Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Balance vs. Survival

I wake to the yellow glow of the bathroom light and the sleep-clumsy clatter of the toilet seat falling in the next room. The quilt is still tucked perfectly beneath my chin while the world outside is dark and I hope it's 4 o'clock.

It's not.

The alarm is moments away from sounding and the kids are waking up in tides. My phone buzzes, a text from a friend, then another. And they talk about things like balance and letting go, things that take on an almost-magical shape under the shadow of a Monday morning. If only we could figure this stuff out.

I carry these early thoughts around me while I pour cereal and pack lunch. What the heck is balance?

I don't have a clue anymore. I've seen all its mythical features as the years have ticked by. I don't believe in it anymore.

But what I never realized until now is this :: If the idea of "balance" is even on the table, I live in privilege.

The work we do, no matter where we do it or what we're wearing when we do it, is important. Maybe we rise before the sun cracks the night and head to the factory along with my oldest son. Maybe we dress in wool gabardine and don heels while we boss people around (nicely, of course.) Maybe we wear our ugly green robe as long as possible, relenting only when there's simply no other choice. (cough cough)

We work because we need to. Or we want to.

We work because we're the mom, the wife, the daughter, the friend. And we're hoping for a life that makes a little more sense than it did yesterday. We want to do all of the things well.

But most of us don't work for survival. We could chuck our jobs from an upstairs window and the kids would still be educated. They'd still be fed.

The women I met back in August work to live. They work for dignity. They work for their children. Some work with HIV, some work to avoid it. Their other options are disease, shame, death. They aren't afforded the luxury of  "balance", elusive or otherwise.

It doesn't seem right to me. It never does.

I struggle to understand why they work in a room made of corrugated steel (with the coolest door EVER), stacking thread upon thread upon thread so that I can look cute and get compliments while I'm returning library books or eating chocolate croissants.

I don't understand it, but I can do it.

I've always been a fan of scarves. But since seeing their faces and watching their hands at the loom, it feels bigger, somehow. My scarf-wearing has increased by a factor of at least 10.

Only Jesus can heal their broken places (and mine, and yours) but I buy their art, wind their livelihood around my neck, and it matters.

Today I'm wearing my favorite (it changes by the day!) over here and sharing some other Fall Faves. 

Annnnd....fashionABLE is kindly offering free shipping on orders all day (Tuesday, Oct. 15th) using the code SHANNANFAVES

Check out the Fall Collection here and scarf up!