It’s a concept I’ve read about for most of my life, but I had such nebulous ideas of what it meant. I’m learning as I grow older that sometimes it has a more literal meaning than I ever imagined. I saw it as not letting my own personal hopes and desires come before people. I think this is true. However, I think it’s broader than that. Or maybe it’s just that it FEELS broader than that at times. When in labor, I felt as if I was dying in order that my child could live. Sometimes my sanity dies in order that my children might live… or my husband (perfect man that he is, he’s married to an imperfect woman who goes nuts at times).
It feels as if we should have the right to basic things, but perhaps we don’t. In my own home, I tend to get the idea that it’s reasonable to expect to be able to sleep without the screams of children playing waking me up. Why do I think that? Well, because screams in the house aren’t really allowed? I tend to expect to be able to breathe without the need for my nebulizer to rescue me from the scents that attack my lungs when people come into the house wearing body spray or having washed with heavily scented things. To be honest, it hurts. It hurts that people who know my asthma troubles will put me at risk for an ER visit simply because they want the world to know they’ve arrived ten seconds before they enter the room. It hurts that after being up until all hours for whatever reason I was, I cannot get the health-giving sleep that I need.
And yet, how can I follow the admonition to “die to self” if self rules my heart at times like these? How can I claim to obey that scripture when self is offended that the room I just cleaned is now cluttered with stuff?
Isn’t it amazing that no matter how much we think we know something, we learn later that we’ve just scratched the surface? Scripture is really good at sockin’ it to ya.