Maureen Locher photoI met someone who characterizes people into two groups. Not white or purple, not smart or dumb, not male or female. My new friend says, "You are either a jerk or you’re not!" I find the simplicity of her thought dead-on.

Think about the people you know. Jerk? Not a jerk? Jerk? Not a jerk? Kind of like plucking petals off a daisy. He loves me. He loves me not. He’s a jerk. He’s not. It’s funny to think of another in such a way, but what if that "other" is sizing us up? He is plucking the daisies. She’s a jerk. She’s not. Would we make the cut?

I have another friend who routinely reminds, "When you point a finger at someone else, three more are pointing back at you." Like the guy in the Bible scrutinizing so intently as to see the splinter in another’s eye while missing the plank in his own eye. We all have splinters and planks from time to time. If we’re smart, we don’t let them fester. We attend to them, digging them out if necessary.

As the merriment of the holidays is behind us and we settle back into our routines, we have a good opportunity to reflect about our lives. Do we want the same-old same-old? Or do we want something new? I think that wanting is healthy; it’s a step in the right direction.

I’ve vacillated so much in my own life after my children became more independent. It felt like what quicksand must feel like.

You just keep sinking.

In all the movies I’ve ever seen where characters are up to their armpits in the sandy mess, this advice is given: Don’t move! Flailing around makes you sink faster. Have you noticed you never really see people escape on their own? There’s usually a big strong branch that just happens to be nearby, and the brave companion of the sinking one urges the sinker to grab on tight. And voila: a rescue!

If only it were that simple. Like the jerk test. But it’s not.

Moms face real issues of uncertainty when their children grow up. Flailing really doesn’t help. Been there, done that. We need to take the time to be still. No one can tell us what’s best for us. We have to come to that realization on our own. And it’s not going to happen overnight. This time for moms is as painful as childbirth; it’s heart and head pain rather than further south. But it’s real.

After childbirth you get a baby.

After this…who knows? And that’s scary.

So take time to think, to be still. Listen to God. He’s the Companion carrying the big stick. He’s with us always. He’ll help us out if we do what He tells us to do. So let’s be quiet and listen.

Copyright 2010 Maureen Locher