anybody want to buy a hat?

There's this great book called "Caps For Sale!" by Esphyr Slobodkina, subtitled A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business. I would highly recommend it - I mean, for $10.00 you get a great story, and someone to read it to you...

It's the story of a peddler who can't sell any hats one day, so he decides to take a walk in the country, and falls asleep under a tree. While he is sleeping, a bunch of monkeys steal his hats. It takes him awhile to figure out how to get all the hats back from the monkeys, and it's a very entertaining story... but it occurred to me today that all the peddler's troubles could have been avoided if he simply had not been wearing quite so many hats.

Of course, the story wouldn't have been nearly so interesting...

Erin over at Decompressing Faith has been writing a bit lately about her experience with a stereotype she calls "The Better Christian Woman." Her first post can be found here - and she's linked to her other posts on the topic at the bottom of that post. I've been doing a lot of thinking and journalling on the subject myself, as I've read her story.

The Better Christian Woman, hereafter referred to as the BCW, is the stuff of legends. She's described for us in Proverbs 31:10-31 - a standard to which the average good Western Christian woman will often attempt to conform on her own (i.e. without God's help) - only to be met with abysmal failure. As a single woman, it can feel almost worse... I flunked the MRS program in college, and second chances are not forthcoming at the moment. That said, I'm not sure I want one - at least not today, anyway.

Erin likens her experience of attempting to become the BCW to being stuck in a pressure-cooker that one day simply exploded, splattering chili all over the kitchen. I have to say, I am resonating with that analogy quite a bit. I wrote a ridiculously long and unpublishable rant about it last night. And woke up this morning with two realizations: 1) I need more sleep; and 2) I am, quite simply, wearing too many hats. And it is something the BCW does.

Who am I?

Grad student. Worship director. Worship leader. Friend. Confidante. Rant-hearer. Letter-writer. Daughter. Blogger. Sister. Housekeeper. Launderer. Dreamer. Errand-runner. Schedule co-ordinator. Reader. Dishwasher. Musician. Intercessor. Advice-giver. Artist....

The list goes on.

I am living enough life for three people right now, and this morning I came face-to-face with one realization:

I can't.

That's it.

News-flash, Hap: you can't.

I don't know what to do with that. I exploded today, and there's chili all over the kitchen (I hope you don't mind that I borrowed your analogy, Erin), and I don't have time to clean it up because all the stuff still has to get done. There are still friends who need me (an uncommon number of them just now), a job to show up to and do well, and papers that need to get written for school. And somewhere in there, I need a vacation. Time to just go sit and be with God, and figure out who exactly it is that I'm supposed to be and how to get rid of all the stuff in the pot that shouldn't have been there.

If anybody wants to buy a hat, there's a whole bunch of them covered in chili that I'd be happy to sell to you, really cheap. As a matter of fact, you can just have them.


Rob said...

And then there are those of us who need nothing from you, and in fact desire nothing from you, though we certainly want what is best for you, because we love you very much; and we're happy to be here for you as we can be and it serves you. Certainly, if you need a bolthole, we're happy to tell people that no, we really couldn't say where you are . . . :)

Happy said...

Thanks, Rob... Jake offered to take 10 of my hats as long as it didn't matter whether he was faithful with them or not, so I might even be able to fit in that bolthole now... if it's a really big bolt. 'Course, I could just leave all the hats in a pile somewhere. Since they're free anyway. :P

Erin said...

I don't mind at all if you borrow the analogy.

I agree with the hats thing...hostess, womens bible study leader, womens event coordinator, mom, wife, friend, intercessor...I could go on. Shedding some hats was the best thing I ever did. Sometimes we do have responsibilities that require many hats, but it shouldn't be a way of life.