This morning as I walked briskly through my neighborhood, I talked to God. Walking alone provides me ample time to talk things out thoroughly. Today I talked to God about sacrifice. The subject itself has weighed heavily on my mind for some time, but it resurfaced yesterday around 1:15pm when I wanted to be napping but found myself cutting round circles for yesterday's afternoon "learning craft" that the girls would eventually use to create ice cream cones. You see, we were learning the letter "I" so it was the best my tired mind could come up with at the last minute.
I sat silently at my kitchen table, methodically cutting the pieces for the craft while listening to the girls giggle as they jumped high in the air on the trampoline. Everyday after lunch I think, "Maybe today they'll see my tired eyes and let me off the hook for learning," but everyday both girls excitedly ask me, "Mom, what are we doing for learning today? Are we painting? Are we using sponges? What letter is it?" I am not exaggerating even the slightest bit when I say my girls are very into learning. Like obsessively so. Yesterday was no different. And so I did what I always do and I wrote the letter in their individual notebooks for them to trace and I found the appropriate pages for them to work on in their respective workbooks and I came up with a craft for them to work on to round out the hour of learning.
I give up a potential hour of nap time/work time everyday to be with my girls. To teach them. To learn with them. Being with them is easy. I can't tell you how gratifying it is to watch them read or recognize letters and sounds, but it's the staying awake and alert during a time of day that tells my 27-week pregnant body that it's time to sleep that can make it hard.
But that's life, isn't it? I've decided life is about sacrifice. Everything else is just an appendage to it. Love, faith, honesty, kindness, bravery--all these things hinge on sacrifice. Whether we give up an hour of nap time or we save the last bite of a delicious treat for a hungry spouse or we refrain from yelling at a child who doesn't want to get ready for school, knowing it will only make things worse or we stay up a few extra minutes at night to talk to God or we push ourselves to exercise even though our bodies are sluggish--all these things are sacrifices. Everyday, all over the world people are sacrificing, and it's hard, and sometimes it hurts, but it's worth it.
I don't always see immediate returns or rewards for the sacrifices I make, but that's not what makes it worth it. I suppose if you live your life always looking for the return or reward then you don't really understand the purpose of sacrifice, and you'll end up a bit foolish when you realize you've completely missed the mark. What makes it worth it is that in the act of sacrificing, you give of yourself. You stretch, you bend, you morph. And with any luck, you become the person you are supposed to become.