Monday, January 26, 2009

Feeling Stumpy.

I am sitting here typing away on my brand new Toshiba. Readers, remember, you get what you pay for. Hubby and I bought a cheap Acer last year and the thing was a piece of crap. We wasted our money on it. But we are now back to the brand we know and love. It was a lot of money we don't have right now, but at least I don't have to hold the screen with my left hand just to keep it from fuzzing up!

Many years ago when I was working at my first Montessori school, I came across the book, The Giving Tree. I remembered reading that book over and over as a child and really loving it. I thought the idea of having a friend that you were willing to share everything with was worthwhile and comforting. But when I came across it in the library at the school, the director of the school informed me that I was NEVER to read it to any of the children there, that it was a horrible book and taught a bad lesson. I remember looking at the woman like she was crazy, but she was in charge, so I agreed and I never thought very much more about it- until recently.

But now I think I am beginning to understand. I think I am kind of like that tree. I am a mom so I provide branches to protect my child. I am a wife, so I provide shade to comfort my husband. I am the pastor's wife so I provide apples to try to keep the church fruitful. I have friends who are going through some rough patches so I offer them my branches to keep their homelives strong. My parents live near so I give up my leaves of time to satisfy their need to see my child. I am a teacher so I give up my trunk and leave my home and child to give other people's kids a better start in this world. I give and give and give and give....and the past few days I feel like there is very little left. I "have nothing left to give." Just like the tree.

But here's the kicker, even when the tree says "I have nothing left to give," the boy still asks for one more thing, a quiet place to sit. And this is where I see why the director of my school hated that book. Instead of telling the boy to get his own damn chair, the tree "happily" let the boy sit on its stump. In that instant the tree goes from self-sacrificing to martyr. And if I'm remembering right, the tree was a woman, I think. But anywho, I have decided (and told Hubby) that I can do no more right now. I am tapped out and tired and enough is enough. Someone called me late last night and asked me to babysit his child (for free) all day today (even though I work) and I actually said no. Meetings are being held at our church right now as I type to discuss how to save the church and I have warned Hubby with a threat to his life that he is to insist that any cockamamie plan that they come up with does not include a need to utilize him! No extra services, no fundraiser concerts that HE is expected to plan, nothing that adds even a single hour more to our plate.

And there will be cockamamie plans...and a rush to implement them....and people will say they will take charge and they will help. But I know what will happen. It will be a repeat of what happened this weekend. We have just started a new children's program. 4 or 5 people said they would help. But I am leading it. My "helper" for the week decided 10 minutes before she was to help that she wasn't going to. Her reason? Oh, it is a doozey. She was "tired." She only had to be a body in the room for safety reasons. She didn't have to say a word or manage a single child. She just had to sit and observe. But she couldn't be bothered. Because she was tired. So I broke the rules and did the program by myself, because I was too tired to deal with her crap.

I have nothing more to give but for now, everyone can go get their own damn chair!


FreeDragon said...

Good for you wise tree!

Green said...

A truly healthy tree gives all those things you mentioned, but is also receiving air, water, hugs (hey, I'm in CA!), pruning, etc.

Good for you for taking care of yourself and drawing boundaries.

Anonymous said...

Amen Sister!

Anonymous said...

Right on, sister!
tattoo that on your chest..


Lazy Andie (Charlitan)

Anonymous said...

No is a wonderful word.

Liberating. Empowering. So simple, really.

Jeannie said...

Good for you!

People can only respect limits which are enforced.

I don't know if this would help but - I assume you are a member of your church - classify yourself as such.

If someone expects something of you which you are not prepared to give, say something like "As a regular member of the congregation, I already devote XX hours per week in volunteer service to God and this church. This is all I am capable of doing given my duties to my employer and my family. Please approach someone who has fewer commitments. In this way, you will be communicating that you hold no more obligation than anyone else and you are doing (probably more than) your share.

alissa said...

Hm. I always hated that book because I thought that the little kid was way too much of a consumer. He just takes and takes and takes from the tree. I didn't like that part. He never gave anything to the tree.