It’s already gone----the longest day: 22 hours of daylight, 2 hours of dark-ish-ness . …. What did you do on that day? Did you do it All? And was it enough?
This same week, the cover story for the Atlantic went viral: “Why Women STILL Can’t Have it All!” a deliberately provocative title that actually delivers the opposite message: women CAN have families and achieve leadership positions if we make reasonable changes in the workplace, Ann-Marie Slaughter writes. If we break down the rigid wall between work and family, we create better environments in both places. The article is brilliant and brave, and she is right.
( Of course, there may be another solution. If we all had 22 hours of daylight with its attendant adrenaline and insomnia, we could all get everything done!) Despite this, something essential is missing from her article.
She details a life where she is cut in a thousand pieces. Most women understand this. How do we do it all? How do we care for our families and succeed at work and fulfill all our other responsibilities and desires? Can we REALLY have it all?
I am listening to the words that I wrote last week, “But ask the birds of the air .. . the fish of the sea .. “ I do not have to ask them how they order their lives and what they know: I watch them. I see their lives in detail every day.
And this is what I learn from them. The eagles and salmon right now have a singular focus. The eagles spend every calorie in flight and retrieval of food for their eaglets. (Do you believe how big they are already?)They think of little else. For the salmon, their one impulse which must be obeyed is to return to the streambed, to lay their eggs and die. They give their lives for their young. They have no work/life balance. All work and life is for the other.
In her much-anthologized essay “Living Like Weasels” Annie Dillard takes us to the same place. I was in that place this very night. I ran into a weasel under the house. We locked eyes for an intense second--or was it ten? Weasels, too, embody an instinctive mindlessness, all energies pointed toward their “one necessity”----survival.
I hope to learn from creation, which means here that I hope to do more and better than this. To do whatever I do not out of mindlessness and instinct, but out of heart, out of, dare I say it?---out of love.
Love for my children
For my sisters and colleagues.
Love for my husband.
For my mother.
For my readers.
For the passions I’ve been given.
For the neighbor.
For the stranger.
Yes, for all of these.
But how will I not be torn in a thousand pieces, then?
How will I not lead a fractured, frantic life where even
22 hours of daylight is not enough?
There is an answer. A single love binds them together:
Love for the Creator God who is the giver and maker of ALL of these things.
I am finding that if I love rightly, and love the One who Made Us first, above all, all these loves of the longest day will find their place. I can multi-task forever—this is my specialty---but still be single-minded and single-hearted. And-----joyous.
Love not only covers a multitude of sins, but it binds all other loves together into a single-hearted life.
Can we have it ALL, then?
Yes, this is the ALL. We can have it if we desire it. Do you?
GIVEAWAY! Having it all means giving some of it away! I would love to send a copy of my memoir Surviving the Island of Grace to the first two people who ask for it. (Or, should I ask you to spread these blog seeds to your friends first, to widen our circle?) AND, along with the book, I'll send a jar of whatever Harvester Island jam I am making at the moment. (If I get around to canning my smoked salmon, I’ll offer that as well another time!)