I feel like I’ve confessed (I hope you’ve felt it), that I am by no means perfect at being intentional in my thoughts, words, and actions. I try really hard. Often. Did I mention I try hard? But frequently it backfires or crumbles and I’m left feeling down about myself and my personality, and who am I to others.
Tonight I flopped hard. It’s a Tuesday, which in our house is date night. We don’t go out (remember, we’re also being more intentional about our finances) so that means we try to make something romantic or special out of a regular old weeknight in the house. It’s a lot of pressure to be honest. We used to sit and watch a movie while we ate dinner on the couch, until we realized we definitely weren’t being intentional with the time and connecting. We were literally two bumps on a couch log until we were both falling asleep, so now we try to come up with things to do that don’t involve the tv. We’ve tried things like card games, meditation, cooking a big meal from scratch, making cocktails…etc. My husband recent said he felt a lot of pressure to plan something fun, so I’ve been trying to help plan Tuesday nights. Today I spent any down time at work googling fun conversation starters for date night and I finally found a list of 25 questions that weren’t totally lame. I printed them off and bright them home, even managing to swing by the store on the way and pick up a nice bottle of wine (we’re talking $10 here!).
We sat down to start our list once we got the minions to bed and we literally did not make it past #1. One question is all it took to set us off into a fight, and yea, we didn’t come out of this one alive. How is it that possible?! I had nothing but the best intentions of being free from distractions, with funny and sweet discussions, and showing that I was trying (sometimes just the effort alone is enough to show a partner that you love them, right?!). And yet here we are now, me in one room, him in the other, and all the meditation in the world can’t pull me out of this funk (I’m clearly not a meditation master yet).
I’m sure we’ve all been here before. This happens to us in other things too- we try to be intentional with our spending so we can retire sooner, and then our car is totaled or we need emergency surgery. Or perhaps we try really hard to grow fresh, organic vegetables in our yard to be more intentional with footprint and diet, and then the deer show up and eat them all! Whatever it is, many of us are working toward a life that’s simple and slow and intentional, and yet we still find ourselves feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.
Does this mean we give up? Does it mean we just aren’t capable of achieving these goals of intentionality? No. It just means we are human. “To err human, forgive divine. All people commit sins and make mistakes. God forgives them, and people are acting in a godlike (divine) way when they forgive.” - Alexander Pope. So as we work on connecting with ourselves and with God, let us remember that we can be connected and divine by forgiving ourselves (and others too, course).
I sit here typing these words as a way of forgiving myself for not providing a perfect night…but that’s it! See how I wrote that I was planning to provide a perfect night? Aha! Here is the real root of my problem. My intentions were off! My focus wasn’t to connect. Deep down I was focused on creating a perfect date night.
This all goes back to the social media and magazine photos that show us pictures of decluttered homes and beautiful outdoor tablescapes full of hearty meals and laughing friends. We often think that simplified and intentional living means creating sweet, simple moments, but really it’s about living in the moment and being fully present, whether it’s picturesque and lovely, or messy and frustrating. Sitting here I remember the words of Brené Brown - “Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk missing out when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.” And with that I will close my laptop and go curl up next to my husband, forgive our fight, and just sit in the moment.