of that means, this will be the last post I write in this little space. I have loved every moment of sharing the Shannon Family Table with you- but I will admit to you that I lost myself underneath it all. I even omitted myself from the title. You’ve walked me through tragedy and joy and I couldn’t have asked for more. But I have needs and wants that I must allow to come right up to the surface and make themselves known because, I’m learning, God sees value in who I am and how He loves me, and not in my self-imposed martyrdom.
I can hear the weeping through the screen so I want to reassure you, all five of you, faithful readers, that this departure from blogging from TSFT doesn’t mean I’m leaving writing behind. My own wants and needs, remember? Writing is one of them. I have a few things in the works. You’ll hear about them. But until then, thank you! A million times thank you.