You Do The Right Thing. I’ll Just Sit Here.

I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle.
I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.
-Mother Teresa

I have times, as a friend, a mom, a wife, a person, when I don’t want to show up. I want to pull the covers over my head. I want to tell you to f-off. I don’t care that it’s your birthday. I don’t like your kids. And if you touch me again, I’ll kill you.

This particular month I have a night when every inch of my body was yelling: NO! DON’T GO! And I desperately want to agree. Stay home. Stay safe. I want to poll my friends until someone echos my sentiment and I can say: YES! I’M SUCH A GOOD PERSON BY STAYING HOME. (I have to say lies really loud in order to convince my stupid conscience.) But I only ask two people. Two people who tell me the truth. And they say: The right thing to do is to go.

Do I hate them for telling me the truth? Sorta. But an amazing thing happens. As the voices in my head begin mounting a protest with signs and snappy chants, I am already in the car.

Because it’s not about what I want to do anymore. {sad face} To be honest, it’s not about what the kids want to do or the husband or the friends. The question is: what is the RIGHT THING to do? What is the action that will let me sleep at night? (Well, after the nights I spend worrying about HAVING to do it.) I am the only one who has to face myself in the mirror every single day. It’s only me and me. And even in a house full of noise and distraction, if I can’t live with the voices in my head, I won’t want to live. I won’t be able to live.

Often I face the simple yet unpopular actions. I put my children to bed even though they don’t want to go to bed. Even though it may be more convenient to have them stay up. I go grocery shopping — even on date night (well, only this past week because we had NO food and a busy weekend ahead. Although once we got over the initial disappointment of spending our time in the grocery store post-sushi, our running commentary was SO MUCH FUN. I see this and say: I’M SUPER! and put it in the cart. I see this and say: ARGH, CHEESE I HAVE TO WORK FOR and put it in the cart. And the clincher was when my husband announces in the frozen food aisle: The frozen pizzas here are DISGUSTING! We CANNOT buy them. And we nonchalently maneuver our cart around the fellow shopper BUYING ONE. Next time, we should all grocery shop together. Let me know when you’re available. PARTY IN AISLE NINE!)

And while I love when doing the right thing LIFTS ME UP, I often find doing the right thing to be humbling at best. And frustrating at my worst. I don’t always WANT to be the best Alex that I can be. I just want to slide by unnoticed and un-noticing. I want to ignore you. I want to sleep. I want to pout.

And wanting these things above being accountable and honest and available is humbling. Because it is so much easier to pretend that I LOVE DOING IT. To be self-righteous in my choices and narrow-minded in judging other people’s abilities. To leave no room for ambiguity. For human nature. For exhaustion. For mistakes. I do the right thing. Therefore, I am.

Instead, I do the right thing because I know that, EVENTUALLY, I will look back on these days and weeks and be proud of who I am and what I’ve done. Proud of the lunches and the laundry and the hugs and the tears. Proud of showing up. It’s not as glamours as I thought having God in my life would be. But it’s all I got. And it’s all I want. Even when I think that I don’t.


A favorite hymn of mine, Here I Am Lord. And A UCC plug. (It was that or a creepy picture of Jesus in horrible pain. I chose my denomination. Which probably sums up WHY I chose my denomination.) It’s a hymn that helps me remember why:

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

17 thoughts to “You Do The Right Thing. I’ll Just Sit Here.”

  1. This is nice and honest. let me say as a person who has always been unable to say no… (am getting mildly better at 44), I usually am happy to get as close to 50% of what I want. I need those honest people around too. But, I have a friend (only one) who knows what I truly need and love. He is an inspiration. An artist who is all about lifting everyone up. When I ask him , should I? He say’s ,”why wouldn’t ya?” or “Hell yeah!” ,and he’s always been right. Gonna write a note about him please read. See you in church. Peace

  2. Sometimes I hate doing the right thing, even though it’s the right thing. Sigh. But maybe because we do it, we live up to our potential a little more each time we make that choice. And sushi and groceries? Sounds wonderful! =>
    .-= Stacia´s last blog ..Haiku Friday =-.

  3. This speaks to my heart.

    I try very hard to live this way. After years of living, I see how God does know best.

    If I were to only do what I wanted to do, my life would not be what it is today. I wouldn’t be who I am today. Obeying Him, and hearing His call, my life has been blessed. When I am humbled, and feel obedient, is when I feel closest to HIM, and call him Father.

    I can see His hand in my life when I obey Him.There have been blessings that can’t be explained in words that have come from me doing what is right. What He created me to do on earth. The right thing.

    I am eager for the day, when I can stand before Him, and He greets me, and whispers in my ear, “well done, good and faithful servant.”

    Your posts are so rich.
    .-= Alexandra´s last blog ..LOL =-.

    1. Your comment made me think of this quote: Everyday courage has few witnesses, but yours is no less noble because no drum beats before you, and no crowds shout your name. (Robert Louis Stevenson)
      But man is everyday courage tiring… but you are right, we have to be the people that we want to be.

  4. It is the lot of moms to do a lot of stuff that we really don’t want to do. Frequently. Daily.

    But we don’t have to smile.

    A healthy dose of Jewish guilt is good for the kids. Generation after generation can’t be wrong, can it?
    .-= The Mother´s last blog ..So Shut Up! =-.

  5. I love your honesty. And I loved what you wrote about having to make unpopular choices as a mom. I hate having to discipline my children, but I’m afraid if I don’t they will turn into spoiled brats. Sometimes I am afraid they are already spoiled brats. And then they do something wonderfully kind and I know they are not. But the truth is, parenting is hard. It is a little taste of God, I think. God is the ulitmate parent. He loves us all and has tried to teach us how to live. We don’t always follow Him and make good choices and neither do our children. But we love them regardless. And so does He.

    Wonderful post, Alex!! You always make me think and learn and feel.

    1. I view God that way too. The Big Mama in the sky (although I often think of Him as a male even though my feminist self gets annoyed at me)…
      I hate disciplining my children and I worry that they will be out of control TOO. It’s this balance that I only achieve when I involve God. And even then I fall short. Oh parenting… always making me realize how human I am.
      Thank you for your comment.

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