Awhile back, I visited a very large Christian bookstore. I dearly love books and Willow Tree figurines and DaySpring cards and inspirational CDs. So normally, this kind of place would be like a little bit of heaven for me.
But this time, it wasn’t exactly that. It was mostly just overwhelming.
Because of all the books.
I’ve been feeling this for some time now, a slight resistance to the abundance of materials designed to help with every single solitary thing in life. I’m glad that these resources exist, and I know that many are encouraging and useful and even life changing.
I guess I’m just at a point in my life where I don’t just want to read advice. I don’t want to be told to make lists of this and that with my almost-fifth grader, or print this out and put it on the fridge, or implement this strategy with my 13-year-old, or pray these exact words when I am feeling anxious.
Maybe it’s because, as the aforementioned teenager sometimes says, “I’m just feeling a little bit rebellious today.” Or maybe what I really want is to hear from a real live person who is a little bit farther down the road—or maybe a lot farther down the road. A real live person who would smile when I tell her about my “rebellious” daughter because she actually knows this daughter and understands that—at least right now—she’s not really rebellious at all, she mostly just likes to talk big.
A real live person who gets that marriage books can be helpful, but sometimes, you just have to plow through the stuff of life together and be thankful that you can at least laugh about it occasionally. A real live person who tells you stories about her own children and the things that were hard for her when she was parenting youngsters, and how it doesn’t always get easier when they become adults but at least she knows the end result doesn’t all depend on her.
Yes, that’s what helps me now. Back when the girls were little, the books were exactly what I needed. They still are, from time to time. But these days, when I’m facing things I’ve never faced as a mother, daughter, wife or woman, books usually aren’t enough.
I need people.
Real live people.